Weather was unpredictable, practice was hectic, but this week Grand Lake dealt three solid tournament days as 94 anglers from across the US and Canada met for the 2013 Federation National Championship. Each day anglers came across the stage smashing their tournament bests and big fish records, winning or losing by ounces and consistently bagging 20lbs of Grand Lake bass.
Mark Daniels Jr. from Fairfield, Calif., saw his life’s work, his life’s passion validated as he became this year’s Federation National Champion boater and TBF’s “Living the Dream” angler. “I’m just so excited right now; I can’t even really think,” Daniels’s said. “After catching that huge bag on day two I knew I had a shot to win this thing.” Daniels caught 18lbs 6ounces on day one and a 24lb 10ounce bag on day two to sail him into first and the final round. Today, he caught 19lbs 4ounces to make his tournament total 62lbs 4ounces.
“My travel partner, Tom Shimabukuro and I found fish A-Riggin’ in practice that I thought could potentially be winning fish,” Daniels said. “Then, the final day of practice me and Ben went out and we kind of solidified that.” Daniels was paired with Ben Wright from Peru, New York who would go on to be the national champion co-angler. “We found a bunch of areas that looked similar and I went in and pulled a fish off of each one of those spots. I patterned the entire week off that.”