Competitive bass fishing is perhaps the fastest growing sport in college athletics. With more than two hundred schools competing nationwide, and several televised national championship events that boast prizes in the range of $100,000, the sport is undoubtedly here to stay. There are currently three Ohio colleges that field competitive bass fishing teams. Those schools are The Ohio State University, Kent State University, and Xavier University. This past week I reached out to these student-athletes to learn about each of their organizations.
The Ohio State University Bass Fishing Club OSU’s bass fishing club currently has fifty active members, which makes it one of the largest collegiate bass fishing teams in the country. According to the club’s President, Kyle Feucht (a Senior Agribusiness and Applied Economics major), the club was started in January of 2009 by Jason Founds. In 2012, OSU plans to compete in the Boat U.S. , B.A.S.S., and FLW collegiate qualifying events in an attempt to field teams in one or more of these championships. They will also be competing in a number of local tournaments around Ohio. In response to a question about the club’s access to local waters for practicing, Feucht stated that ”Like most college students, affording tuition and books is hard enough as it is. However we are fortunate as a club to have five members who own their own boats. For those of us that have boats, you can find us competing and practicing at any of the local lakes and reservoirs around Central Ohio. When getting the club out as a whole, we tend to go to Griggs Reservoir or Prairie Oaks Metro Park, both of which can provide some excellent fishing as well as shelters and grills for cooking-out afterwards”. In its brief existence, OSU has already experienced some considerable success at the collegiate level. In 2009, the team of Kevin Moeller and Casey Hammann qualified for the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship on Kentucky Lake. Moeller and Hammann actually led the tournament after Day 1, and ended up finishing an impressive 8th place. Moeller was later named to the All-American team. Feucht praised the club’s sponsors, including Warrior Baits, and mentioned that OSU will be hosting several fund-raising open tournaments in 2012, the dates of which will be announced at a later time. For anyone who is interested in sponsoring or donating to the OSU Bass Fishing Club, you can do so by visiting their website at www.osubassfishing.com
Kent State University Bass Fishing Team Kent State’s bass fishing team was founded in 2008, and has since grown to over twenty active members. According to Joshua Coe, a Junior Business major and the club’s PR/Technology Officer, “We have a “home” lake that we hold the bulk of our club tournaments on, and are fortunate to have several phenomenal fisheries close by. The bulk of boats owned by our active members are electric only rigs, as we have access to several reservoirs close to campus that do not allow gas motors. Our team also has a very helpful and distinguished faculty advisor to help us through any and all our university requirements. All of our members share a passion for fishing, yet it is not always easy to get tournament experience. Our exceptional team coach, Rory Franks, goes above and beyond to get all of our anglers opportunities to fish competitively”. Kent State will be competing in the 2012 North Division of the FLW College Fishing Circuit, as well as the KSU La “Do Bass” Series (http://www.dobass.com/bass.html), which the team itself hosts with Franks. They are also hosting an open tournament on Mosquito Creek Lake on March 31st. If you are interested in supporting the KSU team, you can do so by contacting them on their website at http://www.fishksu.com/. KSU has also had some recent success in competition. In 2011, the team of Ray Fierst and Jaron Barnes qualified on Lake Erie for the Regional Championship. This was the first Kent State team to ever make it past a qualifying tournament. But the club’s activities aren’t limited to tournament competition. According to the club’s President Josh Schlifer, a Junior Criminal Justice major, “We also do many sponsorship appearances throughout the year, and participate in community events such as the ODNR’s Just Wear It Life Jacket Program. This year we are also planning to do some community service work throughout the season”. The KSU club is always looking to recruit new anglers. Interested students can learn more by visiting www.fishksu.com, or by contacting Coe Jcoe2@kent.edu or Schlifer firstname.lastname@example.org.
Xavier University Bass Fishing Club Given its urban location within the city limits of Cincinnati, it really impressed me to learn that Xavier University also has a bass fishing club! The club, which currently has eight active members, was officially recognized by the school in 2011. The club was formed by President Ty Styons (Junior Special Education major) and Vice President Ian Goddard (Junior Middle Childhood Education major), good friends who developed a mutual passion for bass fishing in high school. According to Goddard, “We practice during the season at the Hamilton County Parks lakes, including Winton Woods, Sharon Woods, Miami Whitewater, and Lake Isabella. The reason we practice so much at the Hamilton County Parks is because none of us have a boat. However, a local club – The Butler County Bassmasters - invites us to fish a tournament or two out of their boats. Currently we have scheduled eight tournaments for this upcoming season. We are fishing the four Northern Division qualifying tournaments with the FLW College Fishing Circuit. We are also sending club members across the country to compete in various FLW BFL tournaments”. The club will be hosting an open tournament in 2012, the date and location of which has not yet been determined. Once scheduled, information about the event will be posted on the club’s website at http://www.xavier.edu/clubsports/bass-fishing/index.cfm. Outside of tournament competition, the club members make lures and teach new members the ins and outs of bass fishing. They also do seminars at the Cincinnati Bass Pro Shops, and participate in an MRDD youth fishing derby every summer. The club is always open for additional support from the community. According to Goddard, “We accept any donations - monetary, tackle, rods/reels, etc. We are also always looking for new opportunities to get our club members out on real bass boats. The community can also come support our club and the other Ohio clubs at the weigh-in of the August 5th college tournament on Tanners Creek in Lawrenceburg, In.” Students interested in learning more about the club can do so by filling out a recruitment form on the club’s website. .