Hawk eyes the Elite Series

Kevin Hawk, a California native who now lives in Guntersville, Ala., is working toward becoming a Bassmaster Elite Series pro.

If Hawk succeeds, he’d be among the 2013 Elite field’s most-seasoned rookies. Hawk is the 2010 FLW Tour champ and has posted seven Top 10 tournament finishes on various FLW circuits since 2007. He’s been in many Western competitions before relocating to Alabama to be more centrally positioned for major tournaments.

Hawk entered a smattering of Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open events in 2010, stepped out in 2011, then got back into the Opens this season. The Southern and Northern divisions were his Bassmaster Open circuits of choice, his perceived best bets to earn an Elite Series qualification.

“My goal is to have options,” said Hawk, 33, who worked as a claims adjuster for an insurance company before he turned pro. “Guys like Ish Monroe fish both circuits, and ideally I’d like to do that.”

He stands a good chance at that. After two 2012 Southern Open events, Hawk is second in points. After all three Southern events, the top five pros in points will automatically receive invitations to move up into the Elite Series for the 2013 season.

Hawk doesn’t know the final Southern Open fishery well, but he has months to learn it before the Oct. 4-6 event. The fishery, Alabama’s Smith Lake, is less than two hours’ drive from his adopted home of Guntersville. He plans to scout Smith as much as possible between other tournament commitments.

Meanwhile, he will have another chance at the Elite Series through the Northern Open division, which has events scheduled for June, July and August.

Each Open tournament is also a chance at fulfilling another career goal: qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic. A Classic berth is part of an Open winner’s prize package.

“To qualify for the Classic through the Open is an amazing opportunity, and could possibly lead to jumpstarting anyone’s Elite career,” he said.