SIUE Campus Rec interview with Zach Hartnagel, Bass Masters President.
How long has your club been at SIUE? As far as the club, I’d say it has been about 10 years.
How many members do you currently have? We have nearly 20 members now.
What does an average practice look like? Our practices aren’t typical; our practice is more so just going out on a lake and fishing!
What do the time and cost commitments look like? We compete against other schools in multiple college circuits, as well as fish against our own guys here on the campus lake [Cougar Lake]. Going to those tournaments can be costly with gas and hotels in addition with our cost of our boats, trucks, fishing equipment, etc. SIUE Campus Recreation helps supplement some of the travel costs as well as membership dues and fundraising opportunities.
Do interested players need any experience? Interested individuals do not need experience!
Do you compete against other schools or compete in any tournaments? Our club has been ranked very high in the college fishing rankings and have been two-time Illinois State Champions. We also have qualified for the regional tournament 7 years in a row, some years multiple teams from our school have qualified.
Can you elaborate on the big tournament you guys have coming up? (Editor’s Note: Interview took place before the April 2016 FLW College Fishing Open) The tournament is pretty big, it includes some of the best anglers across the states. It’s not easy to qualify for this tournament, so the guys that will be there all have earned, and deserve, to be there. I am not sure as to when it will air but it will be on TV. It’s basically like the Super Bowl of college bass fishing . This sport has taken off like crazy and is so popular now. 58 teams have qualified for the tournament out of hundreds and hundreds of teams.
The winner will win a new boat and will also get to fish the Forest Wood Cup which is the biggest bass fishing tournament anyone can fish, also competing with all of the professional anglers for a half a million dollars. So it’s a shot at something that could change our lives! We are just excited to be there. Dalton and I had a great year so we look forward to seeing if it will carry over into this. As far as I know we were the only team to finish top ten at the Fly Open out of 194 boats as well as top 10 in the boat us national championship which was out of 200+ boats! So it’s an honor and exciting to know we have a good chance at this!