Cermele: Catch Bass, Skip College Tuition

I found a story in the New York Times this morning about Jake Lawrence (photo) and Jacob Hardy that has me shaking my head. Hardy and Lawrence are the first two students in America to receive athletic scholarships for competitive bass fishing. The duo fishes for Bethel University. Also joining the team this season is Lauren Stamps, who is the first female angler to earn a scholarship for largemouth hunting. On one hand, all these kids deserve a pat on the back for such achievements. On the other hand, the whole thing is just not fair.

It's not fair because I missed the opportunity to get in on this explosion of college fishing teams by about three years. I can remember toying with going to school in Hawaii thinking I'd weasel my way onto a marlin boat as a mate. That idea got an emphatic "no" because my dad thought I'd spend more time fishing than book learnin'. He was probably right, which is why I most likely wouldn't have made a college bass team anyway. Bethel is more interested in your grades than how well you fire a baitcaster. They want a fishing background and love of studying. I never had the latter.

All kidding aside, a big congrats goes out to the Bethel team and all the anglers that have the chops to compete on a college level. And it just goes to show that if you've got kids in high school obsessed with fishing, buy them all the tackle they want. It could help you pay for college. Be sure to check out the full story, written by friend of F&S James Card.

So, do you think you could have made it on the college bass circuit? - JC