First Posted: 10/1/2014
After five years of enjoying local tournament fishing, primarily at Harveys Lake, Cody Cutter decided to try moving up the ranks of the sport this summer.
A 2012 Lake-Lehman graduate, Cutter did so well in his first year competing in the Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Tour that he earned the right to compete in the largest event of his career this week.
The 20-year-old left early Wednesday for the James River Regional Championship in Virginia. Qualifying days are scheduled Thursday and Friday before the top 20 percent of the field competes for the title Saturday.
Cutter has enjoyed fishing since he was a young boy. Rich Harris from Dallas introduced him to tournament fishing when he was 15 by taking him to the Tuesday night Harveys Lake events.
“Ever since he started taking me out, I’ve loved tournament fishing and wanted to get into it even more,” Cutter said.
With encouragement from his father, Brian, Cutter tried one Walmart Bass Fishing League stop in 2013, competing in a Shenandoah Division event on the Potomac River. With a 15-inch bass required for measuring, the fish Cutter caught were all just below that cutoff so he did not have a catch officially weighed in.
When the 2014 season arrived, Cutter tried again.
“This year, I said I’m going to give it another try,” said Cutter, who also qualified for the Harveys Lake season championship event after leading that series for part of the year. “I did well so I kept going.”
Cutter took sixth in the co-angler division out of 140 boats at the opening Northeast Division event. Each boat has a boater and a randomly paired co-angler, who fishes from the back of the boat. The boaters compete against each other in one division and the co-anglers go against each other in the other.
Cutter works extra hours in the summer to try to invest in his sport and has his own boat for local events, but not one that he is ready to take to the higher level.
Continuing in the co-angler division after winning $1,086 in prize money, Cutter completed the five-event series with a seventh-place finish out of 180 at Thousand Islands and finished 11th in the series point standings for the eight-state region to qualify for this week’s championship event. Often one of the youngest fishermen in the regional series events, Cutter believes he is the youngest among the 40 to qualify for the James River Regional.
Although Cutter, who attends Luzerne County Community College, earned prize money, he is not considered a professional. Each event has a $100 entry fee and the expenses of travel make it unlikely to profit competing strictly on the regional level.
Cutter, who has sponsorship help from Laumeyers Landing Boat Repair at Harveys Lake and Dallas Sporting Goods, aspires to continue moving up to professional status either on a full-time basis or, more likely, combining professional fishing with another job.
“Just about everyone who fishes in these tournaments wants to go pro,” Cutter acknowledged. “I have a long way to go.”
Not many, however, show the kind of results Cutter has produced so quickly and at such a young age.