GVSU bass fishing finishes 12th at regional

GVL / Courtesy - GVSU Bass Anglers

GVL / Courtesy – GVSU Bass Anglers

Andy Smith

The Grand Valley State bass fishing team competed in the 2015 Carhartt College Midwestern Regional and came away with a 12th place finish.

The Lakers were only 10 pounds, 1 ounce out of first place, which was good enough to qualify them for the national tournament.

“For it being the first time we had ever fished together, we did very well as a team today,” said team member Justin Bruno. “We were able to work very well as a team and it was also a great learning experience for the both of us. We were able to come together and that was the key for us doing so well.”

Day two was the best day for the Laker anglers, as the five fish that counted weighed 12 pounds, 14 ounces. On day one the weight was 10 pounds, 5 ounces and on day three, GVSU’s weight was 10 pounds, 15 ounces.

The Lakers finished the weekend with a total weight of 34 pounds, 2 ounces.

“We performed very well in this tournament as a team. We practiced very well before the tournament started,” said Brody Anderson. “We found a few really good spots on the lake that helped us out a lot. It was an eye-opening experience for me, and for us the last two days were our best days because we really worked together well as a team, picked each other up and capitalized when we needed to most.

“We had a great game plan, and make great decisions during the tournament about where to fish and when to leave a spot and also managed our time very well.” Anderson said.

The teams were forced to deal with tough weather throughout the tournament, but the battle-hardened crew from West Michigan wasn’t deterred.

After all, it wasn’t a blizzard.

“The weather made it tough not only on us, but on all the anglers that were fishing in the tournament,” Bruno said. “It forced us to adjust and made us use all the skills that we have as a team, but the difficult weather allowed us to show the experience that we have as a team. The weather also caused the weights of the fish to be smaller than we expected, but I felt that we had an advantage in the weather because we were to used to fishing in this type of weather, being from Michigan.”

Northern Michigan won the tournament, weighing in with a three-day total of 44 pounds, 3 ounces.

With all the success that the team is having on the water so far this year, the GVSU bass anglers club was ranked No. 1 among competing schools in one-year rankings at www.bassrankings.com.

The rankings, according to the website, are determined by success in tournaments over the past 12 months, with a four-tournament minimum.

“The team has been doing very well this year,” said team member Jacob Helwick. “We didn’t have a name for ourselves until last year, we have had lots of great tournaments, multiple top 10 and top five finishes and I expect that it will continue to improve as the season goes on for us.”

In addition to receiving the No. 1 ranking, the Lakers were also fortunate enough to have the top bass fisherman in the world, Kevin VanDam, speak to them.

“It’s nice that he will support Michigan anglers,” Bruno said. “It was a great experience getting to meet someone you have looked up to since you were a little kid. It was a very humbling experience getting to meet someone that lots of anglers have never met before. He is bass fishing’s Tom Brady. We were very fortunate to have that opportunity.”

The Laker anglers also competed in the national tournament July 9-11, at Lake DuBay in Wisconsin.