Southern Indiana angler and the Federation Northern Division qualifier, Mark Dove, has been here before, but this time it’s different. He’ll tell you that the “show” is bigger and better and that the technology has grown immensely from what it was in 1997 on Logan Martin Lake when he made his first Bassmaster Classic appearance.
As examples of what he’s seeing that’s different he points to the size and scope of Media Day, live blogging, up-to-the-minute weight reporting from all the boats and the high-tech scales and weigh-in system that B.A.S.S. now has in place.
But the real difference — the one that might matter the most in the end — is in his attitude. 1997 is not the same as 2013.
“I was awestruck in 1997,” he says with a grin. “Back then I was reading about Rick Clunn, Denny Brauer and Gary Klein. All I really wanted to do was not embarrass myself. I wanted to catch a limit every day. That was my goal. I’d be happy with that. I finish in 26th place. I was happy.
“This time I want to finish in the top five when it’s all over. Sure, I’ll be really embarrassed if I show up with no fish, or if I finish last but that’s not going to control my fishing. I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to go out, fish hard and try to win this thing. We’ll see what happens.”
Dove continues on to say that if he’s going to meet his goal this year something will have to change. He describes his practice as a disaster, saying that if it was a disease he’d have to die to get better. That’s certainly not what he was hoping to say on the day before competition starts. Nevertheless he holds firm to his goals.
“I’m not here to show anyone I can compete, or to make excuses about anything. I’m here to try to win. It’s different the second time around.”