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College fishing visits Chautauqua Lake

August 13, 2015
By Craig Robbins - , Westfield Republican

Of the dozens of fishing tournaments that are held each season, for the past three years the FLW Collegiate Division is one of the most exciting. While there are several great tournaments held in Chautauqua County every year, when colleges from across the country send teams made up of students, this is exciting.

When I first met Kevin Hunt of FLW, we immediately started discussions on how Chautauqua County could host a college event. It took a couple years, but in 2013, Chautauqua Lake hosted the first FLW Collegiate Division. From day one, I personally fell in love with the event. Anytime you can watch young men and women compete in a sport that they love, it's exciting.

For those who don't know, it took a while for me to wrap my mind around the idea. FLW Outdoors puts together a tournament series designed for college students. Colleges across the country put together two-person fishing teams. The teams travel to fisheries and compete, just like others sports. Each team sports its school's jerseys, colors and sponsors. Families and coaches travel with college teams to help support them and make sure everything runs smoothly. National sponsors such as Plano, Rangers and Lowrance have joined the team to help promote college bass fishing.

With its history of first-class events, FLW Outdoors, is not only passing along a sense of pride and professionalism in college anglers, it is also working with colleges to support fishing.

The Christopher Newport University team of Cody Griffey of Smithfield, Virginia, and Peter Kenny of Ashburn, Virginia, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference tournament on Chautauqua Lake last Saturday with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 11 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championship tournament.

"This was the last College Fishing tournament that I was eligible to compete in, so the pressure was really on to make it in to the top 15 and advance to the conference championship," said Griffey, who recently graduated from CNU. "To come up here to Chautauqua and get the win feels surreal."

"We stayed on one key area for the majority of the day," said Kenny, a senior at CNU. "It was a shallow, 10-yard-long gravel bank that had a mixture of eel grass and milfoil. All of the fish we caught came from 1 foot of water or less."

The duo said that the morning bite was crucial for them. They caught eight fish total, but not one after 8:30 a.m. All of their fish came on a 3/8-ounce Perch-colored B.J.'s jig with a white Zoom Swimmin' Super Fluke.

"The shade line seemed to be the key," Kenny said. "The sun was rising at our backs, and the way we positioned our boat allowed us to make long casts up to the bank. As soon as we would reel back to the shade line, that's where we would get bit."

The top 15 teams that advanced to the Northern Conference Championship tournament on the Chesapeake Bay were Christopher Newport University, Michigan State University, University of Maine, State University of New York-Environmental Science and Forestry, Pennsylvania State University, Ramapo College, Adrian College, Grand Valley State University, Penn State University, Kent State University, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, University of Akron, Shenandoah University and Adrian College.

This FLW College Fishing Northern Conference tournament was hosted by Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau and was the third and final regular-season qualifying tournament. The next event for Northern Conference anglers will be the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championship, scheduled for Sept. 12-13 at the Chesapeake Bay in North East, Maryland.

FLW College Fishing teams compete in qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences - Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top 15 teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five conference championship tournaments. The top 10 teams from each of the five conference championship tournaments will advance to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

College fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.

For regular updates, photos and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at and on Twitter at Visit to sign up or to start a club at your school.

FLW is the industry's premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2015 over the course of 240 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport's richest payday and most coveted championship trophy - the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors sports television show in the world. For more information about FLW visit and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.



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