Anybody who knows Brett Preuett of the University of Louisiana-Monroe knows he loves fishing, but he proved just how “hooked” he is Monday as he fished his way to the finals of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series.
For starters, Preuett and Bethel University’s Zach Parker fished their way to the final matchup of the tournament Tuesday with the winner going to the world championship BASS Masters Classic.
Preuett endured a string of bad luck to get there. He lost several keeper sized bass. And his favorite topwater lure. But he also endured fishing for more than four hours with two 2/0 treble hooks lodged firmly in the back of his neck after an errant cast. The hooks had to be removed by a doctor.
“I tried to make a long cast in a hurry, but left too much line out and snagged myself in the neck. It hit so hard that it straightened out the split rings,” he said. “But, I wouldn’t stop fishing for anything. If I had a toe cut off I’d probably try to keep fishing because I love it so much.”
It’s that drive that’s gotten Preuett this far, put a limit weighing 9-5 in his boat Monday, and got him past the bad luck he endured today, but his fiercest competition comes tomorrow. Preuett said that the most difficult obstacle for him to overcome in the finals is execution. “I’ve got to capitalize on my bites and put fish in the boat,” he said. “That’s been hurting me, and I know Zach’s going to catch ’em tomorrow, so I’m going to have get each bite into the boat.
Opposite of Preuett’s bad luck has been Bethel University’s Zach Parker. He’s not lost a single fish for several days, and everything has gone his way so far. His 5-fish limit of 9-9 Monday put him in the finals.
“I only got six keeper bites, and I think I’m going to change some stuff up tomorrow,” Parker said. “I saw some stuff today that I think will help me tomorrow if I can adjust to it. The lake is changing a lot, and I think it’s changing right now, so I’ve got to make some adjustments to keep it going.”
Today’s final will mark the ninth straight day for the fishermen to be in competition on the water — three days of practice and three actual tournament days for the college team championship followed by three days of the individual tournament. One thing is for sure, whichever fisherman wins tomorrow, next year’s Classic will have picked up a classy, competitive new contender!