Three college fishing teams from the Carolinas have qualified for the 2017 College Fishing National Championship after finishing in the top 10 last month at the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference Opener on Crescent Lake in Florida.
The East Carolina University team of Austin Warmus and Mike Corbishley, both of Raleigh, finished third in the tournament with a five bass limit weighing 14.1-pounds. Aside from qualifying for the National Championship, the duo also secured a $500 Club Scholarship for the ECU fishing team.
The University of South Carolina, the defending National Champions, took fourth place as William Miller of High Point, N.C. and Ethan Ingle of West Columbia brought 13.14-pounds of fish to the scales, also putting a $500 scholarship into their club’s coffers.
Taking seventh place was Appalachian State University's Matthew Reid of Clayton and Kelly Johnson of Sherrill’s Ford with a five bass limit that tipped the scales at 13.2-pounds.
Notably absent from the top ten was University of South Carolina’s Gettys Brannon and Patrick Walters, who teamed up to win the National Championship last year for the University. They finished in 47th, but are still determined to qualify for this year’s championship. They have plenty of time; this was the first qualifying event of the year.
“Finishing 47th was a tough way to start the college season,” said Brannon.
FLW College Fishing is made up of colleges and universities across the nation. The teams are split into five conferences, and each conference competes in three qualifying events throughout the year. The top 10 teams from each conference’s qualifying events, along with the top 15 teams from the FLW’s College Fishing Open will make it to the 2017 College Fishing National Championship.
The next qualifying tournament for the Southeastern Conference anglers is May 21 on Lake Guntersville, Alabama.
Many college fishing teams also compete in the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup, and the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, which will hold their Southern Conference Regional on Lake Martin, Alabama this weekend, Feb. 4-6.