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Fishing team reels in $5,000 scholarship

March 29, 2012

 

Peyton Igo and Matthew Loetscher receive a check for first place in the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southern Conference. – Submitted Photo

MEAGAN LEE
Staff Reporter

 

Tech’s bass fishing team has stayed under the radar with little notoriety and almost no recognition.

 

That is until they reeled in a whopping $5,000 at the National Guard Forrest L.Wood College Fishing Southern Conference.

 

Matthew Loetscher, a junior construction engineering technology major, and Peyton Igo, a sophomore agriculture business major, spent six hours on the water and reeled in seven fish at the tournament.

 

“I did all my fishing homework, trying to pattern the fish and it was the biggest win of my life,” Igo said.

 

Loetscher shared similar thoughts and said all the work was worth the big win.

 

“It was a big payoff for a lot of hard work,” Loetscher said.

 

Igo and Loetscher were chosen for the conference competition by winning a Tech tournament.

 

“We didn’t catch a lot of fish that day,” said Loetscher, who is also the club’s vice president. “They were all quality fish, though.”

 

After competing and placing in one of the four conference tournaments, Tech will advance to the regional competition at the end of the summer and from there, hopefully advance to nationals.

 

Tech’s Bass Club president Wade Tracey, a junior wildlife habitat major, has been on the team three years.

 

“At the tournaments we go to, some of the teams are from as far north as Wisconsin, to as far east as Georgia and as far west as California,” Tracey said.

 

The University of Louisiana at Monroe came in second place to Tech’s team at the southern conference.

 

“It’s always fun because we’re really good friends with the guys on their team so we’re always messing with each other,” Tracey said. “It’s kind of competitive. We’ve always got a little rivalry going.”

 

The team puts in a lot of time practicing to prepare for tournaments.

 

“Usually, we have a few days set aside before the tournament that we go to the lake and practice,” Tracey explained. “We just ride around and fish to find out where the fish are and what they’re biting on, then when the tournament comes we go back to those spots.”

 

Tracey said there are a lot of factors that go into a good day on the water, including the weather and the location of the tournament.

 

“We usually do better in Texas tournaments,” Tracey said. “Arkansas and Alabama, not so much.”

 

Tracey said the team’s membership has nearly doubled since his first year and interest in joining the team has skyrocketed since the big win.

 

Tracey said there were 10 members his freshman year, but the club size has doubled since that time.

 

Five new members have joined this week and Tracey has receives emails almost daily from potential members expressing interest in joining the team.

 

“I got one from a guy who doesn’t graduate high school until 2015,” Tracey said laughing.

 

Being on the team definitely has its perks. The university pays for gas and hotels during the week long tournaments and getting to fish on some of the best lakes in the country.

 

“I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot in the past few years and better myself as a tournament fishermen,” Loetscher said. “I’ve met great people and made lots of good memories.”

 

There is more to gain from being on the team than just trophies, checks and traveling opportunities.

 

“I’ve now made friends in Alabama, Georgia and Indiana,” Tracey said. “They’re guys that have the same interests as me all over the country.”

 

Email comments to mdl024@latech.edu.

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