The Virginia Tech Chapter of the American Fisheries Society will host the 34th Annual Mudbass Classic Tournament on April 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Duck Pond on the Blacksburg campus.

The tournament is free to the public and open to all ages. In past years, most participants have been between 4 and 15 years old. Fishing gear will be provided. Limited parking is available near the Duck Pond; no parking permit is required on the weekend.

Participants may catch any of several species of fish, but the event’s namesake — mudbass — is another term for carp, one of the most abundant fish species in the Duck Pond. Alex Pelletier, outreach chair of the Virginia Tech Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and lead organizer of the tournament, said that catching a mudbass can be surprisingly difficult.

“This mix of challenge and community may be what have kept local fishers and wildlife enthusiasts coming back to the event for over 30 years,” said Pelletier, who earned his bachelor’s degree in fish conservation from Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment in 2016.

Throughout the day there will be chances for participants to win prizes, observe and learn about native fish species on display, and take pictures with the fish that are caught. Awards will be given out at around 1:30 p.m.

The Virginia Tech Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, which hosts the event every year, is motivated to do so by the impact it has on the local community, especially the chance to introduce children to the world of fisheries.

“Some of these kids will touch a fish for the first time, many will catch a species they have never caught before, and some will catch their very first fish ever,” Pelletier said. “There is nothing better to us than to get these kids in touch with nature and let them have a look into the world that the American Fisheries Society strives to conserve and manage.”

Written by Megan Maury Church, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, a sophomore majoring in communication studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

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