MSU Bass Fishing Club luring national attention

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Members of MSU's Bass Fishing Club travel to Florence, Alabama, next month to compete in the 10th annual BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship at Pickwick Lake.
Members of MSU's Bass Fishing Club travel to Florence, Alabama, next month to compete in the 10th annual BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship at Pickwick Lake.
Photo by: submitted

STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State's 35-member Bass Fishing Club is receiving major recognition from the nation's leading competitive collegiate bass fishing organization.

The Association of Collegiate Anglers recently honored the university's 2014-15 Sport Club of the Year winner with a Cabela's Collegiate Bass Team of the Week designation.

The association is "a sanctioning body developed to facilitate growth, development and structure within competitive collegiate bass fishing." According to its mission statement, ACA supports dozens of school-operated regional events nationwide and owns the Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, "the largest participatory collegiate tournament circuit in the country." For more, visit www.CollegiateBassChampionship.com.

The Mississippi State club is among numerous activities offered through the university's recreational sports department.

"Our team has been working extremely hard to achieve our goal of being one of the top teams in the nation," said Joseph R. "Joe" Marty, 2014-15 team president. A doctoral student in forest resources/wildlife and fisheries, he said gaining team-of-the-week status "tells us that we are getting close to achieving that goal."

A former Manitowoc, Wisconsin, resident now of Starkville, Marty earlier received an MSU master's degree in wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture.

"It means a lot to represent MSU at a collegiate and national level," he said, adding that he and his teammates "take great pride in representing MSU to the best of our ability at each tournament," as well as on multiple televised events.

Other officers for the 2014-15 school year include Grant A. Galloway of Houlka, vice president; Mark G. Lee of Amory, secretary; and Elijah K. "Eli" Frierson of Poplarville, treasurer.

Galloway is a junior agribusiness/management major; Lee, a doctoral student in the College of Veterinary Medicine; and Frierson, a senior geosciences/professional geology major.

Daniel Chesser, agricultural and biological engineering research associate, serves as faculty adviser.

Founded nearly eight years ago by Tennessee natives and now-MSU alumni Calvin S. "Cal" Clark and Samuel M. "Sam" Lawrence, the club's membership currently represents multiple colleges, including business, engineering and forest resources.

Members compete in regional and national tournament trails, including the Bassmaster (Southern Division), Fishing League Worldwide, FLW (Southeastern Division) and Association of Collegiate Anglers' Cabela's Collegiate Bass, among others.

"We gain valuable experience on lakes all over the southeastern, central and northern United States, and also are active within the community when we are not fishing in tournaments," said Marty, a four-year member and the group's former vice president.

Along with volunteer efforts and donations of fishing clothing to the Palmer Home in Columbus, members participate in and contribute to such ongoing university fund-raising events as the Turkey Trot and Relay for Life.

Marty said he receives "emails on a regular basis from high school students who are interested in attending MSU to fish with our club." While there are no specific skill requirements, all members must pay $250 in annual club dues, he explained.

Members typically meet about twice a month. Practice "usually is pretty limited, as we are traveling most of the time. It is a very competitive club, so having a well-rounded skill set is very advantageous," Marty said.

In noting that some members are new to tournament fishing--and even fishing, in general--he issued an invitation to "anyone interested in competitive tournament fishing to join our club, as it is an excellent opportunity to become a well-rounded and competition fisherman or woman."

Beyond interacting closely with fellow MSU students and competing regularly against other collegiate fishing teams from around the country, bass fishing clubs provide numerous opportunities to meet and get to know professional representatives of many fishing corporations, Marty said.

A majority of the club's funding comes from sales of hats and T-shirts, and sponsorship of two public tournaments each year. "We also receive funding from a number of sponsoring companies, whose logos we proudly display on our jerseys," Marty said, emphasizing that members are very fortunate "to have sponsors that support us and help us in any way possible."

The MSU team finished last year in seventh-place and currently is ranked 7th nationally in the race for Cabela's School of the Year title. From May 21-22, the organization will have three teams on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama, for the 10th Annual BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship.

"We are extremely excited and anxious for this tournament as the fishing techniques that will likely be used to win the tournament are some of our personal favorites," Marty said.

Other 2015 tournaments will include the July 9-11 Carhartt Bassmaster College Championship on Lake DuBay in Wisconsin and Sept. 26 and 27 FLW Regional Championship, also at Pickwick.

Learn more about MSU's Bass Fishing Club on facebook.com/pages/Mississippi-State-University-Bass-Club/170462986298583?fref=ts.

A complete listing of recreational sports department clubs is available at recsports.msstate.edu/programs-and-activities/sportsclubs/index.php.

MSU, the state's flagship research institution, is online at msstate.edu, meridian.msstate.edu, facebook.com/msstate, instagram.com/msstate, pinterest.com/msstate and twitter.com/msstate, using hashtag #WeRingTrue.

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