The Texas A&M University-Texarkana team of Lane Kennedy of Texarkana, Texas, and Blaine Weems of Bradley, Arkansas, took fifth place Saturday out of 132 teams at the YETI Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) College Fishing Southern Conference tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
With a stringer total of 18-3, the A&M-Texarkana Eagles fishing club team brought home a $500 Club Scholarship and advanced to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“The FLW College event at Sam Rayburn Reservoir was a very rewarding and fun event for the team,” said A&M-Texarkana fishing club President Matt Fomby. “This lake has a long history of having big bass in it, and we were all excited about having a chance to catch a big bag of bass and promote our school, our club and ourselves. I’m very proud of how hard everyone on the team fished this weekend. Every person on the team gave it everything they had. We are all very proud and excited for Lane and Blaine because they have the amazing opportunity to bring home our school’s first ever FLW College Fishing National Championship.”
The A&M-Texarkana team tied with the Angelo State University team of Nolan Osmanski and Nathan Ahle, both of San Angelo, Texas, who brought in five bass with a stringer total of 18-3.
“This is very exciting news to us all because the team has never fished in a nationally televised championship where a big stake is on the line for the club and university. The team has existed for three years now, and President Matt Fomby and his group are doing a fantastic job,” said Justin Snow, past president of the fishing club.
“Mine and Blaine’s weekend at Sam Rayburn was definitely one I’ll never forget. We met the day before we left for practice, and we became partners within minutes. Our two practice days were not as productive as we had hoped. We never established a for sure pattern of the bites, so we went into tournament day without a for sure game plan,” Kennedy explained.
“We started out catching a few little ones early in the day and as the day went on it got pretty slow. So I made a gut feeling decision to run down the lake to a spot that we didn’t practice all weekend, and we suddenly ran into a group of fish in one little area. We sacked them up pretty quickly, and the day was turned around within a few casts. It was a big relief to weigh in 18.3 pounds considering the two days of practice we had. We are very thankful and excited to qualify for the national championship on Wheeler Lake in Alabama. We’re ready to put in the studying and work as we did at Sam Rayburn into the national championship,” he said.
“Lane and I are very proud of how we finished at Sam Rayburn; we were very fortunate to run across a stack of big fish,” Weems added. “We are looking forward to competing at Dardanelle soon and preparing for the national championship at Wheeler Lake in Alabama.”
Robert Hernandez, fishing club adviser and Veterans Services Center manager at A&M-Texarkana, said he’s extremely proud of the performance of the team in the past three years.
“As an avid recreational fisherman, I understand the challenges of putting together an impressive stringer of big fish,” Hernandez said. “There is much more to the sport than sitting on a boat and throwing your line in the water. Our team of young fishermen is proving they have what it takes to fish in the big league and we are all extremely proud of their performance.”
The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2018 College Fishing National Championship are as follows:
1st: Sam Houston State University – Dillon Harrell, New Caney, Texas, and Dustin Moreno, Shepherd, Texas, five bass, 22-3, $2,000 Club Scholarship
2nd: Angelo State University – Ty Johnson, Bernet, Illinois, and Will Curlee, Round Rock, Texas, five bass, 20-10, $1,000 Club Scholarship
3rd: Tarleton State University – Tucker Sargent, Lipan, Texas, and Wyatt Young, Aledo, Texas, five bass, 19-8, $500 Club Scholarship
4th: Angelo State University – Nolan Osmanski and Nathan Ahle, both of San Angelo, Texas, five bass, 18-3, $500 Club Scholarship
5th: Texas A&M University-Texarkana – Blaine Weems, Bradley, Arkansas, and Lane Kennedy, Texarkana, Texas, five bass, 18-3, $500 Club Scholarship
6th: Colorado Mesa University – Josh Worth and Brandon Lofton, both of Grand Junction, Colorado, five bass, 17-14, $400
7th: Louisiana State University-Shreveport – Jared Rascoe, Stonewall, Louisiana, and James Kimbrough, Bossier City, Louisiana, five bass, 17-12
8th: Harding University – Ethan Flowers, Dexter, Missouri, and Cole Swede, Little Rock, Arkansas, five bass, 17-2
9th: Louisiana Tech University – Taylor Tindall, Monroe, Louisiana, and Brennan Soileau, Ruston, Louisiana, five bass, 17-1
10th: Arkansas Tech University – Jake Dugger and Josh Dugger, both of Pottsville, Arkansas, five bass, 16-7
FLW also advances one additional team to the National Championship for every 10 teams over 100 that compete. A total of 132 teams participated in this event, so also advancing to the 2018 College Fishing National Championship are as follows:
11th: Texas A&M University – Bradley Fleming, Magnolia, Texas, and Josh Bensema, Willis, Texas, five bass, 16-5
12th: Tarleton State University – Cason Kelly, Stephenville, Texas, and Stetson Overton, Glen Rose, Texas, five bass, 16-4
13th: Lamar University – Luke Potter, Bridge City, Texas, and Stephen Thomas, Woodville, Texas, five bass, 16-2
This FLW College Fishing Southern Conference opener was the first regular-season qualifying tournament of 2017. The next event for Southern Conference anglers is a tournament scheduled for May 6 on Fort Gibson Lake in Wagoner, Oklahoma.
For more information about the Eagles fishing club at A&M-Texarkana, please contact club President Matt Fomby at Matthew.Fomby@ace.tamut.edu.