U of O fishing club in the works

Release Date: 10/19/2011

Do you enjoy wetting a fishing hook every now and then, but never seem to find the time? If so, some U of O students are working to form a fishing club and are looking for people who are interesting in recreational and sports fishing.

An initial meeting was held Oct. 18 to discuss the basics and get a better idea of who's interested. According to senior marketing major Robert Liddon of Memphis, the idea has been brewing for some time.

"Jamie Hedges of Ozarks Outdoors approached me about starting a fishing club last semester, but with finals and everything I had to wait until now to get it rolling," he said.

Hedges added, "We had been talking about what was missing in the outdoors opportunities at the university, and fishing came up right away. I talked to [maintenance manager and shooting sports club sponsor] Mike Qualls about it - it's definitely his idea too - and I asked who to contact. He's said, 'You'd better talk to Bob.'"

Liddon pointed out that since a fishing license with a trout stamp is only $15.50, and decent inexpensive rods and reels can be found in the $25 range, taking up fishing as a hobby is fairly cheap. "Also," he said, "rods and reels can be checked out a week at a time from the Clarksville Public Library like books, so people wouldn't have to invest any money at all just to find out whether or not they enjoy fishing, as long as they have a library card!"

He added he knew several anglers including himself who would have extra gear to lend to participants for events. "If someone is interested who knows nothing about fishing, that isn't a problem either," he said. "Mike Qualls said just like with the gun club, to get people fishing, you've just got to get 'em out there to fish. So that's what we want to do."

Hedges said the university has made four canoes available to the students. The canoes can be checked out for use at fishing events.

Preliminary plans for the club include a fishing derby in November, where participants would fish for a set period of time, and then their catches would be counted and compared. "I'm getting in touch with Arkansas Game & Fish to see what information or help they have available for fishing clubs," said Liddon.

The club plans eventually to organize fishing trips to local sites like the Arkansas River at Spadra and Horsehead Lake, but also some of the other major fishing locations within driving distance, including the Buffalo River, Bull Shoals, and the Little Red River. "We're going to keep it simple, but we want people to have a good time," he said.

Associate Professor of History Dr. Steve Oatis will serve as the club's faculty mentor.

The next meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 8:00 p.m. at Ozarks Outdoors BaseCamp, located at the northeast corner of campus. The BaseCamp is clearly marked with "Ozarks Outdoors" signage. All interested are encouraged to attend.