Fluharty Represents Mansfield University in Bass Fishing Tournament
Ryan Fluharty of Perkiomenville, an avid fisherman, recently represented Mansfild University's bass fishing club in the Northern Conference tournament.
Competitive bass fishing involves far more than sitting on the edge of a lake and waiting for a bite, according to Ryan Fluharty.
Last month, before representing Mansfield University's bass fishing club in the Northern Conference tournament, Fluharty and his fishing partner spent an entire day exploring Smith Mountain Lake.
Using a GPS and a boat, they identified a handful of spots on the lake – which covers 20,600 acres near Roanoke in Bedford and Franklin counties in Virginia – that might lead to a few catches. "We checked between several docks and six or seven coves," said Fluharty, a Perkiomenville resident.
The next day, when Fluharty and Tyler Grabowski headed out to their preferred spot, they found two other Mansfield students camped out there. "Unbelievable," Fluharty said. "On a lake that size, we both picked the same fish."
That other team, Bryan Rupp and Colton Otto, finished second in the tournament, held May 3. They caught five bass with a collective weight of 14 pounds, 11 ounces. Fluharty and Grabowski, who caught two fish, finished 26th overall. "It was the hardest thing I've ever done," said Fluharty, a 2013 graduate of Boyertown Area Senior High School. "But it was a lot of fun."
Most tournament formats feature two-man teams attempting to catch the five heaviest fish possible, according to John Szentesy, the team's adviser. He said tournaments, which utilize artificial lures, typically run for seven or eight hours. Adjusting to the conditions and figuring out where to cast a line were the tournament's toughest challenges, according to Fluharty. "Finding the fish was the hardest thing," he said. He added that in competitions to catch tuna and marlin, the boat captain determined where it would occur.
The duo quickly abandoned their usual technique, which included casting below a fallen or submerged tree or next to lily pads or grass, Fluharty said. "We tried that for about an hour...We ended up having to look for the fish on the beds. Hopefully we could irritate them enough to get one to take a lure."
An avid fisherman who has worked as a first mate on boats off Avalon, N.J., and Indian River, Del., Fluharty's been fishing as long as he can remember.
As a boy, Fluharty said he and his father often fished for bass in the Green Lane Reservoir. "We were in it for the sport," Fluharty said. "Not the meal."
The Mansfield fishing club has approximately 20 active members, according to Szentesy.
"Some of them want to fish tournaments," he said. "Others just want to fish and have fun."