FLORENCE, Ala. (Sept. 27, 2015) – The Daytona State College team of brothers James and Thomas Oltorik, both of Deland, Florida, won the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference Championship on Pickwick Lake Sunday with a two-day total of eight bass weighing 35 pounds, 2 ounces. The victory earned the club $4,000 and qualified the team for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
After bringing a 25-pound, 14-ounce five-bass limit to the scales on Saturday, the Daytona State brothers had a commanding lead and started day two with a 5-pound, 1-ounce advantage. However, lake conditions changed drastically on Sunday and the duo only managed to catch three keepers. It turned out to be enough as they narrowly edged Clemson University by a slim 5-ounce margin.
“Yesterday we caught all of our fish in a 100-yard stretch of grass that we had found in practice,” said older brother Thomas, a senior majoring in Business. “They were pulling water and there was quite a bit of current, which was very important. We caught eight good keepers, and left the area around 1:30, to try to save some fish for day two. Today the water levels had dropped a foot and the conditions were totally different. We caught quite a few fish that were short, but we only managed three keepers.”
The Daytona State club said that they caught the majority of their fish flipping the grass with a Texas-rigged junebug blue- or watermelon-colored Bitter’s B.F.M.
“Saturday was a lot of fun,” said James, a sophomore also majoring in Business. “We caught a seven and a half-pounder and a six and a half-pounder within five minutes of each other, around 1:45. We were definitely nervous this afternoon, but we stayed in the same area all day long and saw a lot of the other teams doing a lot of running. We knew that the conditions were really tough, so we were hoping that our day one lead was going to be enough to hang on and get the win. We’re pumped that it was.”
The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship are:
1st: Daytona State College – James Oltorik and Thomas Oltorik, both of Deland, Fla. (eight bass, 35-2, $4,000)
2nd: Clemson University – Ross Burns, Columbia, S.C., and Isaac Nesbitt, Aiken, S.C. (10 bass, 34-13, $2,000)
3rd: Georgia Highlands College – Eric Fisher, Kennesaw, Ga., and Jake Akin, Powder Springs, Ga. (10 bass, 32-14, $1,000)
4th: University of North Alabama – Dawson Lenz, Peachtree City, Ga., and Andrew Tate, Florence, Ala. (10 bass, 31-3, $1,000)
5th: Auburn University – Mitchell Jennings, Auburn, Ala., and Timmy Ward, Sylacauga, Ala. (10 bass, 29-15, $1,000)
6th: Gadsden State Community College – Josh Oliver, Anniston, Ala., and Colby Smith, Jacksonville, Ala. (seven bass, 28-9)
7th: Western Carolina University – Tyler Thomasson, Whittier, N.C., and Josh Cannon, Waxhaw, N.C. (10 bass, 27-10)
8th: Auburn University – Ethan Hayes and Garrett Roberts, both of Cullman, Ala. (10 bass, 27-1)
9th: University of South Carolina – Chris Blanchette, Irmo, S.C., and Hampton Anderson, Anderson, S.C. (10 bass, 26-10)
10th: University of Alabama-Birmingham – Matthew Oliver, Gardendale, Ala., and Justin Woodruff, Pelham, Ala. (10 bass, 26-7)
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
The FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference Championship was hosted by Visit Florence.
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 qualify for one of five Conference Championship tournaments. The top ten teams from each of the five Conference Championship tournaments 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.
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FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2015 over the course of 240 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. For more information about FLW visit FLWFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.