Champ to defend Fed Nation title

Greg Heindselman isn’t expecting a repeat in this year’s Cabela’s Federation Nation Northern Divisional, but he didn’t anticipate winning last year’s event, either.

SAVANNA, Ill. — Greg Heindselman of Lewiston, Mo., isn’t expecting a repeat in this year’s Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Northern Division Championship, but he didn’t anticipate winning last year’s event, either. After a relatively futile practice in Fort Madison, Iowa, Heindselman found a productive creek in competition and put together a last-minute pattern that led to success, capped by a 4-pounder that went a long way to ensuring victory.

This year’s Northern Division Championship winner will be decided after competition on Mississippi River Pools 13 and 14 in Savanna, Ill., Aug. 8-10. 

After struggling to put together a pattern in prefishing this year in Illinois, Heindselman, who fished on the Illinois team, hopes things will jell again this year as competition begins.

“I cannot tell you what I’ll do in this tournament,” said Heindselman, a maintenance supervisor as well as a farmer. “Down home, we’re in such a drought I can’t grow a crop, and here there’s an abundance of water. The water level is still coming down — there’s still 8 to 10 inches too much water, and the current is a little too much for some of my patterns.”

Heindselman has fished a lot of water in practice to find the right spot on Pools 13 and 14, and says he hopes he’ll have a much better showing than he did in the Federation Nation Championship in Monroe, La., where he finished close to the bottom of the pack.

“I’m gonna try awful hard here — I’ll tell you that,” Heindselman said.

Heindselman will join his Illinois team and eight other state teams in his goal to win the tournament, which is potentially a stepping stone to the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.

“The Federation Nation gives grassroots anglers a chance to make dreams come true and qualify for the Bassmaster Classic,” said Jon Stewart, senior manager for B.A.S.S Federation Nation. “Eight anglers from this Northern Divisional, one from each state, will move on to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship and be one step closer to making that dream a reality.”

The winning state team will be awarded a Triton 18SE, Mercury 150 Optimax, a Triton Single Axle Trailer, a MotorGuide FW75 45-inch digital trolling motor, Lowrance HDS-5 Electronics and a prop. Each day’s Big Bass winner will earn $200 in Cabela’s gift cards.

Official practice days for the Federation Nation Northern Divisional are Aug. 6-7. During competition days Aug. 8-10, contestants will launch in flights beginning at 5:45 a.m. from Savanna Marina, One Main St., Savanna, Ill., 61074. Weigh-ins will be held at the same site beginning at 1:15 p.m. each day.

Junior Bassmasters will compete on Aug. 10. One junior from each age of two age groups will advance to the Junior Bassmaster World Championship this fall. Anglers in the junior division are eligible to win the tournament’s daily Cabela’s Big Bass award on Friday, if he or she catches a bass bigger than anyone else in the junior or adult divisions.