The Murray State University team of Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson, both of Bloomington, Ind., caught a 15-08 stringer Thursday to win the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship with a three-day total of 51-03 at the Potomac River.
The win earned the team a $50,000 prize package, which includes a boat and motor combo and an automatic berth in this year’s Forrest Wood Cup.
Puckett and Albertson edged the Bethel University team of Tristan McCormick and Dakota Pierce by three ounces, the smallest margin of victory in FLW College Fishing history.
“I’m absolutely speechless right now,” Albertson, a junior majoring in business administration, said in a release. “This whole week could not have gone any better. It’s been unbelievable. We knew nothing about tidal water fisheries coming into this event. We came up here and really made it up as we went in practice, and everything just fell into place. This is just insane.”
“We landed everything, and everything went right this week,” added Puckett, a junior majoring in agricultural science technology. “We knew it was going to come down to ounces today, but that was way too close. I knew we were going to enjoy this tournament, but I had no idea that we were going to win.”
The duo spent the entire tournament fishing in the same creek, focusing on a 200-yard stretch that they described as very shallow and having the “right” type of grass. They averaged around 20 keepers each day on Z-Man EverGreen Jack Hammer ChatterBaits – ½ ounce with a silver Gene Larew Sweet Swimmer for Albertson and a 3/8 ounce with a green-pumpkin-colored Lake Fork Live Magic Shad swimbait for Puckett. They also caught fish on a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Senko (watermelon) and a Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver (black and blue with purple).
“I probably could have got away with only having two poles with me all week,” said Albertson. “They just kept reloading.”
“For us, the key for fishing on the shore was high tide – the 30-minute window before and the 30-minutes after,” Puckett said. “There had to be water moving in order for us to get bit.”
Here’s how the top 10 teams finished up:
1. Murray State University (Adam Puckett/Blake Albertson): 15, 51-03
2. Bethel University (Tristan McCormick/Dakota Pierce): 15, 51-00
3. Adrian College (Jarrett Martin/ Nickolas Marsh): 15, 49-07
4. University of Montevallo (J.T. Russell): 15, 49-05
5. Bethel University (Brian Pahl/John Coble Garrett): 15, 46-07
6. Clemson University (Brady Waits/Liam West): 15, 45-10
7. Auburn University (Julian Suero/Anthony Vintson): 15, 45-04
8. Auburn University (Sean Murphy/William Phillips: 15, 43-12
9. West Virginia University (Nolan Minor/Thomas Raines): 15, 41-07
10. Sam Houston State University (Dillon Harrell/Taylor Harp: 15, 40-06