MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — Jared Kutil hasn’t been coaching the Savannah College of Art and Design bass fishing team for a year yet, but he espouses the college experience, and competing in the sport can offer tons of them, good and bad. But it's all memorable.
Kutil, three women’s teams, one men’s team and a gaggle of parents made their way from the coastal Georgia school to northern Arkansas for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at Bull Shoals Lake presented by Bass Pro Shops.
“It’s a 14-hour drive, but there’s always little things that happened,” Kutil said. “Atlanta traffic, Memphis traffic, it’s normal in college fishing that something's going to break.”
The one road breakdown was minor — a cable to a boat trailer frayed. A stop at the Bass Pro Shops in Memphis ended up being more than a fun visit at what the women called “a giant toy store with a bowling alley. A fisher woman’s paradise.”
There was serious replacement gear to be purchased.
“We bought a $5 plug, had dinner, bought some tackle and had a great time,” Kutil said. “I wish we had some more time for bowling.”
Diminutive Ryleigh Tyson proved she was up to the task of connecting the ratty 10-wire cable to the new five-wire plug in what Kutil called impressive work that lasted past midnight.
Things got worse on the water. Abby Askew and Chastain Whitfield had trolling motor issues during Tuesday afternoon’s practice but got that fixed. However, on Wednesday, after running 30 minutes and fishing a bit, they hit a submerged tree and lost their lower unit.
Oh, the experiences.
When things go awry, there always seems something positive around the bend. Well, back at the Bull Shoals Boat Dock, they got a rental boat to fish. They looked a little out of place at Thursday's launch in the 1992 Ranger Fisherman with a 90-horsepower motor, but they were good, Kutil said.