You could say Thor Swanson’s time at Bemidji State University has been “reel” interesting.
A junior from Blaine, Minn., Swanson has been president of the Bemidji State University College Fishing Team, a club activity that promotes camaraderie and sportsmanship while providing an avenue for competitive fishing. Team members compete against hundreds of other college fishing teams throughout the United States.
“When you think of fishing you don’t think of it as a business, but it’s a million-dollar industry,” said Swanson, who plans to become a professional fisherman. “The pros, they fish for $100,000 for one tournament. It’s definitely something you can really do. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the nation, right behind trap shooting.”
The Bemidji State fishing team is ranked 18th in the country and has for three years straight qualified for the national championships.
But while Swanson and his teammates certainly bond over their angling skills and experiences, their experiences in the club also are teaching them priceless business skills.
“A big thing that the fishing team has taught us is self-promotion,” said Swanson, who is pursuing a degree in Marketing Communication. “In professional angling, fishing is one of the biggest things obviously, but the next-biggest thing is you have to promote all your sponsors, because they’re paying you whether you do good in the tournament or not.”