The Ramapo College fishing club qualified for the Fishing League Worldwide College National Tournament when the team of brothers Joe and Andy Zapf finished 10th in the FLW College regionals in La Plata, Md. on Oct. 11 and 12.
The top 10 teams on the Potomac River qualified for the national tournament in the spring, and the team of junior Andy and graduate Joe Zapf squeaked in, winning the tiebreaker for 10th place.
“We placed 10th and the top 10 qualified. We tied for 10th place, and we won in the tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was biggest one day weight.” Andy said. “I thought we were out for sure, and I was so sick the final day. I was sleeping in the car on the way in and I was like, nah we’re done Joe.”
But the team’s total of eight pounds and five ounces with five bass was good enough to advance the pair to the national tournament for the second straight season.
Ramapo also sent the team of seniors Andrew Annuzzi and club president Mike Concato to the tournament as they finished 27th overall.
The Zapf brothers have had success in the past, finishing 14th at nationals last year at Lake Keowee in South Carolina. The pair finished first at the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event in April 2013, earning a grand prize of $2,000.
Andy Zapf said that the team is doing its research to prepare for the national tournament in the spring on Lake Murray in South Carolina. He said that many factors make fishing in South Carolina very different than fishing in the New York/New Jersey area.
“There are so many different kinds of lakes. A lot of the lakes around here are not more than 10 feet deep and its lily pads and grass,” he said. “The lake we fished, Keowee, is 300 feet deep in the center, crystal clear and the fish aren’t up shallow. You’re fishing up to like 50, 60 feet of water and using your electronics and your fish finders to find schools of fish offshore.”
He also said that they fish a different kind of bass, the spotted bass as opposed to the largemouth bass in the more northern regions.
However, the national tournament will be the last time that Andy teams with his brother Joe for a collegiate fishing tournament. Even though Joe graduated in 2014, fishers who qualify for the FLW Regionals in the spring can fish the regionals and nationals the next season, even after graduation.
“I’ve been fishing with my brother since I was like four years old so he’s my fishing buddy more than anyone else. We kind of got into tournaments together, I couldn’t as for a better teammate,” Andy Zapf said.