Fishing Club gets hooked on competition

For centuries, people have caste a lure into the water in hopes of catching a fish. It’s a timeless activity that has brought families together and helped civilizations thrive. The Sonoma State Fishing Club provides an excellent opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature with fellow fishing enthusiasts with the added perk of bringing home a chunk of change. 

“Fishing is a huge stress reliever for me, I love to be out on the water setting hooks and catching big fish.” Banuelos said, “Whoever has never been fishing, needs to. A lot of people think it’s just a hook, line and sinker but it’s a completely different story once your out on the water”

The Fishing Club is home to about 12 fishermen who compete in the College Fishing League Worldwide. Club President Jake Banuelos, along with his fishing partner Brent Nelson, senior, competed in the Clear Lake Invitational tournament over the weekend and finished in seventh place, out fishing more then 45 different teams. This means the pair will continue on to South Carolina for the National Championship, held at Lake Keowee where they will compete for $30,000 and a new bass fishing boat. 

Nelson said, “It’s a lot of fun, it’s a great group of people who enjoy fishing at different places and different lakes, it’s just a good time to get outdoors and hang out with your friends and meet new people.”

The tournaments are judged by weight, each team is allowed five fish per day. Once the fish are weighed and the scores recorded, the fish are then put back into the lake. Banuelos and Nelson caught over 24 pounds worth of Largemouth Bass in the two-day event. 

Banuelos said, “Everything was going against us in the beginning; we had a lot of boat issues, we had a big fish get off, and just weren’t catching the fish. So the fact that we were able finish within the top 10 and advance to Nationals is awesome.”

The Fishing Club is sponsored by several companies who help the team with merchandise and various forms of tackle. Some of the sponsors include Monster Fishing Tackle located in Cotati and 4G Bait Company, known for their GMoney jigs and punch skirts. 

Banuelos said, “Without 4G bait company, we probably wouldn’t be here; they are a tremendous asset to the success of our club on campus and out on the water.”

Nelson, senior, said, “Our sponsors help keep the expenses down a lot, we have to pay for gas for the car, gas for the boat, and of course our equipment, so our sponsors really help us out. Because after all, we are just college students.”

The club runs year round and typically attends three tournaments. These tournaments are held at Lake Havasu in Arizona, the California Delta, as well as the New Melones Reservoir.

The cost to join the Fishing Club is $40 and a California State fishing license is required.

For more information about the Fishing Club contact Banuelos at