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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Fishing Club faces limited funding, despite lots of fish

(Photo courtesy of Marquette Ice Fishing Club.)

While there is a draw for students to join Marquette’s Fishing Club, it is not very often you see signs of students posting “gone fishing.” 

The limited funding for club sports has impacted the fishing team’s ability to practice and compete. Without a boat the team is limited to ice fishing competitions and fishing from the shore.

Williams Rooke, interim club president and sophomore in the College of Engineering, said that funding continues to suffer nationwide for fishing organizations.

“This issue goes beyond Marquette as the college Major League Fishing Association was dismantled and the whole Midwestern region had their funding completely cut,” Rooke said. “The nearest competitions we can go to are in Oregon or Texas or in non-college competitions in the state.”

Rooke said that even with lack of funding, there are groups of students who are working together to try and put fishing competitions together. 

“There is a new bass fishing coalition being organized and UW-Madison is really pushing it forward,” Rooke said. “Schools are pushing to get a fishing tournament planned for this spring, so hopefully that happens. The area for this coalition is in our surrounding states and will be easy for us to drive to.”

Rooke said the goal of the club is to return to the level of competition of success as it had in the past.

“We are trying to raise more money so that the club can buy a boat that we can use for practice and in competitions, as most competitions require a boat and two team members. If this tournament happens this spring, we will need a boat to compete,” Rooke said.

Connor Shrigley, interim treasurer and sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said the club is open to anyone who is interested in fishing. 

“The fishing club likes to bring people of varying skill levels together.  You could be a pro fisherman or just want to do something to meet new people and get outside,” Shrigley said. 

Rooke said that the club has two teams, a competitive team with 11-12 members and a non-competitive side for students who just want to get out and fish every now and then. 

“There are 40 members in our club right now, so you can usually find someone who wants to go fishing,” Rooke said. “The biggest challenge is to make sure there is enough equipment for everyone who wants to go fishing.”

Rooke said that while the team is in a rebuilding era due to COVID-19, they still look forward to fishing on Lake Michigan. 

“It is not just the boat, but the ability to get to competitions and train beforehand,” Rooke said. “With the pandemic, we lost a lot of our connections to sponsorships and equipment, but Milwaukee has some of the greatest tributaries in the entire country. We can go out and catch 30 pound salmon right near campus.”

Shrigley said the club has been talking to various companies to try and secure sponsorships that will allow them to compete locally.

“We do have a few sponsors and our biggest one right now is Hero Fishing,” Shrigley said. “The purpose of it is to take veterans and first responders out on fishing trips. We are able to help them on trips and fish alongside them as it is a great cause and opportunity for our club as they help a little bit financially and with some gear.”

Shrigley said there is an ice fishing contest that Hero Fishing is hosting on Lake Mendota at University of Wisconsin-Madison Feb. 11.

“We want to participate in that tournament and are trying to work with the UW Madison club to get help with gear,” Shrigley said. “You need an auger, which is the big drill to make the holes and then sonar to see where the fish are in the lake. It is not cheap in the wintertime, but we have many new members who want to try it.”

Jack Houghton, a first-year in the College of Business Administration, said the sport is all about determination and is looking forward to the ice fishing competition.

“Fishing is all about patience and waiting for the right strike and using the correct lure,” Houghton said. “So with ice fishing, I found less success because I’ve been ice fishing on little small ponds and places where you kind of have to find the right sweet spot. With lake ice fishing I’m assuming I would have better luck, so I’m excited for the Madison tournament.”

While funding may be on thin ice for this fishing club, the will to continue is strong as it continued to work to rebuild the club and seek funding sources. 

The story was written by Catherine Fink. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @CatherineFinkMU.

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