- Without a doubt, fishing is one of the more popular sports in the Northwoods.
But imagine representing a college and winning a national championship.
A Rhinelander native and his teammate did just that.
For Chris Burgan, a local fishing club was how he began his journey into compeditive fishing.
"I got my start when I was 16, with the Hodag bass masters," Burgan explains. "I've been fishing since I could hold a rod in my hands. I've always been a competitive person."
"We started out fishing crappies," Chris' father Roy adds. "Then we got on a lake which had a lot of bass. He got hooked on bass fishing. I used to beat him once in awhile. Now I can't touch him."
Earlier this month, Burgan, and his fishing partner Austin Felix represented Minnesota and won college fishing's national championship. They knocked off the 2-time defending national champs Louisiana-Monroe to take the title.
"It was pretty crazy," Chris admits. "I was trying to keep my composure on the stage."
The team won a boat - which could go the University of Minnesota. They also earned a spot in the Forest Wood Cup tournament. That's considered the Masters tourney of bass-fishing.
"I have a chance to fish with some of the pros I've looked up to," Chris explains. "I shook Kevin VanDam's hand once. He's a Midwestern guy."
UW-Stevens Point also competed at the National Championships held in Seneca, South Carolina. The Pointers finished 27th out of 50 teams.
Written By: Joe Dufek