"This feels incredible," said Owen, a junior Spanish and history major from Lenexa, Kan. "I'm not sure we've fully grasped how big this is really going to be for us and what it really means. It feels awesome to finally get a win ... to finally even place in the top five."
Owen said the team began the day slowly under tough conditions - high sun and no wind. Owen said jerkbaits and jigs in the backs of creeks were not producing for them, so they changed their plan of attack.
"About 11 o'clock we pulled out the map and spread it out on the deck and picked out a spot that we wanted to go to," said Owen. "We weren't there 20 minutes and Jake caught his first keeper. Fifteen minutes later he caught his second one."
The team had switched from jerkbaits and jigs on ledges to natural green craw- and natural brown craw-colored Storm Wiggle Warts in 47-degree water temperatures on rocky banks between docks. The change paid off, and the team caught five keepers in an hour and a half.
"It was a real mental game today," said Johnson, a sophomore math education major from Lenexa, Kan. "There was that brink where we didn't give up and we were just like, 'Ok. Let's just try something different.'
"Now we're going to prepare for Kentucky Lake and get ready for that next qualifier," Johnson added.
Rounding out the top five teams and also advancing to the Central Regional Championship are:
2nd: UW-Whitewater - Jordan Truttschel and Tyler Netzer, (four bass, 10-2, $3,000)
3rd: University of North Dakota - Pat Davis and Kyle Harren, (three bass, 7-7, $2,000)
4th: Northwestern University - Matthew Kestufskie and Jimmy Morrow, (three bass, 6-15, $2,000)
5th: Kansas State University - Kyle Raymer and Jonas Ertel, (two bass, 6-9, $2,000)
The top five teams from each tournament qualify for the regional championship where the first-place team will win $12,500 cash for their school and $12,500 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90 horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club. The top five teams from each regional tournament advance to the national championship where the first-place team will win $25,000 for their school and $50,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW Outdoors provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
The next National Guard FLW College Fishing Central Division tournament is scheduled for April 2 at Kentucky/Barkley lakes in Gilbertsville, Ky., and is hosted by the Marshall County Tourist Commission.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW Outdoors on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishingand on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS
FLW Outdoors is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world's richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player's Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.
Chad Gay, Public Relations Manager, (270) 703-3346 or firstname.lastname@example.org