Many students slept the Sunday morn- ing after Polar Bear, but Aaron Connor was awake at 6 a.m. and ready to fish.
Connor, a senior from Murphysboro studying exercise science, said freezing rain was forecast for the day. However, he said he felt optimistic after catching a three-pound fish on his 10th cast and his partner caught another 10 minutes later.
“It was cold, it was wet, but it started off with a bang,” he said.
Despite the weather conditions, Con- nor said he wouldn’t have it any other way because fishing is what he loves to do.
Connor is a member of the Saluki Bassers, a university Registered Student Organiza- tion that hosts monthly bass tournaments, participates in national tournaments and provides exclusive scholarships to members.
Marion’s Lake of Egypt hosted the Saluki Bassers’ first spring semester, 10-member tournament Sunday.
Pairs partner up on a single boat to catch as many fish as possible, and teams keep their five heaviest and legal length fish to determine their rank. A legal fish at the Lake of Egypt ranges between 14 and 16 inches long.
Stephen Crawley, a senior from De Soto studying forestry, and Gage Elder, a senior from Lovington studying forestry, won the tournament.
“It was exciting,” Crawley said. “It was a tough day out there.”
Crawley said he grew up fishing in Loui- siana, and this is his fourth year in the club.
Elder’s and Crawley’s catch consisted of five fish that weighed the combined highest weight at 11.97 pounds. Elder said this is his second year with the club. He started competing in tournaments when he was 16
years old, he said. “It was pretty rough fishing today, but it
was worth it,” Elders said. Jacob Carlson, a freshman from Johnsburg
studying biological sciences, and Stephen Farley, a undecided sophomore from Me- tropolis, caught three fish with a combined weight of 8.44 pounds and placed second.
Carlson said his RSO membership, as well as his science major, helped him obtain a $1,000 scholarship for both fall 2012 and spring 2013 semesters.
“I was notified right before I went down to school, and it was icing on the cake,” he said.
Carlson said he expressed interest in joining the club before he came to campus,
which enabled him to receive the award. The scholarship is funded through the science department and the club, he said.
“I wanted to join the club because I love fishing,” Carlson said. “It’s been a lot of fun.” Connor said the organization ranges in
member turnout but for the most part every tournament is a good time. He said the club’s Feb. 17 U.S. Midwest Tournament will be held at the Lake of Egypt.
“If you have breath in your body, and if you like to fish, you should come out and fish with us,” he said.