Nicholls freshman starts school bass fishing team
AP — Tyler Rivet’s first choices for college were schools with bass fishing teams — Louisiana State and Louisiana-Monroe. He wound up at Nicholls State and started a team almost before he got to campus.
Thanks to family friend Alyson Theriot, an assistant professor in the Nicholls College of Education, the 19-year-old freshman from Raceland secured a faculty sponsor, received approval from the school and the Nicholls’ bass fishing team was born in September.
Rivet said the experience was eye-opening, but he is thrilled to have an opportunity to compete in a sport he loves.
“My phone wouldn’t stop ringing for a long time once people found out what I was trying to do,” Rivet said. “Going through this, I realized how certain things work, and that should help me later in life. My family is proud of me because it is something that I wanted to do.”
He said watching collegiate bass tournaments on television got him interested in the sport, and in going to LSU or ULM.
“I came to Nicholls because it was better financially,” he said.
Bass fishing is not sanctioned by the NCAA, but FLW Outdoors and BoatUS hold tournaments for collegiate teams with prize money and opportunities to qualify for bigger tournaments throughout the year.
The teams are made up of two people per boat, with two teams per school in a tournament.
Rivet said he and Cameron Naquin, a freshman from Gray, competed in their first tournament in September — the FLW Outdoors College Fishing Southern Conference Tournament in Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs, Ark. They finished 27th of 50 teams with a fish that weighed 1-pound, 12-ounces.
The pair also attended the Texas Collegiate Tournament Trail sponsored by BoatUS and Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing series in October at Toledo Bend.
With more students interested, the team may hold its own qualifying tournaments, he said.
“We are looking for more people with bass boats. We only have two of us with boats, but FLW Outdoors supplies boats for the first 30 people that sign up. But not every tournament is like that.”
Finding potential teammates with bass boats might not be as difficult as Rivet first imagined, as the bass fishing team is quickly picking up steam within the student body on campus.
Nicholls does not provide money for the team, Rivet said.
Theriot said she has been bombarded with messages and believes the team will eventually become a recruiting tool.
“Part of the reason I decided to help is I have a son who is a senior on E.D. White’s team, and he had no interest in coming to Nicholls because we had no bass-fishing team,” she said. “I figured if I could help get this sport going, then he would be interested in Nicholls. It was personal and selfish, my reason for doing it, but I’m glad I did it.”
She said organization and deciding future directions are top priorities at the moment.
Rivet plans to spend two years at Nicholls and finish his degree at another university that has a bass-fishing team.
But he’s sure the team will keep going at Nicholls.
“It will get bigger. I know I have friends at LSU, and they said the team has never slowed down. It is just getting bigger and bigger,” Rivet said. “I talked with friends in this area, and they weren’t coming to Nicholls because we didn’t have a team. Now they want to come here, and thanked me for starting the team.”