It’s a Woman’s World: NSU bass thriving with female angler
It’s not a giant surprise that the Nicholls State University bass team has been an unquestioned success in its two-plus years in existence.
After all, it’s pretty well-known that folks around these parts like to fish. And to be able to do so competitively in the name of school pride? That’s hard for any outdoor-loving college student to turn down.
But what many won’t know is that the club’s vice president is a woman. Oh yeah, and she’s a heck of an angler, too. So good, in fact, that she helped power the Colonels to the Bassmasters Collegiate National Championships, which will be held this July in Wisconsin.
Nicholls nursing student Allyson Marcel is the Vice President of Nicholls’ Bass Fishing Team – a thriving club that punched its ticket to Nationals for a second-straight year after Marcel and partner/boyfriend Tyler Rivet finished 13th out of 76 teams at the multi-day Bassmaster’s Wild Card Tournament in Tennessee’s fresh waters in early June.
In most events, Marcel said she’s the only woman to fish. But with lunkers usually hanging off both of her arms at weigh-in time, it always becomes quite clear pretty early that this young lady can fish with the best big boys that college fishing has to offer.
“At the last tournament in Dover, Tennessee, I was actually the only girl to compete,” Marcel said with a laugh. “Honestly, going into that trip, I didn’t even realize that I would be making it into the National Championships. I just wanted to experience fishing a collegiate tournament.
“And then when I realized that I actually would qualify, I was just mind blown. I just kept telling Tyler (Rivet), ‘We did it, we are in this,’ and I just said that over and over and over. I was so excited. I’m still so excited.”
A DAD’S PASSION BLEEDS INTO HIS YOUNG GIRL
Marcel was born to fish.
The daughter of avid fisherman Randy Marcel, young Allyson said she doesn’t remember her first trip, nor her first fish – they were both caught at an age far beyond her earliest memories.
She said her passion for the sport starts with those early days – taking out the boat and making trips with her dad, his best friend Chris Vincent and Allyson’s little brother Thomas, who is the young lady’s self-described “fishing partner for life”.
“I am the oldest child of a daddy who eats, sleeps and breathes bass fishing,” Marcel said. “Anytime he could be fishing, he was. Weekends, holidays – even Christmas. He started taking me as soon as he could. I’m sure when I was able to hold a pole, I was out there on the water with him.”
As Marcel grew through childhood and approached college life, she enrolled at Nicholls where she opted to major in nursing – another of her passions in life.
Just when the young lady assumed it’d be time to put down the pole and spinner baits for a while, she learned quickly that she could have the best of both worlds.
In 2013, Raceland native Tyler Rivet started the Nicholls Bass Federation as a way to stay active in the sport he loves.
That endeavor peaked Marcel’s interest, so she got involved as the vice president and has been part of the team ever since.
The Nicholls bass team has 20-plus members, and spends most of its year holding local, non-sanctioned “for-fun” tournaments designed to raise money for the club to do more things – like make the trip to Tennessee to quality for the National Championships.
“We are proud that we have the members that we do but we would love for the team to continue growing,” Marcel said. “We try our best to be present at events such as Welcome Back Day, which is held every semester at Nicholls. We also post flyers around school encouraging students to attend our monthly bass meetings.”
“We want this thing to get bigger and bigger,” Rivet added. “We always welcome new people and we want it to take off and grow.”
THE FIRST COUPLE DYNAMIC
Marcel and Rivet are going to Nationals because of their ability to attract the big ones in the water. But off the boat, they are attracted to each other, as well. The two anglers are the first couple of the club, as they enjoy a romantic relationship outside of the water.
That adds an added dynamic for the two Nicholls students, who said that their real-life relationship is usually the talk of the events in which they compete. It also often takes the conversation off the fact that many times, a woman is kicking the men’s butt at what’s often known as a “man’s game.”
“In Tennessee, everyone was kind-of in shock that I was a girl fishing, and I think they were even more in shock when they realized how well Tyler and I were doing,” Marcel said with a laugh. “They definitely took me seriously, just like they took each other seriously, and actually, I think they were more amazed that Tyler and I are actually a couple and that we fished together.
“The words ‘Hash-Tag Relationship Goals’ were used a lot, so I definitely got a kick out of that.”
On the water, Marcel said she’s relaxed, while Rivet is more nervous about what’s going on within the water. That oil and water dynamic makes a winning team, she said – one that now has a bid at Nationals to show for itself.
Last year, Rivet competed at Nationals with teammate Jess Robertson, so this will be his second trip to the prestigious competition.
“I learned that Tyler was the one always stressing out and that I was the real laid back one telling him to stay cool and relax,” Marcel said with a laugh. “And, of course, I was always telling him that we should have went where I wanted him to go, as any woman would.”
She said that being able to share her passion with her boyfriend is something that’s special, and that she’ll cherish the memories of the past few weeks forever – regardless of if she and Tyler do well at Nationals or not.
“I’m just having fun experiencing this with my boyfriend,” Marcel said. “It’s all been a blast.”
THEY NEED HELP TO GET TO WISCONSIN
But fishing at the Bassmasters National Championships still isn’t yet a done deal for the fishing partners and local couple.
The setback? Money.
A quick search on Google Maps shows that a trek from Thibodaux to Wisconsin logs more than 1,100 miles one-way.
Combining travel, lodging and other expenses related to the trip, the duo estimates that the tournament will cost anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000 – if not more.
So they’re turning to the community for help.
Rivet has said multiple times throughout the inception of the club that the Nicholls bass team would be nowhere without sponsors – local businesses or citizens who’ve helped fund club affairs and tournament expenses.
Rivet and Marcel said they’re asking for folks to rally one more time for their efforts to help ease the travel costs.
The duo said the entire thing is bigger than just this one tournament – it’s about raising awareness for the whole club so that more and more people can continue to carry the club into the future.
The duo has been meeting with as many people as possible in recent weeks and even appeared on HTV to spread its cause. Anyone interested in helping the Nicholls bass team is asked to email Marcel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Every little bit helps,” she said.
And even with July still pretty far away and much-needed dollars being raised throughout town, Marcel said she can’t help but to daydream about what it would be like to win it all.
“Once this is done, I’m going to live the same life. I’m going to continue with nursing school and I’m going to continue fishing. I’m so hoping we do well, because of how cool it would be if we won the National Championship. That would be so awesome.
“But all-in-all, the support I’ve received is so overwhelming and amazing. My dad is so proud of me. The nursing department at Nicholls and the president of our University is, too. Everyone is so proud and they’re all so excited to see how we do at Nationals.”
Allyson Marcel poses with a couple lunkers at the Bassmaster’s Wild Card Tournament in Tennessee in early June. The Nicholls nursing student and her boyfriend Tyler Rivet (right) qualified for the Bassmasters Collegiate National Championships, which will be held this July in Wisconsin. Marcel said fishing has been a passion for her whole life.