The University of Alabama and Auburn University fishing teams met early Saturday morning at Logan Martin Lake for the inaugural Bassmaster College Classic. Three 2-man teams from each school fished for a cumulative weight and weighed in at the Toyota Tundra booth at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.
For the anglers and their schools, this event was an Iron Bowl on par with the one played on the gridiron.
"This is most definitely another version of the Iron Bowl," said Jann Swaim, academic advisor to the Auburn team. "Anytime Alabama and Auburn get together it's an Iron Bowl."
The launch was unseasonably cold and the conditions less-than-ideal, but both teams managed decent weights for just six hours on the water.
"We got to our first spot and caught one of our best fish of the day right away," said David Rogers, the Alabama team president. "Once that bite died down, I went to a shaky head and kept on catching fish. There were a lot of shorts, but we managed four keepers."
Alabama would weigh in 25 pounds, 8 ounces, besting Auburn's 15 and change.
Tournament director Hank Weldon was bowled over by the turnout. Nearly 400 fans crowded around the Toyota Tundra booth to watch the day's events unfold.
"This was the largest collegiate weigh-in ever," he said. "We have three-day tournaments that don't get a quarter of this. I think the fact that it is in Birmingham, it's in conjunction with the Classic and it's an in-state rivalry adds to the value of this.
"Though Alabama won, this was a day where all college anglers won. This is a great way to bring the sport at our level to light."
Rogers was thrilled and honored to bring the "Iron Bass" to Tuscaloosa.
"This was an amazing tournament. It's always great to beat Auburn, whether it's on the field or on the water," Rogers said. "It's great that we get to hold the trophy and the glory for an entire year."