The National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship drew more than 140 teams from 73 schools to Lewisville Lake this week. It is the largest pool of competitors in the four year history of the event.
"Take Oklahoma and Texas, we all know how great a rivalry that is, and we’ve got that same rivalry going on out there on the water right now," said Wade Middleton, tournament chairman.
When you hear about college sports, most people think of football or basketball. But organizers of this tournament hope to one day see fishing become an NCAA sport, too.
“Fishing is a good wholesome sport but it’s also got that edgy competitive side to it, too,” said professional angler Harmon Davis. “As a career, you have to be consistent, you have to work well with sponsors.That’s what keeps you out here fishing.”
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Corporate sponsors help support the Bass Fishing Championship with prize money and travel allowances for teams.
“You’re looking at $100 to $200 for hotels, not counting gas,” said Hunter Fant, a fisherman from Henderson State University in Arkansas. “Every little bit helps.”
Lewisville Lake was a challenge for many of the competitors Thursday.
“It is a real fair test because it’s a tough lake to fish,” said Middleton. “If you’re going to have a true championship, you want to find a place that’s going to test them.”
But Middleton said the site was also chosen for access to make highways and the large metropolitan area.
Teams compete to catch the heaviest Large Mouth and Spotted Bass with a five fish limit each day. The top prize of a $10,000 scholarship will be awarded after a second day of competition on Friday.