Students 'go fish'

Carnegie Mellon students may soon be able to “go fish” far beyond a game of cards. A new club, started by first-year CIT student Paul Kimball, offers students the chance to compete in national fishing competitions for prize money.

The club comes with the opening of a new nationwide collegiate bass-fishing league, FLW Outdoors’ National Guard College Fishing, which gives students the chance to win $10,000 to $1 million in prizes and to compete with the nation’s best college and professional fishers.

A team can have as few as two people to compete, and Kimball hopes to take one team, and hopefully more, to the league competitions.

Kimball has been fishing with his family all his life. He has done tournaments since he was eligible at age 16 and has competed four times thus far.

Kimball spoke excitedly of the benefits the fishing sport offers to its participants.

“It is different from other sports in that it offers the challenge of you versus yourself,” he said. “Even if you come in last place, it could still be your best day and you learn from it every time.”
Kimball does not expect all of the club’s members to participate in the national competitions, however. He welcomes any participants who just want to go fishing for fun during the year. Kimball noted the three rivers in the surrounding area as prime places to practice and fish for fun during the year.

“There is a common misconception that all there is to fishing is dropping a worm in the water to see what happens,” Kimball said. “But there really is so much more to it.”

He said that in competitions, fishers are not allowed to use live bait. So they have to study the habits of the fish they are trying to catch and work on disguising the bait to seem live and appealing.

Many students saw added benefits to the fishing competitions, outside of improving skill sets and knowledge of fish populations.

Allison Lukascy, a fifth-year architecture major, noted the use of the environment.

“As students, there is not much opportunity to interact with the water, although plentiful,” she said. “I think that the fishing club would be a great way to utilize Pittsburgh’s natural resources.”
Lukascy also added such personal benefits as stress relief, relaxation, and the chance to get a name out there for both the student and the college.

While Kimball’s club is only in its early stages of development, he expects that once he gets members, equipment can be easily acquired. He said that companies will be very willing to sponsor the club, particularly due to the national competitions and the possibility of competing in the final, televised competition, which Kimball continually called the fishing Super Bowl of sorts.

The competitions will take place primarily in the summer, beginning with the first one — the qualifying round — in July 2009. The top five teams from each qualifying event advance to the regional competition, and the top five teams from each regional event go to the national championships. The winning team from the national championships will represent the entire league at the $2.5 million Forrest Wood Cup, where they will compete against professionals for the chance to win $1 million. The events will be televised and the winning college team will compete using a Ranger boat and Chevy truck wrapped in its school colors.

Kimball encourages all students who want to compete or fish for pleasure to join. Interested students should e-mail Kimball at pkimball@.