A team from the University of South Carolina won last weekend’s FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray with three solid days of fishing and a winning weight of 53 pounds, 2 ounces.

Patrick Walters and Gettys Brannon of the Gamecocks won by a margin of slightly less than 1 ½ pounds over Travis Rulle and Caleb Eppler of Liberty University after closing the three-day tournament this past Saturday with a five-fish limit that weighed 17-2.

Walters and Brannon won a fully rigged Ranger bass boat and berths in the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita in August. They caught almost all their fish in Bear Creek.

“We rotated around 15 or 20 places  – mostly points and docks,” said Brannon. “These were all places where we knew from previous experience that, at this time of year, the blueback herring spawn is pretty reliable. Truthfully, the bite wasn’t as good as we had expected and predicted, and it got slower.  We threw Carolina rigs the first hour and then switched to Zoom Flukes, which was just the opposite of what we had been doing before. But we got our biggest fish on the Carolina rig, so we stayed with it a while. When we did switch to Flukes later, the whole deal was cranking them as fast as we could, with short twitches along the way.”

Walters and Brannon had 17-6 the first day and 18-11 the second. Liberty led by 4 ounces after the second day but finished with 15-11 the final day.

“The fish weren’t as aggressive Saturday as they were earlier in the week,” said Walters. “We were around blueback herring all day, but the bass just weren’t very cooperative. We really had to work for the better fish and were fortunate enough to cull the four squeakers that we caught early in the day.

Eastern Kentucky’s Kyle Ramer and Ethan Snyder finished third on the strength of Saturday’s best stringer:  17-10.