Stew Lilker’s

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FGC Bass Fishing Team Ranked No. 1 in S. East Competing in National College Championship

Something fishy going on at FGC

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Six of Columbia County’s finest anglers (three teams of two from the FGC bass fishing team) will compete against the best college anglers in the country during the Labor Day weekend.

This is a big deal. These young men will be competing in the Strike King Bassmaster College Series National Championship at Winyah Bay in Georgetown, SC. The tournament is presented by Bass Pro Shops and runs through Sept. 2-4.

Bassmasters Zack Barrera and Bryson O'Steen
Photo via FGC

These gentlemen are not fishing in a backyard pond. Winyah Bay is a coastal estuary that is the confluence of the Waccamaw River, the Pee Dee River, the Black River, and the Sampit River in Georgetown County, in eastern South Carolina.

Its name comes from the Winyaw, who used to inhabit the region during the eighteenth century. The historic port city of Georgetown is located on the bay, and the bay generally serves as the terminating point for the Grand Strand.

Winyah Bay encompasses 525,000 acres and is the third largest estuarine drainage area on the Eastern Seaboard.

Bassmasters Seth Slankerand Jason Swisher
Photo via FGC

The College Championship off-limits will begin just south of the Santee River on the intercoastal waterway. This will give anglers plenty of room to spread out and unlock the vast system.

These anglers will have to know tides, the phases of the moon, navigation, the history of the fishing area, and in the end, have the ability to get into the fishes' heads to figure out what they are eating, when they are eating, and where they will be.

They will also have to choose gear, what rods to use, and, very importantly, the line.

Do they use micro-thin lines to get their baits down fast, or the more old fashion lines which have more buoyancy and have a tendency to keep the bait up higher?

Micro thin lines are also dangerous; a careless angler can slice a finger right to the bone in a flash.

These men also have to decide on the bait. Do they use something that looks like a frog or a fish? And if it looks like a fish, what kind of fish?

Do they use something that looks like a skirt on a hula dancer: will it be iridescent or a solid color or multi-colored? Will it flare open when paused in the water, or will it slither like an eel?

These are just some of the things these fellows have to plan for once the gun goes off, and the tournament begins.

Bassmasters Chase Hubble and Brent May
Photo via FGC

The college teams will not only be competing for the prestigious tournament trophy, but the Top 3 teams will join the Bassmaster Team of the Year at the College Classic Bracket. There, the individual anglers will compete for one berth in the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic scheduled for March 24-26 in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops gives college anglers a platform for competing with their peers in a national setting. Anglers can compete in one of five regionals and in a Wild Card tournament for the opportunity to advance to the national championship. From there, one college angler earns a coveted berth in bass fishing’s biggest tournament, the Bassmaster Classic.

One of FGC's Bassmasters may be headed to the world-famous Bassmaster Classic.

We will know after Labor Day.

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