published Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Golf coach Guhne learns from day in water: Iaconelli leads after first round of BASSFest in Dayton

Malcolm Goins, left, listens as Shimano Experience Team representative Chris Bielert holds the company's latest fishing rod redesign, the Gloomis IMX rod, and Curado reel Wednesday at Cedar Point Park in Dayton, Tenn.
Malcolm Goins, left, listens as Shimano Experience Team representative Chris Bielert holds the company's latest fishing rod redesign, the Gloomis IMX rod, and Curado reel Wednesday at Cedar Point Park in Dayton, Tenn.
Photo by Tim Barber.

Golfers hate being in the water when they're on the course.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golf coach Mark Guhne loves being on the water and fishing when he's off the course.

Guhne avoided water on Monday and Tuesday on the way to winning his professional division of a state golf tournament. He won again on Wednesday, through a random draw, to be the marshall -- a referee in the boat -- for Mark Davis who is ranked No. 1 in the Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings this season.

"When I was learning to play golf and learning to coach, I spent time around the best people I could," Guhne said. "So I signed up to marshall in a tournament featuring the best of the best anglers.

"Lo-and-behold, I get the No. 1 guy."

Davis and Guhne spent the entire first day of competition in BASSfest on Lake Chickamauga swapping fishing stories, golf stories, comparing the two sports, with Guhne doing most of the listening.

"I met him at the boat about 4:45, we hit it off, and I knew it was going to be a fun day less than a minute after meeting him," Guhne said. "He's like, 'We're going to have fun today.'"

They had fun. And Davis had some success. He caught a five-fish bag that weighed 12 pounds, 8 ounces which has him in 62nd place in the field of 140 anglers.

"Everyone that wants to learn or aspires to get better fishing signs up to be a marshall," Davis said. "Mark had a great time. We had a good day, but my weight doesn't reflect that.

"We talked a lot about how bass fishing and pro golfing parallel each other in a lot of ways.

"Both are very mental games especially at the top end of the game."

Michael Iaconelli leads after the first of four days with a total of 25 pounds, 12 ounces. He's followed by Edwin Evers (24-3) Tommy Biffle (24-1) Takahiro Omori (22-5) wand Kevin VanDam (22-9). Biffle landed the largest large-mouth on Wednesday with one that weighted 8 pounds, six ounces.

Every elite angler has gone fishing with marshals who make the day better. But some marshals need to get thrown into the water.

"I've had some in my time, but Mark ain't one," Davis said. "All of us have. I've thought, 'If I could just get him out of my boat,' but every now and then you get a guy who makes you think: 'Just stop talking.'

"That wasn't Mark. He was great."

VanDam, the all-time money winner on the Bassmater Tournament trail -- sort of the Tiger Woods of angling -- has a fishing tale about a marshall that's worth telling.

"I had a guy who was pretty clumsy, who not only fell out of the boat once, he fell out twice in one day," VanDam said. "Fortunately it was warm and I wasn't fishing very deep.

"He just walked off the boat."

So how many times, in more than 20 years as a professional angler has VanDam fallen out? Keep in mind, he crossed the threshold of catching more than 10,000 pounds of fish in B.A.S.S. tournaments on Wednesday.

"Once," he said. "And I bumped a tree by accident and lost my balance."

He's caught five tons of fish. But only fallen in once. Sound fishy?

But Guhne's story of being the referee for the top-ranked angler will forever hold true.

"We talked a lot of fishing, the Tennessee River and what the fish are doing and waiting for them to turn the water on," Davis said. "He'd ask questions about things -- what kind of rods, what kind of line, all sorts of technical stuff."

Most importantly, Guhne didn't fall in.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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