Oklahoma State University is the 2012 national champion in bass fishing.
OSU Bass Club members Zack Birge of Blanchard and Blake Flurry of Roland won the Carhartt Bassmaster College National Championship, held at three different sites near Little Rock, Ark., last week.
The Cowboy seniors-to-be led from start to finish in the three-day team tourney, weighing in 16 pounds, 5 ounces Friday on Hurricane Lake for a three-day total of 37 pounds, 13 ounces.
They finished almost three pounds ahead of second place Auburn. The first two days of fishing were on the Arkansas River and Lake Maumelle.
University of Oklahoma anglers Tyler Nipper and Paul Muzljakovich finished 15th.
The title earned Birge and Flurry a $5,000 prize, which will be divided among the anglers and the OSU Bass Fishing Club, said club president Chase Edmiston.
“Other than a small amount given to each club by the school, college anglers have to pay their own way to these tournaments,” Edmiston said. “We do a lot of fundraising to help pay for trips to the national championship.”
Birge is majoring in wind turbine technology at OSU. Flurry's major is crop soil science, but both hope to be fishing professionally after graduation.
“That's the No. 1 goal,” Birge said. “That degree is probably third on the list.”
“Guiding,” Birge said. “If that doesn't work out, I'll probably fall back on that degree.”
The two Cowboy anglers are fishing this weekend for a spot in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake.
After conclusion of the team competition, BASS holds a two-day individual tournament for collegiate anglers where the champion advances to compete against the pros on bass fishing's biggest stage.
If they can get in the tournament, Birge and Flurry think they might have an advantage since this year's Bassmaster Classic is on Oklahoma's Grand Lake.
“February is when you catch the big ones at Grand,” Flurry said.