A bass fishing team without a boat? Not for long.


Selena Favela

Ashlin Bohl, a member of the shocker bass club, patiently waits to catch a fish at the Nature Center Tuesday afternoon.

The Wichita State Shocker Bass Team needs a boat.

Josh Schmidt, a geology graduate student, said a boat is what keeps the Shocker Bass Team from competing on 100,000 acres of lake, where boaters can drive three hours on the water without having to stop.

“A boat is going to be the lifeline of the fishing program,” Schmidt said. “The boat isn’t only your means of transportation; it’s your means of being in the game.”

“The game” is competitive tournament fishing and the WSU team did not participate in a 2016 tournament because it doesn’t have a boat.

The team started in the spring of 2009. Schmidt joined alumnus John Wright after seeing college fishing on ESPN, The Sunflower previously reported.

“It was something I dreamed about doing, but never got around to doing,” he said.

In the beginning, Schmidt and some of his teammates used their own boats for tournaments, though they had to pay the expenses to join any tournament due to issues with the Student Government Association.

“SGA did not care at all about our program,” Schmidt said. “They tried to hold onto our (fundraising) money. That was a huge problem. That’s why we had a major push to break away from SGA.”

After becoming a club team through Campus Recreation, the Shocker Bass Team received a 2014-2015 Club of the Year award from Campus Recreation. Schmidt said the award was for raising more money than any other club at Wichita State.

Schmidt, Wright and other teammates have all graduated. Of the roughly 10-member roster for the team, junior Ashlin Bohl is the only member who has been to a fishing tournament.

Due to not having a boat, most of the team is used to bank fishing, Bohl said. She said bank fishing is not allowed in tournaments, which usually have a 5-fish limit. The team that catches the most pounds of fish wins.

Even if the team could hypothetically join a tournament without a boat, bank fishing limits the amount of fishing strategies and areas the team could fish in.

Sophomore Gabe Gutierrez said the team already has a boat reserved in El Dorado to use.

“The school is buying the boat and we are paying the rest with fundraising,” Gutierrez said.

A suitable fishing boat for the team costs around $9,000, Gutierrez said.

Bohl said Campus Recreation would assist with half of the price.

The Shocker Bass Team has already been raising money for a boat at various events. The goal is to choose a suitable boat and raise enough money before the tournament season begins in March.

Once the team has a boat, the Shocker Bass Team can participate in tournaments around the country. Bohl said before the team’s boat woes the team traveled to Lake Texoma (89,000 acres) in Texas, and Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky and Table Rock Lake in Missouri for various tournaments. The team will be able to move from bank fishing at Wichita area ponds and El Dorado Lake (8,000 acres) to “the game,” as Schmidt described it.

“[The Shocker Bass Team] gives people a reason to go outside and try something new,” he said.