SFA team wins regional fishing championship
October 19, 2011 - SFA Public Affairs
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin State University Bass Team won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Texas Regional Championship Saturday and set a new FLW Outdoors record for the heaviest one-day catch at a college fishing event. The team's five-bass limit weighed in at 26 pounds, 6 ounces, and the team had a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 62 pounds, 6 ounces.
For their victory, Andrew Upshaw of Hemphill and Ryan Watkins of Rockport won $50,000 to be split between the university and the university's bass fishing club, along with a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower outboard wrapped in school colors for the bass club. They also earned their first berth in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship, which will be held in April 2012. Upshaw and Watkins beat their closest competitor, a Texas A&M team, by more than 9 pounds.
"This feels great. To be able to represent our school, our families, the fans," Watkins said. "It's unbelievable…the story of the day was rocks. We started on rocks and we finished on rocks. Typically in the fall the bass start a feeding frenzy, and rocky areas provide large areas for more fish to feed on. These areas tend to replenish faster, so the bass are constantly coming and going."
Both Upshaw and Watkins graduated from SFA in May but qualified for the Texas Regional three times prior to graduating. The team placed second at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in February, second at Toledo Bend in March and third at Lake Texoma in May.
Rounding out the top five teams and also qualifying for the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship are three teams from Texas A&M University and a team from Louisiana State University. For a complete list of final standings visit CollegeFishing.com.
At the national championship, the first-place team will win a top award of $25,000 for their school and, for their fishing club, $50,000 and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor wrapped in school colors.
Coverage of the FLW College Texas Regional Championship, presented by Mercury, will be broadcast from noon to 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, on Versus to approximately 500 million households worldwide.