Calling all college fishermen and fisherwomen. What if you could fish and also win money for your school?
Reid Mizelle, a Roanoke College sophomore, is the founder of the new Bass Fishing Club at Roanoke and an avid fisherman. He came up with the idea to start the club last fall, and he recently found enough members to begin the program and develop a winter and spring schedule.
Club members travel to fishing tournaments organized by FLW, an organization that sponsors sport fishing tournament tours. Its name stands for Forrest L. Wood, legendary developer of the Ranger fishing boat. Fishing competitors can win money, ranging from $50-$100,000. Roanoke College will receive a percentage of the fishing club’s prize winnings.
Mizelle, who is from Virginia Beach, said the Bass Fishing club will travel to different U.S. lakes, from New York to Alabama, for competitions. For local tournaments, the college fishers will compete against Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia Tech, Radford University, North Carolina State University, and others.
Mizelle, a biology major, hopes that off the water the club will be an advocate for wildlife conservation and uphold the U.S. Game and Wildlife regulations. The tournaments are all catch and release, and fish must be taken to the weigh-in alive or a fish’s weight will be deducted.
We talked with Mizelle recently about his goals for the new Bass Fishing Club.
RC News Blog: How did you create the Bass Fishing Club?
Reid Mizelle: Basically, I transferred in [to Roanoke] this fall semester . When I got on campus, I flew the idea by Bryan Ryberg, the campus director [of Intramurals and Recreation], and after meeting with him, it kind of took off from there. We decided we had enough guys [and girls] from our first meeting [in January], and we were ready to take off. Right now we have nine, seven of them are guys, two of them are girls
RC News Blog: Why did you start the club?
Reid Mizelle: I guess it was a couple years back a program called FLW started a collegiate program. Basically, there’s no entry fee for us…no travel expenses. All that stuff is covered…It gives us a chance to fish for bragging rights for the school. We get paid, and prizes are upward of $50-$100,000 for tournaments. Basically, 75% comes back to the club, 25% goes to the school. So it’s not full profit for the club. The school does benefit.
RC News Blog: Where will these tournaments take place?
Reid Mizelle: The tournaments will be all over. As the schedule looks now, we have a team registered for a tournament on Thousand Islands in New York, a team at a tournament on Champlain, New York, a team on the Ohio River…a team for a tournament in Kerr [Lake] in North Carolina. Then there will be a bunch of local tournaments on Smith Mountain [Lake] and Claytor [Lake].
RC News Blog: What are your ultimate goals with the Bass Fishing Club?
Reid Mizelle: Ideally, just to spread the word about the sport. They all say a couple years ago one of the tournament trials had 60-something teams registered, and now they have over 200 teams registered. So they say it’s growing.
RC News Blog: What are you looking forward to most about the club’s start?
Reid Mizelle: The camaraderie not only with the guys in this club, but also the schools that we’ll meet, the guys that we’ll meet from other teams. I worked two tournaments a year ago down in North Carolina, and I met guys from Vermont Tech and Chico State out in California. Guys that I would have never met without these tournaments.
If you want to join the Bass Fishing Club, contact Mizelle at email@example.com.
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