Tide to compete in first Bassmaster College Classic

Tide+to+compete+in+first+Bassmaster+College+Classic

Marilyn Vaughn

Saturday will mark the premiere of the first Bassmaster College Classic. The Crimson Tide Bass Anglers will be facing off against Auburn in what ESPNU is calling “The Iron Bowl on water” on Logan Martin Lake in Birmingham.

“When I found out about this a few months ago, it was just incredible to know I was going to be able to be a part of the very first college Bassmaster Classic,” said senior David Rogers, president of the Crimson Tide Anglers. “Our club and sport is growing out of control. We’re going to introduce college bass fishing to a lot of people that do not have any idea college bass fishing exists…To come away with a victory in this tournament would put the cherry on the cake for me.”

The Crimson Tide Bass Angler club was formed in 2005 and has since seen its membership grow to 28 members.

“The only requirement to be in our club is to have your own boat and fish by yourself in our qualifiers,” Rogers said. “It’s on a point system, that’s how we determine who goes to the National Championship and who gets to fish in national events across the country.”

Last year, the Crimson Tide finished eighth out of 49 teams at the national championships, but this year more than 70 schools are expected to compete. The national championships are not until July, so the focus this week is set on facing in-state rival Auburn.

“Nobody knows about it,” Rogers said. “We’re just trying to promote it as much as possible. College bass fishing is relatively new, but just about every university has a college bass fishing team.

“In an in-state rivalry against Auburn I have family members saying, ‘We don’t care if we’re flipping a coin or playing paper-rock-scissors, as long as we’re playing against Auburn we want Alabama to win!’ So even though this is just a fishing tournament, a lot of people take the outdoors seriously. I know we do. Competitive bass fishing is in our blood.”

To prepare for this matchup, the team has taken to looking at the lake on Google Earth as well as observing topographical maps to gauge the lake’s different depth changes.

“This past weekend we went to Logan Martin, where the tournament is going to be,” said senior Jeremy Christian. “We were looking for the warmest water because that is where the fish are more likely to be active. Of course, you want to go catch fish and see what size fish are in what areas. We tried to find a large concentration of fish that we can hopefully go back to Saturday and catch.”

This tournament will be different from regular tournaments in that the victor will be chosen based on the combined weight of three fishing boats per team.

“A typical tournament is from first daylight to three o’clock,” Christian said. “You weigh-in your five heaviest fish. It’s not a matter of catching the most. This tournament is kind of unique because we have from daylight to twelve o’clock and it is based on combined total weight from each team. So, we’ll have an opportunity to weigh in up to fifteen fish because we’ll have three boats per team. We’ll take five fish per boat, spotted or largemouth bass and then weigh them in.

“If you’ve never experienced a weigh-in, it’s a lot of fun. You never expect to see so many people to get excited about some little dang fish, but it’s fun. It’s a really good time.”

This festive event of weighing in the fish will be captured by Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Toyota Tundra booth at 2:30 p.m. and will also be streamed live on bassmaster.com. The Bassmaster College Classic will be a free event and will also feature live entertainment.