LAKE MURRAY, S.C. — A Fremont man and his collegiate fishing partner competed in a national competition last weekend.
Steven Bressler, a Fremont High School graduate, and Dustin Vaal of Saint Meinrad, fish on an Indiana University team that qualified for FLW College Fishing National Championships at Lake Murray, S.C.
The pair spent their spring break practicing on site then participated in the three-day championship, which was won by Ryan Patterson of Kansas State University Sunday.
Along with the national competition in South Carolina, the IU team will be fishing in the Boat US National Championship at Pickwick Lake, Ala., and FLW qualifiers at Kentucky Lake; Shelbyville, Ill.; and Mississippi River in LaCrosse, Wis. Then they will compete in an ESPN College Bass Super Regional at Mississippi River.
“Last year’s experience at Lake Kinkaid was incredible. It was a thrill to be able to qualify for the FLW College Fishing National Championship,” said Bressler. “It was difficult fishing for a tournament where the size limit had to be 16 inches. Throwing back 2 1/2 pound fish in a tournament because they weren’t long enough was tough to swallow.”
At Lake Murray, the size limit was 12 inches.
Bressler said he and Vaal enjoyed fishing Lake Murray.
“There is the same water clarity as a lake like Clear Lake but instead of the main bait source of perch and bluegill, Lake Murray has blueback herring,” said Bressler. “These fish are a horse of a different color, you could say. They are scared of the sounds of boat motors and are moving in constant schools across the lake, except when they go shallow to spawn. They become active when the sun comes out and move back deep when it is overcast, much different than standard gizzard shad we are used to at our home Lake Monroe near Bloomington.”
Lake Murray spans around 50,000 acres. The Indiana pair caught some nice specimens over spring break. Bressler caught a 7-pound, 15-ounce bass and Vaal caught one weighing over 5 pounds.
Patterson won with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 46 pounds, 15 ounces.