Last Saturday, the Plattsburgh State Fishing Club hosted Bassmaster Elite Series Angler Joe Sancho.
Sancho talked to the club and event attendees about his experiences on the professional circuit, as well as his participation in fishing tournaments, his favorite techniques and how he got to where he is in the sport.
The Bassmaster Elite Series, which Sancho is a part of, is bass fishing’s most competitive league.
“It was very inspirational,” said PSUC Fishing Club secretary Meghan Giacalone, “I know people who don’t fish took something away from it.”
This was the club’s first event of the semester, and it was made possible by the club’s coach Bobby Williams, president of the New York Chapter of the Bass Federation (TBF). He was able to recruit Sancho to give the talk.
The club started in 2007 and currently has about 42 members.
The club participates in campus events such Relay for Life, Polar Plunge and the Saranac River Cleanup.
During the winter months, when fishing isn’t particularly in season, the club meets Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m. in preparation for the summer and fall seasons. They compete in three to four tournaments a year between August and October.
The club does occasionally go ice fishing to pass the time until summer and fall tournaments, club president Matt Ziomek said.
Ziomek, a Massachusetts native said he decided to attend PSUC specifically for the fishing that Lake Champlain offers.
“I got into fishing with my dad and started doing tournaments in middle school,” he said. “I came to Plattsburgh mainly for the fishing.”
Last fall, after about a year of planning, the club implemented its own tournament series called the Collegiate Challenge Cup, in which they compete with other college teams and clubs.
During a tournament, the team is broken into pairs and they spend about eight hours on the water. At the end of the day, during weigh-in, the pairs weigh their five biggest fish. Whoever has the highest total wins a cash prize.
The fish are kept alive throughout the day, and released at the end of the tournament.
The tournament consists of two to three regular tournaments and a championship, and is sponsored by the New York TBF, who set-up the tournaments and provide the boats.
Ziomek said it is a benefit to the club that they aren’t technically considered a sport at PSUC because, in the NCAA, the teams can’t profit off of wins. However, as a club, if the team were to win only 10 percent of the winnings, they would go to the school, and the other 90 percent would go to the team.
Though the club has the opportunity to win cash prizes, they are a Student Association-funded club. The SA helps with transportation costs and the club fundraisers for miscellaneous expenses. Club members are responsible for providing their own gear and equipment.
Club meetings and memberships are open to anyone of any skill level. Ziomek said the goal of the club is to get people into fishing and even teach beginners how to fish.
“We want to allow members to take fishing as far as they want competitively,” he said, “or just give members the opportunity to relax.
It’s a really good group of kids that all stick together and have a common interest, so that’s big,” Ziomek said.
Email Tawnee Bradham at firstname.lastname@example.org