Boat: 2016 Cougar FTD
The KABCOT team of Brad Kell and John Morris, making their third consecutive appearance in the Bass Cat National Team Championship, fell just short of taking the title, missing the mark by .65 pounds, less than the weight of one Arkansas bass. Recognizing their exceptional performance, company President Rick Pierce extended a special offer to them to join the winning team of Pete Dubois and Ty Bowman at Lake Picachos, Mexico.
“It was great just getting back,” Kell said. “That is an accomplishment in itself given the way that KABCOT is set up. Rick has given us a great opportunity and we’re very grateful. I can’t say enough about the company.”
As the longest tenured veterans of this multi-lake slog, Morris knew that it would be “very tiring, just like the other ones,” but he said that he “enjoyed this even more than the others because we figured them out a little bit.” Kell lamented losing multiple fish that might’ve put them over the top, but overall enjoyed the experience immensely.
They had a bit of excitement even before the event started, when Morris, fishing in a heavy fog, hooked a coyote by the tail. Kell, in his brand new boat, was hesitant to follow the instructions from Morris to help him get it into the boat, but eventually they got it in (“The coyote was going nuts,” Kell recalled), released the beast and got back to fishing. “We caught 14 pounds at Bull Shoals,” Kell said. “We were on a real good pattern.”
When the event started at Table Rock, they managed to put two (fish, not coyotes) in the boat before the rest of the field had blasted off. One of them weighed 4 pounds. That helped them claim the first round lead. They added over 10 pounds at Taneycomo and only a surprising 2.83 at Bull Shoals to end Day One in first place, but as Kell noted, “it was a five round deal this year.” They struggled with small catches at the White River and Norfork, eventually falling just short of the Dubois/Bowman team.
Kell loves his 2016 Cougar FTD, both the quality of the boat, and the fact that the company stands behind it without question. His faith in BCB was reaffirmed after he ran it up on some rocks on the White River, such that he and Morris had to get out in their underwear to dislodge it.
“I never said a word to Rick, but there he was laying on his back, in the middle of a cattle field, saying that if he found any scratches he was going to fix them. That alone speaks volumes about the company. You don’t get that kind of service from anyone else. That’s what it’s all about.”
Next year’s KABCOT will be held on Old Hickory instead of Kentucky Lake, and the pair is equally familiar with the new venue, but there’s a hitch in their plan – they have a competing obligation that they can’t miss. However, they’ve already resolved that they’re going to do everything in their power to make it four in a row. They’ll fish SEBCOG or TXBCOE, or both, in order to do their best to make it back.