By Jay Young
While summer begins to wind down in the Southern Tier, fishing on Chautauqua Lake will heat up once again with the arrival of hundreds of competitors for the Fishing League Worldwide College Tournament.
The FLW College Series hosts fishing tournaments throughout the season in five different geographical conferences, including an overall championship, and Chautauqua Lake will be the site for one of four Northern events next Saturday.
The Chautauqua tournament will mark the final regular-season stop in the Northern Conference, with the final tournament being hosted on the Potomac River in Marbury, Md. on Sept. 11.
The event is set for a 50-boat field made up of collegiate fishing clubs and teams from around the country. Winners from the tournament will earn $2,000 and will also earn a berth in the Northern Conference Invitational tournament in September.
Second place will earn $1,000 with $500 going to third, fourth and fifth place. The top 15 teams will also qualify for the Northern Invitational on the Potomac.
Teams that will be in the field include Bowling Green (Ohio) University, Central Michigan, Fairmont (W.Va.) State, Kent State , Liberty University, Michigan State, Northern Michigan, Ohio Northern, Ohio State, Penn State, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers, Buffalo, United States Military Academy and Xavier .
In order for teams to compete in their conference invitationals, they must finish high in the three qualifying events offered throughout the season.
Following the invitationals, the top 10 teams from each conference earn a chance to compete at the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship. The winner of the national championship will then earn a spot in the Forrest Wood Cup, FLW's most prestigious and lucrative fishing tournament.
Long Point State Park will play host to the dozens of teams arriving for the tournament, and action will get under way early on Saturday morning. A pretournament meeting with rule announcements will start the day off at 6 a.m., followed by takeoff at 6:30 a.m.. Teams will have until the afternoon to catch their winning fish, with weigh-in scheduled for 2:30 p.m.. There is a 12-inch minimum size limit on all of the bass caught during the event, with a five-fish catch limit per team.
College fishing is a free-tournament series for all members of recognized collegiate fishing teams and clubs. There will be no geographic restrictions on where FLW competitors may fish on the lake, so expect to see boats dotting all corners of the lower and upper Chautauqua Lake regions on Saturday. While the lake is known for strong numbers of both small and largemouth bass, largemouth will likely produce higher numbers during this later part of the season. Weed beds, weed lines and shallow areas around docks have been hot spots for largemouth in recent weeks.
Anyone interested in finding more information can visit Facebook.com/FLWFishing, www.flwoutdoors.com or follow along on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.