COLUMBIA, S.C., April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The weather was beautiful for the opening day of the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray. And for the most part, the fish cooperated as well. Only 14 ounces separated the top five teams at the end of the day. In the end, the Clemson University team of Andy Wicker of Pomaria, S.C., and Harold Turner of Sumter, S.C., stood atop the leaderboard with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces.
Twenty-five teams from across the country have competed in 20 qualifying events and five conference championship tournaments, and the top five teams from each conference are competing for the title of national champion in this three-day nationally televised event.
"This time of year on these chain of lakes in South Carolina ... definitely the home field advantage helps," said Wicker, a construction science management graduate.
Turner offered some insight into the team's strategy for the second day of competition and said they wouldn't concentrate on just one area.
"(We're) going to be all over," said Turner, a senior civil engineering student.
The team remained tight-lipped about their methods and baits used Friday, but talked about their chances to make the top-five cut and fish the final day.
"We caught our first one at 9 and hit a little flurry from 9 until about 11," Wicker said. "It was on fire for that couple of hours, but it was tough outside of that. We're really uneasy about tomorrow."
Rounding out the top 10 teams are:
2nd: Auburn University – Jordan Lee, Vinemont, Ala., and Matt Lee, Auburn, Ala. (five bass, 16-8)
3rd: Virginia Tech – Wyatt Blevins, Pulaski, Va., and Carson Rejzer, Hampton, Va. (five bass, 16-5)
4th: Kennesaw State University – Thomas Frink, Woodstock, Ga., and Justin Marlow, Kennesaw, Ga. (five bass, 16-1)
5th: Ramapo College – Charles Danza, Ringwood, N.J., and Bob Rieder, West Milford, N.J. (five bass, 16-0)
6th: University of Georgia – Randy Tolbert, Jr., Rome, Ga., and Chase Simmemon, Alto, Ga. (five bass, 15-4)
7th: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point – Ted Johnson and Jody Derks, both of Waupaca, Wis. (five bass, 14-10)
8th: Georgia Southern – Wesley Maples, Rocky Face, Ga., and Jed Thigpen, Statesboro, Ga. (five bass, 14-7)
9th: Northwestern University – Jimmy Morrow, Arlington Heights, Ill., and Matthew Kestufskie, Evanston, Ill. (five bass, 13-15)
10th: Indiana University – Dustin Vaal, Bloomington, Ind., and Steven Bressler, Fremont, Ind. (five bass, 13-15)
Daily takeoffs for the national championship will be from Park Site No. 8 (North) located at 2101 N. Lake Drive in Columbia at 7 a.m. Weigh-ins will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and *4 p.m. Sunday. All weigh-ins will be adjacent to the Carolina Baseball Stadium on the University of South Carolina campus located at the corner of Blossom and Williams streets in Columbia.
*Final weigh-in on Sunday will immediately follow the University of South Carolina baseball game and is subject to change.
FLW will be hosting the College Fishing Festival from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday, adjacent to the Carolina Baseball Stadium. Activities include a sports zone, tailgate games, climbing wall and Ranger boat simulator.
The national championship awards the top team with $50,000 cash, a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower engine for their school's bass club and $25,000 for the school they represent. FLW has awarded more than $3 million in prizes to more than 125 colleges and universities. College Fishing events are free to enter, boats and drivers are provided by FLW and all collegiate teams receive a travel allowance.
Four regular-season events were held in each conference – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Texas and Western. The top five teams in each qualifying event advanced to one of five televised three-day National Guard FLW College Fishing Conference Championships. The top five teams from each conference championship advanced to the national championship, and the winner of the national championship will qualify for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, will be held Aug. 9-12 on Lake Lanier in Duluth, Ga., and will offer the collegiate anglers the opportunity to compete for a top award of $500,000. The national champions also will receive use of a wrapped boat and Chevy truck for Forrest Wood Cup competition.
Coverage of the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship, hosted by the Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network. "FLW" will air May 27 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. "FLW," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.
For more information about the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship, visit CollegeFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
FLW is the industry's premier tournament-fishing organization, providing unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to our sponsors, fans and host communities. FLW is offering anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2012 over the course of 191 tournaments across five tournament circuits, each providing an avenue to the sport's richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the "Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water," through a variety of platforms including tournaments, outdoor expos and the world's richest fantasy sports game – FLW Fantasy Fishing. For more information about FLW and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter and Facebook.
SOURCE FLW Outdoors