Saturday, 02 December 2023

University of Idaho wins MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Tournament on Clear Lake

Matthew Kavanaugh and Nate Kimberling of the University of Idaho won the MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Tournament in Lake County, California, on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Photo courtesy of MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing.

CLEARLAKE, Calif. — The University of Idaho duo of Matthew Kavanaugh and Nate Kimberling, both of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, won the MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Clear Lake last Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 13 ounces.

The victory earned the Vandals’ bass club a slot in the 2023 MLF College Fishing National Championship.

“This win was really cool,” Kimberling said. “We just started this club four months ago and had never fished here before, so to put it together and beat these schools … it really meant something to us.”

Kimberling said the day’s competition started out as anything but typical.

“In the morning we went to fish Monitor Island, and water was blowing us all over and back. I jumped off a 4-pounder on a drop-shot and then a flying goose hit my fishing pole as I was casting. It was a very eventful 10 minutes,” Kimberling laughed.

“After that debacle, we decided to run across the lake to the point across from Monitor Island,” Kimberling continued. “We caught two fish and moved over to Fraser Point. There was one 200-yard stretch where there weren’t any boats, so we went in there and fished a dock. Matt caught a 2-pounder on his first cast. I cast right in there and caught another 2-pounder. Then I made a cast to the bank and caught another 4-pounder that got wrapped around a cable and broke off.”

Kimberling said the team had their five weigh-in fish by 10 o’clock. They filled their limit with drop-shot rigs baited with an Aaron’s Morning Dawn-colored Roboworm in 10 to 20 feet of water on banks with large rocks.

“After that, the wind was really bad, so we decided to make a run back to the launch to fish the creek there,” Kimberling said. “We started punching mats in there, flipping a toxic grape Missile Baits D Bomb. We went about 200 yards into the creek and caught a 5-pounder and a 3-pounder out of the same mat within two casts of each other.

“After a bit of a lull, Matt flipped up against a tree and swam the bait out,” Kimberling added. “A fish followed it and ate it on the swim. Matt thought it was a carp, then he finally set the hook, and it was our big fish at 6 pounds, 1 ounce.”

Kimberling said the duo caught nine bass — all keepers — during the course of the day.

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

First: University of Idaho — Matthew Kavanaugh and Nate Kimberling, both of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, five bass, 18-13.

Second: Simpson University — Jayden Nezy, Page, Ariz., and Nathan Phillips, Kelseyville, California, five bass, 18-11.

Third: Simpson University — Ty Manterola, Pasco, Washington, and Taj White, Glendale, Arizona, five bass, 16-10.

Fourth: Cal Poly — Dane Morris, Agoura Hills, California, and Sam West, Fort Bragg, California, five bass, 16-6.

Fifth: Fresno State — Brendan Holden and Clark Vue, both of Clovis, California, five bass, 15-12.

Sixth: Fresno State — Liam Cornell, Fresno, California, and Kelby Keeling, Visalia, California, five bass, 15-6.

Seventh: Chico State — Peter Khoury and Grant Loberg, both of Chico, California, five bass, 15-0.

Eighth: Chico State — Jack Geist, Davis, California, and Miles Kaneko, Berkeley, California, five bass, 14-13.

Ninth: Simpson University — Ryan Beaty, Martinez, California, and James Hawkinson, Granite Bay, California, five bass, 14-8.

Tenth: Sonoma State University — Dawson Stroud, Waterford, California, and Owen Ward, Modesto, California, five bass, 13-15.

Complete results for the entire field can be found at

The Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event on Clear Lake was the second of three regular-season tournaments for Western Conference anglers.

The next event for College Fishing anglers will be the Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event Smith Mountain Lake, June 3 in Huddleston, Virginia.

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 2022 MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship Presented by Lowrance will be held on Fort Gibson Lake in Wagoner, Oklahoma, March 29-31, and is hosted by the Wagoner Area Chamber of Commerce.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit For regular College Fishing updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Upcoming Calendar

12.02.2023 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Festival of Trees
12.03.2023 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Lower Lake Hometown HoliDaze Street Fair
12.09.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.09.2023 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Christmas in Middletown
12.14.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lakeport Blizzard event
12.16.2023 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Kelseyville Wreaths Across America ceremony
12.16.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.21.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lakeport Blizzard event
Christmas Eve

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