COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina team of Patrick Walters of Summerville, South Carolina, and Gettys Brannon of Columbia, South Carolina, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 1 ounce to win the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup. The Gamecock duo beat out 44 teams in front of their hometown crowd to win the top award of a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and entry into the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. (Article continues below the video player)
“I don’t know what the greatest part of this moment is,” said an overwhelmed Patrick Walters, a sophomore majoring in business. “This has been the most amazing week. We had so much support from our family and friends it is just incredible.”
“I can’t even begin to describe how I feel,” said Gettys Brannon, a junior majoring in advertising. “There were some great fishermen here this week; some really great guys. There is no other sport like this. You compete against these guys who have become your friends and are happy for whoever wins. College fishing is like a fraternity; sometimes you share information, but not enough. This truly is one of the most memorable moments of my life.”
The University of South Carolina duo knew that consistency in the tournament was going to win the race and no other team in the tournament was as consistent as U.S.C. They brought 17 pounds, 6 ounces to the scale on day one, followed that up with an 18-11 stringer on day two and claimed victory on the final day with a 17-1 sack.
The team spent the week running to as many points as they could find, following a blueback herring spawn. “We couldn’t reel in our lines fast enough,” said Walters. “We would cast, reel in and if nothing bit, we moved to another point.
Wind was another key factor for the team this week. They said that if the wind wasn’t blowing, the fish weren’t biting.
“My advice to you (fans) is to go out and buy as many bags of flukes as you can find,” continued Brannon. “I would suggest white, maybe some silver with a little shine — maybe some chrome.”
This is the first FLW College Fishing National Championship title for the University of South Carolina. The Gamecocks team will now advance to the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup to compete on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The FLW College Fishing National Championship was presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup. Insight Genesis is GoFree’s revolutionary custom mapping program exclusive to Lowrance, Simrad and B&G sonar/GPS units. College Cup is a year-long contest in which collegiate anglers can win thousands of dollars’ worth of Lowrance HDS Gen-2 Touch units by logging sonar data used to create custom fishing charts with one-foot contours, a vegetation-map layer and a bottom-hardness map. GoFREE is the newest brand from Navico, parent company of Lowrance, Simrad and B&G. Learn more about making custom fishing maps with Insight Genesis in the video below:
(Article continues below video player)
2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship Top 10 Teams:
- 1st:University of South Carolina – Walters and Brannon (15 bass, 53-2) Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard
- 2nd:Liberty University – Travis Rulle, Denver, N.C., and Caleb Eppler, Sachse, Texas (14 bass, 51-13) $5,000
- 3rd:Eastern Kentucky University – Kyle Raymer, Brandenburg, Ky., and Ethan Snyder, Vine Grove, Ky. (15 bass, 51-4) $4,000
- 4th:Colorado Mesa University – Kennedy Kinkade and Josh Worth, both of Grand Junction, Colo. (15 bass, 48-1) $3,000
- 5th:Oregon State University – Chase Cochran, Corvallis, Ore., and Ryan Sparks, Gearhart, Ore. (15 bass, 48-0) $2,000
- 6th:Tennessee Technological University – Joe Ellis, Harriman, Tenn., and Matthew Townson, Chattanooga, Tenn. (15 bass, 42-14)
- 7th:Auburn University – Ben Curry, Hayden, Ala., and Timmy Ward, Sylacauga, Ala. (13 bass, 42-13)
- 8th:Lamar University – Cameron Lafleur, Orangefield, Texas and Justin Royal, Vidor, Texas (15 bass, 42-10)
- 9th:Murray State University – Justin Graben, Murray, Ky., and Dan Schult, Millstadt, Ill. (15 bass, 41-15)
- 10th:Lamar University – Brandon Simoneaux, Bridge City, Texas, and Josh Bowie, Port Neches, Texas (15 bass, 41-14)
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Overall, there were 47 bass weighing 126 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 10 college teams on the tournament’s final day. The catch included eight five-bass limits.
The FLW College Fishing National Championship awards the top team a $30,000 prize package, including a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower engine and an entry into the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup. The team member fishing as a pro in the Forrest Wood Cup also receives the use of a wrapped Ranger Boat. All prize money earned in the Forrest Wood Cup goes directly to the individual who earns it. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, will be held August 20-23 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and will offer the collegiate anglers the opportunity to compete for a top award of $500,000 – professional bass fishing’s richest prize.
Coverage of the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) November 16 from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. EST when Season 20 of “FLW” returns this fall. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.