Some clubs go skydiving, some go on mission trips, but the SDSU Fishing Club goes on fishing trips. Once a semester, the club takes a trip to Day County, rents out a cabin and goes fishing for the weekend for a retreat.
“Every about twice monthly we will have just a general meeting and talk about how fishing in the area is… once a month we go on a short trip together,” said Kody Pataky, club president.
The club currently sits at 30 active members after the club was nonexistent for the 2012- 2013 school year. The club was put on hold because the previous club president couldn’t come during the regular meeting times.
“The president from two years ago, Tanner Davis, graduated before the next elections, so vice president Nathan Odegard took over,” Pataky said.
Davis worked in Alaska, Pataky’s home state. Davis sought out Pataky and asked him to take over as club president.
“There aren’t a whole lot of differences [this year]. The only difference we have made so far is taking more short trips,” Pataky said.
The club meets and fishes year round, fishing in open water and on ice.
Members usually fish on weekends, when most are available. Those who fish typically provide their own fishing equipment and a few members bring their own boats.
“The club did purchase some poles … worst come to worst, members usually have some other poles to lend,” Pataky said.
Club members are expected to obtain their own fishing licenses and pay $10 a semester, which goes to pay their cabin fees.
Walleye, small mouth bass, perch and crappie are the fish that are most commonly caught by the club when fishing at various locations throughout the state. The club also holds an annual ice fishing tournament on Lake Thompson. The club participates in one open water tournament every year, typically on Lake Poinsett in the spring after the ice has melted off. The club fishes more often
in the spring time, because after the ice melts, fish start breeding so they bite harder than usual.
After catching the fish, members usually keep them and cook them.
“We have a couple members who don’t like fish, but they like to fish so they give it to other members,” Pataky said.
The club’s purpose is not only to bond and fish, but they also help others learn how to fish.
“Back home we don’t have any of these species,” Pataky said. “This is how I learned to fish in this area.”
Pataky, being from Anchorage, Ala. is not the only one in the club who wasn’t used to fishing in South Dakota. Freshman Club member, Wil Scarbough, is from southern California.
“The biggest thing to get adjusted to [fishing] is the weather,” Scarbough said. “I’ve learned some good fishing spots in the area, and I have got to meet other people at SDSU that enjoy fishing.”
The club Facebook page, SDSU Fishing Club, is where members post their meeting times and locations.
“You don’t have to be great to go out fishing with us,” Pataky said. “We’ll help you learn.”