Fishing & Boating News

College Bass is Booming

Legendary rod builder St Croix builds relationships with student anglers

by: Dena Vick, Traditions Media

Photo by courtesy ACA
Photo by courtesy ACA
(Feb 3, 2017 - Park Fall, WI)  College sports are big business. Once a junior-league for the pros, many college athletic programs have surpassed the popularity and fan base of neighboring professional teams. In fact, some parts of the country are devoid of professional sports franchises due, in part, to the inability to compete with college.
 
When we think of college athletics, most of us picture chilly autumn tailgates or buzzer-beater finales in March. Yet, a new college sport is catching on at a pace unseen in comparable expansions: tournament bass fishing.
 
There’s been a buzz behind college fishing since it’s inception in the mid-90’s, however, recent backing from the nation’s largest professional tournament trails has transformed the sport.
 
The numbers speak for themselves: in 1995, a handful of college bass teams existed and competed. Today, that number has swelled to well over 600 programs, some of which have grown to varsity level, offer sizable scholarships and recruit young anglers from across the country to join.
 
The Bassmaster and FLW tournament trails, undisputed leaders in the professional bass fishing space, took note early, and now each offer full tournament schedules for college anglers. Retail and insurance giants Cabela’s and Boat US operate an additional trail, giving college athletes a third opportunity to fish at a national level. Television coverage is included at major events for all three trails, as well as real-time exposure online.
 
So why such massive expansion? Because competitive fishing, unlike many other college sports, can be played by anyone. Fishing doesn’t discriminate by gender or physical size. It can be adopted by anyone willing to learn. And it can never be mastered.
 
As society continues to recognize the benefits of the outdoor lifestyle, more young people are grasping the principle, and eager to try their hand at bass fishing. Competition just increases interest within the college demographic.
 
 In addition, continued expansion of the professional fishing tours and heavy exposure on premium television networks has brought competitive bass fishing into the living rooms of millions of Americans. Slowly, it’s being recognized by mainstream culture as a legitimate sport.
 
Sponsors have taken note of the youth movement. Today, many college bass programs have travel budgets for their players, allowances for rods, reels and tackle; some even provide the use of modern bass boats for stand-out athletes. Nearly all of these products are donated or deeply discounted by the leading manufacturers in the fishing market.
 
St. Croix Rods, the iconic brand manufactured in northern Wisconsin, seized the opportunity to introduce their product to a new generation, as well as support the cause. As sponsors of both the Bassmaster and FLW college fishing programs, and by offering scholastic programs with a variety of benefits for athletes, St. Croix is dedicated to supporting collegiate fishing organizations and the anglers themselves.
 
St. Croix’s involvement is one of grass-roots, “in the trenches” support. Representatives are on-hand at collegiate events to specifically determine the needs of college anglers, and build long-term relationships that are the foundation of successful sponsorships.
 
All St. Croix rods are handcrafted in North America. All are backed with the best warranty and service in the business. And all are available to college tournament bass competitors for the pursuit of their dreams.
 
About St. Croix Rod
St. Croix Rod is a family-owned and managed manufacturer of high-performance fishing rods headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin with a 68-year heritage of USA manufacturing. Utilizing proprietary technologies, St. Croix controls every step of the rod-making process, from conception and design to manufacturing and inspection, in two company-owned facilities. The company offers a complete line of premium, American-made fly, spinning and casting rods under their Legend Elite®, Legend® Xtreme, Legend Tournament®, Avid Series®, Premier®, Wild River®, Tidemaster®, Imperial® and other trademarks through a global distribution network of full-service fishing tackle dealers. The company’s mid-priced Triumph®, Mojo Bass/Musky/Inshore/Surf, Eyecon® and Rio Santo series rods are designed and engineered in Park Falls, Wisconsin and built in a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Fresnillo, Mexico. Founded in 1948 to manufacture jointed bamboo fishing poles for a Minneapolis hardware store chain, St. Croix has grown to become the largest manufacturer of fishing rods in North America.
 
 
Photo by COURTESY ACA
Photo by courtesy ACA