FLORENCE, Ala. (5/22/2018) – Ranger Boats Pro and reigning Forrest Wood Cup Champion Justin Atkins is set to be the guest speaker for Wednesday’s angler and sponsor banquet night. On May 23rd, more than 350 of the best collegiate anglers will gather in Florence, Alabama for registration and dinner leading up to the 2018 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Cabela’s. As the guest speaker for the event, Atkins will address the anglers offering encouragement and insight into tournament competition and the fishing industry.
A former collegiate angler himself, Atkins is not far removed from success on this level. In 2014, competing for Mississippi State University, Justin Atkins and his teammate finished 6th place overall at the 2014 ACA BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship. Atkins says that his time spent as a collegiate angler at Mississippi State is irreplaceable, “My time at Mississippi State as a collegiate angler was an irreplaceable time in my life. I met a ton of guys that I still have a great friendship with, and the contacts that I made with people in the industry carried over into my professional career to help me obtain sponsors.”
A native of Florence, Alabama, he is familiar with both Pickwick Lake and this Championship event, “This was my favorite college tournament of the year. Mr. Wade Middleton, all the sponsors, and staff put on a first class tournament for college anglers.” Being a local, Justin is also able to offer some insight into how he believes the lake is setting up. He acknowledges that it has been warm and the fish are in their summer patterns. Fish can be targeted out deep with swimbaits, crankbaits, worms, jigs, and spoons. There is also one wildcard that he believes could turn this tournament into a slugfest, “If the TVA runs any current at all, this very tournament will take more weight to win than any other year it’s ever been here. Pickwick is on fire right now.”
Success at the college level has followed Atkins to the professional level. As a rookie on the FLW Tour in 2017, he won the Forrest Wood Cup. This marks just the third time an angler has won this event in their rookie season. All in all, 2017 was a good year for Justin out on the tour. When the season came to an end, he finished 22nd overall in the angler of the year standings.
Wednesday night’s angler and sponsor banquet night is one of the most anticipated events in college fishing. Held on the eve of the first day of tournament competition, the event is designed to celebrate the anglers as well as our sponsors. Anglers will have the opportunity to meet with some of the industry’s top brands, receiving products and information on each of the sponsors. Dinner will be provided for the competitors, followed by Justin Atkins’ address to the anglers.
Continue to follow coverage of this week’s events by following this link.