DAYTON, Tenn. – Another stellar year is almost in the books for the Bryan College fishing team, and the Lions are looking to make the most of the season’s final showdown with the chance of adding another national championship trophy to their long list of accolades. Not only has the Bryan squad proven to be a talented group of anglers this year, but this week’s Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship (presented by Bass Pro Shops and hosted by Fish Dayton #BASSTownUSA), is on the Lions’ home water, Lake Chickamauga, giving the team an edge over the rest of the teams making their way to Dayton to vie for the prize.
The field, which may see as many as 130 boats, will get to work on Monday when they have their first opportunity to hit the water and get a feel for how to fish the Chick for the tournament, which officially runs Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 1-3. Practice days take place Monday through Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be the first two days of tournament competition, and only the top-12 boats will get a chance to battle it out for the crown on Saturday.
With no divisions in collegiate fishing, schools ranging from small colleges to large universities from all across the country will see action this week on the Chick. In order to fish in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship, teams had to secure top finishes in four of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series stops, which took place at Lake Norman in North Carolina in February, Smith Lake in Alabama in March, Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas in April, and the St. Lawrence River in New York in June. There were also qualifying tournaments hosted by B.A.S.S Nation, presenting a few other avenues to the national championship event.
Not only will the contending boats be attempting to hoist the national championship trophy and land all the awards that follow, but something special is in store for the top-4 teams. On Aug. 27-29, the four top boats from the championship will split to make an eight-angler field and fish the 39,000-acre Watts Bar Lake in Spring City, Tenn. with just one invitation up for grabs to the Super Bowl of professional bass fishing. The winner of the College Classic Bracket will receive a berth to the 2020 Bassmaster Classic to be held on Lake Guntersville, Alabama, March 6-8.
Bryan is no stranger to the spotlight, having won the 2017 Carhartt Bassmaster National Championship, presented by Bass Pro Shops, which was fished on Lake Bemidji in Bemidji, Minn. It was the duo of Jacob Foutz and Jake Lee who helped the Lions win the program’s first-ever national championship. Foutz and Lee continued to make history when they became the first national championship winning team to go on and have one prevail in the Classic Bracket. Foutz was the first college freshman to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic after winning the College Classic.
The Lions have already had a standout year with the below listed accomplishments:
- Top-10 finish in the running for Cabela’s School of the Year, recognizing the Lion Anglers as one of the best collegiate programs in the entire country
- Cole Sands (SR/Calhoun, Tenn.) and Bailey Fain (SO/Lenoir City, Tenn.) won the Carhartt Bassmaster College Classic presented by Bass Pro Shops, which was a small invite-only event that included the defending 2018 National Championship team, the defending 2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Classic winning team, the reigning Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year, and the Classic Bracket Championship school
- Four Bryan boats posted a top-30 finish at the 2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series tournament presented by Bass Pro Shops at Smith Lake, led by the duo of Bailey Fain and Trevor St. John (SO/LaFollette, Tenn.) who placed 9th
- Two boats finished in the top-10 on Lake Dardanelle during the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open, providing significant points for Cabela’s School of the Year
- Four boats scored a top-10 finish on Norris Lake during Brandon Card’s third annual invitational
- Had four boats qualify and finished with a pair of boats just outside the top-30 at the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River
- Three boats qualified and the highest placed 65th out of 201 at the 2019 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Pickwick Lake.
Representing the Lions this week in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship will be the boats of Cole Sands/Conner DiMauro, Tyler Price/Preston Kendrick, Thad Simerly/Ethan Shaw, Trevor St. John/Bailey Fain, and Griffin Heffington/Mason Cizek.
Help support your hometown anglers and take part in the many festivities throughout this week. Major fishing companies and professional anglers will be making their way to Point Park in Dayton, Tenn., which is where all of the weigh-ins will take place.
For all information on the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship, visit www.bassmaster.com/college-bass-fishing. Updates throughout the event, including live video of the weigh-ins, will be available on B.A.S.S.’s website.