Fishing club falls short of titleBy Bobby Thompson | 02/23/2011 11:30pm
The Alabama club fishing team traveled to New Orleans this past weekend to compete in the College Bass Classic. Last year in Birmingham, the Crimson Tide defeated Auburn by 24 pounds, 8 ounces to Auburn's 15 pounds, 5 ounces, earning them a guaranteed spot in this year’s classic.
This year, the Tide was eager to defend its title against the LSU Tigers, but the team was not able to clench the title two years in a row.
Each team fielded three groups of anglers. Each boat was allowed five fish for a total of 15 fish. Alabama caught nine bass for a total weight of 20 lbs, 2 oz., while LSU landed 13 fish with a combined weight of 28-pounds. The anglers for Alabama were Ben Weldon, Warren Hoffman, Dustin Connel, Jeremy Christian, Brian Morrow and Drew Sanford.
“We knew we were the underdog coming into the competition,” Crimson Tide angler Ben Weldon said. “We were hoping to keep the College Classic championship in Tuscaloosa, but for having one day of practice, I felt we fished well.”
LSU had the home-lake advantage at the classic this year. The competition was held on Lake Verret, about 90 miles west of New Orleans. Despite heavy fog, the teams managed to have a productive day on the water Sunday.
“Some of the guys for LSU have been fishing this lake for most of their lives. They know the lake well,” Weldon said. “It was an exciting weekend, and we are glad to have had the opportunity to fish such a great lake.”
The college classic is one of the first events on the fishing team’s roster for this season.
“This event B.A.S.S is holding for us starts our season out great,” Weldon said. “This is one of the biggest bass fishing events in the country, and we are getting to showcase our school on the big stage at the Bassmaster’s Classic.”
The college classic was held at the same time as the Bassmaster’s Classic. This gave the college anglers an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of the best bass fisherman in the world. This year, Kevin VanDam won the Bassmaster’s Classic with a total weight of 69 pounds, 11 ounces. Vandam shattered his record and took home a grand prize of $500,000.
“I think I can speak for everyone on the team when I say that professional fishing is a dream we all share,” Weldon said. “We would love to be these professionals that are fishing today.”
The Tide will continue its season for the remainder of this semester. Alabama will fish a number of events in a few more tournaments.