Team Highlight: Georgia Southern University

By College Bass Staff

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

GSU Southern Bass Anglers at Academy Sports + Outdoors for the East Super Regional in Evans, GA.

The Georgia Southern University team, officially called the GSU Southern Bass Anglers, formed in the fall of 2006. The team has been competing in intercollegiate tournaments since the spring of 2008.

College Bass had a chance to sit down with GSU’s Kyle Giella. Kyle is a senior and the president of the GSU Southern Bass Anglers. We asked him some questions about his team and college fishing, then put him on the hot seat for a quick five. Here is what he had to say:

How many members are on your team?

We have two different types of memberships. A local membership is for a student who is just trying to get their feet wet in tournament fishing. Then there is the intercollegiate membership, which allows you to travel and compete at college tournaments. We have 2 local anglers and 13 intercollegiate anglers.

How many College Bass National Championships has GSU competed in?

One, the 2008 tournament on Lake Maumelle.

What is your highest finish at the Under Armour College Bass National Championship?

40th

What other honors does your club possess?

We have finished third at a college event on Lake Wheeler last spring. A fifth-place finish at another event on Lake Guntersville last summer.  A third place at Lake Okeechobee and a third-place finish at the College Bass East Super Regional at Clarks Hill. We are starting to joke around about being the team of third-place finishes.

Does GSU host any tournaments?

We have not currently hosted any tournaments to date, but we are in some serious talks about hosting our own series for next spring. We are looking at possibly holding 5 tournaments in the region with 4 of them being qualifiers and the fifth being a championship. Also, we have decided we really want to see cash prizes and a big fish prize for each tourney. We are college students and we don’t have a lot of extra money available to shell out for a bunch of tourneys throughout the year. We really would like to have money for the teams that come compete and kick some butt. Something a little more than bragging rights to help them get home and cover the cost of travel.

Do you have any pros that contribute to the team?

Not currently. We did have a local guy by the name of James Turknett come to our last meeting and talk to us about what to look for at Lake Okeechobee. Mr. Turknett has previously fished the FLW series and currently competes in the Skeeter Eliminator Series hosted by GON.

What is your most memorable team moment thus far?

Last May we volunteered our time to help out with the Bassmaster Elite Series on Clarks Hill. It was really neat to meet all the guys we read about and look up to. We were really amazed at just how cool a majority of the pros were. They were all really nice and appreciative of us being there and helping out. Honestly, who wouldn’t be overly nice when you are living your dream job, traveling the country chasing little green fish and getting paid to do it?

Where would you like to see College Bass fishing go in the future?

We would like to see a few more regional events throughout the year with payouts like the Super Regional this year. It’s nice to win a little bit of money back for all the time and money we are putting into this awesome sport.

What are some of the challenges that your club faces?

Our number one challenge is funding for travel. Our school is starting to help a little bit realizing how large college fishing is becoming and how much recognition it is bringing the school. We always joke around saying that our Fishing Team has had more national TV and media coverage than our football team received the last couple of years.

Does GSU have any fishing rivalries?

I wouldn’t call it a rivalry but we are always battling with GCSU to be on top for the GA schools. But that’s as far as it goes. As soon as we get off the water, and even sometimes on the water, we are all really great friends! At the Super Regional, we launched behind them the second day. We were idling all the way to take-off cutting up and trash talking each other about how much weight we were going to come in with for the day. It’s just a lot of fun.

How important is camaraderie between the schools at college fishing events?

Camaraderie is unbelievable for all the collegiate anglers. We have made lifelong friends all taking part in an amazing thing: seeing collegiate fishing growing to what it is and will be. I can’t tell you how many nights have been spent in the parking lots helping each other with boat problems or installing GPS systems at 3 a.m. hoping to get a little shut eye before the next day on the water. At the UACBNC in Little Rock this summer, I was talking with some guys from Minnesota about how they had been catching fish that week. We were both talking about the same lure and presentation but we were becoming frustrated because we couldn’t figure out what the other person was saying. The lingo was different even though we were talking about the same exact thing. We all had a good laugh about it when we were done.

What advice would you give a new school trying to start a fishing team?

Find a key group of people who have the same passion as you do and keep working at it. It’s a momentum thing, you need to keep the ball rolling and not let it stop because if you do then it’s hard to get it rolling again. Don’t get discouraged and keep your nose to the grind because it is completely worth it in the end. Also, find out when there is an Elite Series or Open or FLW event near your home water and go and volunteer your time. It’s amazing how helpful that is to get your name out there and make connections with people in the industry.

Here’s your quick five.

What is your favorite lure?

1/2-ounce Chrome and Blue Rattle Trap

Who is your favorite angler?

Kevin VanDam

What is you favorite lake?

Logan Martin Lake

What is in your boat cooler right now?

Cold bottles of water and peanut butter crackers

What is your favorite flavor Gatorade?

Lemon Lime

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