Idaho fishing club members earn top five finishes, $4,500 in California competitions
North Idaho offers abundant rivers and lakes to fish.
Idaho students Austin Turpin and Tanner Mort take advantage of the plentiful water and are members of the Idaho Bass Anglers fishing club at the University of Idaho. The duo has placed at two national competitions this fall earning a total of $4,500 in winnings.
Turpin, a freshman sociology major from Coeur d’Alene, and Mort, a sophomore electrical engineering major from Post Falls, Idaho, represented Idaho in two fishing competitions this semester. They will compete at a national competition in the spring.
The two fishermen placed fourth out of 27 teams at the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) College Fishing Western Conference event on New Melones Lake at Angels Camp, California, Sept. 6.
Fresno State took first, second and third place since multiple two-person teams from the same school can compete.
Turpin and Mort made up the only team from Idaho. The pair caught five fish that weighed a combined 10 pounds, five ounces. The Idaho duo also brought home $500 in club winnings for their fourth-place finish.
The goal of the competition is to catch the five heaviest bass in the allotted time. The maximum limit is five bass. The weight of each fish is added together to get the combined weight of all the bass caught.
Teams can catch more than five bass throughout the competition in order to try to catch heavier fish than ones they already have. However, they have to release the extra ones so that they have no more than five. For example, if a team catches its sixth one, and that one weighs more than one of their first five caught, then it can release one of those first five in favor of the sixth one.
Mort said he and Turpin may use different types of bait during competition and will go with whichever method is working best.
“You have your tactic and go with it sometimes,” Mort said. “I’ll be doing a certain method and he’ll be doing another. Then if one starts working better, we’ll both start doing it for a little bit until it slows down. Then, we’ll switch it up. You really have to play it by feel. Experience is the biggest thing.”
With its fourth-place finish on New Melones Lake, Idaho qualified for the FLW College Fishing Western Conference Invitational Oct. 11 and 12 on Clear Lake in Lakeport, California.
Turpin and Mort did even better in this tournament, taking first place out of 40 teams. With the win, they won $4,000. They will also advance to the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship April 17-19 on Lake Murray in South Carolina.
On the first day of competition, Turpin and Mort caught five bass that weighed a combined 24 pounds, five ounces. The second day they caught five for 17 pounds, six ounces. That brought the total to 10 bass that weighed 41 pounds, 11 ounces.
Turpin said trust is a huge part of their success.
“It’s like every other team, you need to trust your teammate and work well together,” Turpin said. “That’s why I think we do so well just because we know how to work together.”
As for the Idaho club, Turpin and Mort are looking to expand it with new members. They have about seven or eight members right now.
“We’re still trying to get everything going, get everybody excited about it,” Mort said.
For more information about the Idaho Bass Anglers, students can visit the club’s Facebook page at Idaho Bass Anglers, visit its web site at uidahobassanglers.com or email at email@example.com.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org