Introduction To College Bass Fishing
Collegiate Bass Fishing is one of the fastest growing sports in college. This is the opportunity for college students to fish tournaments like the pros while still getting their education and also paying much less for fees like tournament entries. The list of locations where competitive bass fishing at the collegiate level is already large, and growing. To help you out, we have listed all of the teams below and have provided links to their main pages to get you started in your search. The goal of this “textbook” is to help someone who is interested in fishing during their college career by providing all the information they could want in one easy to reach location.
Within this “textbook”, we will cover the tournament series that support collegiate programs, provide a list of current programs, help you get on a team, and give you tips for becoming a better college angler. We are targeting all levels of anglers in this outline, from a high schooler looking to the future to a sophomore who just realized their school has a team.
At its core, college fishing is a sport of camaraderie. Your teammates will become some of your best friends and it will provide an escape from the busy college campus lifestyle. Even if you just like to fish for fun, the majority of teams have a club portion as well that is focused on getting on the water, whenever, to enjoy the sport of angling and better your skills.
The Three Major Series of College Fishing
FLW College Series
The first tournament series we will discuss is the FLW or Fishing League Worldwide. One of the key things about this series is that FLW makes it very simple to fish a tournament. The costs to fish are relatively low with a $75 entry fee per tournament. There is also a competitor membership that must be purchased to fish the FLW tournaments. The format of the average tournament is a one-day event with a payout going to the top five teams in the form of a check to the school to be put towards your bass club or tuition.
Each team consists of two members from the same university fishing out of the same boat. The top 10% of finishers of the tournament also qualify for the National Championship. Each of the five FLW regions have three regional tournaments where you have the chance to place in the top 10% and fish the championship with some of the best in the country.
Once the five regional tournaments plus an open event are completed, the top finishers from each tournament in each part of the country meet on one body of water for a three-day national championship where the winning team earns the prize of a brand new Ranger boat, scholarship money, and then fish off against each other for an entry into the FLW Forrest Wood Cup.
Additionally, beginning in 2020, both members of the second, third, and fourth-place teams at the 2020 National Championship will advance to the BFL All-American to compete as Boaters in the event. Also, both members of the fifth and sixth-place teams at the event advance to the All-American to compete as co-anglers. In addition, each angler finishing in the top ten at the national championship will receive an entry into the FLW Series.
College B.A.S.S. Series
In order to be eligible to fish the BASS College Series, every member of the universities fishing club needs to be a current B.A.S.S. member and pay $20 club dues even if they are not fishing in the series. (The $20 is for your BASS nation membership, a B.A.S.S. membership must be bought separately for $10)
BASS also requires that your bass team must be an official organization on your campus, have a faculty advisor assigned to the club, and have a minimum of 2 anglers. Last but not least, the club president must fill out a form on BASS’s website with all of the clubs members and information, which could be found here: BASS Registration
After the club gets registered, now the teams interested in fishing the tournaments can register for specific tournaments. BASS breaks their tournaments into four regions: Central, Eastern, Southern, and Western.
Unlike the FLW series, BASS has come out with a team of the year award, which is based off a point system where teams earn points for their finishes in every tournament. This means that schools are eligible to fish any of the regional tournaments no matter where their school is located
After the four regional events, the team with the most points is crowned Team Of The Year and is awarded very hefty prize packages from the sponsors of BASS. Besides trying to win team of the year, the other objective of fishing the regionals is to qualify for the national championship
Births are awarded as follows:
Under 50 boats in the field, 10% of the field is awarded a berth
51-59 boats in the field, Top 10 for the tournament are awarded a berth
Over 60 boats in the field, B.A.S.S. invites an additional team for every additional 10 boats entered
51 boats = 10 berths
60 boats = 11 berths
70 boats = 12 berths
State BASS Nation organizations also run qualifying tournaments in their home state in which teams can qualify for BASS’s national championship by being the highest finishing college team.
If teams are not able to make their state nations tournament, they are able to pick a surrounding states nation tournament but, teams are only allowed to fish one per season. Qualifying events – regionals and state qualifiers – are usually concluded by the end of June and then a final roster is set for the National Championship.
The National Championship location is announced some time in May so that anglers can arrange all of their hotels, campsites, etc. The derby is almost always set for some time in the middle of July and could ultimately be anywhere in the country. The teams fishing the national championship battle it out for a chance at a national championship trophy and an opportunity to fish in the super bowl of bass fishing, the Bassmaster Classic
Cabela’s Collegiate Cup
The Cabela’s Collegiate Cup program is similar to the other two entities. These tournaments are team tournaments that are offered regionally, or in individual states depending on what area of the country your college is located in. You can register for events here.
The program runs qualifying events throughout the country each year. These qualifying events all lead to the main event of the year, the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship! This championship includes collegiate anglers from around the country, all competing for the top spot!
The coolest thing about the Cabela’s Collegiate Cup series is there is another incentive for every college team out there. The School of the Year. Similar to B.A.S.S.’s Team of the Year, this School of the Year race includes points from every major college tournament including BASS and FLW tournaments, to provide each school a chance to prove they are the top competitors in collegiate fishing!
Teams battle neck and neck throughout the season to emerge victorious, and it definitely adds an extra version of competition outside of each tournament. It truly comes down to which teams compete and finish the highest as a group.