Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  June 2017  >  June 1, 2017  >  The Reel Life: Creighton fishing team hooks 30 members in first year
The Reel Life: Creighton fishing team hooks 30 members in first year

Adam Hanna, left, and Mitch Seigel, are sophomores and officers in Creighton's Student Anglers Fishing Club.As Isaak Walton compiled The Compleat Angler over 25 years in the middle part of the 17th century, he probably had someone like Adam Hanna or Mitch Seigel in mind.

The Creighton sophomores, the president and vice president for finance, respectively, of the Creighton Student Angler Fishing Club, will look for any excuse to put a line in a body of water and perform, in Walton's words, "an art worthy the knowledge and practice of a wise man."

"Fishing - well, fishing and a greasy cheeseburger - can fix about anything," Seigel says as he casts for the hundredth time on the rare day when neither he nor Hanna will land a bass. "Never a wasted day fishing. I don't get people who watch Netflix. I mean, yeah, maybe for a little while. But wouldn't you rather be out in this?"

This is a sun-splashed, cloudless Sunday morning on the murky green waters of Carter Lake. Cars rush by on Abbott Drive and there are intermittent sounds of planes taking off and landing at Eppley Airfield. Walton, unlike William Wordsworth speaking of poetry a century and a half later, never said fishing had to be recollected in tranquility.

"It all depends on who you're with," Hanna said of quietude. "If it's a tournament and you and your partner are fishing for first place, then yeah, there's going to be a lot more silence than if you're out on the water catching up with your family, simply because of that extra edge you have to want to win. That's why I like fishing because I think it suits all people from all sides of the spectrum, competitive or non-competitive, and it brings people together with one common interest."

Besides, it's not loud enough that Seigel can't stand on the dock at the lake's boat ramp, hear a small splash fifteen yards behind him and, without turning around, remark: "Shad. It's a good sign. The bass are moving."

And the Student Anglers are making a lot of noise of their own in the club's first year of existence. Boasting more than 30 members, the club team will fish eight tournaments this spring and summer, battling more established squads in the South and Midwest. Though the NCAA does not sanction bass-fishing teams, Hanna said he knows of at least one school offering fishing scholarships.

"It's a competition, both to get anglers and to put together a good team," said Hanna, an accounting and finance major in the Heider College of Business. "If you watch a fishing tournament on TV, you get a sense of the intensity involved. There's a rush there. It's been exciting to see the response we've had in just one year. We have all skill levels represented, people from all over. People see it as a good excuse to just fish."

Mitch Seigel, Creighton sophomore and vice president for finance in the Creighton Student Anglers Fishing Club, reels in after a cast.As high schoolers, both Seigel, a lifelong angler, and Hanna, who got his start as a ninth-grader, took part in the 2015 Nebraska State High School Bass Fishing Championship. Seigel ended up fourth and Hanna finished seventh.

Hanna first got the idea for a high-school fishing club, but couldn't make it pan out. Arriving at Creighton, however, he found ready takers for the bait, including Seigel, who admitted that his initial interest in competitive fishing was a joke. A friend, now also a member of the Creighton Student Anglers, offhandedly mentioned the state competition to Seigel.

"So we said, 'Let's go fish it,'" said Seigel, who majors in finance and management in the Heider College of Business. "And I wound up in fourth out of 40 boats. Probably could have gotten second, but we threw back a bass we thought was too short. But that was that."

Now, Seigel and Hanna and a dozen or so of the most serious sporting anglers in the club are regulars at tournaments which feature dozens of boats out on the water for six to seven hours, anglers reeling in the five biggest fish they can hook. Each boat carries two anglers who compete against one another, as well as the field. The competition gets fierce and as in other sports, there's an element of gamesmanship.

Adam Hanna, sophomore president of the Creighton Student Anglers Fishing Club, casts into Carter Lake.But really, even in the thick of a fishing tournament, things more often resemble what's happening on Carter Lake on this leisurely Sunday. Two guys casting, reeling, casting again. It's an idyllic slice of nirvana, even under a sterling view of the Omaha skyline.

On a day like this Sunday, it's just enough to put a line in the water and enjoy the leisurely elements, even if, after a two-and-a-half hour tour, neither Hanna or Seigel can claim a catch.

"Anytime is a good time to fish," Seigel said. "Any lake is a good place to fish. When it's winter and you can't get out, there's typically an itch. I can't sit still more than an hour when I've got that itch. I go out and cast in the driveway."

Next year, Hanna said the club will take on collegiate tournaments held under the banners of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and Fishing League Worldwide. The team has also garnered sponsorships from Denali Rods, BoobJigs, P-Line and The Rod Glove, but Hanna said they're always on the lookout for support. They're trying to raise funds or seek a donation of a team boat.

"A fishing club doesn't seem like the kind of thing Creighton would have, being that we're an urban campus in downtown Omaha," he says. "But when we put the word out there, people showed up. We're looking forward to what another few years can bring for bass fishing at Creighton."

To connect with the team, visit CUInvolved.

---
Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging health, law, business and the arts and sciences for a more just world.