HANCOCK - When first-year roommates Jordan Pontomi and Mitch Murphy realized that there was no club available for one of their favorite activities, they decided to start one. Three years later, the Michigan Technological University Fishing Club is going strong.
"We started the club by the time we were sophomores and it just grew from there," said Pontomi, co-founder and former club president. "It's more than we ever thought it would be."
Last year, the club had 79 members who would take weekend trips locally and in northern Wisconsin to fish at different lakes. Although some members had personal boats, most of the fishing took place from the shore - when there was open water.
Mark Wilcox/Daily Mining Gazette
Members of the Michigan Tech Fishing Club try out their new boat at the club’s picnic Saturday at Boston Pond. Now that they have a boat, the 3-year-old club can take part in competitive fishing tournaments.
"We do a lot of ice fishing up here because it's mostly frozen when we're here," said Murphy, current club president. "We do trips all over the Keweenaw to different lakes and we do different tournaments here and in Wisconsin, but it's mostly just setting up trips and having members get out fishing."
Although the club has already grown beyond their expectations, Pontomi and Murphy expect an even larger membership this year based on the club's newest acquisition - a boat.
The boat generated interest among students at Michigan Tech's Keweenaw Day on Friday, where students were able to visit and receive information about the clubs and activities available at a gathering at McLain State Park. The fishing club displayed the boat behind their table and noticed their sheet of interested students filling up quickly.
"We're expecting membership to double now that we have the boat," Murphy said.
Pontomi began the process to receive funding from the Undergraduate Student Government at Michigan Tech a year ago. After working with the USG, attending meetings and filling out all the required paperwork, the fishing club received the funding necessary to enable members to buy the new boat.
"Once we got the funding it was pretty easy," Murphy said.
After Murphy was elected club president, they bought the boat and made sure it represented their club with a custom wrap from Industrial Graphics, the decal shop in Houghton, depicting the Michigan Tech logo amid fish scales.
"With the boat we're expanding our horizons," Murphy said.
"Before the boat we were fishing off shore but now we can get out."
The fishing club already has several outings planned in the Keweenaw as well as future tournaments. More information on the club is available at www.involvement.mtu.edu/organization/fish or www.facebook.com/TheFishingClubAtMichiganTech.