John Garrett, Cody Huff and KJ Queen had a solid plan: combine efforts, compare notes and give one another the best chance possible of excelling in the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River. The results speak volumes, as Queen finished 15th out of 192 pros, while Garrett and Huff enter Saturday’s final round in second and third place, behind leader Dale Hightower.
If it sounds like a good friendship, it is; but the relationship runs deeper. All three pros competed together on the Bethel University fishing team, where they established themselves as serious competitors. Garrett and Huff have both won the Carhartt College Series Classic Bracket and earned Bassmaster Classic berths.
“Through fishing at Bethel, we learned so much; we got to travel the country — we went from New York to Texas,” said Garrett, who graduated in 2019. “We got to learn some things early that not everyone has the opportunity to do.
“In my class and Cody’s class, we had some outstanding fishermen (including Queen) and we all became super close; we’re like brothers. When we all get out on the water, we trust each other and we share info.”
As Garrett notes, that unconditional camaraderie served them well during this week’s tournament.
“This week, the three of us broke down this pool and the lower pool (Kerr Lake) together,” he said. “We broke down, patterns, baits, water clarity, and depth. When you put three good guys together, it makes it much easier. That’s the same thing we did at Bethel — working together and trusting one another is a big part of our success.”
Garrett said that he, Huff, and Queen all spent four of their five practice days on Kerr. He and Huff fished their final practice day in the upper pool, found a dependable pattern, while Queen continued his Kerr recon.
“We’re always bouncing stuff off one another and we talk at the end of every day,” said Huff, a 2020 graduate. “That makes a big difference because it allows you to learn so much more in a few days of practice when you can go do different things.
“We’ve been doing this together for four years and we had a ball the whole time. It’s pretty cool that we’re graduated now and we get to do it at a higher level.”
It will be interesting to see how the Bethel connection plays out on Day 3. With far less boat traffic, Garrett and Huff will have more area to fish — no doubt with Queen pulling for both of his college buds.