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Home Students Clemson Freshmen Trade Online Classes for Gap Year Nationwide Fishing Adventure

Clemson Freshmen Trade Online Classes for Gap Year Nationwide Fishing Adventure


When Clemson University announced its intention to go virtual, incoming freshmen Luke Konson and Daniel Balserak deferred their enrollment, instead embarking on a grand fishing trip across all 50 states.

“We were going to be freshmen at Clemson,” Konson told ABC27. “Then, about two weeks before moving in, they announced the first month of classes would be online and we did not want to do that.”

The two friends chose to do something exciting with their newfound freedom and took off on a mission to travel across the country and catch the official fish of each state, the “Fish All Fifty.”

“We just kind of gave it a purpose,” Konson shared. “There’s a goal to it. It’s not just any fish, it’s the specific species which adds a feeling of accomplishment when you actually do get it.”

The ‘Fish All Fifty’ Quest 

Using their parents’ van, the pair worked their way up the east coast to the northeast and, now, the midwest. They’ve reeled in striped bass in Maryland and Rhode Island, weakfish in Delaware, brook trout in New Jersey, and cod in Massachusetts, and just recently, channel catfish in Iowa and Missouri.

Of course, to start the trip Konson and Balserak had to convince their parents to let them go. A substantial amount of research and planning also had to be done to ensure that the activity was both safe and feasible. 

“I think we’re probably staying safer than most people just because we’re not around too many people and we are just outside kind of living our lives. I think it’s a great way to take this opportunity of the pandemic and turn it into something that is pretty fun,” told Balserak.

Apart from it looking like a fun vacation, Konson and Balserak shared how this fishing adventure continues to teach them patience, understanding, and perseverance, especially during the pandemic.

Kansas is the next stop on the “Fish All Fifty” quest and both teens hope to make it there by Thanksgiving. If you want to see their progress, you can follow their Instagram page, @fishallfifty.

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