by Tim Huffman
Charles Bunting started fishing tournaments when a friend persuaded him to fish a telephone tournament in the 80’s. He joined a newly-formed Capital City Crappie Club and says the older fishermen taught him how to fish. He has fished national tournaments since 1998.
Charles & Travis Bunting have been a power force on the tournament trails for many years. Charles, known by friends as Charlie, has a major role in doing much of the tournament pre-fishing, in-the-boat rigging and fish/bait care. Being retired allows him time to travel and prepare for the many tournaments they fish each year.
When asked about fishing strength he quickly stated that it was being versatile. “It’s about doing whatever it takes to catch fish. I’m a solid fisherman and can usually figure out a pattern and find areas with good fish. But Travis has an out-of-the box thinking that really helps us adjusting to situations.”
Charles’ two favorite lakes are Grenada, because of the big fish, and Truman because of the single pole fishing.
What keeps Bunting motivated? He and Travis have won the national championships in all three major tournament circuits, something no other team has done. He says it’s the competition and he has always been very competitive whether it’s been baseball, basketball or fishing. He loves doing seminars and promoting his sponsors. It’s about doing his job but most importantly helping others catch fish.
Fishing hero? “Not really, but Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman are definitely the crappie icons.”
Pet peeves? “I don’t like that some people lie. I don’t like jet skis but I stay away from lakes when they are there.”
Boat food? “Deer sticks and jerky.”
Sports teams? “Cardinal baseball and KC Chiefs, but I’m not a big football fan.”
Tournaments a family affair? “Connie and I have been married over 45 years and she has always supported me in everything I do. She has helped Travis and me in our tournament fishing. She’s made jigs. Now she sells jigs at shows for us like at Grizzly Jig. She has always been the backbone of our team.”
Fishing highlight? “Without a doubt it has been getting to spend time with my son. I’ve been the luckiest person in the world to travel and spend hundreds of hours in the boat with him. We don’t always agree on stuff but at the end of the day it’s always good. I’m glad we’ve won some big tournaments. We’ve got to compete together and make many new friends. As far as awards, the Sportsman of the Year Award was very special to me.”
How would you like to be known or remembered? “As somebody friendly and would help anyone who ask. Giving seminars and teaching people how to fish.”
Home Town: Jefferson City, MO
Home Lakes: Ozarks & Truman
Sponsors: BnM Poles, Humminbird/MinnKota, Power Poles, Muddy Water Baits, many others
Tournaments: 2005 Crappie USA National Champs; 2012 Crappie Masters National Champs; 2017 American Crappie Trail National Champs; 2007 National Point Title; 2009 Crappie Masters Mississippi State Champs; Sportsman of the Year; many others including Crappie Masters wins at Eufaula OK in 2017 and Washington Lake 2018