ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - A dock pattern paid off handsomely for Minnesota angler Jim Severson and his partner today in the first round of the BASS Federation Nation Northern Divisional at the Le Homme Dieu Chain of Lakes here.

Severson, 39, a full-time angler from Breezy Point, Minn., relied on docks to catch five largemouth bass weighing 17 pounds, 4 ounces, and take the lead in the individual standings of the Northern Divisional. The Central Minnesota Bassmaster club member is competing in his seventh divisional.

Meanwhile, Quincy, Ill., angler David Junk moved into second place with a 13-6 limit, which included the big bass of the day, a 6-pound, 2-ounce largemouth.

Both Severson and his partner, Jeff Brown of Brandon, S.D., discovered the dock pattern in practice.

“We just had some big fish spots on docks,” said Severson. “There were some good ones under there, and we caught them right away and then worked on them the rest of the afternoon.”

Three small sets of docks produced best for Severson and Brown, who found the fish were holding under the docks about 2 feet deep.

Severson finished the day with about 10 keepers, while Brown amassed a 12-15 limit to move into third place overall.

“I went to his docks and caught big fish and then he went to some of my docks and caught big fish,” said Severson. “So we kind of switched off back and forth.”

The Northern Divisional is the fourth of six regional qualifying events that advance top Federation Nation competitors from America and abroad to the only international world fish-off for amateur anglers, the BASS Federation Nation National Championship. The event is scheduled for January 2007 at Lake Neely Henry in Alabama. The tournament features both an individual and team competition.

Leading their states after today's competition are Severson (Minnesota), Junk (Illinois), Brown (South Dakota), Mike Toht (Ohio), Dallas Lasche (Wisconsin), Bob Allen (Indiana), Brian Searcy (Iowa) and John Gipson (Michigan).

In the team competition, eight Federation Nations are vying for a total payout of $65,000, with the prize monies to be used for each states' conservation, civic and fishing outreach programs.

Minnesota leads with a cumulative weight of 115 pounds, 8 ounces.

The Northern Divisional weigh-ins begin at 3 p.m. CT the next two days at the Bug-A-Boo Bay Restaurant.

Sponsors of the Federation Nation include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide and Evan Williams.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit