Fishing gear stolen from USCB varsity team in Bluffton SC
The words “national championship” generally refer to football or basketball in South Carolina. But it’s all about fishing for University of South Carolina at Beaufort students Charley Kuhn and Reese Penfield.
The two won last year’s statewide qualifier, which automatically saw them advance to the 2019 Bassmaster College National Championship in upstate New York.
This year’s SC Bass Nation College Series state qualifier takes place on Saturday in Lake Murray in the Columbia region, but the theft of around $ 3,000 from their fishing gear made a rehearsal much more difficult.
Kuhn, 21, of York, and Penfield, 20, of Walterboro, are fishing partners in the two-man sport. Kuhn is a business administration student who also works at the Boathouse in Hilton Head, and Penfield is a business administration student.
They travel throughout the Southeast competing against other colleges, and between competitions, their boat is parked on the Bluffton campus in a lot near the dorms.
Everything was in order when Penfield checked the blocks on the boat on December 12, 2019, before leaving for the Christmas holidays, he said. When Kuhn checked again on December 23, someone had unlocked the locks on the storage compartments and used what was inside.
A report Kuhn filed with campus police detailed the stolen items, a total of a dozen rod and reel combos and 10 filled tackle boxes.
The police report said there was no security camera coverage in the area where the boat was parked and no suspects in the case. They have since been able to move the boat to a safer location, but none of their equipment has ever been found at local pawn shops.
Kuhn said replacing the stolen equipment would cost around $ 3,000, and about half of that was raised through donations from friends and family and a GoFundMe account. He said the club, which is currently made up of four fishermen, receives limited funding from the USCB.
Penfield said competitive teams have several sets of rods and reels ready for use as water conditions, weather and fish vary, even within the same day.
“A lot of the setups we have are very specific to a type of fishing,” said Penfield, explaining that the team travels from Florida to New York to fish. “We have to prepare for any situation. “
As of Wednesday afternoon, Kuhn and Penfield had not heard whether or not the coronavirus concerns would impact this weekend’s competition, but they planned to be there.
Said Kuhn: “We are practicing now.”