WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Purdue Bass Fishing Club is going for the national title next week.
On Thursday, Sam Ryan and three other Purdue fishermen will compete against 200 other colleges. It's a two day tournament but they only fish eight hours per day.
Competitors weigh ten keepers and the team with the heaviest fish get the trophy and $5,000 cash.
Luck is helpful but skill is necessary to win.
"It's a sport where you have to study, you have to understand how these fish are reacting to different weather patterns to temperatures," said Sam Ryan.
That's why Sam said they're leaving Sunday to practice before the tournament. This club has some state titles but this would be their first national win.
Ryan has been competing in fishing tournaments since he was 8 years old.
"As cheesy as it sounds I was hooked, hooked day one," said Ryan.
He said some fish bite because they're hungry, others bite to protect their homes or "beds" as they're called.
"The markings on his (the fish's) tail mean that he's been kicking around making a bed for a female," explained Ryan after he caught a two pound bass on Friday.
It helps to know the science of what's going on in the water. It takes intelligence and skill to be good at fishing.
"I think that's kind of the thing, everybody thinks we are a bunch of hillbillies," said Ryan.
However, people do tell the occasional exaggerated fish story.
"I've never told anything like that," said Ryan, with a smile.
He hopes a national championship title tells the story for him but even if they don't take home the grand prize, Sam won't give up on the sport.
"I'll definitely be fishing for the rest of my life," said Ryan. "You know the two 'old man' sports are fishing and golf and I think I've found mine."