If you're heading off to college shortly and want to take your fishing skills on the competitive circuit, you've probably been searching around the internet for which schools - both near you and far away - boast the best fishing teams. While college fishing doesn't get the publicity of university football, there is a wide array of competitive options for a higher-education-minded angler.
Take a look below to see our picks for the best college fishing teams in the nation.
1. Auburn University:
Located in Auburn, Alabama, Auburn University frequently pops up at the top of lists for great collegiate fishing opportunities. The school hosts a vast number of events for the Southern Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, and has generally finished at or near the top of the pack for major fishing competitions throughout the country, from the Bassmaster Collegiate Championship to the FLW southeast regional.
2. UNC Charlotte:
Fishing blogs go back and forth between University of North Carolina Charlotte and their competitors at North Carolina State as to which has the better fishing team, but the truth is, both are incredibly strong. UNC Charlotte edges out NC State this year, with strong finishes at Bassmaster and FLW, but is consistently a best-in-the-country contender thanks to its proximity to numerous prime fishing lakes and reservoirs.
3. North Carolina State:
Like UNC Charlotte, North Carolina State focuses primarily on bass fishing. The college's passionate and sizeable fishing club, BassPack, shares UNC's proximity to prime fishing territory and has a few national championship trophies on its mantle to show for all the practice.
4. Oklahoma State University:
Oklahoma State hasn't been featured near the top of fishing school lists much in the past, but a big win at last year's Bassmaster College Series Championship is enough to land the Oklahoma State University and its bass fishing club on this list.
5. The University of Montana:
Often, competitive fishing circuits place a lot of emphasis on bass fishing. The University of Montana is more interested in fly fishing, and thanks to the school's location - not far from a plethora of major rivers - it's the place to go if you want to catch record-breaking trout.
6. Virginia Tech:
It's no surprise that the Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team provides one of the most professionally-minded experiences in college fishing. The club works together both at the fishing pond and away from it, executing community service and sponsorship campaigns that aspiring anglers looking at a full-time fishing career need to know about. Sponsors include the Virginia lottery and numerous high-profile fishing brands, so the team's resources are understandably stellar.
7. Bethel University:
Bethel University, based in McKenzie, TN, is probably the most "obscure" school on this list. With 4.498 points and a number one slot on the current Bassmaster rankings, though, the Bethel University bass fishing team may be on their way to a national recognition.
8. Indiana University:
Home of the famous Hoosiers, Indiana University was one of the first schools in the nation to establish a fishing club; it's still absolutely one of the best, with a team that contended at Bassmaster and FLW events all last fall.
9. University of Wisconsin:
The University of Wisconsin boasts more campuses than we care to count, but the Madison campus is "the one" for anglers. With successful fishing clubs, Big Ten bass championship eligibility, and plenty of fishing opportunities all over the state - both for bass fishing and other species - Wisconsin is a reliable old stand-by as a fishing school.
10. University of Oregon:
Another great place for fly fishing enthusiasts, the University of Oregon gets more athletic funding than almost any other college in the country thanks to Nike president Phil Knight, and some of that trickles down to the anglers.The school is also located close to great steelhead fishing reserves, fantastic if you want to get away from the regular old bass fishing circuit.
Featured image via Inside College Fishing