William Powell’s mother thinks the Oklahoma State University senior spends too much time fishing and not enough time studying.
“She keeps saying it’s going to be a problem, but I don’t see a problem,” said Powell, a 2005 graduate of Bishop McGuiness High School in Oklahoma City.
It worked out well last weekend. Powell and fellow OSU Bass Club member Jeremy Bersche of Skiatook won the FLW College Bass Fishing tournament at Lake Sam Rayburn.
Some snicker at the idea of college bass fishing, but it’s gaining momentum. FLW Outdoors created a college fishing trail this year.
There are four tournaments in each of five divisions, culminating with a regional championship then a national championship.
The college tournaments are held simultaneously with FLW pro events. The pro anglers who don’t make the cut for the final day of fishing provide boats and take out the college kids for a one-day showdown.
The pros can’t help the college anglers, except to provide equipment and take them to where they want to go on the lake.
In winning the tournament, Powell and Bersche won $10,000 which will be split evenly between the school and the OSU Bass Club.
Powell and his partner didn’t fare well in FLW’s first college tournament of the year. Powell said they didn’t stick to their game plan going in.
“This time around, we had been looking at maps (of Sam Rayburn) for a month. We decided we were going to fish this one area and decided to stick to that area no matter what, he said.”
They sight fished the same 75-yard stretch of water all day where fish were guarding spawning beds and came away with six fish for a winning stringer of 18 pounds, 6 ounces.
LSU-Shreveport was second with 17 pounds, 15 ounces. Lamar, Texas-A&M, and Angelo State rounded out the top five.
The University of Central Oklahoma – anglers Dustin Edwards and David Stine - finished 12th.
Powell is pursuing a business degree at OSU which he hopes will come in handy as a pro bass fisherman.
He wants to make a living on the water and not behind a desk.
“Tournament fishing is something I always wanted to do,” he said. “It’s just one of those things I really can’t get enough of.”
OSU, the University of Oklahoma and UCO have bass fishing clubs.