San Antonio, TX – 2023 was a memorable year for college fishing. As the year draws to a close, the Association of Collegiate Angers will be doing a brief article series and various social media posts showcasing some of the major highlights and achievements from college anglers over the past 12 months. In this first feature article, we will take a look back at some of the heaviest bags of fish to cross the scales, along with some of the prize winning Big Bass that took home a new Power-Pole.
The first event of the season for the Association of Collegiate Anglers was the Pickwick Slam presented by Evolution Fishing at Pickwick Lake in Florence, AL. Charlie Wright and Logan Plueger from the number one ranked University of Montevallo weighed in a five bass limit for 21.74 pounds on Day 1 to take the early lead. They then improved on their Day 1 limit by dropping 22.09 pounds of Pickwick Lake Bass on the scales during the final day of tournament competition. That 22 plus pound bag was anchored by the Overall Big Bass for the event that weighed 7.38 pounds.
Wright & Plueger’s Day 2 limit of 22.09 pounds was the largest five bass limit weighed in during competition on the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series in 2023. Plueger’s 7.38 pound Big Bass was also the single largest fish brought to the scales this past year at an ACA event.
In 2023, the ACA hosted its first-ever event at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, SC. The final event of the 2022-23 season, the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops saw close to 200 teams compete for a National Championship title on the famed blueback herring fishery.
Tucker Smith and Hayden Marbut from then second ranked Auburn University staked claim to the Day 1 lead with a mixed bag of Lake Hartwell Bass weighing 21.06 pounds. This sensational Day 1 limit helped to propel the duo to the National Championship victory, as they finished the event in first place with a two-day total weight of 35.24 pounds.
The next stop of the season was the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley. In 2023, this tournament fielded close to 600 anglers, the largest in its history. Over the course of two days, the elite, record breaking field brought in hundreds of Kentucky Lake bass. A total of 15 bass over five pounds were brought to the scales.
Harlan Thomas from Top 10 ranked Murray State University won the event with a largemouth bass weighing 6.31 pounds. By winning top honors, Harlan earned a Power-Pole gift certificate, 6” Bob’s Machine Shop jack plate, $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card, two Abu Garcia Veritas PLX casting rods, and a pair of Bajio Sunglasses. The Overall Big Bass paid out a total of just over $5,140 in prizes. The Murray State angler also claimed the ACA logo contingency, Garmin Tournament Rewards, and a Yamaha Contingency Bonus. All total for the weekend, including the victory during Day 1 Session 4 presented by Garmin and a 2nd place finish for Day 1 Session 3 presented by Bass Pro Shops, Harlan won a combined total of over $9,000 in prizes and contingencies.
At each ACA event, the Overall Big Bass for that given tournament is awarded with a Power-Pole. With two of the Big Bass winners being highlighted earlier, we take a look at the other two winners from 2023. At the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops on Lake Hartwell, Adam Green from Greenville University took Big Bass honors with 6.61 pounds. Hunter Jenkins from Top 25 ranked Dallas Baptist University won a new Power-Pole at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open with 5.78 pounds.
About the Association of Collegiate Anglers
The Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) is a division of CarecoTV that was created to facilitate growth, development, and structure within competitive collegiate bass fishing, with emphasis on competitive events nationwide. The ACA created the original BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Series 19 seasons ago. That single event has evolved into the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, which is now recognized as the longest-running consecutive collegiate bass fishing series in existence.
The ACA lineup of major college fishing events includes a variety of tournaments nationwide that are multi-day tournaments, all of which are televised on several networks, as well as streamed on a variety of connected platforms. The ACA also provides support to numerous schools operating regional events nationwide which helps to grow the exposure and awareness of college fishing.
The ACA owns the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, Bass Pro Shops School of Year presented by Abu Garcia program, and associated assets which is widely regarded as the most comprehensive and prestigious collegiate bass fishing title today.
Thanks in part to the large diversity of media exposure the ACA provides, the series boasts the largest amount of televised and streaming coverage of any collegiate fishing series. This includes a dedicated television series on numerous television networks and streaming platforms, as well as additional coverage of select events inside other programs. This combination includes coverage from Discovery Channel, CBS Sports, Bally Sports, Pursuit Channel, as well as other regional and national networks. You can also find coverage online at any time of past events thanks to coverage on OutdoorActionTV.com and PursuitUp.com
For more information on the ACA or the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, visit www.CollegiateBassChampionship.com. For more information on Bass Pro Shops, visit www.BassPro.com. For more information on CarecoTV, visit www.CarecoTV.com.