Bass Fishing club open to all Southeast students
The sun has just begun to rise, and the morning air is brisk. Out on Lake of Egypt, a half dozen boats can be seen drifting along the current holding pairs of Southeast Missouri State University students that are all focused on one goal: to catch the biggest fish.
The Bass Fishing club was established at Southeast in late 2005.
"Not a lot of people know we exist, so we want to get the word out and share just how great our club is," President Timothy Randell said.
The club holds a meeting at 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month in the Student Aquatic Center conference room in order to establish future plans.
Members of the team are randomly paired up during practice and compete with one another in the club's own mini tournament. For these, they travel to a local lake on a Saturday morning and fish for about eight hours. The team member that catches the five heaviest fish in the tournament then gets the advantage of first pick of which real tournament they would like to attend.
The real tournaments begin once spring arrives. The members of the club have the opportunity to travel all across the country in order to compete with hundreds of other schools.
The tournaments are mostly two-day events, composed of a two-member team per boat, with the tournament allowing only two boats per school. Tournament days begin at sunrise and usually last about eight hours.
Once the eight-hour time limit is up, each two-member team is allowed to combine their five heaviest fish, as long as they meet the tournament's length requirements. The winning team can receive anything from plaques to cash or even a new boat.
"It's such a great thing to be a part of," member Mark Chowning said. "You get to travel, fish and meet a ton of new people. A lot of the tournaments are even televised."
The club, which is funded mostly by the school along with a handful of sponsors, also does a lot of fundraising for their traveling costs. They sell T-shirts, give away prizes at the Saint Louis Boat Show and even take wounded war veterans fishing for a day.
The club has high hopes to expand their 15 member club this year. They encourage all people to join, even if they don't have any experience. Anyone who is interested should contact the president at email@example.com.
"A big misconception is that you need to have all this fishing knowledge and that you have to own a boat," Vice President Adam Halter said. "That's not the case at all. If you are willing to bring the gear and want to learn, then you'll fit in just fine."