My partner and I ended up 77th out of roughly 200 teams at last week’s Boat US Collegiate Championship on Pickwick Lake, Alabama. We weighed 19.59lbs over the two days of competition…nothing huge by Pickwick standards. We managed a few bigger bites in prefish but come tournament day we failed to get into some of the 4-5lb fish that Pickwick has to offer. A ton of fish were caught over the course of the five days we spent on the lake – an awesome fishery for sure. Huge largies and smallies were brought to the scales.
McFarland Park was an excellent venue and the tournament’s sponsors held a class-act event. The tournament was won by NC State's Ben Dziwulski and Ethan Cox - Congrats guys.
A banquet was held the night before the tournament and blast-off numbers were given at this time. We were greeted by the numerous sponsors of the event – who all graciously filled weigh-in bags full of apparel, baits and further discounts for all collegiate competitors. Pros such as Gerald Swindle, Casey Ashley, Russ Lane and Brandon Card were on hand to welcome us. After an awesome meal, Scott Martin capped off the evening as the keynote speaker.
It’s pretty incredible to see the rigs the American university/college guys are running - not to mention the quality of the anglers they have down there. Hopefully we can gradually get more interest from younger anglers up here.
Over the course of prefish and both tournament days I had the opportunity to try a ton of new gear from the ‘offseason’. We cranked a lot of open water down there and the Shimano Crucial 7’11 M crankbait rod performed great and put a ton of fish in the boat. The rod made for super long casts and had enough give to prevent trebles from being pulled out of the fish’s mouth. I also had the chance to try Power Pro Super Slick for the first time while c-rigging and was amazed by how it casted like a dream – and was much quieter when passing through the guides.
Rods: Crucial 7’11M or Cumara 6'9M (crank), Crucial 7’2 MH (c-rig), Crucial 6’8MH (topwater) and NRX DSR822 (ds)
Reels: Calais Mg-5, Chronarch, Curado G6, Stradic Ci4/FJ
Line: 15lb, 50lb Power Pro Super Slick in Timber Brown, Aqua Green. 10-12lb fluoro for cranks, 14lb mono for topwater
Baits: Megabass Cyclone MD-X (HT-Ito Tennesse Shad), Carolina Rigged Watermelon/Green Pumpkin Creatures/Lizards – spiked tails with JJ’s Magic Chartreuse, X-Zone slammers in natural tones
Overall this was an amazing experience and I definitely learned a ton from fishing such an event. Congrats to the other Canadian team of Mike Clark and Jeremy Metzger who had a solid 25th place finish.
Now the wait until bass season up here…