Women Want Us, Fish (and Competitors) Hate Us

ATU Fishing Team

PHOTO | Submitted

The Tech fishing team sent four teams to Florida to compete in the National Championship. The teams were Tristan Weaver and Cole Lamb, Karson Hamilton and Austin Johnston, Jade Craft and Grant Bearden, Mat Higby, and John Foster.

“The team started when a group of students created the idea,” Cody Neal, fishing team coach, said. “Tech was able to get the support and find the right faculty members, and it has been a hit from there.”

Neal is new to the coach role but has embraced all aspects and wants the team to succeed on the water and in life.

“I want to take the team further,” Neal said. “There are many things that go into bass fishing, from the type of water to the color you are throwing. This means it’s my role to help teach people that, but I also want to teach bigger lessons.”

The biggest lesson Neal teaches the members is “to get support, you need to give it,” which leads the team to participate in campus events. They have attended tailgates, givebacks and academic events.

“I have been on the team four years now, and it is the sole reason I applied to Tech,” Weaver said. “It has allowed me to travel the country, make new friends and become one big family with my teammates.”

This was Weaver’s last college National Championship, and during his time on the team, he was treasurer and vice president.

“Going to the Championships is always a great time, especially in Florida,” he said. “Those out-of-state ones take you out of your comfort zone, and it challenges. My teammate Lamb and I had the same plan to enjoy our last tournament and catch as many fish as possible.”

While at the tournament, Weaver caught his personal best, a largemouth bass weighing eight pounds.

Another student that attended the tournament was the team’s president Hamilton, and this was his third one to fish in with his teammate Johnston.

“Going to Florida and being able to fish was neat,” Hamilton said. “The atmosphere was different but fun to learn, and this opportunity to represent Tech and our team was amazing.”

New to the team is Bearden, and this was his first year fishing at the championship and called it a “dream” to attend.

“You are surrounded by the best fisherman in college fishing, and that’s an accomplishment in itself,” Bearden said. “I came to Tech because they are the top fishing program in the state, and they offer so many growth opportunities.”

While the goal is winning the tournament, Bearden notes that having fun and creating memoirs are also crucial.

“We all practice very hard to reach our goals,” he said. “It is not always easy, but you make friends and learn from your mistakes while gaining new experiences.”

All three students thank families, friends and Tech for supporting them. They also want to give a special thank you and shout-out to their coach Neal and his wife for stepping up and helping the team.

“They have really helped us with sponsors, fundraisers, and so much more. The fishing team is going places; great things are coming for the team.”