Slippery Rock University fishing buddies Tyler Branca, a geology, geography and environmental studies major from Hermitage, and Benjamin Tawney, a management major from Stoystown, will represent SRU at the FLW College Fishing National Championship next spring.
The two, both members of the Bass Fishing Club at SRU, earned entrance to the national event by scoring ninth with seven pounds, two ounces, of bass at last Sunday’s FLW College Fishing Northern Conference in Chesapeake Bay, Md. The national event will include the top 10 finishers from each regional competition.
At the conclusion of the tournament, teams submit up to five fish, with winners determined by total overall weight.
Tawney is president of the seven-member SRU club. He and his then-teammate Corey Randour, scored third in 2012, earning the Bass Fishing Club at SRU $1,000 for equipment. In 2011, Branca and Tawney placed just out-of-the-money by one ounce in competition against 40 other college teams at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.
"To me, it means a lot," Tawney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "And to the club, it means a lot, kind of showing everybody that we're good at fishing, and we can compete with everybody. It was a very rough tournament."
"Fishing is fishing," Tawney told the newspaper. "They'd call it ‘catching’ if it was easy. It all depends on where it is and what we can find in practice."
Tawney said last weekend’s two-days of fishing were not easy. He said the fish were not biting as SRU competed against 44 teams. West Virginia University took this year’s the top prize, $4,000, with just over 19 pounds of bass.
Next April’s nationals are expected to be in southern waters.
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