The duo’s first-place finish earned the Tarleton Bass Club, which competes in FLW’s Southern Conference, $2,000 in prize monies and a slot in the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Jones and Godwin edged second-place Stephen F. Austin by just one ounce at the scales.
“This win is huge for our club,” said Jones, a junior majoring in agricultural business. “We want to win School of the Year, and this is a great way to start off the season and earn some points.”
Godwin and Jones reported they started their day fishing north of the launch site, west of Jackson Hill Park and Marina at Rayburn. They worked along a 100-yard stretch of steep bank packed with hydrilla and were able to put three good fish in the boat early on.
“We had the boat in 13 to 15 feet of water and slow-rolled lipless crankbaits over the hydrilla,” said Godwin, a sophomore majoring in wildlife science. “The bites we got came in the 3- to 5-foot range. I caught our first keeper within the first few casts, which really got our blood pumping.”
Godwin said he used a gold-colored lipless crankbait to catch the first keeper. After 25 minutes, the team capitalized on the momentum with two more solid fish.
“I caught a 6.5-pounder just working down the bank,” Jones said. “On the next pass, I caught a 7-pounder in the exact same spot. Those first three catches really set the tone for the day.”
Jones caught his two lunkers on a half-ounce Sexy Shad-colored Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait. He credited his offset treble hooks with helping get the fish in the boat. “I replaced the original treble hooks with offset treble hooks,” said Jones. “My bites went under the boat, and I think they were crucial in keeping the fish on.”
With only minutes left in the tournament, Godwin said they caught their final fish from similar hydrilla near the launch ramp.
“The last bite was our most important bite of the day, even though it was a small bass. It gave us the win by an ounce,” Godwin said.
“It was my first win as a collegiate angler and it feels pretty good,” he continued. “I hope we can win a couple more events. It’s a big energy boost for the club and gives us all some more confidence.”
In addition to Jones and Godwin’s first-place finish, the Tarleton Bass Club was represented in the 117-team tournament by:
• Cason Kelly and Carson McCone – 22nd, 9-pounds, 9-ounces (five fish)
• Tucker Sargent and Wyatt Young – 25th, 9-pounds (five fish)
• Drake Wayland and Brandon Consalus – 46th, 5-pounds, 8-ounces (one fish)
• Dylan Jebousek and Justin Faterkowski – 65th, 3-pounds, 6-ounces (one fish)
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
This YETI FLW College Fishing Southern Conference opener on Sam Rayburn Reservoir was hosted by the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau and was the first of three regular-season qualifying tournaments for Southern Conference anglers in 2018.
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 10 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 takes place May 30-June 1 on the Red River in Shreveport, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission & Red River Waterway Commission.