SUNY-ESF’s bass fishing team wants to be the premier varsity sport at the school

first_img Published on November 15, 2018 at 9:45 am Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Standing on a small beach of rocks and dirt, Patrick Durand cast his fishing line toward a support beam that hoists a portion of Long Branch Road over Onondaga Lake. It’s the SUNY-ESF Bass Fishing Team’s home fishing spot.On a rainy and cold Saturday in late October, Durand dragged the line through the water. The vice president of the bass team repeated the process over and over again: cast, drag, reel.“Things that not a lot of people would think of go into the decisions you make to approach how to catch these fish,” Durand said.” That’s the fun part for me.”SUNY-ESF’s bass team is a hybrid between a club and an athletics team. It holds biweekly meetings and has about 20 engaged members. Some fish as a hobby, others want to compete. This year, the team will compete against schools such as SUNY Cobleskill and the University at Buffalo.Tournaments typically start at 6-or-7 a.m. and run for eight hours. School teams send pairs of competitors to participate in the tournaments. The goal is to catch the five largest bass within the time limit.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCollege fishing has been steadily growing, Tyler Hodges, the president of the team, said. The biggest competition in college fishing, the College National Championship, is in its 36th year. Hodges said during the first meeting of the semester they filled up an entire 50-seat auditorium with students interested in fishing with the team.Caleb Konrad, a Brooklyn, New York, native and graduate of SUNY-ESF, acts as the team’s coach. In addition to taking care of administrative side of the team, Konrad also helps them strategize for tournaments.When Konrad joined the bass team as a freshman at SUNY-ESF in August 2014, the organization had 15 students. By the end of the year, there were six team members and no regularly scheduled meetings.But Konrad made it his goal to build up the team. The idea, Konrad said, is to develop a team that can consistently compete with southern schools with powerhouse bass fishing teams like Virginia Tech and South Carolina.Both Hodges and Durand said SUNY-ESF’s bass team attracted them to the school because they wanted to fish competitively. Mike Joachim, a freshman studying landscape architecture, said the team also influenced his decision to attend the school.“I know when I was looking for schools I wanted a bass team,” Durand added.Teams usually prepare for tournaments two or three days in advance, Durand said. Anglers, another word for people who fish, consider a wide variety of factors ranging from the time of year to water clarity and temperature.Saturday, during a casual shore fishing event on Onondaga lake, Durand and Hodges contemplated whether the rain would impact the water clarity. Depending on how clear the water is, they might use a different type of bait to attract the bass.“It’s like a constantly changing puzzle every single day you get out there,” Hodges said, “and hour to hour it might even be different.”Konrad said SUNY-ESF’s academic focus on environmental sciences gives the team a massive advantage over other schools. Colleges like Penn State and Ohio State have successful teams because they have so many students to choose from, Konrad said.“We’re such a small school but we’re still competing with these massive universities and we’re beating them,” he said.SUNY-ESF has less than 2,000 students, but in June it will send three teams to the 2019 College National Championship on the Potomac River. The school has only sent one other team in its history, Konrad said.Konrad would also like to eventually to purchase team boats and trucks decorated with SUNY-ESF’s logo.Said Konrad: “My vision is that we will be handing out scholarships for kids to bass fish.”last_img

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