The brand-new bass fishing team at Redding’s Simpson University just finished the first tournament on their “home court” of Shasta Lake, and it seems like it was quite the advantage.
The Simpson University team of Nathan Phillips and Chase Sherman topped the field of 14 teams at the Wild West Bass Trail College Series, which included anglers from Chico State, Fresno State, and Oregon State universities. Their five-fish limit weighed in at 10.78 pounds and included the biggest catch of the day, a 2.45-pounder.
“Overall, the fishing conditions were tough,” said Simpson University Bass Fishing coach Alex Thiemann. “That being said, our guys fished hard and put together a winning pattern. I was proud that Nathan and Chase got the win, but equally proud that our other teams put themselves in a position in which victory was only a bite or two away.”
Simpson University had three teams on the water. The team of Sheldon Reese and Taj White placed fifth, with a weigh-in of 9.52 pounds. Ryan Beaty and Luke Blanchard came in 11th, with a 6.91-pound weigh-in.
As first-place winners, Phillips and Sherman earned $1,000. Phillips, along with Beaty, has already qualified to compete in the FLW Yeti College Fishing National Championship in Leesburg, Fla., Feb. 26-28.
For the first year of the Simpson University Bass Fishing program, coach Thiemann has concentrated on building the team the right way. The team has new jerseys, is grateful for the generous sponsorship of local businesses Black Bear Diner and Harrison’s Marine & RV, as well as Phil’s Propeller.
“We are establishing a culture that not only focuses on fishing but ensuring a focus on academics and community service,” said Thiemann. “Their (sponsors) help and support is the reason these guys will be able to travel all the way to Florida for the national championship,”