College fishermen close in on goal to fish all 50 states

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A pair of incoming college freshmen and best friends decided to hold off on going to college when the pandemic forced their classes online. Instead, they made a lofty goal of traveling to all fifty states to catch that state’s official fish.

The once far-fetched idea is now just four states away from being completed. Luke Konson and Daniel Balserak have had success fishing in 46 states since starting in August of 2020.

“We surprised ourselves with how quickly we were doing it,” says Balserak. “Now the end is in sight. It’s pretty crazy.”

It’s been a crazy journey. The two made memories in New Mexico and totaled their car in the Carolinas.

“We planned on going to a Taco Bell and waiting until morning but these people were kind enough to buy us a hotel for the night. It’s just stuff like that, that restores your faith in humanity,” describes Balserak.

After more than 47,000 miles traveled in their parents’ minivan, a change of pace will hit hard when the two are back in school this fall. The Virginia natives say college will be a bit of an adjustment period.

“I think we have picked up tons of street smarts. We haven’t picked up a book in months,” laughs Konson. “It will be exciting knowing we can go and actually experience it as a normal freshman so that will be a good time.”

The two are on a tight deadline to catch fish in Arkansas, Alaska, Hawaii, and Virginia before freshman move-in day in mid-August. They have a plan and they have the money, thanks to a GoFund Me account. Now they wait for a lucky catch.

Konson and Balserak will be roommates at Clemson this Fall. After their cross-country adventure, Konson decided to switch his major from business to environmental resources. Stay updated with their progress, here.

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