Focal Point Summer 2017

Anglers find success on college bass circuit

by Nate Hoekstra
photo by Amanda Pitts
video by Tony Packer

To Justin Bruno, competitive bass fishing is a “kind of secret community” and a deeply competitive sport that's generally overlooked by the public but adored by enthusiasts.

Bruno is the outgoing president of the Grand Valley Bass Anglers Club, a club sport that has achieved significant success in the world of competitive collegiate fishing. In 2015, the club spent most of the year at the top of the national ranks. Bruno has been fishing for fun since he was 4 years old, and has competed in tournaments since he was 12 years old.

two men in fishing boat

Justin Bruno, left, hooks a Northern Pike at Bruce’s Bayou, an offshoot of the Grand River in Ottawa County between Nunica and Spring Lake. Incoming club president Lucas Murphy, right, casts for bass.

Other facts about the club are below.

• Club has been active for four years.

• Members have traveled to Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee and other states to compete in tournaments.

• Winners are generally determined by total weight of the biggest five fish caught during the event.

• Biggest fish Bruno has caught in a tournament? 6.75 pounds, 22 inches long

• Key to winning fishing tournaments: mental toughness. “It’s all about making decisions. In an eight-hour tournament, every decision you make has an impact. If you decide to go to a spot half an hour away or stay where you are, the team that makes the best decisions at the end of the day usually wins,” Bruno said.

Bass fishing club video

Page last modified August 22, 2017