Mark Dove, an attorney from North Vernon, Ind., qualified for his second Bassmaster Classic Saturday by winning the Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship at Alabama's Wheeler Lake. He caught a 20-01 bag on the final day for a 3-day total of 39-00, outdistancing runner-up Mark Pierce of Tennessee by 1-02.
“I crossed the Bassmaster Classic off my bucket list back in 1997,” said Dove, referencing the previous time he qualified for the event through the Federation Nation. “I am looking forward to going back again. But the best thing for me is to be able to say that I was at the top of my peers here at the Federation Nation, at least for a period of time. For me, it was more about winning the tournament.”
Joining Dove (front row, center in photo) at the Classic in February will be Jonathan Carter of Maine, representing the Eastern division; Andy Bravence of Arizona, representing the Western; Pierce, Southern; Jared Knuth of Nebraska, Central; and Gerry Jooste of Zimbabwe, Mid-Atlantic.
Dove employed three baits on the final day – a spinnerbait, a buzzbait and a topwater plug. Details of his winning pattern will be posted soon.
In the 1-day Junior World Championship conducted at nearby Wilson Lake, Nik Autrey of Washington won the 15 to 18 age group with 10-03 and Alex Goff of West Virginia topped the 11 to 14 age group with 8-00. Each caught a fish that weighed 3-07.