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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Hunter's a fisher: College student hooked on catching bass

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hunter McKamey in one of his favorite places -- on the water, fishing. McKamey is pursuing a national college bass fishing championship.
(Submitted photo)
Hunter McKamey, a 2010 graduate of Shelbyville Central High School, continues to pursue his first love -- bass fishing -- and is competing for a spot on a national collegiate team.

The sport of fishing has changed over the years, with teams in place at many of the nation's top colleges. FLW is the leading tournament fishing organization, and host of the best-known competitions on the bass-tour circuit. It was named after the founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood.

The organization even offers a fantasy league, launched in 2008.

Tied for 1st

Hunter attends the University of Central Florida, home of the "Reel Knights." The school's 2012 bass team qualifier began with a three-part series in October. After placing second in that tournament and a Nov. 10 tournament at Florida's Lake Toho, he is tied for first place in the standings. He will compete next Saturday in the final tournament at Butler Chain of Lakes.

Earning one of four spots on the Reel Knights Bass Team will qualify Hunter to fish in at least one collegiate tournament, with an opportunity to move on to the national championship.

'He loves it'

Hunter's been fishing since he was 4, and according to his mother Rhea, "He's just done it all his life and he loves it."

Along with his father, Bob McKamey, the two fished local waterways extensively, favoring small mouth and largemouth bass and panfish like black perch and blue gill.

"He grew up fishing on the Duck with his Daddy," said proud grandmother, Geneva Smith. "It's what he's always wanted to do."

Hunter began building rods about the same time he started grade school, working alongside his father at his local tackle shop. Along the way he also developed a love for tying flies, and fly fishing for trout in the winter months.

Hunter's fishing partner, Zack Edmunds, is a Florida native who shares the top spot in the current rankings.

As a student at UCF, Hunter is studying environmental engineering.