K-State fishing team hopes for possible TV coverage for student

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The K-State fishing team might not get a lot of recognition, but one member said being on the team does provide opportunities for exciting fishing and good competition.

Junior Josh Herrman, former vice president of the team, fished in the Ultimate Match Fishing Tournament College Edition, which was covered by the Outdoor Channel. The tournament pitted 12 college anglers against each other in a bracket-style competition at Oneida Lake, N.Y., near Syracuse.

Herrman said the tournament was unlike any other because the competitors actually shared a boat. The boat had a line down the middle that the competitors could not cross or cast over. Herrman said he barely lost in the first round to an angler from the University of Iowa.

“They said I lost by the closest margin ever in the history of their program, which was 1/100 of a pound,” he said.

Herrman said this is both his and former club president, Casey Smith’s, last season with the team because they are graduating, leaving the team looking for more members. Both Herrman and Smith said they had never fished in tournaments before they came to college and that the team is a great way for someone to get involved in competitive fishing.

“We basically haven’t started anything, so if there is a new guy who wants to join, it’s the perfect time,” Herrman said.

The team, which consists of eight members, will begin competing again close to spring break. They recently chose junior Ben Fuchs as the new president of the team. He will fish in four club qualifiers at lakes near the Manhattan area. The team uses a point system for the qualifying rounds, and the top scorers on the team get to represent the school at national tournaments.

Smith said the team competes in two national bass tournaments in the fall – one aired on ESPN and the other on Fox Sports Net. The team’s top two performers will fish at the ESPN tournament, and the Fox Sports Net tournament takes the team’s top four anglers. Smith also said 50-100 teams represent more than 30 universities from all over the country.

At the end of March, four members of the team will travel to Lake Dardanelle, Ark., near Russellville, to compete in an invitational tournament hosted by Arkansas Tech University.

Smith said when he started, the team competed in small tournaments, mostly for weekend anglers and only had competitions on the side for college teams. But he said the sport is really growing now.

“It’s really booming,” Smith said. “With teams popping up all over the nation and ESPN and Fox both having tournaments. It’s really become a big deal.”

Herrman said it is hard to support a large team because of how difficult is it to find students with boats.

“Obviously, when you’re in college, a lot of people don’t own a big bass boat,” he said. “But it is also cool because if you don’t, then it’s a great opportunity to go out on water with people who do.”

Smith said the team offers great opportunities and has a lot of support. Chapman Creek Fly and Tackle in Chapman, Kan., has been an important supporter of the team.

“It gives us a chance to fish these big tournaments, and it’s free to us for the most part,” Smith said. “We have locals that are really nice. We get a lot of support from outside people and that’s what keeps us going.”

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