June 22, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Sara Thompson
|Fishing for prizes: Freshmen Tanner Walker and Seth Brittain, both part of the SHSU collegiate bass fishing team, won the National Guard FLW College Fishing-Texas Division tournament in Sam Rayburn earlier this year. —Photos courtesy of CollegeFishing.com|
Two lures idle lazily in the mild waters of Lake Conroe as Sam Houston State University students enjoy their summer break.
Sam Houston State University freshmen Seth Brittain and Tanner Walker will spend most of this afternoon like many others before it, outside in the fresh air, in a relentless cycle of reeling, casting, and guy talk.
The two friends met through the university’s collegiate bass fishing team, a part of the SHSU Club Sports program. Both decided to join the team quickly after arriving at college out of love for the sport and, being far from home, to meet people who shared that common interest.
That very choice has led them to many great things—including a $10,000 grand prize tournament win and, more importantly, a priceless friendship.
From the start, Brittain and Walker were fast friends. As they actively attended the team’s regular practices at Lake Conroe, they quickly became fishing partners.
After months of practice, the two friends’ fishing partnership was put to the test when they both entered their first fishing tournament, the National Guard FLW College Fishing-Texas Division in Sam Rayburn.
According to both Brittain and Walker, the two novice Bearkats were definitely the underdogs of the event, competing with 41 teams from 28 universities.
“It was the first time either of us had been in a tournament of that size, and our team wasn’t selected as being in the top finishers,” said Brittain.
Despite slow fishing conditions, the team caught their final bass five minutes before the end of the competition—a large, “kicker” fish that put them in the lead.
Thanks to the last minute catch, Brittain and Walker won the tournament with five bass that weighed 18 pounds collectively, beating their second place competitors by almost four pounds.
The win earned them the grand prize of $10,000 towards both Sam Houston State University and its collegiate bass fishing team. It also advanced them into the Regional Championship tournament later this year, when they will compete to win the grand prize of $50,000 and a bass boat.
“I was just excited to be able to fish with Seth and represent SHSU,” Walker said. “I never thought or had a feeling that that weekend would turn out to be one of the greatest experiences in my life.”
According to Kevin Burke, the team’s president, it was a proud moment to be part of the bass fishing team at Sam Houston State University.
“We were all pumped to hear they won the tournament at Sam Rayburn,” Burke said. “Their win filled me with pride for our club and our school.”
In return, the two gold medalists see the club not only as a support system, but the means by which they met their best friends and biggest fans, according to Walker.
Now as they prepare for our tournament, Brittain and Walker are both grateful they made the decision to join SHSU’s bass fishing team. Even with their recent victory, they still say the best part of this experience is the friendships they have made with their fellow anglers.
Members of the fishing team are anticipating to share that friendship with more students in the upcoming fall semester.
According to Burke, the club offers students who love to fish the opportunity to meet others who share the love of the sport, learn lots of good fishing tips and take part in a special bond that the anglers share.
“Yes, winning tournaments is nice, but even if the fish aren't biting at the end of the day we've all caught some good friends,” said Brittain.
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