FAIRMONT - Evidently, there's something about water sports that seems to fit Parkersburg South graduate and current Fairmont State University senior Ryan Radcliff just right.
Radcliff, along with bass partner Wil Dieffenbauch of Hundred, had quite the experience this past weekend when the duo captured the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championship on Philpott Lake in Martinsville, Va.
A former two-year swimmer for Parkersburg South and a four-year member of the Patriot crew team, Radcliff is a swimmer for FSU but a shoulder injury derailed his junior season. He ended up taking a redshirt last year and has been rehabbing this year and is now back with the Falcons.
Picture courtesy of FLW
The Fairmont State team of Wil Dieffenbauch, left, and Ryan Radcliff show off some of their catch they captured on the final day of the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championship last Saturday at Philpott Lake in Martinsville, Va.
While Dieffenbauch started the FSU club fishing team according to Radcliff, the ex-Patriot didn't have a chance to fish with him until this year because Dieffenbauch's teammate just graduated.
"I was up here my freshman year and had swimming, but I saw they had a fishing team and I always enjoyed fishing," said Radcliff, who will join Dieffenbauch somewhere early next spring for the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship. "I hadn't done a lot of tournaments and I decided to check out the club.
"I fished the first two years and did a couple of tournaments with a different partner. I started fishing with Wil this summer. We got together and practiced this summer. We met in New Martinsville and fished on the Ohio River."
The duo's first official FLW event together didn't go very well at Kerr Lake in North Carolina this past June, but by finishing fourth at another qualifier in late July on Lake Champlain in New York they punched their ticket to this past weekend's Northern Conference Championship.
"We did awful in that one," Radcliff recalled of their first tournament together. "That was our first tournament and it was the first time I had fished since shoulder surgery. I hadn't fished in about four or five months before that, but we got over that one quick.
"They have four qualifiers (for the national tournament) and there were two more but we decided not to travel and go to those and focused on the regional."
That turned out to be a good thing as the duo earned a fully rigged Ranger Z117 for their bass club with the victory at Philpott Lake.
"We've always got along and it seems like me and Wil just click. We just kind of connect," said Radcliff, who knows things will be different next year. "The national will be the last event I fish with Wil because he's graduating.
"I will have one more year fishing. We're focusing on the nationals, but we might do a couple little tournaments on the Ohio River or something."
The FSU anglers finished with what proved to be the winning three-day catch of 24 pounds and 12 ounces as they caught their five bass limit each day on Philpott Lake.
"I had a horrible last day and caught one fish," said Radcliff, a criminal justice major who admitted he spent most of the early portion of Saturday trying to get free from about a dozen snags.
"We are hoping the nationals are in April and I will be able to go during my spring break and practice for a week and get a good idea of what we want to do. They've got to announce it and it could be on the other side of the country. If it's far away that's what makes it tough."