PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State team of John McDougall of Queensbury and Brendan Bolis of Canton won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event on Lake Champlain last Saturday with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces.
The victory earned the duo $5,000, and also helped them advance to the Northern Conference Championship.
“I’m ecstatic right now,” said McDougall, an environmental science major. “This is my second FLW tournament. I fished my first ever event for our club at the Lake Kerr event earlier this season and we finished 23rd. Brendan and I really put it together today, though, and it feels great to get the win.
“We started out the day in an area we had found during our practice time. We had found most of our success in the bays, so that’s what we targeted today. Our first spot we hit using Spro Square bill crankbaits in 3 to 6 feet of water,” McDougall continued. “We had a limit before 8 a.m. That definitely took a lot of the pressure off.”
The anglers then moved to a few other spots under the sunny, calm conditions before finding success deeper.
“After we had our limit we moved to another bay and started drop-shotting wacky worms,” said Bolis, a business major. “Watermelon seemed to be the hot color for the day. We caught around 30 fish throughout the day, and weighed in all largemouth. The bite was really consistent throughout the entire day.
“We were actually an alternate team right up until five minutes before the tournament started,” Bolis went on to say. “We were the last team to launch our boat.”
“We had to scramble and help our driver clean out his boat as everyone was already launching,” McDougall laughed. “I’m just happy that we got the boat clean and were able to fish in this tournament.”
Rounding out the top five teams and also advancing to the Northern Conference Championship were: 2, Penn State University (five bass, 15-8, $1,500); 3, La Roche College (five bass, 14-4, $1,000); 4, Fairmont State University (five bass, 14-4, $1,000); 5, Virginia Tech University (five bass, 13-9, $1,000).
Four regular-season qualifying events are held in each conference — Central, Northern, Southeastern, Texas and Western. The top five teams from each qualifying tournament will advance to one of five televised three-day National Guard FLW College Fishing Conference Championships, where the first-place team wins a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard. The top five teams from each conference championship advance to the national championship, where the first-place team wins $25,000 for their school and $50,000 cash plus a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard for their fishing club.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW 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 Northern Conference tournament is scheduled for Aug. 5 on the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Ind.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing. Visit CollegeFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.
— Courtesy FLW