CEDAR FALLS â€” Itâ€™s not all about lectures, textbooks and final exams for a growing group of students at the University of Northern Iowa.
Now and then, itâ€™s about fishing, too.
From aspiring teachers, accountants and business CEOs to musicians, writers and artists, the UNI Fishing Club is doing its part to enhance the college experience in an untraditional way with opportunities for personal growth, teamwork and networking through fishing.
The club began in 2016 when Jack Mauer and Conner Hinckle became UNI students. They were part of a bass fishing club at Janesville High School and along with Ethan Butler shared a vision for a similar club at the college level.
Today, there are 31 members of the UNI Fishing Club, including four female anglers.
â€śA lot of the bread and butter of the club is local stuff,â€ť explained Brady Determan of Camanche, who came on board in 2017. â€śItâ€™s going fishing around here and having club tournaments where itâ€™s just members competing or meeting up to go fishing with other people in the club.
â€śWe have a lot of seminars and guest speakers come in and talk to the club. Iâ€™d say the main thing right now is learning new ideas about fishing new techniques and then putting them into practice throughout the semester.â€ť
The club also provides a foundation for anglers to compete on a regional and even national stage.
Mauer and Hinckle are fishing six to eight major collegiate tournaments a year and have dreams of someday qualifying for the Collegiate Bassmasters, Bassmaster Classic or the FLW Forest Wood Cup.
â€śI didnâ€™t come to college to be a bass fisherman,â€ť says Hinckle. â€śIf I can win a few tournaments it might turn out that way, but thatâ€™s a Plan B.
â€śWhat inspired me was just watching the pros on TV. I have that passion for fishing. The competitive part of it is something that drives me, too. You want to be the best.â€ť