A fish story that's not so fishy

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Bass Fishing National Guard FLW College Fishing Championship brought more than fishing fans to Columbia this weekend.

It brought a heck of a fish tale.  And this one's true.

With the Clemson team sitting on the weigh-in stage as leaders Sunday, only two teams were left to weigh their catches.  One was Auburn, the other was a one-man team from Kansas State.

When Andy Wicker and Harold Turner saw the huge bass among those caught by K-State's Ryan Patterson, they knew it was over.

"We kind of saw a peek at his fish before we walked in there, and we weren't feeling to comfortable, that's for sure," said Turner. "He had a good day today.  Hats off to him."

Auburn was the last to weigh in.  The Auburn team was the leader coming into Sunday's fishing, but their total catch wasn't enough to beat Patterson.

Wicker grew up fishing on Lake Murray, so he thought he had the home-lake advantage.

"Nobody's going to beat themselves up more than what I'm going to beat myself up over this tournament," he said. "I grew up on this lake, and not to win it, it's sickening.

"It's one I'm going to remember for a long time and not for the right reasons," said Wicker.

The weigh-in was held as part of a special event tailgate at Carolina Stadium after the USC baseball game.  Anglers caught their fish on Lake Murray.

Patterson takes that 19-hour drive back home with a $100,000 check and a trophy. His brother, Brandon, was originally on the team, but he couldn't compete after he transferred to another school.

"When I started today, I knew I'd have a chance, but I didn't think in my wildest dreams I would catch that kind of a bag," said Patterson.

"The lake is beautiful," he continued.  "This is a place I would like to retire to. It's beautiful country, the people are amazing.  It's a great place to visit."

The win is Patterson's second connection to South Carolina.  The first is K-State's former basketball coach Frank Martin, who recently accepted the job with the Gamecocks.

"I am going to miss Frank" said Patterson. "Frank Martin is an amazing guy and an amazing coach.  We at K-State wish him nothing but the best and we hope he has the same success at South Carolina."

Organizers say it's rare for a one-man team to win a fishing competition like this.

In scoring fishing competitions, the team that brings in the highest weight of fish total over the three-day event wins.

Teams and their fans from as far away as California and Wisconsin came to Lake Murray for the event.

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