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Caleb_Dennis_and_Sloan_Pennington_of_the_UNA_fishing_team.jpg          Sloan Pennington and Caleb Dennis of UNA fishing team

SHEFFIELD - a pair of University of North Alabama freshmen bested 122 anglers from throughout the South to win a Fishlife Collegiate Tour bass tournament on Pickwick Lake.

Sloan Pennington of Childersburg and Caleb Dennis caught five largemouth bass weighing 19.78 pounds to win the tournament, that was staged out of Riverfront Park on Saturday, Sept. 19. They earned $1,500.
John Davis and Payton McGinnis of the University of Alabama finished in second place with 16.70 pounds. Austin Hanley of University of Alabama-Birmingham, who fished alone, was third with 16.46 pounds. Taylor Thompson and Blake Yarbrough of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga., finished fourth with Mason MacAnally and Austin Maynard of UAB rounding out the top five.

 It was the only second collegiate level tournament for Pennington and Dennis, who were teammates on the Fayetteville High School fishing team. Both said the opportunity to fish at the collegiate level for a school only minutes from Pickwick Lake were big factors in their decision to attend UNA.

“Education came first, but having a fishing team was a close second for why we came to UNA,” Dennis said.

“We had never fished Pickwick Lake before we came to UNA, now we fish it almost every day. It’s an awesome lake,” Pennington said.

Pennington said he and Davis used a variety of techniques to catch their fish in the Fishlife tournament. “We caught fish in a bunch of different places, using a bunch of different baits at a bunch of different depths. We were just junk fishing all day.”

The tournament was sponsored by Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau. Executive Director Susann Hamlin said sponsorship will pay dividends as the anglers return to their colleges and universities and talk to their friends about Pickwick Lake and encourage them to visit the Shoals.

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