A 1200 mile journey with 4 KSU Anglers

It’s not easy organizing a week long fishing adventure; let alone being a college student and attending all your classes the week before.  I, along with 4 others from the Kansas St. Univ. Fishing Team were destined for Bossier City Louisiana for the National Championship of the American Bass Anglers.

We departed on a Saturday morning from Manhattan Kansas as soon as we can force ourselves to wake up.  I found that it’s always easier to wake up when you know you’ll be fishing.  Luckily for me, I have a Friday 4:30 exam forcing me to focus on engineering physics up until the very last moment of the week.  I can assure you my exam score won’t reflect my true intelligence, as it was hampered by dreams of my big bass at the weigh in the entire week leading up to it.

The previous weeks were quite stressful.  The September hurricane’s caused our hotel reservations to jump around like those 10″ bass you try to shake off your line.  Finally after many unsuccessful attempts, we got a room for the week.  And many thanks to some generous Georgia boys to let us crash in their rooms until we could finally get into ours a day later.

The 10 hour drive was sure something else.  I don’t know what we were thinking, 10 hours with 4 bass crazed college guys?  Scratch that off and put us up for a 12 hour trip instead.  Let’s just say we couldn’t help ourselves that our drive to Louisiana lead us right past a Gander Mountain and two Bass Pro Shops.  Upon arriving in Bossier City Louisiana late that night you can count on it that our rental SUV was cramped and smelled of old fast food.  After hitting up the local Wal-Mart for fishing Licenses we finally went to bed to wake up again in 3 hours.

We couldn’t wait for the first day of prefishing.  Months of preparing for this river and we finally got to fish it.  We all went our separate ways while prefishing with all different partners.  The fishing was decent for most of us and after day 1 of prefishing one of our guys had a 7 lber to his name.

Day two of prefishing was great.  We finally got a decent nights rest in our own hotel room and fished late into the day.  For me, the end of fishing for this day was capped off by a 45 minute *trolling motor only* journey up a skinny inlet to what we had hoped was a small pond.  Come to find out after all the work of getting the boat up that far that the land owner poured a heap of chunk rock across the inlet right before the pond so no boats could get in.  A major disappoint but still, a great adventure.

Day three was a peaceful one for most of us.  3 of us decided to sleep in until early afternoon and relax before the tournament started the following day.  The 1 guy on our team who decided fish came back with stories of great numbers of fish with great size.  We all couldn’t wait until the next day.

Day 1 of the tournament sure started slow.  Sitting in a boat for 3 hours waiting got old but it was still a brand new experience for me as I had never experienced a tournament of this size in my life.  200+ boats out in the water in the early morning was a site to see.  The day of fishing I experienced was slow, only 2 small keepers brought in by our boat.  One man on our team had a bit better luck.  After the day was done one of our K-State boys was in the lead with a shade over 7 lbs. brought in.

Day 2 was another slow one for me.  I struggled the entire day to finally bring in 2 small keepers myself.  Fishing for everyone on the team was slower that day.  The race for the top in the college division was drawing closer and closer.

Day 3, the final day of the tournament, everyone knew what they must do to end up successful.  2 of us on the team had to search for bigger fish in order to catch up to the rest of the pack.  The other 2 on the team we looking for a few keepers to help out their cause.  By the end of the day my boater called it quits as I ran the trolling motor for the afternoon.  I was able to reel in my biggest fish of the tournament but 1 fish wasn’t nearly enough to cut it.  As we all chatted after the boats came in it was clear that the top 5 for the college division would be close.

The final standing were announced at dinner that night.  2 of us, knowing we were out of the race sat back and watched the nervousness of the other 2 waiting to find out if they had placed high enough for a scholarship or not.  After a long dinner and slow presentation, it turned out both of the K-State guys placed and earned $1,000 scholarships.  The pressure was off and they could finally relax.

That night we all found a way to kick back and relax awaiting the long journey home the following morning.  Hanging out at a local grill that night right on the river we all could forget about the long week behind us and really enjoy our adventure.  It was a great season and we all can’t wait to do it again this coming year.  Who knows where the National Championship will be, but you can count on the Kansas St. Univ. Fishing Team to be there.

**The Kansas State University Fishing Team fishes many ABA tournaments every year.  They compete for points and a chance to win scholarships at the end of the year.  If you would like more information about the Team, like to sponsor the team, or financially help out, please contact Casey Smith of the Kansas State University Fishing Team at cgs@ksu.edu.  Without the help of gracious donors, our fishing trips would not even be possible.  Thank you for all your support.

Casey Smith

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