TSU-STEPHENVILLE WINS YETI FLW ON SAM RAYBURN

Posted by CBZ STAFF on 01/18/2018

Story and photo courtesy of FLW Communications

LUFKIN, Texas – The Tarleton State University-Stephenville team of Chad Jones of Stephenville, Texas, and Graham Godwin of Princeton, Texas, won the first YETI FLW College Fishing event of 2018 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir Saturday with four bass weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces. The victory earned the Texan Rider bass club, which competes in the Southern Conference, $2,000 and a slot in the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

“This win is huge for our club,” said Jones, a junior majoring in Agricultural Business. “We want to win School of the Year, and this is a great way to start off the season and earn some points.”

The duo said they started their day fishing north of the launch site, west of Jackson Hill Park and Marina. They worked along a 100-yard stretch of steep bank packed with hydrilla and were able to put three good fish in the boat early on.

“We had the boat in 13 to 15 feet of water and slow-rolled lipless crankbaits over the hydrilla,” said Godwin a sophomore majoring in Wildlife Science. “The bites we got came in the 3- to 5-foot range. I caught our first keeper within the first few casts, which really got our blood pumping.”

Godwin said he used a gold-colored lipless crankbait to catch the first keeper. After 25 minutes, the team capitalized on the momentum with two more solid fish.

“I caught a 6½-pounder just working down the bank,” said Jones. “On the next pass, I caught a 7-pounder in the exact same spot. Those first three catches really set the tone for the day.”

Jones caught his two lunkers on a ½-ounce Sexy Shad-colored Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait. He credited his offset treble hooks with helping get the fish in the boat.

“I replaced the original treble hooks with offset treble hooks,” said Jones. “My bites went under the boat, and I think I they were crucial in keeping the fish on.”

With only minutes left in the tournament, Godwin said they caught their final fish from similar hydrilla near the launch ramp.

“The last bite was our most important bite of the day, even though it was a small bass. It gave us the win by an ounce,” said Godwin.

“It was my first win as a collegiate angler and it feels pretty good,” Godwin went on to say, “I hope we can win a couple more events. It’s a big energy boost for the club and gives us all some more confidence.”

The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2019 College Fishing National Championship are:
1st: Tarleton State University-Stephenville – Chad Jones  and Graham Godwin, four bass, 17-15, $2,000
2nd: Stephen F. Austin State University – Wyatt Frankens and Robert Lawson, five bass, 17-14, $1,000
3rd: Northwestern State University – John Joseph Ledet,  and Logan LaPrarie, Deville, La., five bass, 16-8, $500
4th: Arkansas Tech University – Kory England, and Will Lancett, Rogers, Ark., five bass, 16-7, $500
5th: Louisiana State University-Shreveport – Jared Rascoe, and Harrison Hopkins,  five bass, 15-3, $500
6th: University of Louisiana-Lafayette – Dakota Moofe, and Dawson Cranford, four bass, 13-11   
7th: McNeese State University – Alex Murray, and Trent Manuel, Orange, Texas, four bass, 12-15     
8th: Louisiana State University-Shreveport – James Kimbrough, and Ryan Antee, Hosston, La., five bass, 12-9             
9th: University of Oklahoma – Andrew Fazzino and Grant Davis, both of The Woodlands, Texas, five bass, 12-8, $400
10th: University of Arkansas-Monticello – Trey Rainwater III, Bastrop, La., and Hunter Fluitt,  three bass, 12-8   

Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.

This YETI FLW College Fishing Southern Conference opener on Sam Rayburn Reservoir was hosted by the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau, and was the first of three regular-season qualifying tournaments for Southern Conference anglers in 2018. The next YETI FLW College Fishing events take place Feb. 10, when Southeastern Conference anglers take on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia, and Western Conference competitors take on Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

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 and the top 20 teams from the annual FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Additional teams will qualify for the National Championship if the field size in regular-season events exceeds 100 boats.

The 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship will take place May 30-June 1 on the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission & Red River Waterway Commission.