SAVANNA, Ill. — When defending a client, Mark Dove wants all the attention he can muster in court. However, during the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Northern Divisional, the criminal defense attorney from North Vernon, Ind., has been trying to avoid the attention of his fellow contenders.
Avoiding the crowds has helped Dove climb into the divisional lead with 10 fish weighing 25 pounds, 9 ounces. The 56-year-old Dove caught some fish in his primary area yesterday, but fishing pressure there caused him to head to his remote backup spot where he caught a limit in 42 minutes today. “I don’t have anyone within miles of me,” said Dove, who is relying on a shallow backwater area. “I have a stretch completely to myself and I have not seen anyone in there in practice or during the tournament. It took me a long time to figure out how to get back in there and once I did I could blow in — unless the water keeps dropping.”
The seven-time Northern Divisional qualifier and 1997 Bassmaster Classic contender has stuck with the same pattern he found in practice. “I basically fished the same way I fished in practice the whole time I have been here except for one day,” said Dove, a member of the Shallow Minded Bass Anglers club. “I am not fishing current much and mainly fishing slop.”
“The fish just bit better for me today. I had almost identical weights both days (12-8 yesterday and 13-1 today), but I caught quite a few more fish today. I am a little concerned because my water is getting continually clearer and I think that might hurt me tomorrow, but I guess I will just have to go fishing and see what happens.”
The weather change this week from bright sunshine to two competition days of drizzle and cloudy skies apparently hasn’t mattered much to Dove. “I was catching them in practice in the bright sunshine too but with the water clearing up and if it gets sunny too that could cause some problems,” he said.
If Dove finishes as the top angler on his Indiana team, he will qualify for the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship (FNC). Other state leaders hoping to make the FNC are Curt Samo of Illinois; JJ Patton, Iowa; Jamie Sochocki, Michigan; Joe Patock, Minnesota; Eddie Levin, Ohio; Monty Fralick, South Dakota; and Kevin Fassbind, Wisconsin.
Iowa continues to lead the team competition with 236 pounds, 2 ounces, followed by the host Illinois squad with 174-7.
The Northern Divisional contenders will launch for the final competition day at about 5:45 a.m. tomorrow at the Savanna Marina. See the full results from Day One and Two here.
The juniors will take off with their boat captains for their day of competition after the adult Northern Divisional anglers launch Friday morning at the Savanna Marina. For a preview of the Junior Bassmasters Northern Divisional, click here.