Classic: College champion is ready to fish

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Luke Stoner

After spending nearly a week in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the 2021 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series champion Trevor McKinney is ready to put the busy Bassmaster Classic itinerary behind him and get to fishing on Lake Ray Roberts. Not only is the Classic the biggest tournament of the year, the week leading into the derby includes the most stressful media and events schedule of the season.

Even though he is 22 years young, McKinney is an avid tournament angler and has been competing at a high level on the Bassmaster Opens throughout 2021. The tournament aspect of this week isn’t exactly new, but the Classic hustle and bustle has been a bit of a learning experience for McKinney. 

“So far this week has been pretty much what I expected,” McKinney said. “Whenever I’m not on the water fishing, it’s been pretty hectic and super busy. Which I was warned about and tried to mentally prepare for coming into this deal. I’ll be honest … at this point I’m just ready to go fishing.”

McKinney grew up in southern Illinois and was an extremely accomplished high school angler before attending McKendree University where he excelled at the collegiate level too. In 2020 McKinney out worked and out fished all his peers to be named college fishing’s representative at the biggest stage in bass fishing.

Along with a ticket to compete in the Classic, McKinney got a brand new Toyota Tundra and Nitro Boat package wrapped in his alma maters colors and decked out with the latest and greatest in bass fishing equipment. McKinney also was given the opportunity to compete in the 2021 Bassmaster Opens with his entry fees paid for — a dream package for any aspiring collegiate angler. 

“This year really has been a dream come true,” McKinney reflected. “I’m proud to represent college fishing this week, along with McKendree and the incredible list of sponsors I’ve been blessed to work with. It’s hard to put into words.”

McKinney has been competitive in the Bassmaster Opens, only missing one check thus far, while sharpening his skills in preparation for the Classic. He has half a season behind him, and he’s been able to get into a bit of a groove. That fact isn’t lost on McKinney who has proven to be mature beyond his years. 

“Initially I was bummed to learn the Classic was pushed from March to June, but looking back on it I think it was a blessing,” McKinney explained. “I was able to get comfortable with my new boat, put some miles on the Tundra and work out those early season kinks. Ray Roberts is fishing to my strengths right now, and I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”