Assuming the Bassmaster Classic trophy ends up in his possession, it’ll have to take a long road back to Maine – about 1,700 miles worth, or in other words the trip to Wheeler plus a few hundred miles. And with the chance of inclement weather at either end of the trip, it could prove to be harrowing while pulling a boat. “I’m dreading the drive there,” Carter said, leaving open the possibility that the drive home, with the proper result, could be a lot less painful. The windshield time is something he’ll have to get used to if he wants to pursue his eventual goal of a slot on the Elite Series roster. “Up here in Maine we’re isolated in the fish world. Even fishing the Northern Opens everything is far. The closest major tournament lake is Champlain, and even that is six hours away.”
If he eventually enters the pro ranks, and participates in the largely-southern B.A.S.S. schedule, he may have to adapt to certain regional differences. “They don’t have quite the Northeastern pace down there,” he said. But as the first Mainer to make the leap, he’ll also have other cultural hurdles to overcome. B.A.S.S. social media guru Tyler Reed keeps reminding him “to remember to say y’all in interviews.”
Fellow 2013 qualifier Mark Dove, who also made it to the Classic through the Federation Nation in 1997, has warned Carter that “once you make the Classic you’ll spend the rest of your time trying to make it back.” The young angler took that advice to heart, but before he can look to the next Classic, he’ll have to make the first one count. He knows a little bit about firsts, and he’s itching to make a great first impression.