More than 500 colleges in the U.S. have bass fishing clubs. The Murray State Bass Anglers pride themselves on being one of the first.
After four in 2004, the Bass Anglers now have more than 30 members who work hard and fish often to keep the club going. They compete among themselves, as well as at other schools across the country. Clubs from schools such as Oklahoma State and Wisconsin have come to Murray to compete.
Unlike many other college bass fishing teams, the Bass Anglers is open to anyone interested in joining.
“We welcome anybody, whether you’ve fished one day in your life and you want to learn or you’ve fished every day,” club president Therron Shaw said.
A membership fee of $30 is required to join the club. Students wishing to join must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours and maintain a 2.0 GPA to stay active in the club.
The Bass Anglers have been featured on ESPN, as well as many other TV networks. The club has a wide variety of sponsors with whom they work to maintain good relationships. Some of the sponsors include Fisherman’s Headquarters, Dobyn’s Rods and Woodforest National Bank and Tackle Warehouse. Many other companies support the club as well.
The club has become very successful over the years and has been nationally recognized many times for its achievements. In 2009, the Bass Anglers won the BoatUS Collegiate National Championship and in 2010, they won fourth place in the FLW College Bass Fishing National Championship.
“It’s a great group of guys and there’s some of them there that are probably around the borderline of pro bass fisherman,” adviser Gary Morris said. “I’m learning more from them than they’ll ever learn from me.”
The members of the club fish year-round and participate in four tournaments per semester among themselves. The members are ranked based on how they fish at these tournaments. Based on those rankings, the club decides who will go on to nationals. Most national events take place throughout the middle of the year.
The club hosts its own invitational every year and draws attendance from 30 to 40 schools. This year, the Bass Anglers are hosting the 2013 Murray State Kentucky Lake Invitational Feb. 22-24. All college bass fishing teams are invited to participate in the tournament.
“It’s a great way to get our name out there and what we’re trying to do as a club,” Shaw said.
The club regularly fishes on Kentucky Lake as well as Lake Barkley. Most lakes only contain fish around 3 or 4 pounds, but the Bass Anglers often find 7-pounders.
Said Morris: “The great thing about Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley is that when you’re fishing, you know that you have a chance to catch a nice fish and you could have a wall hanger.”
Story by Megan Kavy, Contributing writer.