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Northwoods Spotlight - Rhinelander native wins NCAA fishing national title - Mar 26Submitted: 03/26/2014
Northwoods Spotlight - Rhinelander native wins NCAA fishing national title - Mar 26
Story By Joe Dufek

- 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.


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Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - Stepping onto a boat and casting a line doesn't come easy for some people.

The Northwoods "Let's Go Fishing" pontoon helps veterans, seniors, the disabled get on the lake for a day of fun.

The Northwoods chapter needs volunteer captains and mates to keep the rides running.

The first training session is tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the Pavilion at Hodag Park in Rhinelander.

Chapter President Mark Schroeder says the program is like lake therapy.

"Hey for one thing we are out on the water. It's something that is good for all us; it is good for everyone really," said Schroeder.

Anyone can volunteer to be a captain or a mate.

The training takes about two hours.

"When you're out in the water, there's something that happens. It is the look that people have, it's the smile have. It truly changes your attitude towards life," said Pastor Rod Ankrom of Calvary Baptist Church.

Pontoon rides run through mid-September.

If you want to schedule a ride or volunteer, call 715-219-5436.



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