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Clemson Bass Fishing Team Qualifies For The Big Dance
by Phillip Gentry,posted Aug 7 2014 8:58AM
In a game winning play every bit as exciting as a 4th quarter drive into the end zone, Alan Howatt set the hook on a largemouth bass that garnered he and team mate Bryan Carroll a top 15 finish in last month’s Bassmaster College Series Wildcard tournament held on Pickwick Lake in Alabama. The finish will advance Horwatt and Carroll, both seniors at Clemson University and the flagship team of Clemson’s Bass Fishing Club, to the prestigious Carhartt Bassmaster College National Championship being held this week-end on Lake Chatuge in northern Georgia.
“We knew we needed another 2 pound fish to finish well enough to advance to the Championship,” said Carroll. “We were in the final 5 minutes of the Pickwick tournament when Alan made the last cast of the day and stuck a 2 pounder and hauled him into the boat. If it wasn’t for that fish, we probably would not have made the cut.”
On Monday, the pair reported for practice at Chatuge, a deep, clear mountain lake that straddles the border between Georgia and North Carolina. With three days of open practice under their belts, and one day of competition fishing yesterday, the Clemson team will fish hard today and hopefully make the cut at the end of today’s fishing that will allow them to stay in the tournament for the narrowed down field and compete in the final round on Saturday.
“Throughout the year, anglers put their skills to the test in hopes of earning a chance to fish the Bassmaster College Series National Championship, and this year’s qualifiers are a true representation of the best college bass fishermen in the circuit,” said Hank Weldon, B.A.S.S. college tournament manager.
In the world of college bass fishing, each team competes as one angler, and are only allowed to weigh one five fish limit that will score as one team. After the championship round, the top four teams will be divided up, and each angler will be placed individually into an eight-angler bracket. They will fish for three days, Aug. 3-5, in a single elimination format until only one remains. The winning angler will be invited to fish in the biggest event in bass fishing – The Bassmaster Classic- which will be held next February on Lake Hartwell with weigh-ins taking place in Greenville at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
“Last year, a team from Auburn University had to fish head-to-head to see who got to fish with the big boys in the Bassmaster Classic on Guntersville,” said Horwatt, who will individually be making his third appearance in the National Championship. “I’d like to see that happen again this year since both Bryan and I consider Hartwell to be our home lake.”
One variable that has weighed heavily on the minds of the college contenders has simply become known as “the rat.” In the 2013 National Championship fans watched as Auburn University at Montgomery’s Tom Frink and Jacob Nummy heaved a 6-inch chunk of wood known as “the rat” and enticed some of the biggest fish in Chatuge to jump onboard for a ride to the weigh-in. Though the unusual bait was only one punch of a two-part combo that included drop shotting, the big lure stole the show. It piqued enough interest that a mass-produced composite rat — the BBZ-1 Rat — was just released by Spro at the ICAST trade show in July.
Teams will take off from The Ridges Marina in Hiawassee, Ga., at 6:30 a.m. ET today. Weigh-ins for the championship will be held at Young Harris College and are set to begin at 3 p.m. ET.
ESPNU will present coverage of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship beginning Aug. 10 at 11 a.m. ET, and the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Classic Bracket will air beginning Aug, 17 at 11 a.m. Fans can follow the action live at www.bassmaster.com/tv-schedule.
In Other News
Summer is not over! With plenty of warm weather left to enjoy, safety around the water is essential. Sign your family up for a free boating safety class through the SCDNR. Upcoming classes are as follows:
July 29 at Sycamore Town Hall
July 31 at the Fort Johnson DNR Office
August 7 at York County Law Enforcement Training Center
August 9 at Clemson DNR Office
August 11 at Murrells Inlet Fire Department
August 16 at US Coast Guard Auxiliary Class Daniel Island Library
September 6 at the Fort Johnson DNR Office
You can also check our website for other classes and outdoor educational opportunities offered by the SC Department of Natural Resources at http://www.register-ed.com/programs/43 or call 1-800-277-4301.
The Clemson Tigers Bass Fishing Team will be represented by Bryan Carroll (left) and Alan Horwatt (right) in this week-end’s Bassmaster College National Championships on Lake Chatuge in north Georgia. Photo courtesy Alan Horwatt.