Mercury pro Morgenthaler punches his ticket to 2014 Bassmaster Classic
Dec 09, 2013
Longtime Mercury pro Chad Morgenthaler punched his ticket to the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, thanks to a first-place finish this weekend in the Bassmaster Classic Wild Card on Lake Okeechobee, Fla.
Morgenthaler from Coulterville, Ill., weighed in 63 pounds, 13 ounces of Okeechobee largemouth at the Wild Card, slipping past Jesse Tacoronte (59-11), Shaye Baker (59-8) and Russ Lane (59-2) to earn the last of the 56 spots in the 2014 Classic on Lake Guntersville in Alabama.
After a successful season on the B.A.S.S. Open Tour, Morgenthaler qualified earlier this fall to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series.
“I’ve been very fortunate this year,” Morgenthaler said shortly after collecting his Wild Card trophy and Golden Ticket to the Classic at C. Scott Driver Marina in Okeechobee. “I’ve fished pretty well on the Bassmaster Open schedule this year and have been able to get into the Elites, but this win is the icing on the cake. I had two goals for the year. One was to qualify for the Elites, and the secondary goal was to make the Bassmaster Classic. I never would’ve dreamed that I’d accomplish both of them."
Morgenthaler is no stranger to the highest level of professional bass fishing. He qualified to fish the Classic in 2003, 2005 and 2006; fished the Forrest Wood Cup in 2007; and competed in the prestigious Toyota Texas Bass Classic in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. He’s racked up nearly $800,000 in tournament winnings in ten years of competitive angling, but the Wild Card victory is one of the most important of his career.
Equally important was the performance of Morgenthaler’s engine on the massive impoundment of the Kissimeee River chain. Although Morgenthaler didn’t have to make any 50-, 60- or 70-mile runs to his fishing spots, he did have to compete with many of the other contenders for the best water. Morgenthaler fished the same area as a handful of competitors who hovered in the top 5 throughout the tournament, but his ability to reach his chosen water first was a key to his success in the tournament.
“In this particular tournament, I had another angler who was fishing the same spot that I was, and we were both headed for (that spot),” Morgenthaler said. “He was about five boats out ahead of me on the second day. I was able to pass him and get to my area to get it locked down before he got there. That performance was critical to my success.”
Morgenthaler will fish the 2014 Classic on Lake Guntersville, Alabama on Feb. 21-23.