In the cards

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Coby Carden held onto his Day Two lead to win the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional Friday on Tennessee’s Douglas Lake, and it was a catch in the last 10 minutes of competition that sealed the deal for him.

“It was tough Friday,” said Carden after his win. The LA Po Boys club member from Calera, Ala., started strong with a limit by 9 a.m. But culling up was a problem. He went without a bite for 3 1/2 hours, he said, and when he changed spots and started catching fish, none of them were big enough to increase his sack.

Carden said he thought he wouldn’t have enough to maintain the 3-pound, 11-ounce lead he established in Day Two of competition. As he was heading back to the ramp for weigh-in, he realized he had about 10 minutes left to kill.

“So I pulled into a shallow pocket that I had fished a little during practice, and I threw a crankbait,” he explained. What resulted was a strike from a 4-pounder that made the race between him and second place Drew Sadler not nearly as close.

Carden won the Southern Divisional with a total weight of 49 pounds, 5 ounces. Sadler’s runner-up weight was 44-14.

Carden credits two lures for his win, a black-and-blue Missile Baits D Bomb creature bait and a Strike King 6XD crankbait in citrus shad. He flipped the D Bomb in shallow water using a 7-5 G.Loomis GLX flipping stick with a Shimano Chronarch reel and 20-pound Sunline, and he fished the crankbait when he went into deeper water, using a 7-11 G.Loomis GLX cranking rod and a Shimano Core 100 MG reel with 12-pound-test Sunline.

Carden, who fished pro level events with B.A.S.S. from 1999 to 2005, has since chosen a career path as a salesman at Builders First Source so he can stay at home with his family. But the dream of competing in the Bassmaster Classic still lives on, and he now has the opportunity to pursue that dream. By being the top angler on the Alabama state team, he is invited to fish in the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle, Oct. 24-26. The Southern division representative who performs best there will advance to the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

Joining Carden at the championship will be the six other state team leaders: David Boyd, Florida; Chris Blair, Georgia; Drew Sadler, Kentucky; Cory Leonard, North Carolina; John Proctor, South Carolina; and Mark Pierce, Tennessee.

The Alabama state team not only had the overall winner in Carden, but it also got the trophy for being the top state in cumulative weight. Alabama’s team members brought 417 pounds, 12 ounces to the scales. Behind Alabama were South Carolina with 381-14 and North Carolina with 365-6.

The Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament came on Day Two from Tennessee’s Derick Leppin. His 6-4 bass eclipsed the other big bass of the tournament, Quentin Vercher’s 5-3 on Day One and Jeremy Sabo’s 5-8 on the final day.

The next 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship qualifier event will be the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional, June 5-7, on Texas’ Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Stay tuned to for details.