While other anglers caught 20 pounds of smallmouth bass one day and possibly zeroed one of the other two competition days, Fowler consistently weighed in double-digit sacks and won the divisional with a three-day catch of 58 pounds, 0 ounces. He clinched the championship by catching an 18-5 limit today.
The retired Michigan State Police detective sergeant caught all of his fish on a drop shot rig with a light green soft plastic Goby that he jerked and let drop along the bottom. “Most of my bites came as it was on its way down,” he said. “I hopped it up as high as I could and when it dropped I could see the line snap and then I set the hook.”
Each day Fowler keyed on rock humps near Vermillion. “I started out in 30 feet of water and drifted towards the humps which were in 24 to 25 feet. A lot of the fish were right on top of the humps.”
In winning this event, Fowler and seven other state leaders advance to the 2008 BASS Federation Nation Championship, the world championship for amateur bass anglers. Joining tournament champion Fowler at the Federation Nation Championship will be the following state winners: Larry Coleman (Illinois), Ron Fabiszak (Indiana), James Sullivan (Iowa), Brent Haimes (Minnesota), Don Fowler (Michigan), Steve Smith (Ohio), Justin Rowse (South Dakota) and Jason Stangel (Wisconsin).
The 12-man Wisconsin team captured the top prize of a Triton Boats 186 bass boat rigged with a Mercury 150 h.p. outboard motor (total value of $32,000) by accumulating a total combined weight of 386-10. Finishing second was host team Ohio with 342-10.
“The key to our success is that we did everything as a team,” said Wisconsin Federation Nation president Dave Snyder. “We cooked out and stayed together. We were constantly together. Communication is better when we are all together and that is how we get to know each other better.”
The Northern Divisional is the fourth of six regional qualifiers for the Federation Championship. Next on the slate is the Eastern Divisional next month on the Connecticut River.
Sponsors of the Federation Nation include Toyota, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Evan Williams Bourbon, Longhorn and Costa Del Mar.
BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation Nation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.
BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com. Visit www.espnmediazone.com for ESPN's latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video and audio clips and more.