Last year at the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Northern Divisional on Lake Michigan, the Iowa team finished last. This year, with the competition set for the Mississippi River out of Fort Madison, Iowa, Dan Parker figures it’s his team’s turn to shine.
“We have a good group of river fishermen, so I think we’ll figure out a pattern,” said Parker, a Guttenberg, Iowa, real estate broker who said he’s been on the Iowa team the past eight years.
There’s one hitch: He expects the fishing to be very tough for the Aug. 10-12 event.
“The water’s unseasonably high,” he said after two days of practice on the river. “The fish are not congregated like they would be normally in the summertime. And the water’s been high all year, so there hasn’t been a lot of weed growth.”
The river will force anglers to try many different techniques, he said, and one of them will produce.
“There’s always somebody who catches fish in these conditions,” he said, estimating that three-day individual weights will be between 28 and 30 pounds.
A member of the Northeastern Iowa Bass Club out of Fayette, Parker is just one of 96 anglers who climbed the ladder of local and state tournaments to reach the 2011 Northern Divisional. From there, one angler from each of the division’s eight states will advance to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats, Nov. 3-5 on the Ouachita River out of Monroe, La. Only six anglers will emerge from the championship as 2012 Bassmaster Classic qualifiers.
“Sure, there’s competition within the team, but we are working together for the state award,” Parker said. “We would really like to come back from the bottom and get to the top. We have a group of guys who can do that.”
The event will be covered extensively by Bassmaster.com. Live, streaming video of the Wednesday-Friday weigh-ins will begin online at 2 p.m. ET.