Checking in With the BSM Fishing Club


Club members work together on the water and compete as a team.

BSM students bait their hooks, cast out into lakes and the Mississippi River, and wait in anticipation to see what the next catch will be; the Fishing Club allows students with a passion for the outdoors to explore some of Minnesota’s most stunning natural environments. Working both in partnered pairs and as a team, the Fishing Club aims to teach the importance of patience, perseverance, and problem solving.

The club has been a competitive group and taken part in such competitions as the Student Angler Tournament Trail (SATT) and the Lund Virtual Fishing League, which included up to 150 teams. Chris Chapman, one of the club’s supervisors, is excited to kick off the season. “I love watching the kids kind of compete as a team, and then help each other,” Chapman said.

Student independence is greatly valued in the club. As the boat captain and coach, Chapman says it is important to support his fishermen while also providing them the opportunity to make their own decisions and solve problems on the water. “They get to pick the lake we go to. So it’s kind of fun for them to decide what’s the best way to catch fish that day,” Chapman said.

I have always loved fishing, but I’ve never done it competitively, and so this was an opportunity for me to be able to do that

— Sophia Dipaola

Sophia DiPaola, a junior at BSM, is a dedicated member who loves to get out on the water. DiPaola first learned about the fishing team at a club and activities fair her freshman year. She was initially attracted to the fishing table because of the large crowd. Growing up fishing since she was two, DiPaola wanted to take her skill to the next level and start fishing competitively. “I have always loved fishing, but I’ve never done it competitively, and so this was an opportunity for me to be able to do that,” DiPaola said.

DiPaola is also grateful that the club is unique and relies on an April to September season. This allows more opportunities for her to see her teammates, even away from school. Although DiPaola was the only girl on the team her first year, she was proud to represent BSM and has even won $100 for placing in a womens’ biggest bass competition. “[It] is super cool that women are able to represent in kind of a male dominated sport,” DiPaola said.

Although the club is only allowed to submit different subspecies of bass for competitions, they occasionally get a surprise. One of the most impressive catches Chapman can remember was a fifty inch muskie. DiPaola has also had encounters with other large species and recounts how her partner once caught an almost 15 pound smallmouth buffalo. Despite the kind of fish, DiPaola has learned to no longer be rushed on the water. “I’ve definitely learned to be patient, cause you can’t make fish do what you want them to,” DiPaola said.