K-State duo takes 1st place in 26-team fishing tournament

The K-State Fishing Club dominated the Northwest Missouri State Invitational at Mozingo Lake in Maryville, Mo., on Saturday. All four of K-State’s two-person teams placed in the top 10 in a competition that included 22 other duos from universities in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Fishing on Northwest Missouri State’s home turf (the lake is located just three miles from campus), K-State still managed to claim top finishes. The one-day tournament began at 7 a.m. and lasted until 2 p.m. Saturday, but K-State’s teams arrived on Friday to literally test the waters in what’s known as “pre-fishing.”

“We thought we would do OK,” said Alex Fulkerson, junior in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management, about his team’s expectations going into the tournament.

Fulkerson and his partner Sam Starr, sophomore in political science, did even better. They took first place at the tournament, followed by the K-State team of Kyle Swanson, senior in mechanical engineering, and Dan Towsley, sophomore in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management, who came in second.

After three or four hours on the lake on Friday, Starr and Fulkerson had caught about 15 pounds worth of fish. They predicted it would take 20 pounds to win the tournament considering the conditions, which Swanson said can make a difference.

“Water temperature was extremely cold,” Swanson said. “Because fish are cold-blooded, water temperature can make the fish more or less active.”

Although the water below the surface was chilly, the air above was windy and warm.

“It was our warmest tournament we’ve fished in this year,” Fulkerson said. During previous tournaments, temperatures have been around 35 degrees with snow on the ground.

Starr and Fulkerson were able to bring in 20.4 pounds during the tournament, although it didn’t all come at once.

“We put three fish in the boat in the first hour,” Starr said, “and then went five hours without boating a fish.”

Other teams faced similar situations.

“For me and Dan it was actually pretty difficult,” said Swanson. “We caught four in the first 30 minutes, then I caught one more the rest of the day.”

To make matters worse, Towsley fished in the tournament on a second-degree sprain.

“I sat on the back chair the majority [of the time],” Towsley said.

The team still managed to bring in 15.58 pounds for a second-place finish.

Other K-State teams that finished in the top 10 were Garrett Cates, sophomore in biological engineering systems, and Kyle Alsop, freshman in mechanical engineering, who placed fifth. Jeremy Jackson, senior in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management, and A.J. Farmer, senior in education earth science, took seventh place.

Overall K-State’s teams did very well, each bringing in the limit of five fish to be weighed. Their victory Saturday means Starr and Fulkerson will be competing in the two-day Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Open at Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tenn., from April 19-20.