MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - When COVID-19 forced their college to cancel fall classes last year, best friends Luke Konson and Daniel Balserak decided to do something a little different; so they grabbed their fishing poles and hit the road.
“When COVID hit, and we had nothing to do, we just went fishing every day pretty much, and so that’s kinda what sparked this, I would say,” said Konson.
Rather than virtually attending Clemson University last August, the duo pushed their enrollment to 2021 to focus on fishing.
“We were thinking about going to all 50 states, and then we thought, oh, I love fishing. I could catch a fish in all 50 states,” said Konson. “We looked that up, and someone’s done that before, so we came up with the state fish idea, and to our knowledge, no one has done that before. I gave Daniel a call, and he was in.”
The two then convinced their families they were dedicated; they borrowed their parents’ Honda Odyssey and hit the road on August 22, with their first official stop in Maryland.
Since then, they’ve made it through more than half the country; after 29 stops, they finally found themselves in the Cotton State over the weekend. They reeled in Alabama’s state freshwater fish, the largemouth bass near Birmingham.
“Off the top of my head, I’d have to say Wisconsin [was my favorite],” said Balserak. “We met some really awesome people down there who took us out on our boats and stuff, and we ended up catching four musky in three days, which is pretty crazy.”
“We’ve done 30 states at this point, so we kinda know what we’re doing a little bit - at least more than we did at the beginning,” added Konson.
However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing; the boys have been living out of the van for six months and spending a lot of time together, which can get a little overwhelming at times.
“There’s the normal stuff - small arguments - but nothing major,” said Balserak. “I think we started this journey knowing maybe we were the only people we could do this with because I think there would be some arguments with some other people. But it’s honestly gone great, and it’s been a fun trip so far.”
Their fisherman’s journey has taught them a lot about fishing and given them a new perspective of the country.
“I don’t know about Luke, but I have not traveled that much around the country a lot when I was a kid, and we’ve been able to see a lot of places,” said Balserak. “I really didn’t realize how diverse everything was, and it’s pretty crazy once you get to go around and see it.”
Once the day is done, and the fish have been hooked, the two pack up the can and get ready to cast their line at the next destination.
You can follow along with their journey at www.fishallfifty.us/
Luke and Daniel hope to make it to all 50 states before officially starting college in the fall. They have plans to travel to Alaska in July and hope to make a trip to Hawaii.