FLW College Fishing - Western
Western Conference Championship (Aug. 30-Sept.. 1, 2012)
OREM, Utah – The final five teams competing in the FLW National Guard College Fishing Series Western Regional Championship on Utah Lake are hoping to make some noise with flashes of brilliance, but the Utah sky beat them to the punch with thunderstorms that subsided just in time for the morning takeoff program.
As anglers gathered at Utah Lake State Park, the radar showed lots of green, with some of that violent yellow/orange stuff. Showers and lightning ceased about 6:15 and the rising sun snuck through pockets of low hanging cloud cover. The sky never cleared and storms, or at least rainy conditions, will likely remain a lingering concern throughout the day.
Fishing in the rain is no big deal, as long as there's no lightning. The real issue could be the wind. Utah Lake's shallow makeup is easily stirred, so running and navigation could become problematic later in the day. Several marinas offer sheltered waters, but by day three, every dock, pole and rip rap bank has been pounded.
Justin Gangel and Alex Cox put CSU-Long Beach in the lead on day two by moving up from second with a two-day weight of 14-3. They're fishing the lake's south end and they're confident in both their spot and their undisclosed bait selection.
"We've been focusing on getting away from everybody else," Gangel said. "We have a bait that nobody else is using. I think we have a good chance of winning."
Trailing the lead by a pound and 13 ounces is Chico State's Anthony Dayton and Nick Carrico. This team led the show on day one after catching 10-5 – the event's biggest bag so far. The fact that they had only four fish speaks volumes about the quality they located. Day two, however, saw boat traffic take its toll on their game plan as Chico State caught a lone keeper and slipped to second with 12-6.
Now there are no guarantees in fishing, but Dayton and Carrico feel confident in their comeback potential. Mathematically, their average is better – five keepers over two days for 12-6, as opposed to the leaders' 14-3 over nine keepers.
"Our fish are averaging (approximately) 2 ½ pounds, so one fish and we're already back in the lead," Carrico said. "Two of our fish equal five of theirs, so if that happens, we'll take it back."
In third place, Arizona State's Jason Karseboom and Bobby Fletcher will look to capitalize on the momentum they gained on day two by moving up from 11th place to third. Following in fourth is the Oregon State team of Zach McDonald and Ryan Sparks, who've caught only two keepers a day, but their weights of 5-6 and 5-4 also indicates quality. McDonald said that his team is pulling out all the stops today in an effort to find more quality and quantity.
Rounding out the top five is US Santa Cruz. Anglers Sam Sayad and Chris Rhoden secured their final-round spot by advancing from eighth to fifth on day two.
Weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart store, located at 1355 Sandhill Rd., Orem, Utah beginning at 4 p.m. Thurs. and Fri. Final weigh-in will be on Sat. beginning at 4 p.m.
Throughout the three-day tournament, students and fishing fans alike will be treated to the FLW Expo, which includes the National Guard Warrior Challenge, a Ranger Boat simulator, tailgate games, a sports zone along with contests for cash and several prize give-aways. The Expo will take place at the Walmart store, located at 1355 Sandhill Rd., Orem, Utah from 2-4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 12-4 p.m. on Saturday.
The first-place team wins $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 wins $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.
Sunrise: 6:53 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 65 degrees
Expected high temperature: 82 degrees
Wind: Southeast 5-10 mph
Max. Humidity: 65 percent
Day’s outlook: Cloudy, afternoon thunderstorms possible