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King University Wins MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Tournament on Lake Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The King University duo of Landon Lawson of Jonesborough, Tennessee, and Hunter McClaskey of Elizabethton, Tennessee, won the MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Lake Champlain Sunday with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces. The victory earned the Tornados’ bass club a qualification into the 2024 MLF College Fishing National Championship.

“We blasted off and ran to our first spot and caught a 3½-pounder on the bed, then went down the bank and caught a 4-pounder on a Zara Spook and then got another 4-pounder,” Lawson said. “Then we decided to go run to two more big bed fish that we wanted to catch. So, we fired up the motor, and then the motor blew up.

“It couldn’t have blown up in a better place, because we had stayed around the inland sea all week, and that’s where it blew up,” Lawson added. “So, we trolled to a place we had caught some fish, threw the Spook, and filled our limit.”

Lawson said the King University seniors used the trolling motor for an hour and a half while trying to provoke a bedding bass to bite until the trolling motor battery died. They did catch the bedding bass and added a couple more fish that culled to boost their final weigh weight. Lawson said the team caught 13 bass during the course of the day, including 11 keepers that weighed more than three pounds each.

“Sometimes it’s just your day,” Lawson said. “As we were going along, even though it was going wrong, we knew we were on the fish to win as long as somebody didn’t bring in 21 pounds or some crazy bag. We knew we could win it, but it wasn’t the exact circumstances we wanted.”

“We won a College Fishing event last year on Smith Mountain with about the same weight,” McClaskey said. “We blew the motor at that tournament, too, so we’ve got this running joke that we might need to blow a motor to win a tournament every time.”

The top seven teams that qualified to compete at the 2024 College Fishing National Championship are:

1st: King University – Landon Lawson, Jonesborough, Tenn., and Hunter McClaskey, Elizabethton, Tenn., five bass, 19-7
2nd: University of Vermont – Joseph Buonanno, Wolcott, Vt., and Hunter Whitman, Shelburne, Vt., five bass, 18-13
3rd: Adrian College – Russel Buffa, Fenton, Mich., and Kobe Thompson, New Lexington, Ohio, five bass, 18-9
4th: State University of New York-Plattsburgh – Cody Peryea, Altona, N.Y., and Theodore Wager, Shelburne, Vt., five bass, 18-3
5th: Adrian College – Braylon Eggerding and Lucas Washburn, both of Grand Rapids, Mich., five bass, 18-1
6th: Catawba Valley Community College – Hunter Keller, Morganton, N.C., and Brendan Vinton, Braintree, Vt., five bass, 18-1
7th: Adrian College – Brady Pinwar, Midland, Mich., and Derek Rodriguez, Okemos, Mich., five bass, 18-0

Rounding out the top 10 were:

8th: Wabash Valley College – Mason Gross, Carmi, Ill., and Braden Thompson, Oblong, Ill., five bass, 17-13
9th: Lander University – Parker Lambert, Riegelsville, Pa., and Aaron Shumaker, Charlotte, N.C., five bass, 17-8
10th: Adrian College – Gerald Brumbaugh, Martinsburg, Pa., and Mitchell Straffon, Fenton, Mich., five bass, 17-8

Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Lake Champlain was hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau. The next event for College Fishing anglers will be the Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir Presented by Crock-O-Gator, Sept. 8 in Brookeland, Texas.

The 2023 MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI features college teams from across the country competing in nine regular-season tournaments. The top 12 percent of teams from each regular-season tournament advance to the 2024 Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI National Championship.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Black Rifle Coffee Company, E3, Favorite Fishing, Fox Rent a Car, General Tire, Grundens, Lawless Lures, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Wiley X and YETI.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

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