Taylor Palmer @TP_SUVB_15 – Sports Writer |
Competitive collegiate fishing continues to grow in popularity across the state of Alabama. UAB, Birmingham Southern and the University of North Alabama are among the schools that have recently organized club fishing teams.
Now, Samford University will be able to compete in the water sport.
The idea to start a club fishing team came one night as junior geography major Andy Brown and sophomore pre-business major Thomas Wilson were sitting around talking casually in their room.
After discussing the plan with sophomore health and fitness promotion major Austin Skinner, the trio set out to begin recruiting members for the first Samford fishing team.
“I’ve been fishing all of my life and have competed in a lot of tournaments,” Brown said. “Fishing is a passion of mine and I would love to share it with others so that future Samford students can enjoy it as much as I do.”
The team is comprised of 15 members, including Samford athletes, fraternity members, band and debate team members and one female: senior exercise science major Kaley Blanton.
“Being the only girl on the team doesn’t bother me because I grew up fishing with my dad a lot,” Blanton said. “I’m really excited about the tournaments, which are coming up soon.”
In order to qualify as a club fishing team, Brown, Wilson and Skinner had to meet with Campus Life and Campus Rec directors to start the process of team qualification.
“To qualify for the Collegiate Fishing League,” Skinner said, “you need to be registered with the FLW, which is a fishing tournament organization named after Forrest L. Wood, the founder of Ranger Bass Boats.”
For their first season of competition, the Samford fishing team wants to use the University of Alabama and Auburn’s fishing teams as models for their squad.
“One of the leading champions for Alabama’s fishing team grew up with my older brother and is a close family friend,” Skinner said. “Hopefully he can give us a few pointers.”
“Auburn has a really good program,” Brown said. “They’ve won the National Championship for FLW and Bassmasters.”
The fishing team’s first FLW tournament will be held March 2 on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Ala.
“Samford has done an awesome job helping us get this team organized and ready for our upcoming season,” Brown said. “We would also like to thank our sponsors, Mark’s Outdoor and Amerson Engraving, for all of their awesome support.”