Bryan College Angler Skips Graduation, Wins YETI FLW College Event

Nathan Bell of Riceville, Tennessee, and Cole Sands of Calhoun, Tennessee, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event at Lake Chickamauga presented by Bass Pro Shops

Cole Sands and Nathan Bell of Bryan College (photo:

The Bryan College team of Nathan Bell of Riceville, Tennessee, and Cole Sands of Calhoun, Tennessee, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event at Lake Chickamauga presented by Bass Pro Shops on Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the Lions bass club $2,000 and a spot in the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

“It was a pretty good day for me,” said Bell, a senior majoring in business administration and management. “I actually graduated on Saturday as well, but I skipped the ceremony so I could compete in this tournament. I’d rather be out fishing, anyways.”

“We had an unbelievable practice,” said Sands, a junior majoring in business management. “We thought we were going to be fishing deep, but the fish were still shallow. We watched the weather and knew that it was going to be cloudy and overcast during the tournament, so we spent our entire practice day on Thursday just running around and marking waypoints where we could see fish on beds.”

The Bryan College duo said that they had around 20 different waypoints marked to visit during the tournament and although they didn’t get to all of them, they did catch around 20 keepers throughout the day. They said they mainly concentrated on a five-mile stretch of water from near the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant to Harrison Bay.

“Our main bait was a 1/16-ounce Big Bite Baits shaky-head rig with a 4-inch blue flash-colored Zoom Finesse worm,” Bell said. “Of the five bass that we weighed in, three came on that. We also weighed in two on a green-pumpkin (Berkley Havoc) Pit Boss, Texas-rigged with a ¼-ounce tungsten weight.”

“The key was definitely marking all of those fish in practice on Thursday,” Sands went on to say. “They were really spooked, and if you got to close to them you weren’t able to catch them. So having those marks allowed us to make long casts and catch a lot of fish that we never would have seen Saturday.”

The top 10 teams on Lake Chickamauga that advanced to the 2019 College Fishing National Championship are:

1st: Bryan College – Nathan Bell, Riceville, Tenn., and Cole Sands, Calhoun, Tenn., five bass, 21-9, $2,400

2nd: Lipscomb University – Hunter Hanks, Hermitage, Tenn., and Scout Monteith, Nashville, Tenn., five bass, 21-7, $1,200

3rd: Auburn University – Lucas Lindsay and Logan Parks, both of Auburn, Ala., five bass, 20-1, $500

4th: University of Tennessee – Saxton Long, Pulaski, Tenn., and Jordan Burdette, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 19-1, $500

5th: Calhoun Community College – Dakota Guzman, Moulton, Ala., and Zane Loveday, Killen, Ala., five bass, 18-13, $500

6th: Auburn University – Peyton McCord, Headland, Ala., and Cole Burdeshaw, Newville, Ala., five bass, 18-9

7th: Clemson University – Brady Waits, Clemson, S.C., and Liam West, Greenville, S.C., five bass, 18-8

8th: Lander University – Austin Gregory, Georgetown, S.C., and Kevin Latham, Greenwood, S.C., five bass, 18-7

9th: Bethel University – Nathon Portch, McKenzie, Tenn., and Cully Scroggins, Longview, Wash., five bass, 17-14

10th: University of Montevallo – Justin Barnes, Monroeville, Ala., and Adam Carroll, Carrollton, Ga., five bass, 16-8

FLW also advances one additional team to the National Championship for every 10 teams over 100 that compete. A total of 136 teams participated in this event, so also advancing to the 2019 College Fishing National Championship are:

11th: Savannah College of Art & Design – Reese Kingston, Villa Rica, Ga., and Cody Stahl, Griffin, Ga., four bass, 15-14

12th: University of North Alabama – Nathan Doss, Cullman, Ala., and Charles Rieser, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 15-11

13th: Bethel University – Brad Ableman, Latham, N.Y., and Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C., five bass, 15-8

Complete results for the entire field can be found at

The YETI FLW College Fishing event at Lake Chickamauga presented by Bass Pro Shops was hosted by the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, and was the third and final regular-season qualifying tournaments for Southeastern Conference anglers in 2018. The next YETI FLW College Fishing event takes place May 12, when Western Conference anglers compete at the YETI FLW College Fishing event at Clear Lake presented by Bass Pro Shops in Lakeport, California.

YETI FLW College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 20 teams from the annual FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Additional teams will qualify for the National Championship if the field size in regular-season events exceeds 100 boats.

The 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship will take place May 30-June 1 on the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission & Red River Waterway Commission.

YETI FLW College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a college fishing club that is recognized by their school.

For complete details and updated information visit For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow YETI FLW College Fishing on FLW’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Snapchat.

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