HARTWELL, Ga. – The Clemson University team of Ross Burns of Columbia, South Carolina, and Isaac Nesbitt, Aiken, South Carolina, won the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference tournament on Lake Hartwell Saturday with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference Championship.
“This win means a lot for our club,” said Nesbitt, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering. “We’re one of the most consistent schools in the country when it comes to strong finishes, but we haven’t had that breakthrough win yet. I feel like today’s victory was the statement we needed to make.”
“I couldn’t be happier with how our tournament unfolded,” said Burns, a senior majoring in environmental engineering. “We dialed in on the bite early and were able to catch fish throughout the day.”
The duo said they targeted schooling fish deep on humps and points near Andersonville Island.
“We hit five spots that had similar structure,” said Burns. “We sat in 60 to 80 feet of water and casted to the fish which were congregating in 20 to 40 feet of water.”
Nesbitt said they both used one lure to catch their winning stringer - a Lake Murray Clear-colored Lucky Craft Gunfish.
“We also threw a Lucky Craft Sammy in the same color to catch some of our 20 keepers, but the winners came on the Gunfish,” said Nesbitt.
“A lot of people say the topwater bite on Hartwell stops at 8 a.m., but we were one of the few teams that kept using one,” said Nesbitt. “Structure is important but bass are very strategic in how they eat. Understanding those feeding patterns on this lake really helped us.”
The top 15 teams that advanced to the Southeastern Conference Championship tournament on Pickwick Lake are:
1st: Clemson University – Ross Burns, Columbia, S.C., and Isaac Nesbitt, Aiken, S.C., five bass, 16-15, $2,000 Club Scholarship
2nd: Tennessee Technological University – Matt Allen, Bloomington Springs, Tenn., and Zach Youngblood, Silver Point, Tenn., five bass, 13-14, $1,000 Club Scholarship
3rd: Western Carolina University – Tyler Thomasson, Whittier, N.C., and Josh Cannon, Waxhaw, N.C., five bass, 13-11, $500 Club Scholarship
4th: University of Alabama-Birmingham – Matthew Oliver, Mount Olive, Ala., and Justin Woodruff, Pelham, Ala., five bass, 13-5, $500 Club Scholarship
5th: North Carolina State University – Thomas Gomez, Raleigh, N.C., and Grayson Barber, Lenoir, N.C., five bass, 12-13, $500
6th: University of South Carolina – Patrick Walters, Summerville, S.C., and Josh Rennebaum, Chapin, S.C., five bass, 12-12
7th: Appalachian State University – Ethan Howell, Waynesville, N.C., and Hunter Hill, Hendersonville, N.C., five bass, 12-11
8th: University of North Alabama - Dawson Lenz, Florence, Ala., and Andrew Tate, Town Creek, Ala., five bass, 11-10
9th: Western Carolina University - Adam King, Bryson City, N.C., and Caleb Nuckols, Hayesville, N.C., five bass, 11-7
10th: Lander University - Ben Stone, Donalds, S.C., and Collin Smith, Honea Path, S.C., five bass, 11-6
11th: University of South Carolina - Hampton Anderson, Anderson, S.C., and Chris Blanchette, Irmo, S.C., five bass, 10-15
12th: State University of West Georgia – Kenny Johnson, Newnan, Ga., and Brandon Black, Douglassville, Ga., five bass, 10-14
13th: Clemson University – Patrick Williford, Greensboro, N.C., and Briggs Kennington, Central, S.C., five bass, 10-12
14th: East Carolina University – Brian Buffaloe, Wendell, N.C., and Ronnie Moore, Advance, N.C., five bass, 10-11
15th: Appalachian State University – Charlie Sipe, Hickory, N.C., and Matthew Reid, Clayton, N.C., five bass, 10-10
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
This FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference tournament was hosted by the Hart County Chamber of Commerce and was the third and final regular-season qualifying tournament. The next event for the Southeastern Conference anglers is the Conference Championship which is scheduled for September 26-27 at Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama.
FLW College Fishing teams compete in qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top fifteen teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five Conference Championship tournaments. The top ten teams from each of the five Conference Championship tournaments will advance to the 2016 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 fishing club recognized by their college or university.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing. Visit CollegeFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.