Members of the Plattsburgh State fishing club.
With Lake Champlain in their backyard, it makes sense that Plattsburgh State’s fishing club is making a splash with their bass fishing talents.
The club itself is only five years old, but they have been competing against powerhouse schools like Penn State and Virginia Tech in tournaments throughout the Northeast. The northern division of the FLW College Fishing Series, which Plattsburgh State fishes in, stretches from Maine to northern Virginia.
In September, Plattsburgh State hooked second place in the Northern Conference Invitational on Chesapeake Bay.
“One thing about collegiate fishing is there’s no divisions, so a small school like Plattsburgh, we’re fishing on the same level as Virginia Tech, Penn State, these huge schools,” said club president Brendan Bolis. “It’s pretty cool for a small school like us to make a name for ourselves amongst the larger pool of schools.”
There are three qualifying events throughout the summer scattered around the Northern Region. In order to progress to the regionals, a team consisting of two anglers has to finish in the top 15. For the tournament on Chesapeake Bay Plattsburgh qualified four teams. One of those teams, consisting of John McDougal from Queensbury and Nate Lewis from Middletown Springs, Vt., took second place.
For the FLW College Fishing Series, FLW professional anglers provide boats for the collegiate teams. FLW tournaments are three day tournaments. On the third day the professional field is whittled down to the top 10. Those anglers who were eliminated are asked by the FLW to take a college team out to fish for the one day college tournament, and they are reimbursed by the FLW. Fifty college teams participate in a tournament.
“We drive to the location, show up and fish. They’ll drive the big motor to the place where we want to fish, and then we put the trolling motor in we run the trolling motor. That’s how we fish for the day,” said Bolis.
In the last year the club has brought in $13,000 in prize money.
In the five years of its existence, the club has grown from eight to about 25 people. Since becoming club president, Bolis has written a new system for qualifying for tournaments into the club’s charter. To be considered, an angler has to compete in at least one state tournament over the summer, where they will be awarded points based on their finish. More points are available by attending club functions or club meetings. The highest scoring anglers then qualify to fish in the FLW event.
The club is interested in more than just fishing, and strives to be active on campus as well as in the community. They participate in events like Relay for Life, Saranac River clean-up efforts, and annually hold a fund-raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.
With the short North Country season already done, club members will be off the water until spring, but will still be active around campus. Anyone interested in learning more about the club, or in getting involved, can stop by a club meeting, which are held every Tuesday from 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. in Yokum Hall room 202. There is also a Plattsburgh State Fishing Club Facebook page, and a fishing club Facebook page available through the Student Association’s web page, www.organizations.plattsburgh.edu/sa/clubs.html#all .