(Editor’s note: Leading up to the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship – slated for April 19-21 on Beaver Lake in Rodgers, Ark. – CollegeFishing.com will publish weekly, in-depth features stories of each of the 25 national championship team qualifiers. At stake in the tournament is a first-place prize package that includes $30,000 in cash, a brand new, Ranger Z-117 bass boat and an automatic berth in the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup.)
CollegeFishing.com: How were you introduced to fishing?
David Bryant: I was introduced to fishing when I was knee high to a grasshopper. All of my family has been into some type of fishing pretty much all their lives. So, I have been fishing for some type of fish since I was little. My grandma has some property on the Jackson River here in Covington, so that’s where my fishing experiences began. And I have been hooked on fishing since.
Jody White: My dad started me fishing when I was young. He and my uncle nurtured my passion. We had a pond on our property and I knew every bluegill in it by name when I was little.
CollegeFishing.com: What style/method of fishing are you most comfortable with?
David Bryant: The style that I am most comfortable with would be finesse fishing. Most of our lakes here on my side of Virginia are deep and clear, so that’s one of the main ways to consistently catch fish. Finesse fishing is definitely in my comfort zone. However, if they are chewing on something else, I’m comfortable throwing whatever they are biting on. I like throwing anything and everything. In my opinion, that’s the only way you are going to learn about what’s going on with the bass or any fish in general. Getting too comfortable with one type of fishing and feeling comfortable with how you’re doing (and where you are at) is a sure way to find yourself playing catch up the next day, not making the cut or not getting the check you planned on getting after the weigh-in.
Jody White: I really like fishing around weeds. I'm good at picking vegetation apart on a variety of levels with a bunch of different techniques. Unfortunately, it seems like there won't be much call for those particular skills in Arkansas.
CollegeFishing.com: What did it feel like to qualify for the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship? How do you plan to prepare for the big event?
David Bryant: It’s crazy to even think that I qualified for an event of this magnitude. I started competitive bass fishing three years ago, and got on the bass fishing team at school because of a conversation about fishing with a stranger – who ultimately ended up as my partner for the National Championship.
Unfortunately I only got to fish on day one of the Northern Regional because of my work schedule and the National Championship may end up the same way. My partner Jody White got some practice time in, so we are going to run off of some of that. I have been trying to research the lake online as well when I am not at work. Work has made my preparation for these past two tournaments pretty tough and I owe all of the success and qualifying to my partner. Jody is an awesome fisherman in general and I have learned a good bit from this guy. He’s a first class act and I could see him having a potential career in the industry one day.
Jody White: I was pretty stoked to qualify for a second time because I really wanted another shot at the National Championship after performing below expectations on Kentucky Lake. There was also a fair amount of pressure to qualify a second time because Virginia Tech was one of the “home” teams at the conference championship.
Besides the usual internet prep work, I'll make a trip out to Arkansas over spring break and run the whole lake over with side imaging to get my bearings so I have a knowledge base to build a pattern on during the tournament. I'll probably also fish some while I'm out there to see if the lake fishes similarly to others I've been on. I'm also very interested in how the FLW Tour event (scheduled to take place the week before the championship) plays out. However, it could be either very instructive or very misleading.
CollegeFishing.com: Tell us something interesting about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.
David Bryant: There isn’t really anything interesting about me that I can think of. I am a simple small town guy. I enjoy the outdoors and good, quality time with the people that mean the most to me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t be the person I am today.
However, you can ask Jody about me. I probably come off to most people as a quiet, calm and reserved type person. But once I get comfortable around you and I am behind the cameras, I can be quite the jokester.
Jody White: Most people don't know that I'm very active on twitter and that my handle is @vtbasser. Also, I have a kitten named Smallmouth Bass.