By Emma Yeager
A rising sport is taking over high schools and colleges across East Texas.
Recently, bass fishing has become a popular competitive event across the states and is making its way to Northeast Texas Community College.
Northeast Texas is surrounded by popular lakes such as Lake O’ the Pines, Lake Cypress Springs and Lake Bob Sandlin that provide local fishermen the advantage which means that NTCC could be successful in a new found bass fishing club.
NTCC student, Austin King, founded the bass fishing team last year out of his devotion for the sport.
Since he was old enough to hold a fishing rod, King has been an avid fishermen.
Almost every day he and his grandpa would fish together, and it deepened his passion for fishing.
“At first, I just loved to fish, but after starting the club last year, I have realized there are thousands of people with the same passion for fishing as me,” King said.
Through this new organization, King hopes to give people another sporting option other than traditional sports such as baseball, basketball or soccer.
His aspiration is that people will start to take bass fishing more seriously and see it as a true sport.
“It was and is still extremely challenging, but the club is getting better than ever and will get even better next year because of all the recognition we are receiving,” King said. “I truly believe what we have created at the school has a future as the popularity of bass fishing grows.”
Prior to establishing the team, King met a group of guys who were also interested in bass fishing, and he began researching how to start a club.
The team started with just King and one other guy. Since then, it has grown to five members.
The crew prefers that anyone interested in joining have their own boat and fishing rods.
Students will also need to be able to pay their own expenses for traveling and entering tournaments. Entry fees can range from $75 to $200, some even higher.
When the team wins a tournament they receive prize money and invest it back into the club.
A couple of days before a tournament, the club goes together to the competition’s location to scout out the lakes and become familiar with the area.
Most of the fishing tournaments run through the fall and spring but slowdown in the summer due to the heat.
The team travels to various states that hold tournaments, Kentucky and Alabama to name a few.
Previous tournaments qualified them to compete against other colleges such as the University of Pittsburgh and Texas A&M-College Station.
The Bass Fishing Club will be competing in the national championship at the end of the semester.
Contestants must have two guys to one boat, one as the boater and the other as the co-angler.
To win, contestants are judged by their five largest bass fish all together.
The largest fish caught by the group may be weighed separately for an extra entry, and the perfect weight depends on the location of the lake.
“I think fishing is a big confidence sport. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, you’re not going to catch fish,” Carson McCone, secretary of the club, said.
Through competing and growing the club, the team is hoping to gain some recognition across campus.
They are also looking for recruits within the local high schools.
Anyone who is serious about fishing is welcome to join the leading members said.
“Some of the best fishermen, I do believe, are here in East Texas,” McCone said.
Students who are interested in joining the bass fishing team can contact Director of Student Activities and Multicultural Affairs, Rico Willis, for further information.