Fishing for college success Bacon leads charge for UTC at TCBFT event

Fishing for college success Bacon leads charge for UTC at TCBFT event

February 21st, 2013 by Ron Bush in Sports - Outdoors

UTC's Parker Bacon holds the 9.08-pound bass that he caught last Saturday on Lake Guntersville to win big fish honors at a Tennessee Collegiate Bass Fishing Trail qualifying tournament.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Leave it to Parker Bacon to catch the porker.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga accounting major from Nashville is the president of the UTC Bass Fishing Club, and last Saturday on Lake Guntersville he boated the big fish of the day in a Tennessee Collegiate Bass Fishing Trail qualifying tournament.

The whopper weighed 9.08 pounds and accounted for essentially half of the 18.78-pound total that gave him and Cody Frazier a fourth-place finish.

"That was my personal best by a lot. I was pretty excited," Bacon said Wednesday. "I've had several 6-pounders but never broke that 7-pound mark."

The 9-pounder was the pair's second catch of the morning. Frazier later hooked a probable 5-pounder, but it got away about two feet from the net Bacon was wielding.

The Kennesaw State duo of Greg Childers (from Cave Spring, Ga., near Rome) and Chris Ellis won with a five-bass limit totaling 22.2 pounds. Baylor School graduate Will Stansell and Tennessee Tech teammate Wll Towson were second with 20.69.

The UTC club runs the TCBFT and had five entries in the 34-boat competition. Tech had 12, with four in the top 10 and eight in the top 16. UTC's Jordan Hawkersmith from Tullahoma and Cole Dement from Jackson, Tenn., were eighth, one spot ahead of the University of Tennessee's top finishers.

The next TCBFT tournament is set for March 23 on Nickajack.

Bacon and Frazier -- who like Bacon's usual partner, Taylor Bolton, is from Soddy-Daisy -- will return to Guntersville next weekend for a big-time FLW College Fishing tournament. UTC gets only one boat in that.

That March 2 competition will be the second season qualifier, following Lake Okeechobee in Florida, for the FLW's Southeastern Conference, and a top-15 finish will guarantee a spot in the regional at another Alabama lake, Wheeler.

Bacon took part in the first tournament for the Mocs' club in the fall of 2009. The David Lipscomb High School graduate already had decided to come to UTC before finding out that August about the fishing club being started by another Nashvillian, Alex Craw.

"I liked Chattanooga a whole lot," Bacon said. "It has really grown, and I have some family here, and I also liked the outdoors stuff Chattanooga is able to provide."

Only "four or five" of the original club members remain, after a number graduated in December, Bacon noted, but the club still has 18 members -- including its first female, Katie Hernandez, a freshman from Spring Hill.

Hawkersmith is the vice president, Bolton the treasurer. The secretary is Lance Geren.

Tennessee Wesleyan had two boats in last week's Guntersville tournament and has John Higdon and Ben Graves entered in the FLW event. Among the other entries are Dalton resident Tanner Parker for Georgia Southern and Torre Pike of Flat Rock, Ala., for LaGrange.