SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Jonathan Carter loves to fish. The 29-year-old elementary school teacher has become the first Mainer to ever qualify for the Bassmaster Classic, which is considered the world championship of bass fishing.
Carter is excited to take on the biggest names in the sport, "I was looking at the roster the other day. Anybody who is anybody is going to be there."
There are eight former champions in the field of 53. Those eight have won 11 Classic titles. According to Bassmaster, the average angler in the Classic has already competed in 5.4 Classics, making this the fifth most experienced field in tournament history.
Jonathan is alone among Northeast fisherman. To find his closest competitors in terms of geography, one would have to travel south to New Jersey or west to Michigan.
One of the Michigan entries is Kevin VanDam who Jonathan considers the "Michael Jordan of bass fishing." Still, he says he hopes to win because "there's no other way to approach it."
While many of the competitors are pros and exempt through years of tournament success or qualified through expensive fish-offs, Jonathan had to fish his way through state, regional and national competition. He won his regional on the Charles River in Boston fishing along the bank near Harvard while crews rowed and joggers ran. "They were asking us what we were doing," Jonathan said.
Jonathan, a graduate of Brewer High School and the University of Maine, has been teaching elementary school for six years. After starting his career in Winterport, he took a job in South Portland this year. His students from both schools may be the youngest fans of this Classic. "They keep asking when am I going to bring home the big trophy?"
The Bassmaster Classic will be fished on Grand Lake in Oklahoma on February 22-24, 2013. The event will be televised on-line and on ESPN 2.