Ethan Cox and Ben Dziwulski are the latest 2012 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Champions. Over the course of two days they managed to haul 45.60 pounds of bass, both largemouth and smallmouth from Pickwick. For the first time in its seven year history, the traveling trophy is making a repeat visit, heading back to Raleigh, North Carolina and the campus of North Carolina State.
Ethan and Ben were the last NC State team from the Basspack to be confirmed from the waiting list. Despite having a great network of contacts in the area, their late confirmation prevented them from doing anything but online research prior to making the trip to Florence, but fortunately for the duo, they got off to a great start on the first practice day, plying one particular deep spot on Lake Pickwick with Strike King 5 and 6 XD crankbaits.
According to Ben, “We found an amazingly good deep spot early on Monday, which allowed us to get dialed in pretty quickly and make the most of our time during the official practice period. We made a few casts and had two four pounders and we knew we were set.”
Regarding competition days, Ethan added, “We had our limit within the first hour on Thursday and we knew they were the right fish to win, so once we were comfortable with our first day weight, we backed off and just watched our spot for several hours. I’m glad we finally got to unload on them on Friday.”
The pair was ecstatic and thanked their parents for their continued support, including making the trip to Florence as part of the “support crew”, they also thanked NC State for the continued support of the Basspack.
As Ethan put it, “We have an amazing bass fishing program at school and actually bass fishing is the reason I picked a four year school and NC State in particular.”
Their magic spot was good enough for the tournament’s largest bag of fish, 25.67 pounds, and the day’s largest bass at 6.56 pounds. Their haul netted them a $5,000 first place prize, $1,000 ACA contingency bonus, a $1,000 BoatUS Weigh to Win bonus, the Daily Berkley Big Bass Award, as well as the Cabela’s Angler Cash bonus.
The spot was so good in fact; they plan to stick around an extra day or two and fish it again, just to see what else swims there.
More coverage can be found at CollegiateBassChampionship.com
Additional details of the rest of the top patterns will be revealed in the coming days.