Auburn University Throws A-Rig to Earn Victory at MLF College Fishing Tournament on Pickwick Lake


Blake Milligan of Auburn, Alabama, and Matthew Parrish of Decatur, Alabama, won the MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing event on Pickwick Lake weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces.Blake Milligan of Auburn, Alabama, and Matthew Parrish of Decatur, Alabama, won the MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing event on Pickwick Lake weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces.
Blake Milligan of Auburn, Alabama, and Matthew Parrish of Decatur, Alabama, won the MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing event on Pickwick Lake weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces.

COUNCE, Tenn. (Oct. 24, 2022) – The Auburn University duo of Blake Milligan of Auburn, Alabama, and Matthew Parrish of Decatur, Alabama, won the MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Pickwick Lake Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces. The victory earned the Tigers’ bass club $3,000, including a Mercury contingency bonus, and a slot in the 2023 MLF College Fishing National Championship.

“We got there for practice and started on a secondary point instead of taking off down the lake,” Parrish said. “That was the best decision we could have made, because we found shell beds. In the first five minutes of finding the shell beds we caught a 3½-pound smallmouth. So, we decided to run shell beds for the tournament.”

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Parrish said the team started the tournament fishing mid-lake, below Waterloo, and caught two 3-pound smallmouth in the first 15 minutes of competition. They threw Alabama rigs over the tops of the shell beds and stumps. Their method produced 25 to 30 keepers over 2¾ pounds throughout the day.

“It just went right for us,” Parrish said. “As the water warmed, we found the bass holding on the stumps more than on the shell beds.

“Throughout the whole day we were nauseous because we were so excited and nervous,” Parrish added. “When we put the bag in the tray and the scale said 18-7, we were speechless.”

The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2023 College Fishing National Championship are:

1st: Auburn University – Blake Milligan of Auburn, Ala., and Matthew Parrish of Decatur, Ala., five bass, 18-7, $3,000
2nd: Bethel University – Matthew Cummings, Troy, Tenn., and Levi Mullins, Nineveh, Ind., five bass, 18-1, $1,400
3rd: Auburn University – Rob Cruvellier, Auburn, Ala., and Carson Maddux, Hoover, Ala., five bass, 17-11, $500
4th: Kentucky Christian University – Riley Lawson, Mount Sterling, Ky., five bass, 16-4, $500
5th: Lander University – Kaleb Brown, Greenwood, S.C., and Chad Mrazek, Montgomery, Texas, five bass, 15-0, $500
6th: University of Montevallo – Peyton Harris and Dalton Head, both of Montevallo, Ala., five bass, 14-12
7th: University of Louisiana-Monroe – Dylan Nimrod, De Soto, Kan., and Connor Nimrod, Monroe, La., five bass, 14-7
8th: Wabash Valley College – Andrew Leonard and Gannon Stork, both of Flora, Ill., five bass, 14-7
9th: McKendree University – Jack Stephens, St. Louis, Mo., and Evan Sutton, Highland, Ill., five bass, 14-3
10th: University of Montevallo – Merritt Arnold, Watkinsville, Ga., and Chance Schwartz, Ball Ground, Ga., five bass, 14-1

MLF also advances one additional team to the National Championship for every 10 teams over 100 that compete. A total of 224 teams participated in this event, so also advancing to the 2023 College Fishing National Championship are:

11th: University of Montevallo – Ryan Thomas and Will Thomas, both of Madison, Ga., five bass, 13-13
12th: Lander University – Kaden Buchmann, Mooresville, N.C., and Jared Hubbard, Bernardston, Mass., five bass, 13-12
13th: University of Montevallo – Nicholas Dumke, Montevallo, Ala., and Easton Fothergill, Grand Rapids, Minn., five bass, 13-12
14th: Auburn University – Connor Jacob, Peoria, Ill., and Samuel Smith, Auburn, Ill., five bass, 13-11
15th: Lander University – Riley Hendricks, Hurricane, W.V., and Garrett Smith, Mt. Holly, N.C., five bass, 13-10
16th: Bethel University – Sean O’Brien, McKenzie, Tenn., and Joseph Senn, New Paris, Ind., five bass, 13-8
17th: Murray State University – William Burch, Washington, Ind., and Max Newkirk, Louisville, Ky., five bass, 13-7
18th: Campbellsville University – Nathan Fiant, Delaware, Ohio, and Brett Hill, Ashland, Ohio, five bass, 13-6
19th: Blue Mountain College – Lake Norsworthy, Brandon, Miss., and Nick Staub, Germantown, Tenn., five bass, 13-3
20th: East Tennessee State University – Garrett Jennings, Johnson City, Tenn., and Landon Stacy, Piney Flats, Tenn., five bass, 13-2
21st: Auburn University – Carty Shoen, Auburn, Ala., and Tucker Smith, Birmingham, Ala., five bass, 13-2
22nd: Southern Arkansas University – Adam Simmons, El Dorado, Ark., and Asher Williams, Nashville, Ark., five bass, 12-13

Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Pickwick Lake was hosted by the Hardin County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was the third and final regular-season tournament for Southeastern Conference anglers. The next event for College Fishing anglers will be the Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Lake of the Pines, Nov. 11, in Jefferson, Texas.

MLF College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top 10 teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 20 teams from the annual Abu Garcia College Fishing Open will advance to the following season’s National Championship. The 2023 MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI National Championship Presented by Lowrance will be held on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Florida, Feb. 21-23, and is hosted by the Kissimmee Sports Commission.

Proud sponsors of 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 tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular College Fishing updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram, and 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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