AUBURN - Football fans who attend Auburn's Sept. 10 matchup with the Mississippi State Bulldogs will have the opportunity to see the South's top collegiate anglers weigh their prize catches at Ag Heritage Park.
Twenty schools will be competing in the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Regional Championship Thursday to Saturday, Sept. 8-10, on Lake Harding on the Alabama-Georgia state line, with the final weigh-ins occurring Saturday at Ag Heritage Park on Donahue Drive approximately 15 minutes after the Mississippi State game. The football game kicks off at 11:20 a.m.
Both Auburn and Mississippi State are among the 20 universities with teams qualifying to fish in the regional championship. Boats will launch from the state ramp at Bartlett's Ferry Dam beginning at safe daylight Thursday and Friday, with the top five advancing to Saturday's final round at the same location. The finalists on Saturday will be escorted from Lake Harding to Auburn for the weigh-ins and festivities.
Auburn University's Bass Sports Club is hosting the three-day FLW event as well as two more tournaments Saturday morning: a Military Appreciation Tournament with 10 boats and a High School Tournament featuring five Alabama high school state championship teams.
"This is a huge honor for FLW Outdoors to select Auburn as the regional host," Auburn Bass Sports Club Adviser Jann Swaim said. "We will have a section of Ag Heritage Park cordoned off with displays and vendors and we hope to have an exciting final weigh-in for each tournament. We invite everyone to drop by after the football game to cheer for their favorite school's anglers."
Other FLW regional hosts this fall include Penn State, Southern Illinois, Texas A&M and Arizona State. Each regional champion will win $12,500 for their school's scholarship fund as well as $12,500 and a school-colored bass boat for the fishing club. Regional competitors are determined by finishes in qualifying tournaments. The top five teams from each regional championship will advance to the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.
FLW's College Fishing series is free to enter, and FLW Outdoors provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
Auburn's Bass Sports Club began in 2007 as one of nation's first collegiate fishing clubs and is open to Auburn students of any major. The club, which has 30 members, sends three, two-person teams to tournaments. Teammates Shaye Baker and Jordan Lee were named to the 2011 National Guard FLW College Fishing All-American Team.
More information about the Auburn Bass Sports Club is available at http://www.auburn.edu/bass.
(Written by Charles Martin.)
If you're wondering, FLW stands for the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood. Irwin L. Jacobs chose to name the tournament after Mr. Wood.