MURRAY, Ky. (April 8, 2011) – The University of Florida team of Jake Gipson and Matthew Wercinski, both of Niceville, Fla., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 12 ounces Friday to lead day two of the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship on Kentucky Lake. Their two day total of 27-4 gives them a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over the Louisiana State University-Shreveport team of Zach Caudle, Shreveport, La., and Joe Landry, West Monroe, La. LSU-Shreveport caught five bass weighing 10-11 for a two day total of 25-9 in a tournament featuring the top 25 college teams from across the country competing for $100,000.
“We came to fish,” said Wercinski, who has a degree business. “We know we can fish and we came to win, second place won’t cut it for us. The biggest bag is going to win tomorrow so our plan is to go after the biggest fish we can find.”
The duo from Florida has had an incredible run. They have won back-to-back Southeast Regional Championships and were crowned the first-ever National Guard FLW College Fishing National Champions in 2010. To date they have won $215,000 for their school in just two years time.
“We are so stoked to go fishing tomorrow,” said Gipson, with a degree in industrial and systems engineering. “Our whole goal was to come here and win. We had a really terrible practice day and only caught one fish so yesterday we just went fishing. We knew we didn’t want to go back to the same area we practiced in so we did some homework online the night before the tournament started and then went fishing with our guts.
“We are doing a lot of running and gunning, covering a lot of water. We have two primary areas that are working for us.” Gipson went on to say. “The fish are looking for staging areas, they are ready to bust. With the water temperatures getting warmer and the lake coming up the fish should really start to get active.”
“This lake doesn’t compare to any of the lakes we have in Florida. We don’t have the structure or the depth of Kentucky Lake. We are used to shallow, grassy lakes. Tomorrow should be a lot of fun. We’ll go out and look for the areas that we know will have fish and try to land the biggest ones we can find and hopefully it will be enough to win.”
Rounding out the top five teams competing for the title of National Guard FLW College Fishing National Champion are:
3rd: Christopher Newport – Ryan Ingalls, Fairfax, Va., and Joe Wilkerson, Falls Church, Va., nine bass, 23-11
4th: Auburn University – Shaye Baker, Reeltown, Ala., and Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., eight bass, 21-6
5th: North Carolina State University – Ben Dziwulski, Woodbine, Md., and Kevin Beverley, Fuquay Varina, N.C., eight bass, 20-9
Rounding out the rest of the best are:
6th: California Polytechnic – Scott Hellesen, Whittier, Calif., and Damian Bean, Oakland, Calif., nine bass, 19-10
7th: University of Texas, Tyler – Matthew McClellan, Tyler, Texas, and Tyler Fisher, Tyler, Texas, seven bass, 19-7
8th: Eastern Kentucky – Kyle Raymer, Brandenburg, Ky., and Jonas Ertel, London, Ky., nine bass, 18-7
9th: University of Florida – Dennis Croyle, Sarasota, Fla., and Travis Gates, Fort Pierce, Fla., six bass, 15-14
10th: Truman State University – Mike McCarthy Jr., St. Louis, Mo., and Spencer Clark, St. Louis, Mo., four bass, 15-10
11th: Virginia Tech – Jody White, Shaftsbury, Vt., and Carson Rejzer, Hampton, Va., six bass, 15-2
12th: North Carolina State University – Jeff Bumgarner, Wade, N.C., and Will White, Marion, N.C., five bass, 14-10
13th: Texas A&M – Paul Manley, Orange, Texas and Andrew Shafer, Chadfield, Texas, three bass, 11-13
14th: Kennesaw State University – Thomas Frink, Simi Valley, Calif., four bass, 10-11
15th: San Jose State University – Tyler Swasey, San Jose, Calif., and Anthony Lee, San Jose, Calif., five bass, 10-5
16th: University of Wisconsin, Whitewater – Jordan Truttschel, Kiel, Wis., and Tyler Netzer, Lake Mills, Wis., four bass, 9-3
17th: University of Wisconsin, Stout – Jeremy Anibas, Colfax, Wis., and Ryan Helke, Menomonie, Wis., four bass, 8-13
18th: Chico State – Parker Moran, Carmel, Calif., and Marshal Smith, San Jose, Calif., four bass, 7-15
19th: Chico State – Thomas White, Fountain Valley, Calif., and Allison Shaw, Calabasas, Calif., three bass, 6-1
20th: University of Central Florida – Miles “Sonar” Burghoff, Orlando, Fla., two bass, 5-10
21st: Indiana University – Jesse Schultz, New Albany, Ind., and Dustin Vaal, Saint Meinrad, Ind., two bass, 4-14
22nd: Stephen F. Austin – Robert “Blaze” Platt, Kennedale, Texas and Ryan Watkins, Rockport, Texas, two bass, 4-8
23rd: University of North Carolina, Charlotte – Tyler Teer, Burlington, N.C., and Joe Kinchen, Mooresville, N.C., one bass, 2-8
24th: Lamar University – Matt Morrison, Montgomery, Texas and Danny Iles, Hemphill, Texas, zero bass, 0-0
Sacramento State – Robert Matsuura, Sacramento, Calif., and Peter Lee, Fresno, Calif., zero bass, 0-0
The teams, which represent the top five teams from each of five divisions — Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western — are the representatives from a season where teams fished four regular-season events in each division. The top five teams in each qualifying event advanced to one of five three-day National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championships. The top five teams from each of those regional tournaments are competing on Kentucky Lake for the title of National Guard FLW Collegiate National Champion, and will also qualify for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 11-14 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark. The winners will also receive use of a wrapped boat and Chevy truck for Cup competition.
Final takeoff on Saturday for the national championship will be at 7 a.m. at Kenlake State Park Marina located at 888 Kenlake Marina Lane in Hardin. Final weigh-in and crowning of the national champion will be at the CFSB Center on the campus of Murray State University located at 1401 State Route 121 North in Murray at 4 p.m.
FLW Outdoors will be hosting the College Fishing Festival, which runs noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, at the CFSB Center. Activities include a sports zone, tailgate games, rock climbing wall, Ranger boat simulator and giveaways from sponsors. Bucky Covington will perform a free concert at 2:30 p.m. at the CFSB Center prior to the final weigh-in. All events are free and open to the public.
The national championship awards the top team with $50,000 cash, a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower engine wrapped in school colors for their school’s bass club and $25,000 for the school they represent. FLW Outdoors has awarded over $1.8 million in scholarship money to over 100 colleges and universities. College Fishing events are free to enter, boats and drivers are provided by FLW Outdoors and all collegiate teams receive a travel allowance.
For more information about National Guard FLW College Fishing, visit CollegeFishing.com.For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWCollegeFishingand on Twitter at Twitter.com/CollegeFishing.