OSU tight end Braden Cassity accomplished something at the top of his bucket list: He caught an alligator gar and created the memory of a lifetime.
This spring, Braden Cassity grabbed his bow fishing equipment, went to the lake and shot a carp.
Some fishermen would be satisfied.
Cassity did it for bait.
“I cut it up,” Cassity said. “I was using a piece of carp the size of probably both of my fists combined just on a big hook. And just took it from there, threw it out.”
Oklahoma State’s sixth-year tight end fishes frequently in his spare time. When he’s not fishing — usually on the lake next to his home in Burnet, Texas — he’s probably hunting waterfowl or guiding others on hunts. It’s led to his Instagram account (@90_outdoors), to foster name, image, likeness deals and to a career goal he’s excited to pursue when he graduates next year.
As for the carp carcass, Cassity was hoping it would lure an alligator gar, a type of massive carnivorous freshwater fish found in the southern U.S. He cast his bait into a river two hours away from his home — as per fisherman’s code, he can’t disclose the exact location— and got a bite that initiated the fight he’d wanted for four years.
Football player and beast battled for 18 minutes. Cassity’s black lab Bonnet was the only witness. When he reeled the fish in, the catch immediately shot to the top of the accomplished outdoorsman’s bucket list.
How heavy was it?
“I don’t know, but I really had a hard time picking it up,” Cassity said. “It was awesome. That’s one I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. It’s a core memory for me.”
Cassity has helped create core memories for his teammates, too. Players voted him a season team captain last year and his leadership extends off the field.
“Swamp Cass, that’s what they call him,” defensive end Kody Walterscheid said. “Last semester, last spring, we caught a bunch of paddlefish. He guided us. Man, that guy is awesome. He likes to fish, hunt. It was cool.”
Cassity has taken center Joe Michalski duck hunting and Walterscheid fishing for paddlefish, or spoonbill.
He also likes to take his teammates noodling, where the adventurous can catch catfish with their hands by reaching into river pockets, feeling for catfish and dragging them out of the water when they bite down.
His second favorite outdoors accomplishment, behind the Alligator Gar, is noodling a personal-best flathead catfish in June.
Linebacker Constantino Borrelli and fullback Jake Shultz have gone noodling with him, along with quarterback Alan Bowman.
“We made sure (Bowman) was using his left hand,” Cassity said, smiling. “It was a good time.”
Walterscheid said Cassity is a good guide who always finds the right spots. During his first time noodling with Cassity, Walterscheid wasn’t even sure he wanted to find the right spot.
“The first time I did it, you can’t see what’s going on,” Walterscheid said. “So it’s nerve-wracking.”
After football, Cassity wants to make outdoor life a career. He is a four-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree and has already finished his M.S. in ranch land development and business. Now he’s working on a master’s certificate in leisure studies. He wants to start a business building wetlands and marshes for ranchers.