McKinney carries his faith into fishing

The Bassmaster Classic field can be an intimidating environment for anyone fortunate enough to qualify for bass fishing’s biggest event. First-timer are particularly susceptible to the overwhelming grandeur.

Classic Rookie Trevor McKinney, who qualified through the Carhartt College Classic Bracket presented by Bass Pro Shops, is fully aware of the stage on which he’ll stand this week. However, you needn’t look any farther than the side of his boat to find the foundation upon which he builds his confidence.

Proverbs 3:5 — Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

“There have been several times in my life when God has done amazing things and a lot of those times, it has been while I was fishing,” McKinney said. “I truly think there’s something spiritual between God and fishing and I just feel like it’s been God’s plan for me to fish (the Classic).

“I don’t know why; I don’t know if it was for me to be a witness (of my faith). I don’t know what his plan and purpose for me to be his was; but so many things have happened in the past year that have put me in position to fish this tournament and, in my eyes, there’s no other explanation for it.”

Case in point, the 2016 High School All-American notes his storybook course to a Classic berth. After a 16-hour drive from Illinois to the Carhartt Bassmaster College National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes, McKinney’s college partner, Blake Jackson got into a serious accident that totaled their tournament boat.

A friend from home-delivered a replacement boat, but the wait claimed most of their practice time. Left with only four hours to break down the fishery, making that top-4 cut to qualify for the College Bracket seemed like a long-shot, but McKinney credited divine intervention for accomplishing that unlikely goal.

“If we had had three days of practice, we probably wouldn’t have fished where we fished in the tournament,” he said. “We might not have even qualified for the Bracket.”

In that final event, McKinney’s winning spot was a place he hadn’t fished all week. Following what he felt was spiritual guidance, he pulled up and caught 40 fish in short order.

“It was just all meant to be,” McKinney said. “There was just so much stuff that happened that you can’t explain. Some people call it a coincidence; I call it a blessing.

“There’s just no doubt in my mind that it was God’s plan. I’ve prayed every day that God gives me the wisdom and shows me the way in the Classic.”