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Murray State Bass Anglers: Growth and Success

May 25, 2017 | Casey Northcutt

Each student milling about Murray State University’s (MSU) campus has enrolled for a specific reason. Some have come for the high-value education. Some love the area’s small-town feel. Others enjoy the relatively small classroom sizes.

And a few students are there, in part, to catch bass.

Timothy Spier, Murray State University (MSU) assistant professor of biology, serves as faculty advisor of the Murray State Bass Anglers Club and says the group is so beloved it helps attract outdoorsy students to the school.

“We like to give our students opportunities to pursue their interests, and our fisheries and aquatic sciences major plus our proximity to Kentucky Lake makes MSU a logical choice for those who like to fish in their spare time,” he says. “I have spoken with several prospective students who are interested in MSU because of the bass anglers team.”

Since the club’s establishment in 2007, it has grown to include more than 60 people. Nick Montilino, the club’s president, says members cast their lines in about 20 tournaments per year, competing with schools around the United States. And, they have been successful.

Recently, the Murray State Bass Anglers finished third in the 2016 Cabela School of the Year rankings. That same year, one of the club’s two-man teams also won the 2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Midwestern Regional Tournament, and in 2017, a MSU team placed third out of more than 190 competitors in the 2017 YETI FLW College Fishing Open.

Additionally, MSU anglers placed first in the 2017 Cabela Collegiate Fishing Open and in May 2017, two members won the YETI FLW College Fishing Central Conference tournament. Zach Baker of Murray, Kentucky, and Micah Chessor of Paducah, Kentucky, placed first, while three other MSU teams qualified for the championship.

Montilino says the club takes these competitions seriously.

“Preparing for tournaments requires a great deal of time and focus. Our members will typically travel to the body of water that the tournament is being held on a few days early,” he explains. “We use the few days before the tournament as our practice days, we fish hard all day long looking for the best way to catch the biggest bass we can find in hopes that we can catch them on tournament day.”

Along with traveling for competitions, MSU anglers also host about eight club tournaments each year. During these events, they sharpen their fishing skills against each other. Montilino says the competitions offer members a fun way to bond and to learn together.

Any MSU student who wants to join this camaraderie can do so. Montilino promises the club is open to them all, regardless of skill. Potential members simply need to complete application forms and pay dues. To maintain membership, however, the Murray State Bass Anglers Club also requires its students to perform five hours of community service per semester, as a way of contributing toward general campus life.

“We are an important club for Murray State and try to be a club that the university to take pride in,” Montilino states.

For more information about joining the Murray State Bass Anglers Club, visit their Facebook page. Or, they can communicate with Montilino directly at He’s happy to welcome new people into the MSU Bass Anglers family.

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