“You definitely need to be mentally capable to do it,” says Scott Dooley. “Once you’re hooked, you’re hooked.”
Dooley, a senior parks and recreation major, has been bass fishing competitively for eight years and has been part of the University of Missouri bass team for three semesters. The team has been preparing to compete in the College Bass North Super Regional on the Mississippi River in Fort Madison, Iowa Saturday and Sunday.
Two-person teams will be competing in a two-day cumulative weight competition with a daily limit of five fish. The team is hoping for a good turnout, although with a storm this past Tuesday, the waters have gotten muddy.
Dooley is hoping things can clear before the competition. “The water literally looks like chocolate milk,” he says. “It’s all about finding clean water.”
Muddy water isn’t the only concern for the team. With days of fishing for hours, it is important for everyone to concentrate on the goal.
“You have to stay focused and you have to be strong-minded,” says Dooley. “Most of the tournaments are between seven to nine hours, and you may be fishing all day for only one bite. You have to stay focused with every cast.”
Although teams will direct most of their attention to fishing, this competition allows fishermen to meet new people and expand their contacts. Dooley has made numerous friends and contacts from around the country at every competition and hopes they can help him in the future.
“It just opens up a lot of opportunities,” says Dooley. “You meet a lot of people and a lot of contacts.” The College Bass North Super Regional is one of three Regional competitions that fishermen must compete in to qualify for the highly-regarded College Bass National Championship.
The University of Missouri will be sending its two best fishermen to the National Championship. Dooley will be one attending. Dooley is excited to be present at nationals, which will take place on July 8-10 on the Arkansas River in North Little Rock. The best team at nationals will be awarded with championship rings, along with cash and other prizes.
“I don’t care about the cash and prizes,” says Dooley, laughing. “I just care about the ring.”