The Bassholes - It takes one to know one.

College Fishing 101: An Introduction to the Collegiate Bass Fishing World
on Tuesday 04 August 2009
by Patrick Mangold

College Fishing 101: An Introduction to the Collegiate Bass Fishing World



We all fish for a reason. Some of us fish for the thrill of the hunt, the ever-changing playing field, to fuel a competitive desire or to get away from the grind of everyday life. Anglers have the opportunity to spend time with their families and can even enter tournaments that test their skill against a field of other anglers willing to do the same. For most of us the options are limitless and it becomes a valuable part of our lives. In addition to the traditional reasons for fishing for bass, there is a new breed of anglers that are fishing for something different. There is a rapidly growing group of anglers that fish to represent their College, their community and if they're good enough, pay for the expense of a college education.

For several years college students have had the opportunity to join a fishing club at the University they attend and work to be a member of that club's bass team. Fishing with the club for fun is what many students look for. They meet new people from different parts of the Country and World and learn new techniques and ways of fishing. There is also the "bass team" side of Collegiate fishing clubs that draws the competitive sides out of these students. College students have a unique opportunity in front of them and so do the members of the community that surround these colleges.

There are four main Series that exist for the collegiate bass angler. They are as follows:

National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship -
This Series is aired on the Versus network and their championship has taken place at Lake Lewisville, TX for the last several years. They have several smaller regional tournaments throughout the year as well. This event is a well put together event that draws the largest crowd for a single collegiate event. Their event this past May drew close to 286 anglers from 73 universities.

College Bass National Championship -
This is a large series that contains regional super tournaments and a national championship each year. The title sponsor is Under Armour and the championship will be aired on ESPN Outdoors. This series also has major input and support by the Elite Series anglers that host and mentor the anglers who attend the championship.

FLW College Fishing -
In its first year, this series utilizes boaters from Stren Series events to act as tournament marshals and provide the college teams with their boats for the day. It has a very structured regional qualifier system with regional championships and a national championship. The championship team gets to fish in the Forrest Wood Cup as a boater and co-angler depending on their individual bag weights in the championship. A college student will fish in the Forrest Wood Cup ---UNBELIEVABLE!

Collegiate Bass Anglers Association -
This series is one of the oldest series for collegiate bass fishing. It is the series that contains the Big Ten Conference Championship and many regional events. Florida Gulf Coast University is hosting a tournament on the St. Johns River in November with the help of the CBAA.

These series all have points that make them different but they all work toward the same goal: it seems like they want collegiate anglers to succeed and will stop at nothing to make bass fishing a major collegiate sport.


My experience:

I joined the Reel Knights Fishing club at the University of Central Florida in the summer of 2008 and had the opportunity to fish for the bass team in one tournament. It changed my life forever! I had the pleasure of representing the Reel Knights, UCF, Orlando and all of Florida in the 2008 National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship in Lewisville, Texas in September of 2008. The event was huge, with over a hundred boats from all over the country. The sponsors were great, the venue was great and the fishing followed suit. Well it was great for the top teams but my team struggled on the first day but turned in a decent limit on day two. We finished in the middle of the pack in 64th. I have been tournament fishing ever since.

After graduating in the May of 2009, I was no longer allowed to fish in collegiate events. I have since taken on the task of being the bass team's Alumni Advisor/Coach. I'm getting the opportunity to help these guys gain sponsorship, stay organized, learn techniques and become better angler and students. I am honored to be able to help the Reel Knights as much as I can.

How can you get involved?

The first thing I tell anyone who doesn't know about college bass fishing is to look at the websites, look up the videos from past tournaments online or on TV and see what it's all about. Once you get an idea of what these guys are doing, find the closest school with a team and offer to help. We have guys come in and give lectures on fishing techniques, lures, gear, etc. They get exposure for their sponsors and our members learn something new. It's a great tradeoff! You can also donate any old/unused equipment to the team (one thing college students don't normally have are deep pockets!) Lastly a member of the community can participate in any fundraising tournaments that a club may host. This gives you an opportunity to take care of your fishing addiction and help a group of college students at the same time.

If you own or work for a company that would benefit from working with collegiate bass anglers I would encourage you to jump immediately. Collegiate anglers are the future of the sport and are great examples in the community. Working with these teams can help grow your business and create a great image that you would surely benefit from. Please don't think that collegiate bass anglers are looking for a handout. I have met several anglers from all over the country and they all have one thing in common: A loyalty to those who help them and the ability to effectively promote and sell their sponsor's products. It's a group that is very technically savvy and motivated to succeed.

Looking forward:

I plan on writing additional articles on this topic in a series about collegiate bass fishing. In future articles, I will touch on each of the series in more depth, the schools and teams represented in the State of Florida and of course the Reel Knights as they fish over the next year.

Patrick Mangold