ANDERSON, S.C. (Oct. 30, 2023) – The Lander University duo of Kaleb Brown of Greenwood, South Carolina, and Cole Moulton of Enfield, New Hampshire, bested a full field of 250 boats – the fourth-largest collegiate field in MLF history – to win the MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Lake Hartwell Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 1 ounce. The victory earned the Bearcats’ bass club $2,000 and a qualification into the 2024 MLF College Fishing National Championship.
“We spent a lot of time out here the last couple of weeks because the lake is pretty close to school,” said Moulton, a sophomore. “We found a spot in practice on Thursday morning where we caught 16 pounds in 15 minutes.
“We drew a boat number in the middle of the pack and made a run, and nobody was sitting on our spot,” Moulton continued. “We started off the day with a spotted bass that was just shy of 4 pounds and a couple of 2-pounders off that spot in the first 35 minutes. So that got us some momentum going.”
Moulton said the team used a 7/16- and 5/8-ounce Beast Coast Tungsten Compound Baby Dozer Jig and rotated through a couple of spots, but didn’t catch fish. High temperatures and sunny conditions combined to make tough tournament conditions, so they relocated to a spot they hadn’t fished in three weeks hoping their luck would change.
“Kaleb threw out there with his jig and set his hook, and it was another 4-pound spotted bass,” Moulton said. “We filled our limit there and had 11 pounds, but we had three small ones.”
Moulton said they moved around trying to cull their three smaller fish and ran to a spot where they had found schooling fish previously. As soon as they stopped the boat the fish turned on, and Moulton caught a 3-pound largemouth.
“Largemouth were rare for us all week – we hadn’t caught any in practice – so that largemouth was a bonus fish,” Moulton said.
Brown added another 3¼-pound largemouth and one more spotted bass just shy of 3 pounds to the livewell to set the team’s final weight for the day.
“We didn’t feel confident for a win with a full moon and the way the tournament was setting up, especially with a lot of local hammers here,” Brown said. “We figured we might squeeze out a top-10 finish. As we were running up the lake it dawned on us that we might have a shot at this one.
“With me being a senior, and Cole’s accomplishments as a decorated High School Fishing angler … I’ve been chasing my win for so long; to finally get it is just incredible,” Brown added. “It’s everything I’ve wanted.”
The top 10 teams at the Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Lake Hartwell are:
1st: Lander University – Kaleb Brown, Greenwood, S.C., and Cole Moulton, Enfield, N.H., five bass, 17-1, $2,000
2nd: University of South Carolina-Union – Jacob Butts, Starr, S.C., and Mark Kershaw, Fort Mill, S.C., five bass, 15-13, $1,000
3rd: Emmanuel College – Brooks Anderson, Marietta, Ga., and Max Heaton, Hartwell, Ga., five bass, 15-12, $700
4th: Emmanuel College – Dawson Carden, Canon, Ga., and Colby Elliott, Blairsville, Ga., five bass, 15-3, $600
5th: Georgia College – Trice Cannon, Milledgeville, Ga., and Josh Finnerty, Alpharetta, Ga., five bass, 14-12, $500
6th: Emmanuel College – Scooter Ligon, Dahlonega, Ga., and Levi Seagraves, Comer, Ga., five bass, 14-10
7th: University of North Alabama – Nathan Reynolds, Nashville, Tenn., and Banks Shaw, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 14-5
8th: Bethel University – David Gummow, New Roads, La., and Coleman Self, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 14-4
9th: Emmanuel University – Tyler Campbell, Martin, Ga., and Parker Guy, Ocilla, Ga., five bass, 13-15
10th: Auburn University – Carson Maddux, Hoover, Ala., and Bennett Slinkard, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 13-14
Complete results for the entire field, including all 24 MLF College Fishing National Championship qualifiers, can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Lake Hartwell was hosted by the Anderson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The 2023 MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI features college teams from across the country competing in nine regular-season tournaments. The top 12 percent of teams from each regular-season tournament advance to the Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI National Championship. The Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI National Championship will be held Jan. 9-11, 2024, at Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho) in Kissimmee, Florida, and is hosted by the Kissimmee Sports Commission.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, General Tire, Grundéns, Gill, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Mystik Lubricants, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular College Fishing updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.