Transfers in Collegiate Bass Fishing

When it comes to the sport of collegiate bass fishing, student anglers are using the opportunity to transfer schools.

San Antonio, TX – In major collegiate athletics, the transfer portal has been a talking point at the epicenter of college sports for several years now.  The transfer portal allows student athletes to leave their current institution and explore their opportunities to further their athletic and academic careers at a new school.  For the students, it’s a chance to get more playing time elsewhere, maybe be closer to home, or just find a change of scenery that gives them a fresh start.  In the case of the schools and teams, the transfer portal offers a free marketplace for coaches to shop and add pieces to their rosters that can help them in achieving major titles.

When it comes to the sport of collegiate bass fishing, student anglers are also using the opportunity to transfer schools to benefit their goals and careers.

“It’s really exciting, you know,” said Blake Tinsley, former Winona State angler and new member of the McKendree University Bass Fishing Team.  “All of the hype around switching to a school like that, and all of the support from my friends and family has been great.” 

Blake Tinsley competed in the 2023 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops at Lake Hartwell this past May as a member of the Winona State fishing club.  Over the course of the summer, Tinsley recently announced his decision to transfer to McKendree University, a two-time winner of the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.

“It turns out that they had one spot left on their roster this year.  It was meant to be,” added Tinsley. 

Transferring schools is something that is not new to the college fishing landscape.  However, in recent years, teams and clubs from all across the country are utilizing transfers as an opportunity to strengthen their rosters and be competitive out on the national circuits.

In the 2022-23 race for Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia, each of the Top 3 teams in the final standings had anglers on their roster that originally began their college fishing careers at other schools. 

The University of Montevallo achieved collegiate bass fishing history by becoming the first team to ever win the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia three times.  One of the key members of their title winning team was Beau Browning.  Browning started his career at Drury University.

Finishing the 2022-23 season in second place was Auburn University.  Auburn’s roster was made up of multiple transfer anglers.  Two of those anglers were Garrett Warren and Jake Peck.  Warren transferred from Snead State Community College and Peck began his career at Drury University.

Rounding out the Top 3 was Carson-Newman University.  The 2022-23 season marked the team’s highest-ever finish in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.  A member of that team was Stevie Mills.  Mills was originally at national powerhouse Bethel University before deciding to make the switch over to Carson-Newman.

Transfers don’t always occur with anglers moving from one major four-year college to another.  College fishing is unique, in that community colleges, junior colleges, private schools, and major state institutions all compete amongst each other at the same level.  For anglers that begin their careers at two-year colleges, the chance to transfer affords them the opportunity to go to a four-year school and finish out their degree.

“Part of my recruiting pitch that I tell kids when they come, Wabash is a great place to grow and a great place to be seen,” said Todd Gill, Head Coach at Top 25 ranked Wabash Valley College.  “I’m just excited about these relationships we’re creating with other colleges to where the kids that do want to pursue their passion for fishing…they can move on from here.”

 In the fall of 2020, Head Coach Todd Gill helped to start the Bass Fishing Team at Wabash Valley College.  One key member of that initial team was Gill’s son, Drew.  Drew competed at WVC for two seasons before transferring to Campbellsville University this past year.  Drew competed in multiple college level events, while also fishing professionally, and was a key member of Campbellsville University’s Top 10 ranked team for the 2022-23 campaign. College fishing is a great platform that allows anglers to grow their careers professionally, pursue jobs in the industry, meet new people, and make a lifetime of memories.  To find out more about collegiate fishing and how you can get involved, visit

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