The Bethel University Bass Cats set a new record in the sport of college bass fishing by finishing first, second, and third in the FLW Yeti Series in Bainbridge, Ga. on Lake Seminole.
No school has ever had three teams finish in the top three spots during a national fishing tournament.
Bethel’s Brad Ableman and partner Wilson Smith stepped to the scales with a huge bag while weighing in with their five-fish limit of bass. Those five fish weighed in at 19 pounds, one ounce. That weight gave the pair of Bethel anglers more than a two-pound lead over the second-place team of Dax Ewart and Kyle Palmer, also of Bethel. Ewart and Palmer had five fish that weighed 16 pounds, 13 ounces.
Rounding out the third-place position for the Bethel squad with a weight of 15 pounds, 1 ounce were Cody Huff and Dakota Pierce. Huff and Pierce had just won a tournament a couple of weeks prior to this event for Bethel. Huff finished in first place a week later in his very first semipro fishing tournament. Both of those events were held on Lake Toledo Bend in Louisiana.
“We fought through very tough conditions this morning on Lake Seminole,” said Smith.
“High winds and cold temperatures played a huge role in making this one of the toughest tournaments that I have ever fished,” he said.
Ableman concurred that the extreme drop in temperature the night before the tournament and the high winds plus the fact that, because of bad weather, the team was not able to get much practice time in played a part in making it even tougher.
“We just put our heads down and went fishing,” said Ableman.
The pair earned a spot and punched their ticket to fish the FLW Yeti National Championship in 2021 along with their teammates Ewart, Palmer, Huff and Pierce.
“I am so very proud of our guys,” said Coach Garry Mason. “We continue to break records and win fishing tournaments and events. The Bethel bass team has won the last five bass tournaments that we have fished including three national championships.”
“The Bethel bass team fishes in tournaments that have between one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty boats and these guys just keep their focus and keep winning. Competition at this level is very strong and teams from all across the country fish in each tournament in which we compete, so for these guys to continue to win is certainly something to be proud of. They are all amazing young men with bright futures in the sport of competitive angling,” said Mason.
Also fishing the FLW Lake Seminole event for Bethel were Ryan Winchester, Joe McCloskey, Tristan McCormick and Nathan Portch. Bethel is now ranked number one in the Team of the Year points for FLW with this record-breaking win.