Stillwater News Press

OSU Sports

July 27, 2012

Oklahoma State bass team wins college national title

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Every local Arkansas River bass angler was both surprised and impressed when Oklahoma State University’s Zack Birge and Blake Flurry weighed 17 pounds, 4 ounces on the first day of the Carhartt Bassmaster College National Championship.

Even though the competition moved to Lake Maumelle and then Hurricane Lake, the OSU duo finished Friday what they started Wednesday, withstanding a Day 3 rally from Auburn to take the title.

“I think this will sink in tonight when I lay down in bed with this trophy next to me,” said Flurry.

Flurry and Birge were nervous after leaving Hurricane Lake an hour early Friday because of fish-care concerns. They didn’t want to risk the dead-fish penalties assessed in B.A.S.S. events, and they were banking on their Day 2, 4-pound lead holding up.

“I didn’t think we had 14 pounds,” Birge said, “but we got lucky and had plenty.”

OSU caught a five-bass limit weighing 16-5 Friday, for a three-day total of 37-13. Auburn University’s team made it close with 18-7, the biggest bag of the tournament, to finish second with 35-1.

This year, the tournament moves to Conway’s Beaverfork Lake, where morning and afternoon sessions Saturday between individuals from the Top 4 teams on Friday will determine finalists for the College BASS entry into the 2013 Bassmaster Classic — who will go head-to-head for the Classic berth Sunday.

Oklahoma State’s secret to success in daily 100-degree, central Arkansas temperatures, first on the Arkansas River, then on Lake Maumelle and finally on Hurricane Lake, was a topwater bite.

Essentially, Birge and Flurry clinched the tournament in the first hours of Day 1 when they capitalized using a River2Sea green-back, white-belly topwater frog.

“We were straight across from Willow Beach,” Flurry said. “We were on the backside of those islands. We were throwing that frog in the grass. We had a stretch of probably 50-yards long that we caught all 17 pounds on.”

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