After competing in four club tournaments in the fall, the NC State Bass Fishing team is back for its spring season, where it will compete in club tournaments, as well as some college Bassmaster tournaments for certain anglers.
BassPack junior president Gilliam Tharpe and sponsorship executive Jacob Moore represented the BassPack last weekend, Jan. 23-25, in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at Toledo Bend, the first college Bassmaster tournament of the year.
Toledo Bend is a lake on the border of Louisiana and Texas. It is a 289-mile lake, and one of the fishing hot spots in the area.
Partially due to some tough conditions from a cold front, the weekend did not go as expected for Tharpe and Moore, but the experienced duo that finished in third place in a National Championship last year, learned some things that they can take to their next tournament.
“A cold front came through and dropped the water temperature, and all those fish that hang out shallow, run as far as they can, as fast as they can,” Tharpe said. “...The great thing about doing this, is that you learn a lot, which we learned an absolute ton.”
Every year, in order to qualify for the College Bassmaster National Championships, which members of the BassPack has won three times, you have to finish in the top 25 in one of the College Bassmaster Series tournaments, or finish in the top 10 in team rankings.
Tharpe and Moore have their eyes set on Smith Lake, Feb. 27-29, which is in Alabama, to try and solidify their spot in the National Championships. The duo struggled to its standards, with an 80th-place finish last year at Smith Lake, and will look for redemption in Alabama this time.
“We already know a part of [Smith Lake],” Tharpe said. “...That lake fishes a lot like Lake Norman, where Jacob and I both grew up, so I think we will definitely not fall into the same pitfalls as last year.”
In regards to the club itself, the BassPack had around 30 members attend its opening meeting, including a few new members. Tharpe likes the way the BassPack is coming together as a group for its future.
“There's been a strong push for more club stuff outside of the club, like the guys just hanging out, which is cool to see,” Tharpe said. “...I think that is good for just getting to know everybody.”
Its first club tournament of the season will be Feb. 15, when the BassPack will compete just down the road on Jordan Lake, where it held its fundraiser tournament in October.
Right now, the BassPack tentatively has two other club tournaments scheduled after Jordan Lake for March and April, with locations and exact dates to be voted on at a later time.
Under the direction of Tharpe and other veteran anglers, this group has set a lofty, but attainable goal for the spring semester.
“I would like to send more than one boat to a national championship this year,” Tharpe said. “Last year, Jacob and I went to two, but we were the only guys that went.”
To keep up with the BassPack, follow them on twitter and instagram at @NCStateBassPack.