Bryan College Wins FLW Southeastern Conference Event on Home Water

The Bryan College duo of Connor Cohran and Cole Sands caught 16 lbs. 3 oz. to win the the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference event on Chickamauga Lake Saturday. (Photo courtesy FLW)

DAYTON, Tenn. – The Bryan College duo of Connor Cohran of Dalton, Georgia, and Cole Sands, of Calhoun, Tennessee, won the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference event at Lake Chickamauga Saturday with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 3 ounces. They edged out the 2nd place team by a mere one ounce. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

The duo narrowly edged out the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Champion squad of Patrick Walters and Gettys Brannon from the University of South Carolina, who weighed in a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 2 ounces to finish in second place. A massive field of 203 college teams competed in the event.

“Today was so exciting,” said Cohran, a freshman majoring in Biology. “This was my first ever College Fishing tourney, and Cole really put us on some fish. The morning was a little better, but we caught around 35 fish today. We caught probably 25 of them on a green-pumpkin-colored MGC jig with a Strike King Rage Craw and the other 10 on swimbaits – a Strike King Shadalicious and a Gambler Big EZ.”

“Our school is about six blocks away from the lake, so I was able to practice here every day for the last month,” said Sands, a sophomore majoring in Business. “I think I fished every single grass mat on this lake. I figured out a pattern – the fish were not in the grass. They were right by it waiting to go in. It was almost like fishing offshore, but in grass.

“For a while this morning we were catching them on every single cast,” Sands continued. “Our most productive stretches were from Soddy Creek to Chester Frost.”

“We really have to credit our assistant coach at Bryan College, Coach Perron, as well,” Cohran said. “He let us borrow his boat – it was a little nicer and faster – and it definitely helped us get the win today.”

The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2017 College Fishing National Championship are:

  • 1st:   Bryan College – Connor Cohnran, Dalton, Ga., and Cole Sands, Calhoun, Tenn., five bass, 16-3, $2,000
  • 2nd:  University of South Carolina – Patrick Walters, Summerville, S.C., and Gettys Brannon, Gaffney, S.C., five bass, 16-2, $1,000
  • 3rd:   University of North Alabama – Sloan Pennington, Childersburg, Ala., and Martin McCravy, Killen, Ala., five bass, 15-10, $500
  • 4th:  University of Tennessee – Anthony Thorn, Knoxville, Tenn., and Scott Ellis, Madison, Tenn., five bass, 15-5, $500
  • 5th:  University of Central Florida – Caleb Bundy, Lake City, Fla., and Jake Carter, Clermont, Fla., four bass, 15-5, $500
    6th:  Middle Tennessee State University – Austin Wyatt, Gladeville, Tenn., and Mekiah Jack, Mount Juliet, Tenn., five bass, 14-14
  • 7th:  Bethel University – Evan Owrey, Jackson, Tenn., and Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C., five bass, 14-9
  • 8th:  University of North Alabama – Lake Blasingame, Killen, Ala., and Triston Crowder, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., five bass, 14-1
  • 9th:  Jacksonville State University – Trevor Brown, Deltona, Fla., and Brandon Padilla, Roswell, Ga., four bass, 13-9
  • 10th:  University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Patrick Hoskins, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Dillon Falardeau, Chattanooga, Tenn., five bass, 13-6

Complete results can be found at

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Richard Simms is a professional journalist and fishing guide in Chattanooga. (See He is also a former wildlife officer for TWRA, a book author and a self-proclaimed "River Rat" with a sincere desire for spreading the message about our bountiful natural resources and the people charged with using, or protecting them.


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