Thursday, May 23, 2024

Auburn Claims Fishing Version of “Iron Bowl” with ‘College Fishing Faceoff Win over Alabama


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (March 17, 2024) – Two Alabama staples are bass fishing and college football. While the Bass Pro Shops REDCREST Powered by OPTIMA Lithium was taking place Saturday on Lay Lake, a friendly in-state rivalry combining two of Alabama’s favorite pastimes was happening one lake up the Coosa River.

The Auburn University and University of Alabama bass fishing teams competed for bragging rights in their own Iron Bowl on Logan Martin Lake at the Abu Garcia College Fishing Faceoff Presented by This Is Alabama.

It was a close finish, but Auburn pulled away in the fourth quarter and won with a total of 68 pounds, 7 ounces for their two-boat team to Alabama’s 52-8. The College Faceoff was contested under MLF’s catch/weigh/release format, with officials on each boat and a minimum weight of 1-8 for a scorable bass.

Auburn’s four-man team consisted of Sam Harvey and Hayden Marbut in one boat and Blake Milligan and Carson Maddux in the second boat. Both schools wore headsets identical to those in the General Tire Team Series and communicated throughout the day.

“We talked together all day long and had a good time. It was a lot of fun,” said Marbut, winner of a recent Toyota Series on Lake Guntersville. “We were fishing the same things and communicating about it to stay on the same page. All of us were throwing a Berkley Powerbait Maxscent Flatnose Minnow on a Damiki rig in any shad color. It didn’t matter which one we were using.

Even though Logan Martin’s bass are itching to spawn, the Auburn duos decided to stick with this approach in open water.

“The bass are on the bank spawning, but there are still a bunch of fish out in the creek mouths, drains, and backs of little pockets,” Marbut said. “We were both targeting bait balls and using forward-facing sonar to catch our fish. We caught a bunch, probably 60 in our boat, and only one in three was big enough to count; you just had to weed through them to get a scoreable.”

Harvey and Marbut boated 37-14 on 19 bass and Milligan and Maddux added 30-9 for their 13 scoreable bass.

Alabama’s team consisted of Hayden O’Barr and Cooper Gilroy catching 21 bass for 40-5 in one boat and Patrick McMurray and Dillan Dolvera boating six for 12-3 in the other.

This was the first taste of the SCORETRACKER® pressure for several of the anglers, and they enjoyed the competition.

“It got really close there for awhile before we pulled away at the end,” Marbut said. “I’ve fished that format for a couple of different events, but fishing under this format with an official was a blast. It was intense all day and full speed ahead from the minute we started.”

The Iron Bowl football series dates back to 1893 and has 88 meetings in total. The budding bass fishing rivalry has a long way to go to match that, but both teams enjoyed the friendly competition.

“It’s not nearly as big as the football rivalry, but we tried to have some fun with it,” Marbut said. “We know a lot of those guys and compete against them in different events. I hope we can do another one of these sometime.”

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, General Tire, GSM Outdoors, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota and YETI.

For complete details and updated information visit For regular MLF College Fishing updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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