November 2007

Collegiate Championship Anglers

Didnít Get Down About Downtime

Fishing is all about anticipation. The perfect cast. The perfect strike. The perfect day on the water. Sometimes though, it just doesn’t work out that way.

Things happen, and that’s what nearly 10 percent of the 83 two-person teams found out in the 2007 BoatU.S. National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship (NCBFC) held recently on Lake Lewisville, Texas. But in their cases, none had their potential college-experience-of-a-lifetime ruined, thanks to the BoatU.S. Angler program that each team was provided as part of their participation package.

BoatU.S. Angler is a new membership program that offers on-the-water and on-the-road towing assistance specifically tailored to freshwater anglers with trailer boats. To get help when the need arises requires nothing more than a phone call from a program member to the TowBoatU.S. hotline.

Requests for on-the-water help at the NCBFC started early in the week when a Kansas State University (KSU) team experienced a fuel pump malfunction on practice day and needed a tow back to the launch ramp.

“We had our boat in shop the week before the tournament and thought we had done everything we could to get it ready, but problems can come out of nowhere and blindside you,” said KSU team member Ben Fuchs. “We called TowBoatU.S. and they said they would be here in 30 minutes. They made it in 20 and helped us out so much.”

The KSU team experienced a second on-the-water breakdown on the first official competition day, and with another phone call to the hotline, soon had a jumpstart and were back amidst the competition.

Also on day one, a University of Kentucky team experienced a hydraulic steering system failure, and TowBoatU.S. was dispatched to bring the bass boat back to the launch ramp where it was quickly hauled and repaired.

Capt. Jay Nunnally of TowBoatU.S. Lake Lewisville provided the on-the-water assistance during the event and was assisted by Capt. Gary Lewis of TowBoatU.S. Lake Conroe, Texas. The crew may also have prevented the Webber International University team from losing their total weight for the first day.

“We received a call at 3:11 p.m. that the Webber team had depleted their outboard’s oil reservoir, and their flight had to be checked-in by 4 p.m.,” said Capt. Nunnally. “We ran a gallon of oil out to them, and they made it to weigh-in on time to get full credit for their day’s catch.

“A similar situation happened to a Mississippi State University team the next day. That time we made it with 30 minutes to spare,” he added.

The final call for help came at the tournament’s end from another Mississippi State team who was still on the water fun fishing. They were unable to get their motor started for the return to the ramp.

From helping with jumpstarts, towing boats that wouldn’t run, and mounting a trailer tire, all requests were covered by the BoatU.S. Angler program. These same services and more are also available to any freshwater angler with a trailerable fishing boat under 26 feet through program membership.

“Our main objective was to have a safe tournament and give all contestants a fair chance to compete,” said Capt. Nunnally. “But, you don’t have to fish competitively to understand that we all need a little help every now and then.”

The BoatU.S. on-the-water towing services fleet includes over 250 ports and 500 towboats across the country, which can be identified by their red hulls and white bow stripes. In addition, over 400 hundred privately owned marina workboats provide additional towing services on inland lakes and rivers.

For more information on BoatU.S. Angler, go to or call toll free: (866) 906-0013.

To view the event’s final results, go to or tune into Fox College Sports starting in January 2008 when the entire championship will air over a 26-week television series.