Sam Houston State University Takes Early Lead at Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship on the Harris Chain

LEESBURG, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2020) – The Sam Houston State University duo of Bryton Kurtz and Jackson Carrell grabbed the early lead Wednesday after Day One of the 2020 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance. The Bearkats team brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 24 pounds, 11 ounces, giving them a 2-pound, 1-ounce cushion over the second-place team of Nathan Doty and Jacob Louis from Illinois’ McKendree University.

“It’s Bryton’s 24th birthday today, and I was joking with him this morning saying ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if we caught 24 on your 24th?’, said Carrell, a senior majoring in Agricultural Engineering. “We caught six of the right fish today, and hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.”

Although they didn’t want to divulge much information after just the first day, the duo did say that they had their most success Thursday in one canal. They caught one fish early off a bed, but the rest were caught off one 150-yard stretch in a 700-yard canal.

“We had missed a couple of bites this morning, and we only had one 12-inch squeaker in the boat at 10 o’clock, so we decided to just go fishing,” said Kurtz, also a senior majoring in Agricultural Engineering. “We rolled into the canal where we had a couple of bites in practice, and Jackson got bit fairly quickly. Then I pitched right back in there and got a 4-pounder.

“We kept on fishing, bite-after-bite on this 150-yard stretch,” Kurtz continued. “We were done after we caught our limit.”

The Texas team said that they caught all their fish on just one bait. They remained tight-lipped on specifics but mentioned that each were throwing a different color. They hope that their bite can hold up for the rest of the week, despite the cooler temperatures being forecast.

“This is our first time to Florida, so we don’t know exactly how the fish are going to react,” Carrell said. “Hopefully the cold temps don’t make them back out of the canal too far, and the fish will be coming back in to that spot.”

The three-day event features the top college bass fishing teams from across the nation competing in an internationally televised, no-entry fee tournament for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard. In addition to the boat package, both members of the winning team will advance to the 2020 FLW Series Championship, Nov. 5-7 on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Kentucky, where they will compete for a top prize of $200,000.

The full field of 156 teams compete on Wednesday and Thursday, with only the top-10 – based on two-day cumulative weight – advancing to Championship Friday. The National Champions will be crowned Friday based on the cumulative three-day weight total.

The top 10 teams after Day One on the Harris Chain of Lakes are:

1st:  Sam Houston State University – Bryton Kurtz, The Woodlands, Texas, and Jackson Carrell, Anderson, Texas, five bass, 24-11
2nd:  McKendree University – Nathan Doty, Decatur, Ill. and Jacob Louis, Pinckneyville, Ill., five bass, 22-10
3rd:  Stephen F. Austin State University – Christopher Harrison, Nacogdoches, Texas, and Ethan Legare, Allen, Texas, five bass, 21-15
4th:  Sam Houston State University – Jayce Garrison, Willis, Texas, and Mason Hoke, Montgomery, Texas, five bass, 20-9
5th:  Sam Houston State University – Matthew Sewell, Tomball, Texas, and Joshua Perrin, Houston, Texas, five bass, 20-1
6th:  Bryan College – Conner DiMauro, Longwood, Fla., and Cole Sands, Calhoun, Tenn., five bass, 19-14
7th:  Columbus State University – Jacob Wood, LaGrange, Ga., and Doug Stephens, Waverly Hall, Ga., five bass, 19-9
8th:  Bethel University – Kyle Palmer, McKenzie, Tenn., and John Coble Garrett, Union City, Tenn., five bass, 19-3
9th:  Florida State University – Garret Sanders, Woodstock, Ga., and Owen Kuhn, Tallahassee, Fla., five bass, 18-0
10th:  Georgia College – John Garrett Pearson, Perry, Ga., and James Pearson, Columbus, Ga., five bass, 17-14

For a full list of results, visit

Overall there were 696 bass weighing 1,633 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 151 college teams Wednesday. The catch included 123 five-bass limits.

Anglers will launch each morning from the Venetian Gardens, located at 201 E. Lake Harris Drive in Leesburg at 7 a.m. EDT. The weigh-ins will be held each day at the Venetian Gardens beginning at 3 p.m. All takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

The Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Harris Chain of Lakes is hosted by Lake County, Florida.

Television coverage of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance will premiere in 2020 on YouTube and broadcast around the globe on the World Fishing Network.

Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI teams compete in regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 20 teams from the annual College Fishing Open advance to the following year’s Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship.

For complete details and updated information For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and YouTube.