ULM's Freeman wins YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship fish-off on Red River, automatic entry to 2018 Forrest Wood Cup
Published By OutdoorsFIRST Media Published June 4, 2018
For the third time in YETI FLW College Fishing history, the National Championship winners Hunter Freeman and Thomas Soileau from the University of Louisiana-Monroe faced off Saturday in a one-day fish-off on the Red River to decide which team member would represent their school at the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.
After the scales settled and the final fish had been weighed, Freeman won the automatic entry into the Forrest Wood Cup after weighing a five-bass limit totaling 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Soileau weighed a five-bass limit totaling 6 pounds, 9 ounces, giving Freeman the win and advancing him to compete against the best anglers in the world August 10-12 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas, at the Forrest Wood Cup.
"This has been an incredible week," said Freeman, a junior majoring in business administration who resides in Monroe, Louisiana. "I've been on the water so much over the past few weeks that I am mentally and physically exhausted, but winning the championship with Thomas and now getting to compete at the Forrest Wood Cup makes it all so worth it."
Freeman is guaranteed at least a $10,000 paycheck, as that amount is awarded to the last-place finisher at the Forrest Wood Cup. The angler that wins the Forrest Wood Cup will earn $300,000 - professional bass fishing's most lucrative prize.
"Every little boy's dream is to fish in the biggest tournament there is, and that's the Forrest Wood Cup," Freeman said. "When they announced this tournament on the Red River, I said, 'That's my shot. If I'm ever going to make it, I have to do it.'
"I spent so much time and money up here practicing. To make it, it's a dream come true. I'm not just going to show up at the Cup; I'm going to try to bring it and represent the whole College Fishing crowd."
The final standings after the one-day fish-off on the Red River were:
1st: University of Louisiana-Monroe - Hunter Freeman, Monroe, La., five bass, 7-11, Entry into 2018 Forrest Wood Cup
2nd: University of Louisiana-Monroe - Thomas Soileau, Monroe, La., five bass, 6-9
Full results and standings for the 2018 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship can be found at FLWFishing.com.