Club sports at Oregon State: The bass fishing team
Team competes against 40 other Division I schools, can win up to $5,000 at tournaments
Published: Monday, January 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 21:07
The state of Oregon is well known for its salmon, steelhead and trout fishing. Unbeknownst to most, though, is the fact that bass fishing is giving the other fish a battle for popularity.
The Oregon State Univeristy bass fishing team is a clear representative of that.
"A lot of people have gone fishing for trout or salmon, but not bass. It gives you an opportunity to learn more about that specific kind of fishing," said Dan Hough, coach and co-founder of the OSU Bass Team.
The bass fishing team was founded in 2009. It first consisted of eight members, but has slowly grown to around 14.
The team competes against 40 other Division I schools across the country for a chance to win money, not only for their club, but for their school as well.
If a team places in the top five at tournaments, they can win anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, which would be split between the school and the club.
The club goes to two main kinds of tournaments each year. The first are tournaments against other clubs around the country, whereas the second kind are Forrest L. Wood, better known as FLW tournaments.
Forrest L. Wood was the founder of Ranger Boats, so FLW Outdoors named the tournaments after him in 1996.
In these tournaments, the club typically sends two to three teams, consisting of two people per team.
Each team then goes out on a boat, accompanied by professionals who help monitor the fishing.
They are allowed to weigh in five fish per team, and the team with the largest fish wins the tournament.
During the fishing process, the teams are able to keep six fish in the live well. That way, if they catch a bigger fish, they can release one of the smaller ones they have in the well.
After the weigh-in, all fish are released back into their environment.
"This club offers you a great experience. It's not very often you can fish with professionals and win money for the school," said club member Colton Thomas. "Here at the bass fishing club, we explore this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
The team also has a Civil War against the University of Oregon twice a year during fall and spring terms. This has been going on since the club was founded.
At the last Civil War, Oregon State was able to beat Oregon to tie up their Civil War series. They are hoping to continue their winning streak against the Ducks this coming spring.
To do so, the team tries to practice as much as they can.
Practicing isn't always the easiest, but the team prefers spots like the Willamette River and Dorena Lake in Cottage Grove, Ore.
"We all have grown friendships, so when we want to practice it's more like just going out and fishing wherever we can," said Nick Layton, secretary of the team.
Joining the team is not too difficult.
They have some fishing poles and tackle available to rent for those who want to try fishing before going out and buying their own gear.
The team is also currently working with the school to try and get more rental gear for students and faculty.
"This is a growing club, and we are always looking for new members, even if they haven't fished before," Thomas said.
With more tournaments approaching, OSU started off on a high note this term.
This past weekend, the team sent Ryan Sparks and Zach MacDonald, two members of the team, to a FLW tournament at Shasta Lake in California, where they took first place and won $5,000.
The team is hoping to continue with this momentum at their next tournament.
"It gives you a stepping stone for people who might want to pursue angling or for those who just want to go out and have a good time," said Zach MacDonald.
Caitie Karcher, sports writer