Part of the spectacle of a Carhartt Bassmaster College Series tournament is the wide variety of boats, tow vehicles, and fishing equipment you see anglers using.
College fishing has elevated to a point that most teams fish out of relatively new, top-of-the-line bass fishing vessels. But there are still plenty of smaller tin rigs and old boats that have a lot of character, with maybe a little JB Weld on the trailer or duct tape on the seats.
Enter GL Compton and Hunter Bond of Clemson University. Compton, who recently graduated with an Environmental Science degree and Bond, a senior studying Computer Science are here at Smith Lake this week competing out of a 1995 BassCat with the original 150hp Mariner outboard engine on the back.
Both Compton and Bond were born in 1997, which makes this bass fishing boat their elder. How many tournament anglers can say that nowadays?
“This boat is a legend,” laughed Bond. “We’ve been fishing out of this thing together for years and we really haven’t had many problems with it. It’s a bit of a beater but it’s treated us well.”
Compton’s family bought the boat about 12 years ago so he could use it in high school fishing tournaments. Instead of seeing the old boat as a disadvantage or a hindrance, Bond and Compton couldn’t be more proud of their tournament rig.
“Like Hunter said this boat has been good to us. We actually won the South Carolina High School State Championship out of this boat,” Compton beamed. “I don’t know that I’d trade it if I could.”
After working extra shifts last week to earn some gas money for the six-hour drive to Smith Lake from South Carolina, Bond and Compton were pleasantly surprised with what they found in practice. Day one of the tournament proved to be tougher than expected, but the duo from Clemson grinded out four keeper bass that weighed 6-lbs 13-ounces.
Not what they were hoping for, but they gave themselves a chance to catch a big bag on the final day of the event to shoot up the leaderboard and qualify for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship later this summer.
“This is our last year fishing together in college so we’re just trying to make the most of it,” Compton said with a smile. “These past four years have been an absolute blast getting to meet new fishing buddies and travel around the country. I don’t want it to end.”
Compton and Bond embody many of the best aspects of college fishing as far as I’m concerned. A couple dudes who love fishing, aren’t afraid of hard work, and do their best to get the job done by any means necessary without much for excuses. Like many of their college fishing peers, they “get it”… and it has very little to do with fishing.