The Ferris State University Fishing Club may not be a varsity sport, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t making an impact.
The club is an official Registered Student Organization (RSO) and a club sport at Ferris State. The team is currently ranked 50th in the nation out of 300 colleges and universities on the Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing circuit.
Team members fish in many tournaments, ranging from the local level to the national stage.
Chris Oja, a 26 year-old Navy veteran and HVAC major said he first heard about the fishing club in his FSUS class. When he signed up there were only about six members on the team, but the group has grown substantially since then.
“We fish in four different series FLW, B.A.S.S, Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series and the Michigan College Bass Circuit. Most of these tournaments are held out of state except for the Michigan College Bass Circuit. Those are all held in different lakes throughout the state against mostly Michigan colleges,” said Oja.
This past weekend, the Bulldogs participated in a couple fishing tournaments in the Big Rapids area. On Saturday, the Dawgs went to Clear Lake and Chippewa Lake on Sunday to decide who will be offered the opportunity to compete in the Carhartt Bassmaster Collegiate tournament in Wisconsin, and Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) tournaments in Ohio and New York later in the season.
A third event will occur this Saturday where the Dawgs will begin fishing on Croton Pond bright and early at 7 a.m. until the weigh-in at noon. This will be the third three-day competition for the Bulldogs.
Going into the last tournament, club president Jacob Huestead is leading the competition with 14 fish caught at a total of 28.52 pounds. Close behind Huestead is Dan Konkle, who has reeled in 13 fish at a total of 25.92 pounds this season.
While these numbers are impressive on the season, individual tournaments are based only on fish caught during the event.
“Most of the tournaments are the five biggest bass weighed in at the end of the day. The other format we have fished was biggest bass caught over a span of two days with separate weigh-in sessions that you could win throughout the day,” said Oja.
The team competes against schools from all over the nation and Michigan, including Michigan State, Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Lake Superior State and Adrian College.
“My favorite part is being out on the water and just being out fishing with a bunch of other people who share the same passion. It doesn’t matter if we’re catching or just fishing,” said Sean Herp, a 19 year-old criminal justice major.
With the weather shaping up, the Dawgs have plenty more time to spend out on the water after spending their time ice fishing during their off season.
The group meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and is open to anyone who wants to join. For more information, visit the team’s Facebook page or their website at www.fsufishingclub.weebly.com.