Chris Payne and Chad Sentell didn’t have the finish they were hoping for at the 2021 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops, but what the University of Tennessee anglers did have was a lot of fun. And at the end of the day, that’s what college fishing is all about.
Payne is a freshman at UT studying Communications and Sentell, a junior, studies Finance. They’ve both been looking forward to getting the chance to fish the famed St. Lawrence River all summer long. You see, Payne and Sentell are painters, and have been working hard at it throughout the summer as the paint-stained Carhartt hat on Payne’s head showed.
The chance to come to New York and chase big, mean smallmouth was the light at the end of their workingman’s tunnel.
“We work for my Dad’s company right now, Sentell Brother’s Painting and have a kind of sponsorship with SERVPRO Damage Restoration,” Sentell explained. “Anytime there is flooding or water damage and they have to rip the old drywall out to replace with new drywall they call us. We come in and paint or whatever else they need done.”
Sentell and Payne are driving a wrapped SERVPRO work truck this week, and by looking at their well-worn Carhartt t-shirts you’d think these two Tennessee Volunteers were up here for a job instead of a bass fishing tournament. But a closer look would reveal sunglasses tan lines and fun-loving smiles that are unique to college fishermen.
Their two-day total of 28-pounds 1-ounce of smallmouth may not have won them any awards this week, but fortunately Sentell and Payne weren’t hanging their heads. They are happy to be here and didn’t take the opportunity for granted.