Friday, November 2, 2007

HOKIES: BIRDS OF PREY?

Keep your friends close, and your bass closer...

Six months ago, Virginia Tech's Scott Wiley didn't know that College Bass clubs existed. Last Saturday, he and partner Brett Thompson out-fished 35 of the top College Bass teams in America to win the Under Armour College Bass National Championship on the Arkansas River.

Wiley found out about College Bass from a friend of a friend, and immediately started going through the necessary steps to build a team for the Hokies. He contacted the Student Government Association, filled out some paper work, and found the process "surprisingly easy."

And while he was a rookie to College Bass, Wiley was certainly no rookie to bass fishing. Only a few days after the club formed, it sent two teams down to fish an invitational tournament put on by North Carolina State University — and Wiley's team won (Thompson's team finished fourth). C’mon, you didn’t think Duke or Boston College held bassing fishin’ tournaments, now did you?

Virginia Tech won with an 8 pound, 8 ounce bag of four fish. Thompson said they decided to focus mainly on rock piles and jetties, which are abundant on the river, and switch their crankbait to a darker color (Fire Tiger) to deal with the muddy water the storm left behind.

The University of Louisiana - Lafayette (Cody McCrary and William Carstens) won a tiebreaker over the University of Oklahoma (Chip Porché and Matt Pangrac) to take second, the University of Iowa (John Haynes and Tyler Mehrl) finished in fourth and Mississippi State University (Cal Clark and Sam Lawrence) finished fifth.

Both anglers said it has been difficult getting the word around campus and coverage from the school newspaper, but it's hard to ignore a national championship.

"It's hard to convince a lot people who don't care about bass fishing that what we're doing is important to some people and maybe a lot more people than they think," Wiley said. "I think they'll write about us now."

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