The bass fishing club at NC State is one of the most well-known clubs on campus, primarily because of the success the team has had, especially on a national level.
The team has won three national championships in its 15-year history: in 2006, 2009 and 2012.
Based on the rules of the tournament, the club is split up into multiple teams, two fishers to a boat, and each boat is a team. When a boat with NC State fishers wins a tournament, that means NC State has won the tournament; it is not a team competition. There is a team of the year award, but the Pack has never won.
The club competes in three different types of tournaments. There are local club tournaments, regional tournaments and national tournaments. Club tournaments are individual competitions held at local lakes such as Harris Lake, Jordan Lake and Falls Lake.
The club provides funds for the top six fishers, based on a point system, in the club to compete in regional tournaments. Regional tournaments are held at lakes around the southeast and schools such as East Carolina University, UNC-Charlotte, Clemson and West Virginia, among others, send teams of two as well. The top regional finishers advance to the national tournament. The number of teams that advance depends on the number of teams in the tournament in the first place.
The beauty of club fishing is that any school can send any two fishers. The size of the school does not matter because prospective fishers generally don’t pick a school to attend based on the fishing club. Bethel University, which isn’t even in the NCAA for sanctioned sports, is considered one of the top college fishing schools in the country.
Anybody of any skill level who wants to join the NC State club can; there are no tryouts. About 40-50 people are in the club this year and 25-30 members fish in club tournaments, while anywhere from one to five boats that represent the Pack compete in regional tournaments.
Different tournaments take place at different times during the year, but the NC State club primarily enters into club tournaments in the early fall, and focuses on regional and national tournaments in the spring and summer.
Every club member joins for a different reason. Some just like to have an opportunity to fish in tournaments for the first time while others are extremely competitive. Senior Alec Lower specifically aims to win a national championship.
“I was a kid that came in that wanted to win a national championship; well, that’s kind of been my thing,” Lower said. “I got there one year but I did horrible, so [I] try and get back.”
A unique feature that the national tournament has that no other sport has, is that the top individual finisher, no matter how his or her team finished, is given a berth in the Bassmaster Classic, one of the most prominent pro-fishing tournaments.
“It’s kind of like if you took a college kid and said ‘Okay you are playing in the Super Bowl now,’” Lower said. No NC State fisher has ever won this unique award.
Of all the clubs at NC State, the Bass Fishing Club provides the most diversity in what the students can get out of the club. Students can either take time off from class and relax, or fuel their competitive fire and compete for a national championship.