Georgia Southern Wins FLW Collegiate Bass Event

Wesley Maples and Jed Thigpen win $10,000

Saturday, September 18, 2010
<i>Wesley Maples (left) and Jed Thigpen from Georgia Southern Bass Team won the FLW Collegiate event on Chickamauga Lake Saturday.</i>
Wesley Maples (left) and Jed Thigpen from Georgia Southern Bass Team won the FLW Collegiate event on Chickamauga Lake Saturday.
- photo by Richard Simms

The Georgia Southern team of Wesley Maples and Jed Thigpen won the final qualifying National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Division event on Lake Chickamauga Saturday with six bass weighing 12 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the team $10,000 to be split evenly between the university and the university's bass-fishing club.

Click HERE for a Photo Gallery of Saturday's weigh-in.

The win also helped them advance to the Southeast Division Regional Championship where they could ultimately win a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower engine wrapped in school colors for their school's bass club and $25,000 for the school they represent.

“It actually, surprisingly went according to plan today,” said Maples, a senior geography major. “It’s one of the first times that’s ever happened.

“We originally thought we were going to go to the grass and possibly get some on a frog, but that didn’t pan out,” Maples added. “So we abandoned that and went deep the rest of the day.”

Maples said the team threw homemade football-head jigs and Carolina rigs tipped with green pumpkin Zoom lizards deep. Maples said the team caught about 20 bass throughout the course of the day.

Thigpen said he came into the Chickamauga event with hopes of qualifying for the Southeast Regional.

“That’s all I wanted to do,” said Thigpen, a junior biology major. “I would have been as happy with a fifth-place finish, but to get here and come in first is unreal. It really hasn’t hit me yet.

“It’s incredible what FLW and the National Guard have done with this (series), Thigpen added. “This is hard to beat. This is awesome.”

Rounding out the top five teams and also qualifying for the Southeast Regional Championship are:

2nd: Georgia College and State University – Jared Kutil and Josh Futch, four bass, 10-13, $5,000

3rd: Kennesaw State University – Thomas Frink and Jake Akin, six bass, 10-2, $4,000

4th: Freed-Hardeman University – Nathan Pirtle and Brad Martin, three bass, 7-3, $3,000

5th: Troy University – Jeremy Knight and Connor Bedsole, three bass, 6-11, $2,000

The National Guard FLW College Southeast Regional Championship is scheduled for Oct. 21-23, at Lake Monroe in Orlando, Fla. The three-day tournament will be hosted by the University of Central Florida and will be televised on VERSUS Nov. 21 from 12:30 to 1:30 EST.

Also qualifying for the Southeast Regional were:

Auburn University - Shaye Baker and Jordan Lee

Florida Gulf Coast - Drew Underwood and Garrett Farmer

Lagrange College - Torre Pike and Ryan Wakenigg

Middle Tennessee State - Nolen Spencer and Tyler Barnes

Southern Polytechnic State University - Dustin Holland and Zachary Dixon

Tennessee Tech - Cody Gass and Adam Goodwin

University of Central Florida - Leonard Gordon and Miles Burghoff

University of Florida - Jake Gipson and Matthew Wercinski

University of South Carolina Upstate - Michael Smith and David Scruggs

The top five teams from each regional championship will advance to the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship. The National Championship is a three-day televised event hosting the top five teams from each regional, 25 total teams. Teams will be provided jerseys and wrapped Ranger boats towed by Chevy trucks for this competition.

College Fishing is free to enter, boats and drivers are provided by FLW Outdoors and all collegiate teams receive a travel allowance. For a complete list of tournament results visit

Tennessee Aquarium To Open Southeast's Only Independent Freshwater Science Center Oct. 27

The Tennessee Aquarium will open the Southeast’s only independent freshwater science center next Thursday at 10 a.m. This new home for the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute will be the base of operations for their research scientists, and a central location for other freshwater scientists to convene. (click for more)

TWRA Announces Availability Of Riparian Tree Planing Grants For 2017

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announces the availability of grant dollars to assist cities, schools, community organizations, civic groups, watershed organizations, and conservation groups, etc., with riparian tree planting projects.  All seedlings must be purchased through the Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry. Tree planting season in Tennessee is ... (click for more)

Howard Simmons, 47, Shot And Killed In St. Elmo Monday Morning; Police Interview Person Of Interest

Howard Simmons, 47, was shot and killed in St. Elmo Monday morning. Police said they had interviewed a person of interest in the slaying. Chattanooga Police at 8:30 a.m. responded to a person shot at the 5000 block of Florida Ave. Upon police arrival the victim, Simmons, had already succumbed to his injuries. Ms. Simmons suffered at least one gunshot wound. At this time ... (click for more)

Erlanger To Open Cancer Center On Gunbarrel Road At East Campus

Work is set to begin soon on construction of a new Cancer Center by Erlanger Health System at its Gunbarrel Road East Campus. Erlanger is joining with a development firm, Chatt East 3 LLC of Alabama, on the four-story project located just south of Women's East Hospital on a wooded five-acre tract. Erlanger will be leasing the bottom three floors at a rate of $16.05 per square ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Testerman Forum

I badly misjudged how long it would take me to do my “early voting.” I was in-and-out in no time so I got to the Hamilton County School Board’s agenda meeting well enough beforehand to have an “educational forum” with board member David Testerman. If you haven’t noticed, forums and summits and “community enlightenment” groups are the new rage and, as my friend David laughed, “They ... (click for more)