For some, fishing is more than just a hobby, it is a quest to catch trophy bass, usually weighing more than eight pounds and longer than 24 inches with competitions, usually held only at the professional level, have expanded into the realm of universities, and a new club at UVU is hooked
UVU is a unique university in many respects. From our sports program sans football to it’s population brimming with over 32,000 students. Now a new club has added another layer of uniqueness on campus: competitive bass fishing.
Being brand new this semester, the purpose of the Bass Club is two fold. “First, we want to increase awareness that there are trophy bass in Utah,” said Clinton Martinez, Academic Advisor for the Business Department and Advisor to the Bass Club. “If you want to catch them, we can teach you.”
The other aspect of the club is to enter trophy bass competitions against other universities. The first tournament was last week on Jan. 26-28 at Lake Shasta in Redding Calif. This is part of the National Guard Forrest L. Wood (FLW) College Fishing Tournament. The competition consists of five divisions, each with four tournaments. The first tournament for the Western Division, which the Bass Club belongs to, was at Lake Shasta last week, the next being at Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. on Feb. 25. The top five teams of each of the four qualifying tournaments in a division will then compete in the three-day televised National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.
Being in the Western Division, the Bass Club will be competing against 19 other universities, including Arizona State University, Boise State University, California Polytechnic State University, Colorado State University and University of Oregon. Most of the universities have more than one two-man teams competing. The Bass Club, however, only has one. Weston Birerley and Cliff Gallagher, the latter being the president of the club, will be competing at Lake Shasta. For the tournament at Lake Havasu, two teams will be competing, the first team being Birerley and Gallagher, the other being Tyler Dabling and Cathleen Martinez. Martinez, student and the wife of Clinton Martinez, is a rarity as bass angling is predominately a male sport.
Another aspect that makes the Bass Club unique is the fact they exist mostly because of outside financial support. “Bass angling equipment is so specific,” Martinez said. “We’re trying to procure funds for equipment. The jerseys that the team members wear at the tournaments carry the logos of their sponsors. The biggest and most prominent logo is Sportsman’s Warehouse, who has provided the most financial support. “Sportsman’s Warehouse has really stepped up,” Martinez said.
Though the Bass Club mainly consists of avid anglers, the club hopes to teach others about bass angling and get them interested in the sport. “Those fish are everywhere in this state,” Martinez said. “Once you catch a fish, you’re hooked.”
By Kelly Cannon
Life Section Editor