The Eastern Washington University team of Jarred Walker of Moses Lake, Wash., and Nick Barr of Lacey, Wash., won the FLW College Fishing Western Conference event on Lake Oroville Saturday with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 8 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the FLW College Fishing Western Conference Invitational tournament.
“We put together a game plan and tried out a few different things until we found something that worked,” said Barr, a business-marketing major. “We didn’t end up catching a single fish until about 10 o’clock. Jarred and I haven’t fished for months. Our lakes in Washington are frozen over. I haven’t touched a rod until last week when we were getting our gear ready.”
“It was the first time we’ve ever been out to the lake before,” added Barr. “We are from eastern Washington, so it is about a 15-hour drive. We fished Shasta before, but never fished Lake Oroville.”
“Our first fish came on a Yamamoto Hula grub,” said Walker, a construction management major. “We ran around and caught another fish on a drop-shot Senko. Within the last hour, we caught three in a row on the drop-shot (rig). Later in the day, the fish had started to come up shallower, and we were catching them in about 15 to 25 feet of water.
“It was slow and brutal fishing,” Barr continued. “We literally let the Senko sit for over a minute. We were using the new 5-lb. Sufix Fluorocarbon, and we think the light line was key to catching those extremely pressured fish.” Nick mentioned that the fish were biting so light that the combination of the line and his Lamiglas Infinity dropshot rod really helped him feel and land the bites that they crucially needed.
Walker and Barr sat in the hot seats on the stage for almost a nail-biting hour as another 45 teams weighed in on the on the “FLW Live” internet-feed weigh-in. At the end of the event they were relieved and extremely happy they had outlasted 49 other teams. “It feels great to finally win one of these after traveling so far and putting so much effort in. I am just happy for our whole team, as we brought three teams for the first time and all of them caught fish. It was both their first ever tournaments. That was my main objective in coming down here, the win is just gravy,” Barr said. The other teams consisted of Cy Floyd and Mackenzi Brunner finishing in 17th, and Tyler Wasilewski and J.D. Gabbert finishing in 39th
The next step is the FLW College Fishing Regional Championship in the Fall at Clear Lake, Calif., in which the top 15 from all three qualifying tournaments earn a berth. The top 10 at the regional championship will earn an invite to the 2014 National Championship where they will compete against other collegiate teams from all around the nation for the grand prize of $50,000 and an entry in the Forrest L. Wood Cup.
The Eastern Washington University Sportsman’s Club was founded at EWU three years ago by Nick Barr. With the help of a very supportive club sports program at school and a core group of students, the club has grown to more than 60 members and is thriving on campus and in the community. Students and faculty of all skill levels can join in on the numerous activities, including fishing tournaments, hunting trips, archery, community service, hunter’s safety, rod building and much more. The club’s mission is to get college students back involved in the great outdoors. They are the only collegiate Fishing and Hunting Club in the Pacific Northwest. For more information find the club on Facebook or at www.EWUSportsmansclub.org.
Nick Barr is sponsored by Legend Boats, Mercury Marine, Rapala, Lamiglas Rods, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Sufix Fishing Line, Gamakatsu, Luhr-Jensen, Terminator Quickdrops Dropshot Weights, Keelshield and Interstate Batteries of Spokane. For more information please visit www.NickBarrFishing.com.