Bass fishing club president wants a perfect catch


Sacramento State’s bass fishing club President Tanner Austin competed against 80 different colleges in nationals and finished with a top 25 ranking. (Photo by Diana Rykun)

Noah Alvarez

Fishing is more than just a hobby for Sacramento State’s bass fishing club President Tanner Austin — it’s a lifestyle and a possible career path.

Coming out of Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, Austin, 20, made the decision to attend Sacramento State thanks in large part to the school’s established bass fishing club.

“In 2009, the Sac State bass fishing club won the state regional championship on Folsom Lake,” Austin said. “When I heard about them winning, I knew I wanted to be a part of something like that and bring a national championship to Sac State.”

This feat is something the Sac State bass fishing club has yet to accomplish, but sophomore Austin and senior boat partner Ethan Clark are confident in their chances to do so this upcoming season. Both Clark and Austin qualified for nationals in South Carolina as a pair last season, which Austin described as his “coolest experience” fishing for Sac State.

The pair competed against over 80 different colleges in nationals and finished with a top-25 ranking. Austin, being a competitor, was not too pleased about where they finished, but is using it as motivation to reach nationals again and improve on that performance.

“In my last couple of years at Sac State, I am really looking forward to the trial and error of winning a championship,” Austin said. “That is the biggest deal to me.”

Clark, from Monterey Trail High School in Elk Grove, is constantly trying to match Austin’s level of competitiveness.

“I really admire his determination,” Clark said. “He shows me time and time again that no dream or goal is too far to grasp.”

These qualities were relied on last season at Clear Lake as the tournament wasn’t going the duo’s way and the competition was near its end.

“He asked me what we should do and I suggested we live or die in this particular fishing spot,” Clark said. “It was a miserable day but he still trusted my decision to stick it out, and sure it enough, it panned out when we caught a giant bass minutes before time was up.”

The last-minute catch of the fish was enough to secure their second bid to the national championship last season.

When Austin is not fishing, he is studying lakes, rigging up tackle, and planning a strategy for his next competition.

“It pretty much overwhelms my life,” Austin said. “If I’m not working, I’m fishing.”

It is dedication such as this that leads athletes to go onto the professional level and Austin has aspirations to do so.

“When I first met (Austin) two years ago, I could tell he was committed and wanted to make a lifestyle out of it. I can definitely see him going pro,” said teammate and former club president Jeff Taluban.

After graduation from Sac State, Austin, who majors in outdoor recreation, plans to fish professionally in the Fishing League Worldwide circuit after spending a couple years working with his dad in the family business. Austin then plans to move to the East Coast and attempt to fish in the FLW Tour, which is the FLW’s highest ranking tour in the professional bass fishing sport.

“Every time I’m out there competing, I am trying to make a name for myself,” Austin said. “Right now it’s not what I’m doing for a living, but hopefully in the future I’ll have the chance to.”