Slippery Rock University’s Logan Pollman and Tyler Shappard.
They made history, that’s all.
Logan Pollman of Slippery Rock and Tyler Shappard of Hermitage became the first bass fishing duo from Slippery Rock University to win an FLW College Fishing tournament event.
The pair boated five bass weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce during the tour’s Northern Conference stop on the Potomac River on June 4. They earned the school’s bass club $2,000.
More importantly, they guaranteed Slippery Rock a spot in the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship, to be held at a date and time to be announced.
“We’re a small school so it really means a lot for our program,” said Pollman, a senior majoring in exercise science.
“I’m hoping we can get more people interested in the sport after a win like this,” added Sheppard, a senior majoring in biology. “It’s great exposure for our school and community.”
According to FLW, the pair caught their fish by concentrating on a large grass bed in water ½- to 2½-feet deep at the mouth of Mattawoman Creek. The bed, which stretched along the shoreline, was approximately 60 yards long and 25 yards wide.
“We started our morning throwing a black Snag Proof Ish’s Phat Frog where we could see weeds,” said Pollman. “We had a 6-pounder blow up on it within the first 10 casts which really helped set the tone for the day.
“We caught our limit fish sporadically throughout the event. As the tide came in and pushed the fish deep, we slowed down and threw a Chartreuse Shad-colored Buckeye Lures swimjig. When the grass wasn’t folded over the top, we flipped a black and blue-colored Buckeye Lures Jig.”
The team said they also preferred a Tennessee Shad-colored Keitech swimbait when the tide receded.
“Every half-hour we got a decent bite and culled,” said Sheppard. “At 2 p.m., Logan was pulling up the trolling motor so we could head in to the scale and I caught a 3-pounder on the Phat Frog. That fish helped us secure the win.”
Some other local anglers fared well in the tournament, too. Finishing in sixth place with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces were the Slippery Rock duo of Joel Hixon of Butler and Evan Kretz of Pittsburgh. In seventh with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces were Pitt’s Michael Dunn and Henry Colberg, both of Pittsburgh. And in 10th place, with five bass weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces, were Slippery Rock’s Ryan Kozlowski and Nathan Quince, both of Pittsburgh.
All of those teams, for finishing in the top 10, get spots in the national championship, too.
Several other area teams competed and all at least weighed in bass.
Slippery Rock’s Cody Neal of Evans City and Kyle Brown of Wexford placed 37th with three fishing weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces, while teammates Jeffrey Henderson and Matt Kaercher finished 44th with one bass weighing 3 pounds, 7 ounces.
The Penn State team of Sean Cummins of Huntingdon and Maurice Hudson Jr. of Broomall finished 11th, while the West Virginia teams of Tyler Barnes and Kyle McHenry, Matthew Combs and Jacob Osborne, Michael Shughart and Branden Newcombe and Kirkland Price and Thomas Raines finished 17th, 24th, 28th and 40th, respectively.
The St. Vincent College duo of Justin and Jesse Yeckel of South Park were registered to compete, but FLW did not list them as among the 52 teams that actually did.