Young Harris College to Again Host Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship
The 2014 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship is expected to break its high attendance record when it returns to Young Harris College and Lake Chatuge, Thursday-Saturday, July 31-Aug. 2.
“We had the largest fan attendance in the history of college fishing last year at Young Harris, and we are really excited to return for the second year in a row,” said College Series Tournament Manager Hank Weldon, who noted that a Bassmaster Elite Series-style fishing expo held at the College will likely make the event even bigger and more highly attended than last year.
The expo will feature the Elite Series stage as seen on The Bassmasters TV show on ESPN2. There will be numerous vendors and sponsors onsite, and the local community will also bring in exhibitors.
“We are thrilled that YHC will again have the opportunity to host this national championship,” said YHC President Cathy Cox. “Our campus community, and truly the entire regional community, really enjoy welcoming the anglers from colleges and universities across the country to our beautiful campus and surrounding area. YHC’s bass fishing program is a huge asset to us, and I am so proud of our team that continues to grow and thrive.”
For the second time in the tournament’s history, anglers will embark on the 7,050-acre Chatuge Reservoir in hopes of bringing a national championship title to their campus. YHC’s bass fishing team finished second in the tournament last year. Since then, the team has enjoyed numerous top finishes in the Kayak College Fishing series.
The team also finished fourth in the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship in March. One team member, Joe Thompson, ’14, of Dawsonville, recently competed in the BASS College Wild Card event in Florence, Ala. The other half of his YHC team was fellow graduate Grayson Payne, ’14, of Blairsville.
“There is something about the mountains that is really special,” said Payne. “We got to know many of the fishermen in the area, and it's been rewarding to meet people who all have the same love of fishing. We spent hours working on rods and telling stories. Having the community’s support really means a lot.”
The team’s advisor, Assistant Professor of Biology Jonathan Davis, Ph.D., noted that the group will “start over from scratch” during the upcoming season. This means incoming freshmen team members will have the opportunity to learn and capitalize on the team’s past success.
“I’m very proud of our team for the recent triumpths and for our graduating seniors,” said Dr. Davis. “College fishing is becoming more and more competitive, and I hope we will be able to recruit quality anglers who can continue to compete nationally.”
YHC’s team will surely keep their eye on the competition this month as the entire field competes on the first two days before it’s trimmed to the top five teams on the third day. After the championship round, the top four teams will compete individually in the Carhartt College Series Classic Bracket for three more days. The top angler will earn an invitation to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic held in Greenville, S.C.
“Going into the final day last year, every one of the top five teams had a legitimate shot at taking home the trophy,” Weldon said. “The winning team averaged 14 pounds of bass a day to beat the competition. Any fishery that produces that size bass in the summertime is strong.”
Takeoffs will be held from the Ridges Resort and Marina in Hiawassee at 6:30 a.m., and weigh-ins will begin at 3 p.m. on the YHC campus. The championship will air on ESPNU, and fans can track the anglers’ progress online at bassmaster.com. Features include live streaming video of the weigh-ins, real-time leaderboards, from-the-water blogs, photo galleries, BASSCam videos and daily results.
For more information about the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship, visit bassmaster.com/college.
Brad Rutherford and Matthew Peeler showed off their catches while waiting for the final results.
The 2013 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship enjoyed record-breaking attendance.
President Cathy Cox congratulated Peeler and Rutherford on their second place finish.