Fishing club places ninth out of 124 schools

DYLAN PADY, Sports Editor | [email protected]

UNI students are being reeled in after being introduced to the school’s first official fishing club. Students are now able to compete with other universities around the country in the YETI College Fishing circuit, which has been rapidly growing over the last five years. The Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) sponsors five conferences across the country, and each one has three qualifying events over the course of the season.

UNI students Conner Hinckle and Jack Mauer are the first team of two to represent UNI in a competitive fishing event. They placed ninth out of 124 teams, beating out Iowa and Iowa State at the Mississippi River-Prairie Du Chien meet on Oct. 7.

As with any other sport, preparation is key to finding success come game time. Mauer explains the initial strategy necessary in order to compete.

“Before our tournaments, Conner and I will usually analyze maps and underwater structure of the body of water we will be fishing. We usually start this process about a month or so before the tournament. We will then mark certain areas that we think could be holding fish — we then will travel to the river/lake where the tournament is at about three days before the tournament starts,” Mauer said. “We go to all of our spots we marked on our map and try them out to see how many fish are there/what lures will work best. By the end of the three days, we usually have a game plan ready for the tournament and know which spots we will go to throughout the day.”

Mark Myers, fishing club advisor, explains the procedure of a competitive fishing weekend.

“All the teams take off from a central location early in the morning and return about eight hours later to weigh in their catch,” Myers said. “Rules vary a bit in different states or bodies of water depending on particular regulations, but generally teams weigh their five biggest largemouth or smallmouth bass caught in the course of their day on the water.  All fish are kept alive in live wells on the boats, then weighed live and released back into the river or lake where they were caught.”

Hinckle and Mauer ended the weekend catching five bass that weighed 13 pounds 6 ounces. This effort qualified them for the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Both will travel to the Red River in Louisiana next May and represent UNI against roughly 150 teams from around the country.

It seemed fitting that Myers, an associate professor of biology, as well as an avid fisherman, was thrilled to oversee the fishing club.

“It was evident immediately upon meeting Conner and Jack that we share this passion, so I was happy to support them and to hopefully share my passion for fishing with the next generation of young anglers as faculty advisor of the UNI Fishing Club,” Myers said. “It was 100 percent their initiative that got things started.”

The club is still new, and looking for other students interested in representing UNI at the ol’ fishing hole. Mauer is excited at the success of the fishing club.

“Currently we have around 20 members involved with the club, and we are expanding quickly,” Mauer said. “The club has had a couple events this year with great turnouts, and it’s been awesome meeting other people who enjoy fishing. I’m extremely happy with where our club is and where we’re going to be in the future.”