Mark Pack, a renowned bait-maker, Lake Fork guide and former FLW Tour winner, died Saturday after a month-long battle with COVID-19. He was 59.
Pack competed for 10 seasons on the FLW Tour (2000-09). He won the 2008 event at Beaver Lake, outdueling runner-up and Bass Fishing Hall of Famer George Cochran. He'd previously fished a couple of seasons on the Bassmaster Top 150 trail and made one Classic appearance, finishing 17th in the 2000 edition at Lake Michigan out of Chicago.
As the founder and president of Lake Fork Trophy Bait and Tackle Company, he was the driving force in the tungsten-weight revolution of the early 2000s after learning of the rare metal's properties from a guiding client who worked in the machinery industry. He was also the developer of the Structure Guard, a single-strand weedguard attached to the hook below the barb by a small plastic band, which allowed a jig to slip more easily through heavy cover.
"He was a great man and he was very close to the Lord," said veteran Major League Fishing pro Kelly Jordon, a friend for 30 years whom Pack brought into his guiding business in the mid-1990s. "We can take comfort in that, but at the same time be very mindful of the tragic loss for his family. This was unexpected and it's a tough deal."
Jordon said Pack had been hospitalized in the intensive care unit since mid-December.
"Until two days ago, I was sure he was going to pull out of it. I was able to call up there (on Friday) and talk to him on the speaker phone. He was incapacitated, but I think he heard us.
"I was glad I had that opportunity. I was still hoping for a miracle, but it didn't happen. I just can't believe it."
Pack is survived by wife Donna and adult sons Jason and Josh. No services have been announced.