March 28, 2011

High school anglers welcome at April 9 open house

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Bass fishing is a fast-growing sport that has even found its way into the high school sports arena in Illinois. Southern Illinois University Carbondale is inviting those students to a campus open house that will roll out the welcome mat for the young anglers.

The College of Science, along with the Saluki Bassers registered student organization, Fisheries & Illinois Aquaculture Center and undergraduate admissions office are teaming up for the inaugural Saluki Bassers Open House. The event, set for April 9, will play host to high school anglers from all over Illinois and surrounding states for day of hands-on demonstrations, tours, meetings and other functions at SIUC, said Harvey Henson, assistant dean in the College of Science.

Founded in 2004, the Saluki Bassers fishes local tournaments as well as five national tournaments each year. The club provides students with an opportunity for leisure and competition while exploring Southern Illinois angling and striving to promote bass habitat and educate the public. It currently has about 30 members and was ranked in the top 25 college bass fishing teams by FLW Outdoors Magazine in 2010.

The team and individual members have experienced a lot of success early on competing at the local, state, regional and national bass tournaments.

Team members Richard Dunham and Travis Gould recently placed second at the Lake of the Ozarks FLW Central College Bass Tournament, taking home $5,000 in prize money for the club and students. They placed fourth overall in the regional championship at Kentucky Lake, where they competed for $100,000 and a boat for the club.

Henson said the success of the Saluki Bassers has started to “catch” the attention of high school students who are active in more than 225 Illinois high school fishing programs, and beyond.

“Team Fishing is an official Illinois High School Association activity that has become increasingly popular among high school students in Illinois and surrounding states as well,” Henson said. “Some of these co-ed high school teams consist of 25 students who really enjoy fishing and will go pro in something.

“The open house on April 9 provides an exciting opportunity for these high school students to come to the SIUC campus to meet the Saluki Bassers and to learn about all of the exciting academic programs we have to offer,” he said.

While students will tour parts of the entire campus, they also will meet members of the Saluki Bassers and do what they all enjoy: go fishing. Southern Illinois in general, and SIUC itself, are homes to some great fishing holes.

The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and a reception including coffee and doughnuts. The Saluki Bassers will open the day with a welcome presentation at 9:15 a.m. before the students enjoy a string of hands-on demonstrations from academic programs of their choice, including fisheries, chemistry, computer science, geology, microbiology, physics, plant biology, zoology, forestry and agriculture and engineering.

The group will eat lunch at the campus boat dock before breaking out the fishing poles for open fishing on campus lake starting about 12:30 p.m.

The group also will learn more about a new Saluki Bassers scholarship, which will award $1,000 to a freshman or transfer student in the College of Science who joins the Saluki Bassers during the first club meeting in fall 2011. Criteria for receiving the scholarship include U.S. citizenship, interest and experience in bass fishing, academic achievement, career goals and aspirations, extracurricular activities and leadership experience and financial needs. The award will be split equally over two semesters.

“As this opportunity and program expands, we hope that similar scholarships in other colleges will be made available to attract and assist students with fishing and SIUC academic interests,” Henson said.

For more information on the event and the scholarship application, go to or contact Candie Glover at

For more information on the Saluki Bassers, go to visit