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In a previous edition of Premier Angler’s College Fishing Talk, we spoke with Auburn University Bass Fishing Team Vice-President Logan Parks.
In addition to boasting one of the top college fishing squads in the nation, Auburn also fields one of the largest. This year, roughly six dozen members fill out the team’s expansive roster, many of whom have achieved success on the national stage.
As such, it only makes sense to get additional perspectives on one of college fishing’s most formidable units.
In this installment of College Fishing Talk, we chat with Anthony Vintson, president of the Auburn University Bass Fishing Team.
Talking College Fishing with Anthony Vintson, Auburn University
Premier Angler: For over a decade now, Auburn University has featured one of the premier college fishing teams in the nation. What’s it like fishing for such an established squad?
Vintson: It was a great honor to be able to attend Auburn. Being able to fish for the university is a dream come true. Following in the footsteps of legendary anglers like the Lee Brothers gives all of us that extra motivation to always succeed.
Premier Angler: You mentioned the Lee Brothers — two of Auburn Bass Fishing’s most notable alumni. What do you think helps the team stand out from most of the competition in the college fishing world and produce such high-level anglers?
Vintson: I believe our team being student-run is a major plus. We keep our best anglers on the water with support from the team rather than a coach selecting who gets to go where and who can fish what events.
I also believe in being an Auburn Man — it is something you have to have to succeed at the university.
Premier Angler: Auburn has a huge roster. How do you attract prospective anglers to the team? Do you find that some members come to Auburn specifically for fishing?
Vintson: We actually don’t “recruit” because we do not offer scholarships, but a lot of fisherman throughout the country, and even abroad, have recognized Auburn’s fishing achievements.
That, coupled with a top tier education, does the recruiting for us.
Premier Angler: With so many members fishing tournaments, and being a student-run club, how have you managed to support the operational costs of running such a large program?
Vintson: We do a lot of fundraising. We raise money through sponsorships, events, and selling of shirts and booster banner spots. It’s a lot of hard work, but also rewarding.
Premier Angler: If you had to narrow it down, what would you say Auburn is looking for in a prospective team member? What advice would you give to someone looking to fish either for Auburn or at the college level in general?
Vintson: Be ready to balance a lot of school work with a lot of fishing. It can be hard sometimes, but the most determined seem to always rise to the top.
Premier Angler: One of the team’s major highlights was recently winning the first annual Major League Fishing Redcrest National Championship in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. What goes in to preparing for such a high-profile event? What type of competition did you face?
Vintson: Actually, my partner and I drove up the night before the event and placed 4th overall. We had two other teams up there and they helped us out with what the river system was doing.
A lot of communication is also what makes our team successful, especially at those team based events. It was an amazing accomplishment against some of the best schools in the college ranks.
Premier Angler: Auburn qualified for Redcrest after winning the MLF College Iron Bowl. Talk us through some of the other events you and the team have fished recently.
Vintson: We fish almost all of them we can. Someone from Auburn is fishing in the event if at all able. I would say that’s around 15 events by the time championships are over.
I have been fortunate enough to qualify for all three of the major college fishing championships, that being B.A.S.S, FLW, and the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Series.
My partner and I were able to make the top 10 cut at the FLW Championship and finished 7th overall on the Potomac River.
Premier Angler: We discussed Auburn’s history of producing high-level pros like Matt and Jordan Lee. From the current squad, are any anglers looking to take a similar path to the professional ranks?
Vintson: I believe a lot of us have that goal. Whether it will happen as fast as it did for the Lee brothers is the big question.
I believe us being a completely student-run team helps because we learn how to obtain sponsorships and how to budget for long-distance fishing tournaments.
Premier Angler: Obviously, you have had a pretty successful career fishing at the collegiate level, but how did the journey begin? Can you walk us through your early experiences with fishing and how the path led you to competing for Auburn?
Vintson: My grandmother got me into fishing. She loved to fish and would take me all the time growing up. It was a passion that grew into competition.
I knew I would love to fish in college. It really was a big deal when I graduated in 2008, but I watched it turn into this very competitive stepping-stone to the next level and knew I would love the opportunity.
That opportunity came when my wife got accepted into medical school at VCOM (the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine) on Auburn’s campus, which lead to me leaving the U.S Army and having the opportunity to attend Auburn University.
Premier Angler: How can interested parties find out more about the Auburn Bass Fishing Team?
Vintson: You can follow us on our social media platforms. We keep everyone updated there. You can even follow our fall events on Fishing Chaos.
Premier Angler: What else would you like people to know about you, the team, or college fishing in general?
Vintson: I would just say that if you love high level competition bass fishing, then you have to fish college. It is definitely where the future stars are being molded now. If that sounds like you, then Auburn University is where you want to be!