College Angler Headed To The Bassmaster Classic

Nick Ratliff, 21, of Elizabethtown, Ky., a senior at Campbellsville University, will be fishing the big show when the Bassmaster Classic launches on the Tennessee River at Knoxville in March. He’s also riding around in a fully rigged Toyota Tundra that’s pulling a Nitro Z20 bass boat, and he’s holding a check for $7,500 for tournament entry fees. It’s all thanks to some last-minute heroics that helped him win the 2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Classic Bracket.

College Angler Headed To The Bassmaster Classic

Ratliff fought down to the final minutes of the third day in an oh-so-close bracket against a scrappy West Virginia University junior, Nolan Minor of Charlottesville, Va. The anglers wrapped up the day with the two biggest bags of the tournament; Ratliff with 13 pounds, 8 ounces and Minor with 13-4.

Ratliff, who is majoring in business administration with an emphasis in marketing, plugged along consistently, throwing a weightless wacky-rigged stickworm and keeping his faith.

“I had the feeling I was behind,” he said. “I kept my head down, and I knew if the Lord meant it to be, then it would be.”

Headed to the Bassmaster Classic

With just 30 minutes left in fishing time, Ratliff picked up three more fish that allowed him to cull up to his winning 13-8.

Ratliff was emotional and stunned as family and friends hugged and congratulated him.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said of the win and the Classic berth. “It was so close. I thought I’d lost. I really did.”

For more information on the Bassmaster Classic, visit

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