NORTH VERNON, Ind. — Mark Dove will soon turn on his law firm's "out of office" e-mail auto reply when he heads to Alabama for the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.
“I have a standard reply that says ‘counsel for the defendant will be outside the state at that time of day,'” Dove said. “All the judges in the area know that means Mark is out fishing someplace.”
This Classic will be the third time the Indiana criminal defense attorney has made the championship event through the B.A.S.S. Nation. He fished his first Classic in 1997 and finished 26th. In last year’s Classic at Grand Lake, Dove failed to make the final-day cut and placed 36th.
“This time it is important for me to be relevant on the last day of the tournament,” he said. “Just being there is not good enough. It is going to be tough for me to win, but just to make the cut will be a pretty good accomplishment.”
The Indiana angler researched Guntersville via the Internet and magazine articles and spent 12 days practicing on the lake.
“I have fished all over Alabama and all up and down the Tennessee River, but I have never fished Guntersville,” he said. “I feel like I am behind the eight ball because there is so much knowledge about that lake. There are so many tournaments there.”
Accompanying Dove to the Big Show will be his wife, Kathy. He calls her his caddy ever since she backed his trailer down the ramp at last year’s Classic.
“Kathy is a farm girl who has driven a trailer in reverse either fishing with me or when her dad was a melon farmer,” Dove said.
The Shallow Minded Anglers club member anticipates plenty of his Nation buddies will also show up for the Classic.
“We Nation members stick together,” he said. “I have had dozens of people from Indiana and even Kentucky and Illinois who fish in our division who have said they are coming to Birmingham to root me on. So I fully expect at least 30 people from Indiana.”