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.
In 2014, there will be a competitive tournament circuit called the Ohio Collegiate Tournament Series, which is open to any Ohio college that fields a bass fishing team. The series will visit a number of Ohio fisheries, and the schedule can be viewed in the 2014 Circuit Schedules page.
There are currently close to ten Ohio colleges that field competitive bass fishing teams. Those schools who were willing to share a little about themselves include Bowling Green State University, Kent State University, Lake Erie College, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, The University of Akron, Xavier University, and Youngstown State University. Ohio Bass Blog contacted these student-athletes to learn about each of their organizations. Here is what they had to say (in alphabetical order).
Bowling Green State University Bass Club
Submitted by BGSU Club President Kevin Klensch
The Bowling Green State University Bass Fishing Team was founded in 2011, and currently has seven active members. We all share a common interest in fishing, and it isn’t uncommon for our club meetings to begin with 45 minutes of telling fishing stories.
We have fished the FLW Collegiate tournaments in the Northern Division for the past two years. Along with the FLW tournaments, we also fished the Boat U.S. National Championship in 2013. This year we will fish the Boat U.S, FLW and B.A.S.S. Collegiate tournaments.
In between tournaments and school, we try to fish together as much as possible. Lake Erie’s Western Basin, the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair are all within an hour drive of the campus, so that is where we spend our weekends fishing. In early spring, Ohio’s infamous walleye run in the Maumee River is only a 20 minute drive from campus, and calls us to wade in the frigid water to catch those toothy fish.
With the help of local sponsors such as Zap Lures, Economical Bass Baits, and Snack Daddy Lures, we are able to fish these tournaments. We are always looking for more support and opportunities to promote the products that we use, and to promote local businesses. We represent our school and sponsors positively and respectfully.
Any BGSU student who is interested in joining the BGSU Bass Fishing Club can contact us through our Facebook page by searching Bowling Green State University Bass Fishing Club, or by emailing Kyle Klensch (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jason Scott (email@example.com) or Zach Goeglein (firstname.lastname@example.org).
BGSU’s 2014 Tournament Schedule:
March 14-16: B.A.S.S. Collegiate Open on Lake Chickamauga
April 4-5: Cabelas Big Bass Bash on Kentucky Lake
May 3: FLW College Qualifier on Smith Mountain Lake
May 21-23: Boat U.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Pickwick Lake
June 13-14: B.A.S.S. Eastern Regional on Watts Bar Lake
July 12: FLW College Qualifier on Chesapeake Bay
August 23: FLW College Qualifier on Chautaugua Lake
Kent State University Bass Fishing Club
Submitted by KSU Club President Evan Kruse
The Kent State University Bass Fishing Club was founded in Fall 2008. That first season we had four members, and we have grown to about 28 currently. As of right now, we have 10 new names that have shown interest in joining our club in 2014. I predict this season to be our best yet.
We were founded to be eligible to fish the FLW Tour College Fishing Series, which can be viewed at collegefishing.com. The club sponsors us to fish all across the East Coast, essentially for free. Our anglers provide the boats, but the club provides gas money up to $100 per member. The only costs that fall on our members are hotels and food expenses. We send eight members to these tournaments annually. First place for qualifiers will come home with a check and potential berth to a regional qualifier.
We also fish local grass roots tournaments here in Northeast Ohio (dobass.com). The tournament director for these events, Rory Franks, directs around 30 tournaments a year, and provides us multiple opportunities to fish tournaments for free each year. This year we are holding a major Ohio college tournament in April for all participating schools at Mosquito Creek Lake.
Aside from fishing tournaments, we do a lot of sponsor appearances throughout the winter to help promote our organization. We are sponsored by over 20 companies, including: Columbia; Tacklewarehouse.com; Fin,Feather, and Fur Outfitters; Cabela’s; Pure Fishing Online; Frog Toggs; Rodmakers Shop; and many more. We have great jerseys that show off our great sponsors and represent our team well.
The amount of time anglers put into our club is up to them. The more they put in, the more they get out of it, and the better chance they have of fishing tournaments for free. Nothing we do is ever mandatory.
We do have club dues that are due at the second meeting you attend each semester, and they are $25 per semester. We require that members maintain a minimum GPA of 2.3 to be in the club. As long as members are above that mark, they’re ready to fish.
We are in the process of planning four club tournaments through the spring semester. These tournaments do not pay out cash prizes, but rather are held for our club points standings. In 2014, these tournaments will be held at Mogadore Lake, West Branch State Park, Deer Creek, and Walborn Lake.
Interested members can contact us on Facebook by searching ”Kent State Bass Fishing Team“. Our official website is www.fishKSU.com.
Lake Erie College Bass Club
Submitted by LEC Club President Cody Furr
The Lake Erie College Bass Team was started in the spring of 2012. We started with only two members and have grown to eight currently. After some fundraising we were finally able to fish the FLW College Series in the Northern Division in 2013.
All of our members play on the Lake Erie College football team, so we are a close group. It is not unusual for us to get done with a spring practice and head right to the Big Lake or the Grand River, which is less than five minutes away from campus. The downfall to having everyone on the football team is we cannot compete in the tournaments that take place in the fall.
We are under the direction of Kevin Hoogenboom, and also have a lot of support from our sponsor, Hookerz Tackle. We are always looking to add members to our club. We do not make it mandatory to fish in tournaments. A few of our members just enjoy being in the outdoors and doing something they love, and that is fine. Along with other schools, we are in the process of fundraising the money needed to provide our own bass boat to meet the new FLW rules. If we can get that done we will compete in the FLW Northern Division, and we are already set to fish local trails in Ohio as well.
Anyone who is interested in supporting our club, or any Lake Erie College students who interested in joining the club can contact the President, Cody Furr at Cfurr@lec.edu.
Ohio University Fishing Club
Submitted by Club Vice President Justin Telep
The Ohio University Fishing Club is an organization designed for anyone who likes to fish. You don’t have to fish in tournaments to be in the club as we have numerous members who do not tournament fish. Around campus we have the Ohio River and Hocking River, along with many state park reservoirs to fish at. We organize camping trips every semester, usually to the AEP ReCeation Lands, where there are an unlimited number of untouched lakes within hiking distance.
Our club is about 30 members strong and growing every year. We have many sponsors that can help our anglers get the best gear out there. Our sponsors include Tackle Warehouse, Dobyns Rods, Gone Fishing Sunglasses, Gemini Jerseys, Pure Fishing, Frogg Toggs Rainwear, Real Grip, and Lews Reels and Rods. Two years in a row we have had one of our members be part of the Fenwick Earn Your Wings College team.
Our Club is a pretty tight group of anglers, hunters, and outdoorsmen, so it is not always about fishing.
Some of our members on the competitive bass fishing side fish with the local Athens County Bassmasters Club. We have fished FLW tournaments since 2009 with a best finish of second place on the Ohio River in 2012. Last year we sent two teams to the regional championship on the Chesapeake Bay.
Our tournament schedule is going to be a lot different this year as we will not be fishing the FLW tournament series because we will not be able to provide our own boat in order to compete. So instead we are organizing an Ohio Collegiate Weekend Tournament series where we will be fishing against the other colleges in Ohio on a regular basis. The schedule for this series is still in the process and we are working with other schools interested in competing within the great state of Ohio.
If you have any questions about this or want to get your school involved in this tournament series, please contact Justin Telep at email@example.com.
If interested in joining the club, or want to know more about our club, please contact club president Zach Ferenbaugh firstname.lastname@example.org, Vice President Justin Telep email@example.com, or by the club email Anglers@Ohio.edu.
The Ohio State University Bass Fishing Club
Submitted by OSU Club President Tom Csepe
The Ohio State University Bass Fishing Club is both a competitive tournament team, as well as a fishing club that is available for any Ohio State University student to join.
The club is for recreational fishermen and women who share the love of fishing. We fish local ponds at our meetings, which gives everyone a chance to hang out, forget about the stresses of college life, and get out to the water. Club members can enjoy our club events, and they also have access to discounted fishing gear from our many sponsors.
Our fishing team is geared more towards the competitive bass angler. Our team consists of 6 to 10 members who represent OSU in college level tournaments. To earn a spot on our roster, we have two tryouts. In the first tryout, everyone must fish from shore, due to the limited amount of boats we are able to provide. The top 6 anglers from the first tryout then enter the second tryout, where they have a chance to run a boat, and fish a lake while competing against the other anglers. Once you make the team, you are on it until you graduate so we usually only take two new members each year.
This year our team will be fishing the FLW College Northern Division series. Our first tournament is at Smith Mountain Lake on May 3rd, followed by Chesapeake Bay on July 12th and Chautauqua Lake on August 23rd. We hope that a few of our teams will do well enough to qualify for the Invitational tournament on October 11th on the Potomac River.
If interested in our club and/or team, members can contact President Tom Csepe at firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can contact the team email at email@example.com. We can also be found on Facebook under “Ohio State University Bass Fishing.”
The University of Akron Bass Club
Submitted by UA Club President Christian Combs
The University of Akron Bass Club was founded in 2011 with an aim to promote the sport of bass fishing in the college realm. We started small with only 6 or 7 committed members, but it didn’t take long for our program to take-off. Just 3 years later, we have more than doubled that number to include a 20-man roster and an established coach to guide us along the way.
The UA Bass Club was mostly founded upon competitive fishing and eligibility to fish the FLW College Fishing Series against other college students. However, this does not mean that you have to be an experienced fisherman to join. Membership is open to ANY male or female student attending the university at least part-time, regardless of skill level, with or without a boat. We typically hold 8 club tournaments throughout the year—four during the spring semester and four during the fall semester—at various lakes around campus including Portage Lakes, West Branch Reservoir, Lake Milton, and Nimisila (See our spring 2014 schedule below).
At each club tournament, anglers are awarded points based on their performances, and these points get added up at the end of the season to determine who qualifies for the FLW tournaments during the summer. Those traveling to FLW tournaments are responsible for their own fuel and food purchases, while club funding covers the hotel costs. Teams that finish in the top 15 gain entry to fish the FLW College Fishing Regional Championship, as well as additional money prizes for teams placing in the top 5.
With the help and support we receive from sponsors like Kames Sports, Vic’s Sports Center, Venom Lures, Lew’s Fishing Tackle, Purefishing, Tackle Warehouse, and Frogg Toggs, we are lucky enough to be able to compete on both a local and national basis. That being said, we try to do as much as possible to show our appreciation for both our sponsors and the community. Aside from fishing, we as a club participate in numerous hours of community service including conservation projects, lake clean-ups, and volunteer efforts at a local kid’s fishing derby at Portage Lakes. We are always looking for other volunteer opportunities as well.
Whether you’re looking to get into more tournament fishing or you simply want to meet people who share a common interest in fishing, the University of Akron Bass Club is for you! Any UA student who in interested in joining can contact us through our Facebook page by searching The University of Akron Bass Fishing Club, or by emailing Christian Combs (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Derrick Lockhart (email@example.com). GO ZIPS!
2014 UA Bass Club Tournament Schedule:
April 12th – Portage Lakes, Old State Park Ramp 7:00am-3:00pm
**April 27th – Ohio Collegiate Bass Tournament TBA
May 3rd – Deer Creek, Ramp TBA 7:00 am-3:00pm
May 17th – West Branch, Rock Spring Rd. Ramp* 7:00am-3:00pm
May 31st – Lake Milton, Jersey St. Launch 7:00am-3:00pm
June 7th – Alternate Date
Xavier University Bass Fishing Team
Submitted by Alex Vaisvil, President of the Xavier University Bass Fishing Team
Xavier Bass Fishing is a relatively young team that has high aspirations. We have grown from ten to eighteen members in the last year, and have gone from looking to catch fish in tournaments, to competing in each and every one we enter. There have been some recent exciting developments with our team, including the addition of St. Croix, Quantum, Stanley, Culprit, and Hitch Everything as team sponsors. And although it was not the greatest news when FLW announced that it would no longer be providing collegiate anglers with boats, it has given us a reason to fundraise for one.
In the meantime, we will be fishing three Bass Fishing League tournaments, along with the FLW Collegiate Nationals and one qualifying tournament. The BFLs will be on Dale Hollow Lake and Lake Patoka in March and April. The whole team gets a chance to fish one out of three of these tournaments.
The National tournament is at Lake Keowee in South Carolina, which will be televised on NBC Sports Network. We are very excited for this, as it is our first trip to Nationals, but hopefully not the last. The one qualifying tournament we are going to fish this year will be on Lake Chautauqua.
If any college or high school students are interested in Xavier University Bass Fishing you can contact Alex Vaisvil at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you want to stay up to date with what is going on with our team, or to find links to our sponsors, visit our website at www.xavier.edu/clubsports/bass-fishing, or check out our Facebook page at Xavier University Bass Fishing Team.
Our club is part of one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and we are keeping pace with hard work and dedication.
Youngstown State University Bass Club
Submitted by Chuck Cremeans, YSU Club President
The Y.S.U. Bass Club was founded in 2013 by me and current Vice President Zachary Alcorn. I’d fished tournaments on a local level, and always wanted to branch-out. So when I heard about college fishing I sat down with Carrier Anderson, the head of student organizations at our school. She pointed me in the direction of Joe Conroy, head of the Y.S.U. sports department, who was pumped to help us get started. We filed the necessary paperwork and began registering for tournaments.
In 2013 we had an 8th place finish at Smith Mountain Lake, a 2nd place finish at the Potomac River, and slipped a little at Lake Champlain to 20th. At the 2013 Invitational Tournament at Chesapeake Bay we sealed our way into the 2014 National Championship, which is coming up in March. We’ll be competing to represent our school and to bring the trophy and a new bass boat back to Ohio!
We have high hopes for this upcoming year, but we couldn’t be where we are now if it weren’t for the help we received from our sponsors. First is Vic’s Sport Center. If you need boat work done or are looking to buy a boat, these guys won’t steer you wrong. Our other sponsor, Sweeney Chevrolet, provided us with a vehicle for traveling to and from our events! A big thanks goes out to Bobby Stackhouse at Sweeney.
The schedule for the upcoming 2014 season will be great. We plan on fishing the full collegefishing.com schedule, and also plan on hosting an event of our own. In addition, we will be helping out with the X-Series, which is run by George Byers. The X-Series offers a fun and competitive circuit to anglers in NE Ohio, and George has been a tremendous help to our team.
We are always looking to add new members, so if you attend YSU as a full-time student and are interested in getting involved, drop us a line! If you aren’t a student, but are interested in learning more about opportunities to support our club, we welcome you to contact us as well. I can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at 330-727-0449
I will tell you this about the college fishing experience – there is nothing like it. We have met some great guys and a couple girls along the way. I have made some close friends and can’t wait to fish against them again this year. I want to wish all the Ohio teams the best of luck in 2014.