Bass fishing clubs are springing up on college campuses all across the Country. Pennsylvania’s Kutztown University started its bass fishing club last year. We talked to Joe Tini to find out more about the club and his involvement with it.
How long have you been fishing?
I have been fishing for about 12 years and just started to fish competitively this year. I became interested in bass fishing in high school with my friends who enjoyed the sport as much as I did. We started out on small private lakes and as the years went on we moved to bigger bodies of water.
I saw you are a member of the Kutztown Bass Fishing team. How long have you been involved with the club?
This year was my freshman year at Kutztown University and my first year as a member of the Kutztown University Bass Fishing Team. It is also the first year that Kutztown had a bass fishing team. I became involved with the club shortly after arriving on campus. I saw a flyer posted that was announcing a bass fishing team meeting. I attended the meeting and became an active member. I was just recently voted Vice President of the club for my sophomore year. So far, being part of the team has been an amazing experience!
How many other members are in the club?
Currently, there are twelve members in the club. However, we are anticipating the club will grow over time as the club becomes more established and well-known on campus.
How does being part of a college bass fishing club enhance your college experience?
Being part of the team has broadened my college experience outside the classroom by providing me the opportunity to get involved on campus and participate in an activity I love. I have been able to meet great people and amazing anglers in addition to learning a great deal about the sport. It also provides me the opportunity to share my love for fishing with students that have similar interests.
How do you balance your fishing with your studies? It must be tempting to fish a lot having so many fishing partners.
Balancing fishing and school can be tough sometimes but focusing on school and achieving good grades is my top priority. Actually, being part of the fishing team and wanting to fish as much as possible has helped me to focus and complete all my school work as soon as I can and not procrastinate. This allows me the ability to fish as much as possible with my teammates when we find the free time.
What does your club consider its home bodies of waters?
The main body of water that we consider home is Blue Marsh Lake in Reading, Pennsylvania which is about 30 minutes from campus. Blue Marsh hosts numerous tournaments throughout the year. I like fishing this lake because we can take the boat out to many underwater structures and cover, and land the big ones!
Another lake we consider home is Lake Ontalaunee which is about 20 minutes from campus. Although, Lake Ontalaunee only allows shore fishing and does not allow boats on the water it contains a large number of big fish. In the spring, we found a secret spot on this lake where the team caught 30 bass in a matter of 3 hours! This is the lake that holds my current personal best Largemouth Bass. Both locations provide great fishing!
Have you had the chance yet to travel with the club to any locations outside your area?
Yes! I had the opportunity to travel to different lakes with the team. Some of the lakes I traveled to are smaller lakes. Although these lakes are small they are very accessible and have great fishing.
I have also traveled to larger bodies of water such as Lake Oneida and Lake Ontario which are both about 4 to 5 hours from campus. Lake Oneida is one of my favorite lakes to fish. I started fishing it with a good friend from high school a few years prior to college. This lake has an even distribution of largemouth and smallmouth bass and never seem to have a bad day on this lake.
Not far from Lake Oneida is Lake Ontario which is my favorite lake to pull in the Big Smallies! I caught my personal best smallmouth bass at 5 pounds. 3 ounces on Lake Ontario.
I am also working rigorously with one of my teammates to prepare for the FLW tournament that we are participating in on Lake Chautauqua in July. I cannot wait to fish Chautauqua for the first time next month!
What activities does the club participate in that don’t involve casting a lure?
Our club participates in numerous volunteer events on and off campus. In one of our volunteer events this year, we helped the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stock trout in local streams and rivers.
Who are the companies that sponsor you and/or the club?
This is my first-year bass fishing competitively. I just received my first personal sponsor from a fishing apparel brand called “The Bearded Bass Co.”. The KU Bass Fishing Team has numerous sponsors which include Big Daddy Rods, The Rod Glove, Bandit Lures, YUM Baits, Booyah Bait Co., Norman Lures, Cinnetic, St. Croix, Lew’s, and Cabela’s!
Great stuff Joe. Keep up the hard work in school as well as the great fishing! If interested in learning more about the Kutztown University Bass Fishing Club, check out their Facebook page. You can follow Joe’s sophomore year success on Instagram @jt_bassfishing.