(May 23, 2017 - GILBERTSVILLE, Ky.)
The Murray State University team of Zach Baker of Murray, Kentucky, and Micah Chessor of Paducah,Kentucky, won the YETI FLW College Fishing Central Conference tournament presented by Bass Pro Shops on Kentucky and Barkley lakes Saturday after weighing five bass totaling 19 pounds, 4 ounces. The victory earned the duo a $2,000 scholarship and an invitation to compete in the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“This is an exciting win for our club – it’s nice to keep it in Kentucky,” said Baker, a senior majoring in Occupational Safety and Health. “It was a grind out there. We fought against some wind and waves, which definitely made things more tough. We just kept our heads down and fished.”
“We stayed on one ledge most of the day – a 70-yard stretch on the north-end of the lake at the mouth of Pisgah Bay,” said Chessor, a junior majoring in Wildlife Biology. “I found it in practice on Monday and the fish were stacked. I told Zach (Baker) that if we can get there first-thing Saturday morning, we’re going to stay there all day.”
“The ledge is basically a community hole,” said Baker. “The top of it is about 25 feet down and the bottom stretches to down about 30 feet. We just kept circling it and had a limit in the boat by 10:30 (a.m.), with our biggest fish coming in around 9:30.”
Baker said their biggest bass was caught on a Tennessee Shad-colored Keitech Impact FAT Swimbait with a 1-ounce head. He said their remaining four were brought in using a drop-shot rigged 4½-inch Morning Dawn-colored Roboworm Straight Tail Worm.
“We caught eight or nine keepers throughout the day,” said Chessor. “I caught some vertically out of the grass with the worm, and casted at them as well.”
“Patience was crucial for us,” said Baker. “We would hit a flurry of bites for around 45 minutes and then it would die off for around an hour. We just had to keep our focus and trust our instinct.”
The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2018 College Fishing National Championship are:
1st: Murray State University – Zach Baker, Murray, Ky., and Micah Chessor, Paducah, Ky., five bass, 19-4, $2,400
2nd: Missouri State University – Crosley Welch, Branson, Mo., and Matt Fielder, Springfield, Mo., five bass, 18-5, $1,200
3rd: University of Missouri – Gabriel Dubois, Mason, Ohio, and Brandon Heizer, Saint Louis, Mo., five bass, 18-4, $500
4th: Campbellsville University – Justin Mayfield, Somerset, Ky., and Colby Hays, Somerset, Ky., five bass, 17-4, $500
5th: Murray State University – Lance Freeman, Eddyville, Ky., and Cameron Brooks, Greenville, Ky., five bass, 16-15, $500
6th: Murray State University – Nate Maxwell, Murray, Ky., and Peyton Porter, Gilbertsville, Ky., five bass, 16-15
7th: Murray State University – Hunter Mills, Mayfield, Ky., and Hunter McKinley, Murray, Ky., five bass, 16-9
8th: Eastern Kentucky University – Tate Clements, Brodhead, Ky., and Josh Boone, London, Ky., five bass, 15-10
9th: McKendree University – Taylor Schmitt, Lebanon, Ill., and Trevor McKinney, Benton, Ill., five bass, 15-5
10th: McKendree University – Shane Campbell and Phillip Germagliotti, both of Highland, Ill., five bass, 15-4
This YETI FLW College Fishing Central Conference event at Kentucky and Barkley lakes was the second regular-season qualifying tournament of 2017 and was hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau. The next event for Central Conference anglers is their regular-season finale, scheduled for Oct. 7 on the Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.
YETI FLW College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments, along with an additional qualifier for every 10 teams over 100 that compete, along with the top 20 teams from the annual YETI FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a college fishing club that is recognized by their school.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.