For Rogers State University students Tanner Ray and Konner Holt, there’s something fishy going on.
And that’s just the way they like it.
As members of RSU’s bass fishing team, the duo recently took home second place overall honors at the 2023 Oklahoma College Bass Championship, held Sept. 30 on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma.
Twenty-four teams from colleges and universities across the state participated in the tournament, with anglers tasked with catching the most fish by weight, at a limit of only five fish.
By tournament’s end, Ray and Holt finished with a weight of 12.26 pounds in fish, behind the team from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, who finished with a total weight of 14.6 pounds.
“It was a good day. The weather was good, the fish cooperated, and we hit the right spots on the lake,” Ray said. “Finishing second out of 24 teams wasn’t a bad end to the day.”
Ray and Holt typify members of the RSU bass fishing team, a student organization that provides opportunities for members to compete on a collegiate level of tournament bass fishing and to gain knowledge of competing in such a format.
When it came to attending college, both students admitted that it was RSU’s bass fishing team that lured them to the Hill, hook, line and sinker.
“Ever since I could walk, I’ve had a fishing pole in my hand,” Ray said. “When it came time for me to graduate high school, I knew I wanted to attend a college with a fishing team, so I looked around, and when I learned RSU had one, I was hooked.”
“For me, I came to campus for Big Tent Day back in 2022 and came across the Bass Fishing Team’s tent,” Holt said. “I knew there was a fishing team here, and got to talking to the club members, so it didn’t take me long to know I wanted to be part of that team, I wanted to get my college degree at RSU.”
So important is fishing to Ray and Holt, both have selected degrees and career paths to allow them to continue their passion for the sport professionally, as well as recreationally.
Holt, a sophomore from Oologah, is majoring in biology with an environmental conservation emphasis. After graduation, he intends to utilize his education to help inform the public about the importance of preserving and managing Oklahoma’s aquatic ecosystems.
Ray, a senior from Owasso, is on track to finish school with a B.S. in sport management, with which, he plans to work in the fishing industry, whether for a boat company or with the likes of Bass Pro Shops – if he doesn’t succeed as a professional fisherman, that is.
“Fishing is something that’s always going to be a part of my life,” he said.
But regardless of their futures, both students plan to devote much of their extracurricular activities to the fishing team.
“It’s a great club to belong to,” Ray said. “It’s a good opportunity to do something with your spare time, you meet some great people with similar interests, it costs nothing to join and you don’t even have to tournament fish if you don’t want to. It’s just about sharing our common appreciation for fishing with one another and expressing that in a positive way.”
For more information about RSU’s bass fishing team, contact group advisor Jeana Rae Conn at 918-343-7707.