Saturday, July 13, 2024

University Of Arkansas Wins Inaugural FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake


GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – A huge field of 194 college teams launched Friday morning on Kentucky Lake, shattering the record to become the largest collegiate fishing tournament ever held. Once the final ounce had been tallied Saturday evening, the University of Arkansas team of Zachary Pickle of South Lake, Texas, and, Drew Porto of Colleyville, Texas, were named champions of the inaugural FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. The Razorback duo brought five bass weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces to the scale for a two-day total of 10 bass totaling 43 pounds, 12 ounces. The victory earned the club a new Ranger Z117 boat with a Mercury or Evinrude outboard engine and a berth into the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

“I never thought we were going to win it,” said Porto, a senior majoring in Marketing. “I knew we had enough weight to push us into the top 10, but I never thought we would come out with a victory.”

“We were pretty nervous up on stage,” said Pickle, a freshman majoring in Agricultural Business. “I had lost a couple of three- or four-pounders during the tournament so I was hoping that it wouldn’t come back to haunt us.”

The freshman’s mishap didn’t hurt the duo as the two went on to win the tournament by fishing the Big Sandy River area, where the fish were active along 30 yards of chunk rock and a creek channel bend.

“We were dialed in on the exact 30-yard stretch both days. We just went back and forth along the rocks at a consistent pace,” said Porto. “During practice I found the water was warmer there – about 53 degrees. After 20 casts, I had put three fish weighing around five pounds each in the livewell. I knew we would have to return there during the tournament.”

The anglers said that they caught 12 keepers in the tournament, all coming on a black chartreuse-colored Xcalibur XCS Square Lip Silent Crankbait.

“The bait worked perfectly in that warmer water,” said Pickle. “The bass were right where we wanted them. This whole week was really exciting.”

The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship are:

1st:          University of Arkansas — Zachary Pickle, South Lake, Texas, and Drew Porto, Colleyville, Texas, (10 bass, 43-12)

2nd:         University of Alabama — Konnor Kennedy and Ethan Flack, both of Cullman, Ala., (10 bass, 43-5)

3rd:          University of Illinois — Qiurun Chen, Urbana, Ill., and Luke Stoner, Pekin, Ill., (10 bass, 43-0)

4th:          Northwest Missouri State University — Andrew Nordbye, Saint Joseph, Mo., and Adam Almohtadi, Blue Springs, Mo., (10 bass, 41-14)

5th:          Bethel University — Joseph Huggins, Ovieda, Fla., and Ty Dyer, Lexington, Tenn., (10 bass, 38-1)

6th:         Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville — Dalton Wesley, Worden, Ill., and Zach Hartnagel, Edwardsville, Ill., (10 bass, 37-4)

7th:         Bethel University — Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C., and Grant Rutter, Dillsburg, Pa. (10 bass, 36-2)

8th:          Bethel University — Alec Piekarski, Greenfield, Wis., and Kyler Chelminiak, Franklin, Wis., (10 bass, 34-9)

9th:          University of Tennessee-Chattanooga — Patrick Hoskins, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Dillon Falardeau, Slatersville, R.I., (10 Bass, 34-6)

10th:        Iowa State University — Zac Beek, Bloomington, Minn., and Zachary Hartley, Minneapolis, Minn., (nine bass, 32-14)

Complete results can be found at

This FLW College Fishing Open was hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. The next event for FLW College Fishing anglers is a Central Division event scheduled for April 11 at Table Rock Lake in Kimberling City, Missouri, and is hosted by the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce.

FLW College Fishing teams compete in qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top fifteen teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five Conference Championship tournaments. The top ten teams from each of the five Conference Championship tournaments, along with the top-10 teams from the FLW College Fishing Open, will advance to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

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.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at and on Twitter at Visit to sign up or to start a club at your school.

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