Fishing duo reels in national championship invite


Sportsman's Club members Nick Barr and Jarred Walker are up to something fishy.  Photo contributed by B.A.S.S.
Sportsman’s Club members Nick Barr and Jarred Walker are up to something fishy.
Photo contributed by B.A.S.S.

By Peter Sowards


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Success is when opportunity meets preparation, and the EWU Sportsman’s Club has all three.

Club founder Nick Barr and teammate Jarred Walker placed seventh in the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society College Regional Championships, which took place at Clear Lake, Calif., on April 6 and 7. A robust 25 teams competed in the event, including four from Eastern. “It was probably the toughest event I’ve ever fished in terms of competition,” Barr said. “The best of the best were pretty much there, and the top five were all local [to California].”

Walker said that Eastern and Utah State were the only out-of-state schools to finish in the top 10, earning an invite to the Carhartt B.A.S.S. College National Championships at Chatuge Lake on the Kentucky/Georgia border from August 1 to the 3. Walker and Barr are intent on making the voyage, but they do not have the logistics worked out quite yet. Ideally, the two would fly down and rent a truck and a boat once they arrived.

Barr, a junior, also suggested putting his boat on a freight truck and shipping it to Chatuge Lake, or hitching up and driving over 2,400 miles. “Worst comes to worst, we will be driving down there with my truck and boat, but it is a 38-hour drive,” Barr said.

To be competitive at this level of bass fishing, Barr said, one must aim high and go for quantity over quality. “You can catch a lot of small fish, but to be able to do well, you really are fishing for five bites a day,” he said, referring to the maximum amount of fish bagged for weigh-in. “You’re getting five bites, and those are the good fish that you want to weigh, the big fish. It can be a grind sometimes.”

“With the experience that me and Nick [Barr] have bass fishing, we can pretty much go to a body of water like Clear Lake and catch five bass,” said Walker, a senior. “But to be competitive, you have to catch five heavy fish, and you have to do it consistently.”

To be consistent, Barr and Walker like to pre-fish the area of competition and get a feel for the surroundings.

“When me and Nick [Barr] fish together, we always say, ‘Fish the situation.’ We have ideas in our head of what the fish might be doing on water temperature, what they’re feeding on for bait for that time of year. But we just try to fish the situation the best we can, use what we have — a gut feeling — and our knowledge of previous experiences and apply it to that situation.”

DSC_2201Barr recommends a versatile bait like the Yamamoto Senko, which looks like a thin cigar and is filled with plastic. The bait shimmies in the water as it falls to the bottom and looks like a big fish. “That’s old faithful,” Barr said.

The Sportsman’s Club is in fundraising mode right now to help pay for the cost of Barr and Walker’s cross-country trip. Freshman Mackenzi Brunner encourages anyone who likes to fish to go to the club’s Facebook page or their website at

“I think a lot of people look at girls and they don’t really see them as fishermen, but being able to go out and learn different tricks and learn how to fish for different types of baits to use and being able to make those decisions is pretty cool,” Brunner said.

The club meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the EWU PUB room 261.

“It’s more than just fishing,” Barr said. “It’s an experience.”

Follow me on Twitter @PeterSowards or at @EasternerSports