BANGOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. — As Tucker Smith was winning back-to-back-to-back Mossy Oak Bassmaster High School National Championships with Briarwood Christian School, Logan Parks knew Smith would make a good fit as a member of the Auburn Tigers Fishing Team.
So much so, in fact, Parks actively recruited the then high schooler and convinced him to commit to the program.
“We knew each other a little bit before college before he came to Auburn, and I finally convinced him to come here,” Parks, now a senior at Auburn, said. “Part of that was that we would be able to fish together. We fish really well together. We compliment each other. It is more of a partnership and less of a boater/co-angler thing.”
Parks and Smith have proven to be a powerhouse team in 2021. With three of the four regular season Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops events complete, Parks and the freshman Smith are leading the College Series Team of the Year standings, 50 points ahead of fellow Auburn teammates Garrett Warren and Will Jones.
Now, the Auburn duo is looking to finish their magical regular season with a top finish on Saginaw Bay starting today that would all but seal a Team of the Year title and lock in their place in the College Classic Bracket, a new wrinkle for the Team of the Year winner.
“Team of the Year is a big deal,” Smith said. “Leading it freshman year so far is pretty awesome. In college, you are doing it more on your own. You don’t have boat captains, so I’ve gotten a lot of experience going around the country and fishing new water. That has been the biggest thing; in college we are traveling all around the country.”
Catching a 6-pound spotted bass and placing eighth at Lake Hartwell during the first event of the year set the tone for the season for Smith and Parks, following that performance up with a sixth-place at Lake Cumberland and 16th at Smith Lake.
“It has really been a surprise,” Parks said. “At Hartwell, I thought we would catch them pretty good, but I had no idea we would catch a 6-pound spot the first day and have almost 17 pounds. Cumberland, we didn’t know if we would have a limit either day. We were excited to get back-to-back Top 10s and going into Smith we had a pretty good lead and needed to keep it going. We haven’t been focused on Team of the Year, we have been worried about catching fish.”
Neither of the two anglers have fished a tournament on a body of water as big as the Great Lakes, but Smith and Parks did take a trip to Lake St. Clair and that has helped them start their search for bass on Saginaw Bay.
While Smith was fulfilling some obligations related to the Bassmaster Classic, Parks began practice on Saginaw Bay and found some bites, but he couldn’t find the consistency from day to day. Smith joined a couple days later to continue the search.