Major League Fishing, the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, returns to Lake Chickamauga, Feb. 24-25, for the eighth-annual Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI Open tournament. Hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council, the tournament rewards anglers who finish within the top 20, along with one additional team for every 10 teams over 200 competing, with automatic qualification to the 2023 Abu Garcia College Fishing National Championship. Event champions will also take home a new Phoenix 518 Pro boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard – a $33,500 prize package.
Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit angler Miles Burghoff of Dayton, Tennessee said he is excited to see collegiate teams from across the country come back to Lake Chickamauga for the competition.
“Guys can expect to see a typical pre-spawn, winter-time bite on Lake Chickamauga this time of year,” Burghoff said. “It seems like it’s all about finding the last remaining grass every year on Lake Chickamauga and fishing a handful of different baits.”
The former University of Central Florida angler said there are other areas to find fish, but he anticipates that many of the teams at the top of the leaderboard are going to be around the last remaining hydrilla.
“I expect lipless crankbaits to be a really big deal, along with ChatterBaits, jerkbaits and the Alabama Rig,” said Burghoff. “Those are definitely going to account for some of the teams making the top spots.
“You’re generally going to see big weight leading the tournament this time of year, but I suspect it will take anywhere from the low 20’s all the way up to the high 20’s this year. Chickamauga has been fishing a little bit tougher and hasn’t quite been the same lake it used to be. Ten years ago, I’d say it would have taken 30 pounds to win, but this year I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in the lower 20s.”
Burghoff said College Fishing is a great opportunity for collegiate anglers, not only to start building their instincts and skills in competition, but also to get to know people within the industry and to start building the foundation for a potential future career.
“MLF has offered a lot of exposure for these college anglers – exposure that usually is only available in some of the larger professional trails,” continued Burghoff. “This gives college anglers a unique opportunity to really start to understand what it means to be a professional angler earlier on, giving them a lot of good experience, quickly.”
Registration for the Open will be Wednesday, February 23, from 4-6 p.m. CT at the Dayton Boat Dock, located at 185 Chickamauga Drive in Dayton, with a pre-tournament ZOOM meeting following registration at 6:15 p.m.
Anglers will take off from the Dayton Boat Dock at 7 a.m. CT on both days of competition and the entire field of competitors will compete both days of the tournament. Weigh-ins will be held lakeside at the boat dock each day, beginning at 3 p.m. and will be live streamed both days. Fans are welcome to attend the event or tune in to the weigh-in and follow the online coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI teams compete in three 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 Abu Garcia College Fishing Open advance to the following year’s Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI National Championship.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI on MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagramand YouTube.
About Major League Fishing
Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually at some of the most prestigious fisheries in the world, while broadcasting to America’s living rooms on CBS, the Discovery Channel, the Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, the World Fishing Network, and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF roster of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 13 countries. In 2019, MLF expanded its portfolio of catch, weigh, and immediately release events to include the sport’s strongest five-biggest-fish format tournament circuits. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television broadcasts and livestreams and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, education, fisheries enhancement, and fish care.
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