Catching your attention: Bass Fishing Club’s emergence on campus

Club is all about being fishy


Courtesy of UMass Bass Fishing Club Campus Pulse Page

By Cassie McGrath, Collegian Correspondent

You know what they say about clubs at the University of Massachusetts: if it doesn’t already exist, make it yourself.

Sophomore Julian Burgoff and senior Jon Hastings recently placed fifth in the 2018 YETI Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Northern Conference Tournament. Last year, the students re-founded the UMass Bass Fishing Club and have already seen great success.

“The Bass Fishing Club has been inactive for years after its initial inception,” Burgoff explained. “We are currently working on rebuilding the club pretty much from the ground up.”

“We’ve finished a couple tournaments,” said Hastings, “and gotten fourth out of 15 teams and fifth out of 83 teams.”

Their fifth place win took place on Saturday, July 22 on Lake Cayuga in Seneca Falls, New York. There were 83 teams in the tournament representing schools from the northern conference.

The Bass Fishing Club received its charter as a Registered Student Organization in 2014, though interest at the time was low. The tournament, however, has inspired excitement in members to revive the club and attain a presence on campus.

Maxwell Zaleski/Collegian

A tournament this challenging takes an immense amount of preparation. Burgoff and Hastings knew that in order to succeed, they would have to put in a lot of work.

The two spent hours studying the lake remotely before the tournament began using tools such as Google Maps and considering conditions such as the time of year. Two days prior to the competition, the team traveled to the lake, searched for the spots with the most fish and cultivated strategies for the big day. When Saturday finally came the boys were ready for action.

“On the tournament day we tried to keep it simple and ‘just go fishing,’” Burgoff said. “We trusted our instincts and spent the entire day in one area that we had found in practice, moving around as the conditions changed throughout the day.”

Their strategy soon proved to be efficient. Within the first 15 minutes, they had caught a four-pound fish which raised their confidence significantly.

They reached the five fish limit but then ran into trouble trying to find some “big bites.” This went on until there was only an hour remaining. Under pressure and hungry for a win, the team decided to switch things up.

“We made a key decision to fish a stretch earlier in the day once more, which paid off with another four-pounder which put us at a solid 15-and-a-half pounds,” Burgoff said.

The team was happy with the day, but performed better than their wildest expectations.

“We were absolutely shocked to come in fifth place. The weights were extremely low for the lake and it was overall a tougher day for most, than we had expected, ” Burgoff said.

“Myself and our club president Jon Hastings will be competing in the 2019 FLW college national championship at the end of May or beginning of June at a destination to be announced in November” explains Burgoff. Placing fifth was a huge accomplishment, Burgoff said, since it was the first tournament of that size for the team.

Following the tournament, the team said they are off to a great start and are looking for people who are as excited as they are about the sport. Burgoff added, “We will be working on growing our club not only in terms of membership body, but we also plan on reaching within the bass fishing industry to sponsor us for the 2019 season.”

If you are passionate about fishing and interested in joining the club, reach out to either Burgoff ([email protected]) or Hastings ([email protected]). Additionally, you can contact the team through their page on campus pulse. The team plans to hold recruitment events in the future and asked all interested to look out for these events.

Burgoff is excited to expand the program.

“Coming into our first event and qualifying for nationals is pretty special and we are definitely looking to grow the club to be able to fish in more tournaments in the future.”

Cassie McGrath can be reached at [email protected]