Area college students take bass tournament crown

Ryan Bernsen of Burbank and Kyle Wright of Pasco, representing Washington State University, won the recent National Guard FLW College Fishing Western Division tournament at Lake Oroville, Calif.

Bernsen, a junior business operations and management major, and Wright, a senior kinesiology major, will compete in September at the collegiate Western Regional Championship in Stockton, Calif.

The two anglers caught six bass weighing 10 pounds, 9 ounces, at Lake Oroville on May 16, earning the WSU team $10,000 to be split between the university and the WSU bass fishing club, according to FLW Outdoors, the largest fishing tournament organization in the world.

Bernsen and Wright said they plan to buy some new rod and reels and additional gear for the WSU bass team.

Wright said in a statement the team's first half hour on the lake was slow, "but then we were on them for about three hours. We caught about 25 fish throughout the day, but mainly in the morning."

Bernsen and Wright said they threw crankbaits and topwater baits, but caught most of their fish drop-shotting a Roboworm.

They said they plan to return to California to fish a tournament May 30 to help prepare for the western regionals.

"We will see what we can do and come back in the fall and go from there," Wright said.

FLW Outdoors started the College Fishing Trail this year.

Full-time students enrolled in four-year colleges or universities are eligible to participate, and tournaments are organized around five Stren Series divisions: Western, Central, Southeastern, Northern and Texas.

Teams competing in the regional championship will use boats provided by Ranger. The purse for the winning team includes a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha outboard motor and $25,000 for the school they represent, according to FLW Outdoors.

The top five teams from each regional championship will advance to the national championship, planned for Knoxville, Tenn., in April 2010.