Cameron Smith and Cole Breeden of Drury University only brought three bass to the scales on Day 1 of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship, but they weighed an impressive 13 pounds and 13 ounces which kept them in the hunt, sitting in 34th place.
Their three-fish bag included one Chickamauga giant that tipped the scales at nearly 8 pounds. The big bass came off a spot that produced another behemoth for the duo in practice. It was obvious their optimism was running high when talking to them after Thursday’s opening round of competition.
“We are definitely around the right kind of fish,” Breeden said excitedly. “We just need to fish clean tomorrow and get five of them in the boat. If we can do that, we have the chance to weigh in one of those limits Lake Chickamauga is famous for.”
Smith and Breeden will be hunting those five bites today, in hopes their efforts will land them within the top 12 teams so they can keep their championship dreams alive and fish on Saturday. The native Missourians qualified for this event by finishing fourth in the first College Series regional on Lake Norman back in February.
Not only did their Lake Norman finish get them in the National Championship, it also won them $150 from the Toyota Bonus Bucks College Series. Toyota launched the college portion of the popular contingency program back in 2016, and it’s been rewarding thankful college anglers competing in numerous college fishing trails with bonus money ever since.
Similar to the “official” Bonus Bucks program, College Series is paid out to the highest placing registered participant in Carhartt Bassmaster College Series tournaments. So you don’t have to win an event to get paid, you just have to finish in the top 50 percent of the field and place higher than other Bonus Bucks registered anglers.
The main difference is college anglers are eligible for the program if they tow their boat with any year Toyota tow vehicle. Also for the College Series, the vehicle can be in the angler’s parent(s)’ or legal guardian’s name.
Such is the case for Smith, a junior studying Biology, who’s Dad graciously lets him borrow his Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition. It’s not lost on the two Drury University Panthers how fortunate they are to be able to drive to their college tournaments in comfort and style.
“It’s hard not to love driving this Tundra,” Smith said. “It tows super well, has a ton of room inside for all our gear, and is just a super comfortable ride. Whether it was our 13-hour drive to Lake Norman or the 584 miles we drove to Lake Chickamauga, it has been great.”
If you are a current or future collegiate angler using a Toyota tow vehicle to drive to your tournaments, you’re leaving money on the table if you aren’t registered for Bonus Bucks. Follow this link to get yourself registered for free: https://www.toyotatrucksbonusbucks.com/college/registration or give (918) 742-6424 a call and ask for Kendell or Chip.