SHELBY, Ala. — A veteran of 42 Bassmaster Tour, Open and Invitational events, Alabama angler Coby Carden finally made the Bassmaster Classic through the B.A.S.S. Nation route.
“It is a lifelong dream to be able to fish the Classic,” Carden said. “It is something I have been close to two or three times through the Opens when qualifying for the Classic was done by points. So finally to make it is a dream come true.”
Carden won the 2002 Southern Open on Lake Martin and got his chance to compete against the top B.A.S.S. pros when he fished in the Bassmaster Tour trail in 2003 and 2004. The LA Po Boys club member recalls joining the B.A.S.S. Nation when he was 17 years old.
“I fished several years basically in a club but I never really tried to fish the qualifiers until five or six years ago,” he said. Since then, Carden competed in three B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisionals and won the 2013 event at Douglas Lake. Carden finished second overall in the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship and topped the rest of the Southern Division anglers to earn a Classic berth.
Even though the Classic will be in his home state, Carden doesn’t think he will have an advantage because it has been nearly five years since he has fished Lake Guntersville.
“As soon as I found out that I had made the Classic, I spent Thanksgiving there and Christmas and leading up to New Year’s Eve,” he said. “I did more looking and trying to learn than I did fishing. But the little bit I fished I had a couple of good days and I had a couple of really bad days.”
Because the Classic will be close to home, Carden expects that many of his family members will be there to root for him. The biggest cheers will come from his wife, Jennifer, 8-year-old daughter, Chloe, and 2-year-old son, Caston.
“They are very supportive of my fishing, so they are about as excited if not more so than I am,” Carden said.
“Chloe is my little fishing buddy and she is very supportive.”