When I was in high school competitive college bass fishing was relatively unknown. As far as I was concerned it was nonexistent. However, the record reflects that the first known college bass fishing tournament took place at Lake Monroe, Indiana on April 18, 1992 between Purdue University and Indiana University. Purdue won the tournament by three pounds. It wasn’t until 2006 that Cabala’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series held their first collegiate championship (won by North Carolina State University) and 2010 until FLW held their first(won by the University of Florida). Now college bass fishing is deeply woven in the fabric of competitive bass fishing. Several top tier pros have come from the college ranks. As well as many high schools are starting fishing teams to help pursue college scholarships.
Who’s helping it grow? Well to answer that we obviously must look in many places. From major organizations like Major League Fishing and BASS all the way down to the individual athletes themselves. Many have worked to grow this level of the sport exponentially. One such example is Auburn University bass angler alumnus Logan Parks. You might remember him most recently for winning the Bass Pro Shops US Open National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championship with partner Tucker Smith. Winning 1 million dollars plus two 2022 Toyota Tundra Crew Max trucks and two brand new Nitro Z21 Bass Boats making it the largest amateur event prize ever. Team Parks/Smith had experience and success at college level bass fishing prior to this unaffiliated win. Logan Parks announced recently that he wanted to take part of his million-dollar earnings and pay it forward towards the future of college bass fishing. By establishing a scholarship at Auburn University to further benefit their bass fishing team. “I wanted to create a scholarship that offered someone an opportunity to come and fish at what I consider the best school in the country,” said Parks. Parks will be embarking on a professional fishing career this year thanks in large part to his college fishing success. “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Auburn, and I wanted to create an opportunity for someone else like me to come here in the future. I’m hoping this will lead to bigger and better things.” said Parks. “Hopefully Auburn will help this scholarship grow as much as possible, and eventually maybe one day other SEC schools will see the value in it and will make the same type of scholarships available at their schools. The more people hear about it and the more we get the word out about it, the better.” said Parks.
With over 600 college bass fishing teams in the United States now is the time. Time for those in school who are ate up with bass fishing to set their sights on college. As well as time for those who are like Logan Parks, MLF, BASS, Bass Pro Shops/Cabelas, and many others behind the scenes that are not in the position to compete but would love to help promote this amazing sport any way they can. Regardless the future looks bright for competitive bass fishing at all levels including especially college. With efforts like these and many others college bass fishing may be a recognized NCAA sport in no time. College bass fishing is here to stay.