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    Angler Ice-Fishes For First Time, Catches Maine State Record

    Talk about beginner’s luck! In a cool story broken by the Bangor Daily News, an angler landed a new Maine state fishing record on her first foray into ice fishing. While ice fishing on Mount Desert Island’s Long Pond, Martina Drugovich and fiance Scott Harrington were simply hoping to catch something they could eat. What […] The post Angler Ice-Fishes For First Time, Catches Maine State Record appeared first on Premier...

    New Maine State Record Yellow Perch

    Talk about beginner’s luck!

    In a cool story broken by the Bangor Daily News, an angler landed a new Maine state fishing record on her first foray into ice fishing.

    While ice fishing on Mount Desert Island’s Long Pond, Martina Drugovich and fiance Scott Harrington were simply hoping to catch something they could eat.

    What they did not expect, however, is that the “something” they caught would be a new state record.

    Drugovich’s catch, a 2.12 pound, 16 inch yellow perch, did not immediately impress the Ohio natives.

    While slightly longer than Ohio’s state record perch (which is 15 3/4 inches), it was considerably lighter. For comparison, the Ohio state record yellow perch, caught on Lake Erie in 2016 by David Berg, weighed an impressive 2.86 pounds.

    Martina Drugovich didn’t expect to land a state record fish on Tuesday, her first-ever day as an ice angler.

    Posted by The Bangor Daily News on Wednesday, February 12, 2020

    Rather than eating their catch, however, they shared photos with some friends who suggested they get the fish weighed. What may have been a nice catch in Ohio, they found, could possibly be much more in Maine.

    An official weight check by the game warden confirmed that Drugovich’s catch surpassed the previous record by a respectable margin.

    Maine’s previous state record yellow perch, caught Daniel Baty in 2017, weighed 1.88 pounds. That fish was caught on Damariscotta Lake.

    The post Angler Ice-Fishes For First Time, Catches Maine State Record appeared first on Premier Angler.


    College Fishing Talk: Purdue University’s William Bruin

    In the latest installment of Premier Angler’s College Fishing Talk, we chat with William Bruin. William is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering Technology major who serves as secretary of the Purdue University Bass Fishing team. Talking College Fishing with William Bruin, Purdue University Premier Angler: Thanks for chatting with us, William. To kick things off, tell […] The post College Fishing Talk: Purdue University’s William Bruin appeared first on Premier...

    Purdue University Fishing

    In the latest installment of Premier Angler’s College Fishing Talk, we chat with William Bruin. William is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering Technology major who serves as secretary of the Purdue University Bass Fishing team.

    Talking College Fishing with William Bruin, Purdue University

    Premier Angler: Thanks for chatting with us, William. To kick things off, tell us how you got started fishing.

    Bruin: I started really getting into fishing towards the end of middle school and early freshman year of high school. My neighbor happened to be the high school bass team faculty sponsor and had taken me out on his boat before. He recommended I try fishing one of the high school tournaments and giving it a shot. Once I got out on the water, I immediately fell in love with the sport.

    Premier Angler: Did the fishing team have any influence on your decision to attend Purdue?

    Bruin: The Purdue Bass Club, though it was not the sole reason, was a major factor in my school selection process. I had always seen their booth at the boat, sport, and tackle show and they always were the easiest guys to talk to and get along with.

    Premier Angler: How long has Purdue’s fishing team been around? Can you share any information on the club’s history?

    Bruin: I cannot provide exact details or dates but I know the club has been around for awhile. I know that Purdue and IU’s rivalry has some history to it. Kind of a play-on-words, but the two fishing clubs compete for the “Minnow Bucket” each fall in a 5-on-5 tournament.

    Premier Angler: What are some of the biggest rewards being part of the fishing team at a major university? Conversely, what have been some of the biggest challenges?

    FLW Mississippi River_Purdue University Fishing

    Bruin: Purdue, being such a large university, definitely has its perks when it comes to clubs. The Bass Club is a great example of how large universities can bring large groups of students together who share a passion for a sport or extracurricular activity. Being a BIG 10 school helps more on a national stage in the sport as a boost to getting the club out there, especially in a growing sport.

    Premier Angler: How does the school recruit members to the team? What type of promotion, if any, goes into raising awareness about the team on campus, locally, etc.?

    Bruin: The main channel the club uses to promote itself would be the social media platforms where most communication and promoting takes place. Our second largest stream of recruitment would most likely be the annual boat, sport, and travel show in Indy where we have our own booth right next to the giant “Hog Trough” tank.

    Premier Angler: One challenge many college fishing teams face is securing funding. How has the team been able to raise funds and secure sponsorships over the years to cover the cost of travel, accommodations, supplies, gear, tackle, boats, etc.?

    Bruin: Finding sponsors and funding for the club is definitely the hardest aspect of keeping the club going. As of right now, our strategy for finding funding is by securing sponsorships from family-or-friend-owned companies locally that are willing to pitch in.

    Our larger sponsorships come from the national level of the juggernaut rod and tackle companies that offer discounts and perks rather than monetary donations. Depending on the year and design, the club-designed merchandise is sold for additional funds that could help pay for accommodations for the larger national tournaments.

    Premier Angler: As a follow-up, can you tell us more about any fundraisers and events you host during the year.

    Bruin: The club does not have a set-in-stone, annual fundraiser, but instead we rely mostly upon the generous sponsorships and merchandise sales. We have discussed for this year possibly hosting a fundraising tournament for the club; however, the details have not been finalized.

    Premier Angler: Walk us through the 2020 fishing season — where will your anglers be fishing? What are some individual and team goals this year?

    Bruin: With the recent change in club officers, the lakes we are going to fish in the upcoming season will be different with some of the usual bodies of water (Lake Shafer, Lake Maxinkuckee).

    Shafer Fall 2018_Purdue University Fishing

    Our team has many new goals for the new season. One thing we would like to focus on as a club is to fish different water. The club is taking this as an opportunity to break down new water and truly develop ourselves and our techniques to become better anglers. Secondly, we would like to be more active in the national tournaments. The previous season, we had a hand full of anglers participate in some national tournament and prove to be very successful. With the success we saw, we hope to send more guys to tournaments, thus allowing the club to get more presence on the national stage.

    Premier Angler: What advice would you give to someone interested in fishing at the college level and, in particular, for Purdue?

    Bruin: My advice to anyone coming into the college fishing world or the fishing world in general is to not be intimidated or overwhelmed. Everyone starts with different knowledge, gear, and tackle. The great thing about the college fishing community is the shared love for the sport and the respect for other anglers and the environment. New anglers should not be scared to ask questions.

    In fact, I would strongly urge anglers at all levels to continue to ask questions to grow and develop their knowledge and skills.

    Premier Angler: Throughout the year, what are some of the most popular fishing spots near campus? What type of preparation goes into improving as an individual anglers and as a competitive team?

    Bruin: Around campus there are some spots to fish, but they are few and far between. Not too far from campus though, numerous quality fisheries surround the region, all within an hour to an hour and a half in any direction.

    I find myself trying to improve my angling abilities everyday on and off the water, whether it be map study, tackle prep, or simply researching patterns and techniques.

    Premier Angler: On Facebook, Purdue often uses the hashtag #wrongspecieswednesday. Can you share a story of a time you hooked into something you didn’t want?

    Bruin: I have a very fond memory of the 5 minute battle I endured against a 6lb. “Smallmouth.” It was our last tournament of the 2018 season in late November and we had a small club tournament at Lake Freeman.

    We were fishing post-frontal conditions in late November and everyone was having a rough day. One of those bites where you have to put it right in front of their face, and, of course, we were facing 40 degree rain and 15-20 mph wind — arguably some of the worst fishing conditions possible.

    It was a finesse kind of day and my partner and I were drop-shotting a creek channel that swung under some deep docks. We thought the fish would be sitting deeper just outside the current and wind gusts taking shelter under these deep docks. My partner pitches his rig to a post about mid-dock and lets it sit, dead sticking it.

    Maxi Fall 2019_Purdue University Fishing

    He gets a bump bump and, sure enough, he hooks up with a little smallmouth — maybe a pound and a half — but he ends up measuring just shy of the required 14 inches. So I decide to parallel the dock with my drop shot and just before I get to that same dock post, I get a very subtle tap and decide to set the hook. I halfway expected to catch a clone of the one my partner caught; however, I was immediately surprised to find my drag screaming and feeling deep head shakes in the soft mud bottom.

    After an incredibly hard day and slow bite, my partner and I panic and start to rush around the boat fighting this fish and managing the net. Finally after a few minutes of fighting on light line, the beast flashed its side and in the stained water, my partner and I saw a big brown body roll.

    The excitement and promise of a monster smallmouth revamped that initial adrenaline rush. Again, the beast rolled and my partner, being the good net man he is, managed to scoop it up. I watched his face and, immediately, he began to laugh and held up a nasty, slimey, 6 lb freshwater drum.

    The disappointment of it not being a smallmouth was temporarily trumped by laughter. We were so happy to have actually hooked up with a fish in general. Sometime,s even in the rough days of tournament fishing, it’s the fluke catches that stick with you.

    Premier Angler: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you, the team, or college fishing in general?

    Bruin: After Purdue, I hope to get a job in the fishing or marine industry so I can continue my passion for fishing and the outdoors in my professional career.

    The post College Fishing Talk: Purdue University’s William Bruin appeared first on Premier Angler.


    Interview with Bass Pro Bryan New

    Editor’s Note: 2020 got off to a great start for pro angler Bryan New. In his first tournament with BASS, New managed to take first place at the Bassmaster Eastern Open at Kissimmee Chain. His catch total tallied at 49 pounds, 8 ounces and was enough to send the North Carolina native home with a […] The post Interview with Bass Pro Bryan New appeared first on Premier...

    Bryan New Fishing

    Editor’s Note: 2020 got off to a great start for pro angler Bryan New. In his first tournament with BASS, New managed to take first place at the Bassmaster Eastern Open at Kissimmee Chain. His catch total tallied at 49 pounds, 8 ounces and was enough to send the North Carolina native home with a prize of over $50,000.

    Recently, Premier Angler correspondent Chase Sansom had the opportunity to speak with Bryan New about his fishing journey, his recent win in Florida, and what’s coming next.

    Below is a transcription of that conversation.

    Premier Angler’s Chase Sansom Chats with Bryan New

    Sansom: So, tell us where you’re from.

    New: Belmont, North Carolina

    Sansom: Before your win in Florida, had you won any other tournaments?

    New: Last year, I won the Ray Scott Championship. I also won a BFL regional and then I won a Forrest Wood Cup as co-angler in 2014. I won co-angler of the year on the tour — some big stuff.

    Sansom: That’s awesome, man. The Forrest Wood Cup win is a big deal. I read a lot of this stuff on Bassmaster but I’ll just ask you for my own records, how much did you win?

    New: It was $52,500

    Sansom: Give me a little background story on yourself. How did you get where you are today?

    New: Well, I lived on Lake Wylie my entire life. Growing up, me and my brothers always fished the lake here at the house, really for whatever. Not always bass, but some amazing crappie and catfish. As I got older, the first job I got was in middle school. After school, I’d be taking out trash and sweeping floors at a tackle store right up the street from the house.

    I got to meet some guys and started fishing with some of the the guys who shopped there. Even to this day I’m still good friends with a lot of them. But that’s kinda where the bass fishing started.

    When I was 16, I started fishing the BFLs as a co-angler. I started doing well and meeting more people. I did well then stepped up and starting fishing the tours as a co-angler and did well there, too. Then just kept moving up. And last year, there was winning the Ray Scott Championship, I finished third in All-American, won a BFL regional on Lake Seminole. It was just an awesome year.

    I think I finished third or fourth in points on the Costa series last year. Then this year, I had never fished anything with BASS before so I just decided I would fish some opens and see where it goes. Right now, it seems like it was a pretty good decision.

    Sansom: Definitely. Last night, I got on Bassmaster to look up your stats and saw that you had one tournament fished with BASS and you won $52,500 and I thought to myself, “man, that’s some pretty good stats!”

    But yeah, they’ve good a really good program.

    New: You know, everyone treats you like you’re family. I didn’t know any of those guys over there and they didn’t know me personally but everyone working for BASS has just been super cool, super nice, treated me like we’ve been best friends forever.

    Sansom: That’s awesome, man. Now, I’ve got some questions about tournament week. I think I read it on there, but what was your biggest bag of the tournament and what day was it?

    New: So the first day, I had 21 (pounds) even and it went down from there. That was my best day.

    Sansom: Breaking it down, what really got it done for you last week?

    New: Well, I had one main area, or really one main place, which was all shore grass. That place is what won the tournament for me. I still had to go do some junk fishing because that place wasn’t even in the game plan.

    So on the first day, I’m on boat two of four and I planned on locking down Kissimmee. Well, the lock will only hold about twelve boats and it’s a twenty minute turnaround per lock. So, I know I’ve got to go and start somewhere and I’m thinking in my mind, “well, I’ve got one bite here in practice, a four pounds,” so I stopped there and fished for a while. I do, and I catch a 5 1/2 (pound) keeper.

    My plan on Kissimmee had kind of sunk, it disappeared. And that changes your decisions. I had to just go junk fish. I felt like it was the right conditions to throw a prop bait and I catch a 4 pounder. With that deal, I felt I had something going on with it.

    So later in the day, I’m on lock, I’ve got about 45 minutes to fish and caught another 4 1/2 pounder then a couple smaller ones that might help me a little bit and I ended the day at 21 pounds.

    The second day, it was pretty much every cast until around 9:15 for me and my co-angler both. I just never got a big bite. I had two 3.5 (pounders) but that was the biggest bite I had. But I elected to stay on (Lake) Toho that day and not take any risks. I didn’t have any one place or spot I felt I could go to on Kissimmee that would really make anything happen. So I decided I would just stay close and not use all of that time running and locking.

    So the last day comes around and I started on that place again and I catch limit pretty quick, including a six pounder. The wind was gonna get up really hard that day and they predicted 15-to-25 (mph) and it was blowing every bit of that. I decided to run down to Kissimmee and with the wind and everything, it just seemed to set up right.

    I get in there and tried to fish some pads. Well, I caught two really quick and I stayed on that for about two hours and never got another bite. Finally, I decided I had to throw a chatterbait with all that wind and I caught one fish that didn’t help.

    Sansom: Now your biggest first, would that have been on the first day?

    New: Actually, the biggest one I caught was on the third day. It was that six pounder.

    Sansom: Now I’m kinda going backwards here, but how did practice go?

    New: Practice was pretty tough. It was extremely tough, actually. I never really like to fish more than a couple hours on the day before a tournament. So that day before the tournament, I only fished until around 9:30 and I had four, maybe five bites.

    The day before that I was getting some bites and both of those days, it was all on pads. So going into the tournament, that was my game plan. I was going to fish pads.

    So after the first day, when I get locked down to Kissimmee, that’s what I was doing. On the first cast, I immediately had a bite. Second cast, I hooked one and it got tangled up in the pads. Four hours later, I hadn’t had another bite. So that’s when I knew I had to do something different.

    Sansom: So in winning at Kissimmee, you’re qualified for the Bassmaster Classic. That’s a pretty huge accomplishment. How do you feel about qualifying for it?

    New: Man, it’s an awesome deal. You know, it’s over a year away, so I’ve got over a year to prepare for it. I’m pretty excited about that. I’m looking forward to this year’s Classic. This is really the Super Bowl of bass fishing — there’s nothing bigger. I hope it’s the first of many.

    Sansom: I’m definitely excited for you! As far as 2020 goes, what’s the rest of the plan?

    New: Well, I’ve got the rest of the open I’m trying to do. I’m fishing some Costas in the South Division. I’ll end up cherry picking a few other ones. We’ve got the BFL All-American in May. We’ve also got a big Thursday night trail on Lake Wylie.

    Me and one of my good friends — actually one of the guys I was telling you about from the tackle store who took me fishing when I was a kid — we’re still really good friends and we fish the Thursday night tournaments here, so that’s a lot of fun.

    Sansom: That’s awesome. To wrap it up, do you have any sponsors or anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout-out to?

    New: Yeah, so Greenfish Tackle especially. They’ve got some awesome stuff, from jigs to spinner baits, buzz baits, some crank baits and top waters.

    Fitzgerald Rods, they make an awesome rod. Last week, I fished several different rods, but my primary was the (Bryan) Thrift Signature Series square bill rod. And there’s the Bryan Schmitt series — the swim jig rods. Really awesome stuff.

    Sansom: Well man, that’s about all I have. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.

    The post Interview with Bass Pro Bryan New appeared first on Premier Angler.


    Catching More Crappie with Limits Tackle

    At Premier Angler, we try to cover a wide variety of stories covering numerous species. In our College Fishing Talk series, we regularly speak with anglers from some of the top collegiate bass fishing teams in the nation. We also keep our fingers on the pulse of state fishing records from across the nation. It’s […] The post Catching More Crappie with Limits Tackle appeared first on Premier...

    Limits Tackle

    At Premier Angler, we try to cover a wide variety of stories covering numerous species. In our College Fishing Talk series, we regularly speak with anglers from some of the top collegiate bass fishing teams in the nation. We also keep our fingers on the pulse of state fishing records from across the nation.

    It’s no secret, however, that we also have a particular affinity for crappie fishing.

    When we interviewed Robert Loar about his impressive pair of 3+ pound crappie caught in Oklahoma, the story quickly drew thousands of readers to the site.

    During the interview, Loar shouted out his sponsors, including the increasingly popular Limits Tackle, which is owned and operated by Steve Goncalves.

    We recently had the opportunity to speak with Steve about his company. Here is Steve’s story, in his own words.

    Talking with Steve Goncalves, owner of Limits Tackle

    Limits Tackle Crappie Fishing

    Premier Angler: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Steve.

    Before we discuss the origins of Limits Tackle, let’s talk about your own journey with fishing and, in general, crappie fishing. How did you get started? What makes you want to hit the water every day?

    Goncalves: I’ve always loved to fish since I was little kid and the passion has only grown over the years. In 2008, my family and I moved to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and I didn’t even know what a crappie was. 

    In 2009, I met a friend on the Texas fishing forum who took me crappie fishing for the first time. We caught fourteen crappie and he gave me them to fillet and deep fry. That evening, we had some friends visiting from Houston. Once the fish were fried, I placed them on the counter and went to take a shower. 

    When I returned, most of the fish was gone and everyone was asking what kind of fish that it was. From that day forward, I have been obsessed with crappie fishing.

    Premier Angler: At what point does a passion for crappie fishing (and crappie eating) lead to the formation of a bait company? Was this a decision you had been considering for a while? 

    Goncalves: I tried a variety of plastic crappie baits and found most were not durable enough. I asked one bait maker why he didn’t make a more durable plastic and his reply was, “so people would return to purchase more baits.” 

    After that comment, I knew I could do better. I decided to form my own bait company. After many tests, I found the perfect durable plastic I could approve of. 

    I started catching a limit of fish on just one bait, hence the name Limits Tackle: “Why settle for a few when you can catch a limit?” 

    Premier Angler: When we talked last week, you mentioned that the company has only been around for about two years. As an upstart company, what do you think has differentiated Limits Tackle from the seemingly countless bait and tackle companies that pop up overnight?

    Goncalves: My number one priority is always my customers. My name and reputation is behind my product. I want a good customer base, and yes, I want them to come back but because of quality, not quantity — not just because they run out of baits, but because they love the product they are using. 

    Limits Tackle Jigs

    Most companies advertise that they have the “toughest baits,” but what I do is hand (potential customers) some of my sample baits and let them decide.

    Premier Angler: As a follow-up to that, let’s talk about the growth of Limits Tackle. In a short period of time, Limits has established a significant profile online and has developed a loyal fan base. What has this growth looked like, and where do you see the company heading?

    Goncalves: I have seen this company go from just a few loyal friends and customers to thousands of satisfied patrons. The use of social media has played a big part in the expansion of Limits Tackle. My goal is to have my products in every fisherman’s tackle box. 

    Premier Angler: How are most anglers finding out about Limits Tackle? Do you find most customers who receive a sample return to your products after trying them?

    Goncalves: Social media has played the biggest part in spreading the word about Limits Tackle. I also have fished quite a few crappie tournaments and have done a lot of networking that way. 

    https://www.facebook.com/LimitsTackle/

    When people find a great product, they want to spread the word. The most satisfying part of my job is hearing about the customers who really appreciate the products I produce.

    Premier Angler: What else should we know about Limits Tackle?

    Goncalves: Limits Tackle is Veteran-owned business. I served in the United States Air Force 25 years. I support several Veteran fishing organizations. One way in particular is that I send our jig heads to troops stationed abroad and in war zones. This allows for a small distraction during their downtime where they can make hand-tied jigs that they can use when they return home.

    The post Catching More Crappie with Limits Tackle appeared first on Premier Angler.


    New Missouri State Record Yellow Perch

    On Friday, February 7th, the Missouri Department on Conservation announced that a new state record yellow perch had been caught. Tyler Halley of Maryville caught the new record fish on January 24th while fishing a private pond in Nodaway County with his uncle and family friends. Enthused about the catch, Halley told the MDC that […] The post New Missouri State Record Yellow Perch appeared first on Premier...

    Tyler Halley_Missouri State Record Yellow Perch

    On Friday, February 7th, the Missouri Department on Conservation announced that a new state record yellow perch had been caught.

    Tyler Halley of Maryville caught the new record fish on January 24th while fishing a private pond in Nodaway County with his uncle and family friends.

    Enthused about the catch, Halley told the MDC that “I literally dove into the water and gave the fish a bear hug so it wouldn’t get away.”

    Congratulations to Tyler Halley for catching the first state-record fish of 2020!

    Posted by Missouri Dept. of Conservation on Friday, February 7, 2020

    Halley’s catch weighed in at a respectable 1 pound, 14 ounces. This was enough to displace the previous Missouri state record yellow perch, which weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces.

    The previous record was caught in 2009.

    Editor’s Note: Halley’s state record yellow perch was caught using pole-and-line. Missouri also awards state records for alternative methods.

    The post New Missouri State Record Yellow Perch appeared first on Premier Angler.


    College Fishing Talk: Ohio State University’s Patrick Henry

    In the latest installment of Premier Angler’s College Fishing Talk, we chat with Patrick Henry, President of the Ohio State University Bass Fishing Team. Talking College Fishing with Patrick Henry, Ohio State University Premier Angler: Hi Patrick. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. To get started, let’s begin with your fishing journey. […] The post College Fishing Talk: Ohio State University’s Patrick Henry appeared first on Premier...

    College Fishing Talk_Ohio State University

    In the latest installment of Premier Angler’s College Fishing Talk, we chat with Patrick Henry, President of the Ohio State University Bass Fishing Team.

    Talking College Fishing with Patrick Henry, Ohio State University

    Premier Angler: Hi Patrick. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

    To get started, let’s begin with your fishing journey. How did that journey lead to you becoming president of the bass fishing team at one of the nation’s largest universities?

    Henry: I started fishing at a young age in the creek behind my uncle’s house, which was across the street from where I lived. Many of my uncles were fisherman, hunters, and overall outdoorsmen, so an appreciation for nature was something I developed very early on. 

    I never had a boat growing up, so I really got into fly fishing in middle school and high school. In my part of New Jersey there is a lot of native and stocked trout habitat, and I could drive 10 minutes away after school or on a weekend and get lost wading in Appalachian freestone streams. 

    Youth tournament fishing in NJ as a whole is rather nonexistent, and although I was a fan of Mike Iaconelli and following BASS growing up, I never had the exposure or opportunity to get into bass tournaments. I would participate in youth bank tournaments now and then, and actually won one on the lake in my town when I was in middle school. 

    Once high school hit, I really started to transition into bass fishing though and tried my best from the bank.

    Premier Angler: Can you share any information about the history of the fishing team at Ohio State?

    Henry: After talking to our faculty adviser, the current club is in its third iteration. Since we are classified as a club and not a sport (which we will get into later), high turnover rates make it hard to ensure a successful future for the club. 

    Our current team began in 2012 and despite receiving no help from the university, have actually had a solid competitive history. 

    At the end of 2018, we sat at 21st in the Cabela’s ACA School of the Year standings, and we are ending 2019 in 19th place out of over 250 schools. We have had one of our members, Bassmaster Open Pro Tyler Berger, win an FLW event on the St. Lawrence River, and have had teams finish 2nd and 5th in the past two years at the FLW Lake Erie Northern Regional. 

    On average, we have 3 national championship qualifications per year, and have both of the first two Ohio Bass Nation College Championships so far.

    Premier Angler: Did the fishing team have any influence on your decision to attend Ohio State?

    Henry: The fishing team here at OSU actually had no bearing on my college decision at all. 

    My choice was solely based on academic prestige, in addition to being a major Buckeye sports fan. I looked at a lot of Big Ten schools and other big name colleges, but none of them compared to how at home I felt on the Ohio State campus. 

    I didn’t officially join the team at OSU until late in my freshman year. I had been looking for organizations to join early on and got involved with the Fly Fishing Club, as I had reached out to the bass team but never actually heard back from them for a while. When I did, I was still reluctant as I wasn’t sure if tournament fishing was for me.

    Premier Angler: What are some of the biggest rewards being part of the fishing team at a major university? Conversely, what have been some of the biggest challenges?

    Henry: Name association for our club is key.  People love anything related to Ohio State, and when they can combine their love for the Buckeyes with a passion for fishing, it really helps our club get exposure and sell apparel to raise money. That money is then given to host youth events, other fundraisers, and primarily provide travel money to our teams who do qualify for national championship events. 

    On the flip side, working with such a big school makes it hard to get anything done on the front of receiving funding or securing a better future for our club.  It often leads to a circular pattern of people referring you to other people, and because of this we have lost donations and even missed out on the opportunity to receive a club boat from a donor since no one from the university wanted to help us.

    Premier Angler: Ohio State’s Bass Fishing team has a very active social media presence and a presence on the college’s website. Many of the newer college teams  — and even some established clubs — have little to no online presence whatsoever. How important do you believe that schools having an active online presence is both for individuals teams and for college fishing in general?

    Henry: When I took over as president, I could have easily assigned the task of social media chair to another member so I could lessen my work load and focus on other aspects of the club.  However, I had a very specific vision for our social media and wanted to put in the work to make it what it is today. 

    The first time I logged in, our Instagram account had about 300 followers; and in about 2 years, it has grown to over 1,560.  I actually set a goal that first day to get our profile to pass Penn State’s team in total followers (who doesn’t love some friendly Big Ten competition?), at a time when they already had over 1,100, and we now have roughly 30 more than they do. 

    The Twitter and Facebook pages have had similar success. The main reasons for this big push are threefold; it makes us more attractive to sponsors, it widens our exposure to fans, donors, and high schoolers looking to be on a college team, and gets us to a point where it would be very hard for the university to ignore us. 

    I also think what we’re doing is very sweet, and want to consistently share what we’re up to with people since we get so may comments on our profiles saying “I wish they had a fishing team when I was in college!”  Social media is fun to me, and it makes doing it like this an enjoyable activity and a challenge to be creative.

    Premier Angler: How does the school recruit members to the team? What type of promotion, if any, goes into raising awareness about the team on campus, locally, etc.?

    Henry: As far as member recruitment, we don’t have the funds or incentives per say to entice “top” high school anglers to come to our program, however that is pretty much the case almost everywhere. 

    Member recruitment happens at Ohio State’s annual Student Involvement Fair during the first week of fall classes, as well as by word of mouth and social media. Having an active social media presence gets you more exposure and increases your chances of being seen, and we want to be as visible as possible for high schoolers and new OSU students looking for a club to join or looking for a fishing team to get involved in. 

    The amount of times we hear “Oh, there’s a fishing team?” or “We actually have that here?” is incredible, and the more we can minimize that and get the word out, the better.


    Premier Angler: One challenge many college fishing teams face is securing funding. As you’ve mentioned, Ohio State’s Fishing Team also gets no direct funding from the university. How has the team been able to raise funds and secure sponsorships over the years to cover the cost of travel, accommodations, supplies, gear, tackle, boats, etc.?

    Henry: One of our biggest accomplishments in my mind is securing the sponsors our team currently has. They are: Shimano, G. Loomis, Venom Lures, Rapala, Hacksaw Jigs, Trokar, Minn Kota, Humminbird, NuThreadz, Field & Stream, Costa, Dairy Queen, TH Marine, Spool Speed Bearings, Pyscho Fish Lures, and PowerPro. 

    This has been a fruit of our social media efforts, as the bigger our audience becomes, the more appealing our brand is to sponsors, as well as putting out more and creative content to promote them. 

    On a funding front, we have a few sources of income. Like I mentioned earlier, the money we raise goes to the teams who qualify for national championship events from regionals to use as travel funds. It doesn’t cover the cost completely, but it helps since the championships are usually a lot further away for us (i.e. 17 hours to Louisiana, 15 hours to Florida, etc.).   

    A big source of income for us is our apparel: NuThreadz makes a full line of OSU Bass gear available for purchase, and all the proceeds from sales are given to our club. We are not allowed to use the Block O logo, meaning we had to make our own OSU-themed logo and it prevents us from selling our tournament jerseys to the general public, but people seem to love what we’ve designed.

    Premier Angler: As a follow-up, can you tell us more about some of the fundraisers you hold during the year (i.e. Buckeye Battle, Ducks Unlimited, etc.)

    Henry: Our two main sources of income are selling apparel at our booth each year at the Columbus Fishing Expo and our annual Fundraiser tournament dubbed the Buckeye Battle. Our apparel can be bought online, but we move the most volume in person during the three days of the Expo.  In addition, we usually have some items to raffle off from our sponsors. 

    G. Loomis provided us with some rods for that very purpose this last year, and we really appreciate it. The Buckeye Battle is an open tournament with 70% payout that we hold each year. It has been on Tappan Lake, Indian Lake, Alum Creek, and others, and we plan to hold it on Alum Creek again this upcoming May. 

    We advertise on Facebook, Instagram, at the Expo, and through word of mouth to try and draw a big crowd. Venom Lures has been kind enough to sponsor the event and give us some door prizes, along with door prizes from Trokar and Field & Stream. Vice President John Kristof is also the VP of the Ducks Unlimited OSU Chapter and as a smaller OSU club with a shared passion for conservation and the outdoors, we want to lend a hand advertising their events and getting their name out there. Many members of our team are also members of the DU club, and we coexist quite nicely.

    Premier Angler: Ohio State maintains a presence at some high-profile events, including those sponsored by FLW and the Bassmaster College Series, which you touched on a bit. Walk us through the preparation that goes into making all of this a reality — the training, behind-the-scenes coordination, etc.

    Henry: This is perhaps one of the hardest things to accomplish as our team has such high turnover and no guarantees since boats all belong to members and vary from tournament to tournament.  The fact that we have been able to come by some success despite all this speaks to the talent and hard work some of our anglers put in. 

    Those of us who fish most of the tournaments we can are usually on the water multiple times a week anyways. The best way to get better in this sport is through experience, and we all strive to get as much of that as we can. When not fishing college events, we can be found fishing week night pot tournaments, TBX, Megabass, Bass Nation, BFL’s, and every circuit we can find. Before events (sometimes months in advance), we start studying lake maps and scouring YouTube and Google for all the videos and articles we can on a body of water. 

    If BASS or FLW has been to a body of water, those videos are picked apart.  Our top guys not only love fishing but love watching and learning, and having those resources to watch the best in the business break down lakes is very special. Once the schedules are announced, we try to coordinate who is going to which events as soon as we can. 

    If possible, we try to travel and lodge together to save money and work as a team. It definitely is a very individual sport, but I would rather see three Ohio State teams in the top ten of a tournament than just one.

    Premier Angler: In a given year, what events does Ohio State typically fish? What are some of the biggest events, some highlights from those events, furthest travels, etc.?

    Henry: Our schedule generally consists of the four College Bassmasters, three FLW Northern Regionals, the FLW Open, the Ohio Bass Nation College Championship a few tournaments hosted by other colleges, the Cabela’s ACA Big Bass Bash, and any Bassmaster, FLW, or Cabela’s ACA National Championship events we qualify for. 

    With the tournament circuits favoring southern lakes, Ohio isn’t the most out of the way (we feel for teams in New York, Wisconsin, etc.) but it definitely isn’t the closest. In recent history, the furthest event was the 2018 FLW National Championship on the Red River in Louisiana, which was over a 17 hour drive. We have an upcoming Bassmaster on Toledo Bend which is another 17 hour drive and a subsequently possible one if any of our teams is traveling to that. 

    Three major highlights come to mind in recent history of our club;

    1) Going back to back in the Ohio Bass Nation College Championships

    2) Having 2nd and 5th place finishes at the FLW Lake Erie Regional the past two years

    3) Having one of our most consistent duos in Jacob Miller and Jaycen Newsome have a big second day to jump up to 36th place (out of 148) in their final tournament which happened to be the 2019 FLW National Championship.

    Premier Angler: What advice would you give to someone interested in fishing at the college level and, in particular, for OSU?

    Henry: Having been involved in college fishing for a few years now, I would say the biggest things I’ve learned are patience and to roll with the punches. 

    I am already a very patient person, but this is a sport where things work out according to plan an extremely low percentage of the time, so you have to live with that and keep your head above water.  It’s very easy to get down on yourself and beat yourself up, especially if you’re a perfectionist like me.  I would get really discouraged early on since things never seemed to go right, but the good anglers are those who keep a positive attitude, assess the situation, and adapt accordingly. 

    Stick with it and put in the work, and eventually your time will come. Don’t feel rushed to be successful and definitely don’t do it for the sponsorships; those too will come in time. 

    Most professional anglers didn’t come to the pros straight out of college and there is no draft. (Mike) Iaconelli worked at a Dick’s Sporting Goods for a few years out of college. Bass fishing is a sport where you can succeed at any age, so don’t feel rushed. 

    As far as those interested in fishing at OSU, don’t be afraid to reach out!  We regularly monitor our email, Facebook, and Instagram, so get in contact with us, ask questions, and get involved.  We don’t have the resources to recruit so we rely on interested people to find us. No matter what level of experience you have in tournament angling, feel free to join our club. At the very least you have a way to network with some like minded individuals and make friends with some fellow anglers.

    Premier Angler: Columbus is located directly in the center of a state with a handful of quality lakes. As you mentioned, however, the tournament scene often tends to favor southern lakes. What are some of your favorite lakes to fish, either near the college or at home, when you are not on the circuit?

    Henry: “Quality” is a funny word to describe the lakes around Columbus in terms of bass fishing! 

    Surprisingly, Ohio has been said to be one of the top 5 worst states in the country in terms of bass fishing if you exclude Lake Erie. That being said, there are bass to be caught if you know what you’re doing.  You can’t ledge fish or pattern fish like you can on TVA lakes for example, but you learn how to junk fish really well!  Alum Creek is a personal favorite of mine and a few other team members, and lakes such as Griggs and O’Shaughnessy are also well liked. 

    Delaware Lake provides a challenge but can be rewarding, and Lake Erie is second to none. I work as a first mate during the summers for our VP John Kristof on a walleye charter boat, and every day off you can find us out around the Lake Erie islands in search of smallmouth. 

    Almost everyone on our team who traveled to the Bassmaster event on the St. Lawrence last year fell in love with the place, and a bunch of us love taking trips up to Lake St. Clair as well.

    Premier Angler: What else would you like people to know about you, the team, or college fishing in general? 

    Henry: College fishing has been one of the best things I could have gotten involved in (or maybe the worst)!  I live and breathe bass fishing now, and it’s on my mind every day as I constantly try to get better. It provides people of our age a chance to gain big tournament experience while not completely draining us financially. 

    If you have the chance, at least give it a try. A big aspect of our team that I am especially proud of us our work with youth events. We recently held a youth tournament in conjunction with one of the local high school clubs for youth anglers around Ohio where our members were boat captains and weigh masters. 

    We try to send a few volunteers to local fishing derbies, open houses, and any other events we can. A lot of organizations reach out to us and ask for help, and with our 50 some members in the club (not all of them fish tournaments) we are usually able to lend a hand. Our club has grown drastically in the past 2 years, and it seems to be continuing to do so. 

    While the future is always uncertain, I can proudly say I’ve done my best to leave the club better than I found it and have set up our future anglers for success.  I really do enjoy running this club and thank you for reaching out to us to complete this interview. Feel free to contact us at any time with follow ups, new questions, or anything else as we will be happy to oblige!

    The post College Fishing Talk: Ohio State University’s Patrick Henry appeared first on Premier Angler.


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