Story by Justin Gaston, Contributing writer
Over the years, Murray State’s bass fishing team has been successful and continued to be one of the best collegiate bass fishing clubs in the nation. The Anglers were established in 2004 and didn’t take long to become well-known.
In 2009, the Anglers were named the U.S. Boat National Champions. The Anglers currently rank 58 out of 329 schools in the Bass Association of College Anglers School of the Year standings but are expecting a big rise in the standings after points are added from last weekend’s tournament. The past two years the Anglers have finished second place in the standings for school of the year, but the Anglers’ team president, Ryan Kirkpatrick, says they have their eyes focused on placing first this year. Kirkpatrick, junior from Lindenhurst, Illinois, is confident this will be the Anglers’ year.
Last weekend at the biggest collegiate bass event of the year at Kentucky Lake, the Anglers’ Ryan Lancaster, sophomore from Shelby, North Carolina, placed seventh overall after starting off day one winning his session and reeling in the second-largest bass of that day, a 6.71 pound largemouth. Jake Krish, senior from Louisville, Kentucky, reeled in a 5.68 pound largemouth placing him sixth in his session and finishing in the top 40.
The Anglers’ credit their success over the years to two key elements: location and the size of their team. The Anglers are only 15 minutes away from Kentucky Lake, which Bassmaster magazine described as “one of the most consistent bass fishing destinations” and ranking 12th in the 2015 best bass lakes Bassmaster article.
The Anglers also have the largest collegiate bass team in the nation with members from Minnesota to North Carolina. The Anglers bring out as many as eight teams to their tournaments with two members per team. The top six anglers are chosen to compete in the national tournaments.
“We’ve got guys from all over and that really helps when you’re traveling to all these different places,” Kirkpatrick said.
The Anglers are always looking to add fishers to their team, hosting club meetings the first Wednesday of every month for anyone looking to come out and join them. The meetings take place in Room 404 in Business Building South.
The Anglers also host eight club tournaments just for the people of Murray to come be a part of, including the Murray State Invitational which is hosted by the Anglers in honor of Kyle P. Dieling, one of the founders of the Murray State Anglers. The Anglers hosted the fifth annual invitational in February.
The Anglers will continue their ACA tournament at the Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Open at Lake Dardanelle, March 25-26. This will be their second of the 15 national tournaments they are participating in this year.