SHIPPENSBURG — Hunter Chamberlin and Kevin Hollasch have a simple strategy when it comes to competing in fishing tournaments as members of the Shippensburg University Fishing Club.
“We try to look at (river and lake) maps and see where the fish are going to be — things that help you figure out where you want to go so you’re not just riding around on the river,” said Chamberlin, a junior.
Hollasch, a senior, also likes to scout waters in advance.
Chamberlin, of Shippensburg, and Hollasch, of Marriottsville, Md., will compete this fall in the Forrest L. Wood College Fishing Series Northern Conference Invitational in North East, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay.
They qualified June 22 by winning the FLW Northern Conference Tournament on the Potomac River in Marbury, Md.
Anglers from 50 colleges and universities worked as teams of two in that contest, competing for a prize of $2,000 for catching the top bass (five per team). Chamberlin and Hollasch won with a combined weight of 13 pounds, 5 ouces.
Hollasch said that prior to the tourney he and club founder Jon Miller were able to find a few promising locations on the Potomac River. “We found structures, like docks,” he said. “Grass grows in between the docks — and the bass tend to relate to grass.”
Chamberlin said he and Hollasch can use their team’s winnings for anything related to the club. “We can buy more tackle, licenses, gas to get to the tournaments,” said Chamberlin.
Chamberlin and Hollasch finished 30th out of 50 in the first tournament of the series on Virginia’s Smith Mountain Lake in April. The next contest will be July 20 on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and the invitational will be Sept. 14-15.
The College Fishing Series is sponsored by FLW Outdoors.
The SU Fishing Club was founded three years ago. Last year, Miller and Hollasch placed fifth and won $1,000 in a tournament on Lake Kerr in North Carolina, and they came in ninth on Lake Champlain. They also qualified for regionals; Miller fished alone in that event (Hollasch was competing in an SU soccer tournament) and finished seventh.
Chamberlin said there are currently 15 or 16 members who just “get together and go fishing.” Miller, who graduated in 2012, and Hollasch represented the club last year. Hollasch and Chamberlin team for competitive tournaments this year.
Chamberlin is a 2011 graduate of Shippensburg Area Senior High School and the son of Mike and Lori Chamberlin of Shippensburg. He and Hollasch are majoring in criminal justice. Both say they intend to continue fishing after college.
For now, however, the two fishermen are looking at their next tournament at Lake Champlain.
“Hopefully, we’ll win again,” said Hollasch. “I have a good game plan since I was up there last year.”