Putting trophies in the boat: UK bass fishing team



By Paul Martin

The world of competitive fishing is intense and time consuming.  Those things, however, do not stop the UK fishing team from getting in the thick of it.

“Rolling out of bed at 4 a.m. and fishing all day against top-notch competition is not an easy task,” said team president Adam Bryant. “Especially on the lakes, we don’t have the opportunity to fish often, but we enjoy the challenge.”

The goal is to catch largemouth bass, which can be found in most any lake in this region.  Typically, the rules will allow for each boat to keep their top five bass according to weight in a single day.  Total weight for the event wins, and that team can take home a substantial amount of loot.

The Forrest L. Wood tour is where the big money is.

“First place can be anywhere from ten thousand to one hundred thousand dollars, depending on how far into the post-season we go,” said Bryant.  “The FLW is an organization that puts on fishing tournament series across the nation, and is sponsored by the National Guard. Our best FLW finish was 8th place last year, however we needed to make the top 5 to move on. These tournaments are held in the spring, and we are looking forward to trying to make nationals in 2012.”

Before entering tournaments like the FLW, the team members must compete between themselves for the honor of representing UK.

“We have our own qualifiers on lakes in this region to determine the top four on the team. These four will take two boats and fish the major tournaments we enter,” said Bryant.

The locations used for qualifying are Barren River Lake, Taylorsville Lake and Green River Lake.

UK’s best effort last year was a second-place finish at the Murray State Invitational.  The event was held on Kentucky Lake, near Paducah.

“Boats were averaging 15 pounds per day on 5 fish, which is really good for February.  It’s also a wonderful jerk-bait lake,” Bryant said.

“Kentucky Lake is a huge body of water, with around 160,000 acres to cover,” said teammate Proc Robinson.

To put the size of Kentucky Lake in perspective, it is more than double the size of Lake Cumberland.

The team had a former member break through to the professional ranks.

Four years ago, UK graduate Brandon Card was invited to attend a special on the Outdoor channel. It was called the ultimate match fishing college edition. It involves fishing against another person in the boat, which is opposite from any other tournament situation. Card won, and it propelled him to the prestigious Bassmaster tour.

“He is UK’s claim to fame at this point,” Bryant said.

The team has a Facebook page. For those who like to casually fish and have a good time, member Proc Robinson offers this advice.

“Lake Cumberland is a very fun place.  You can catch largemouth and smallmouth.  If they don’t bite, the striper bass also hit big there.”