Written by Kelsey Dickerson, Staff Writer
A team from the VSU bass fishing club is headed to finals after a close weekend of qualifying.
Senior criminal justice major Cody Clearly, the club’s secretary, and freshman marketing major Max Gresham, the club’s vice president, will travel to the 2017 Fishing League Worldwide championship after qualifying at the 2016 FLW College Open in Gilberstville, Kentucky, the first weekend of April.
Finishing 11th with a 15 team cut-off, Gresham says that the pair is excited to have qualified. “The tournament had 202 boats in it total so the field was huge. The weather was rainy and windy and very hard to fish in but we stuck with our pattern and it worked!” Clearly said.
“We didn’t think we had enough weight the second day to make it at first, but with every angler crossing the stage failing to top our weight we got more and more excited,” Gresham said. “Competition was extremely tight. We only made the 15th place cut by just a couple pounds.”
Though the details of the 2017 championship have yet to be revealed, Gresham says the team will gather as much information as they can about the location and build a practice plan based on what they find out.
Fishing club president Landon Tucker said that joining the club starts with a conversation and then a few trial-run fishing outings with members of the club to test the potential member’s ability.
According to Gresham, he became friends with someone on the team before school started last fall and though he began with a different partner, he said, “After a few tournaments I felt like my fishing style fits better with Cody as a partner.”
Clearly said that he heard about the team through social media and has been a part of the club for one year in May.
The club has sent two other teams to championship with qualifications for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship in both 2014 and 2015, but no VSU team has qualified for an FLW championship before.
Tucker says the club started about six years ago and participates in four different fishing tours: the B.A.S.S. College Series, the FLW College Fishing tournaments, the Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) Tournaments, and the Fishlife Tour.
The club will be headed to Durant, Oklahoma, in June to participate in the three day long B.A.S.S. Wild Card tournament.
To prepare for the competition Tucker said, “We’ll be practicing for three days for it, putting in 12 hour days on the water.”