Three Tar Heels qualify for 2009 Classic

Dustin Wilks of Rocky Mount will compete in his fifth Bassmasters Classic at the Red River during February.

Wilks, Williams, Wolak try for bass fishing’s top prize

Dustin Wilks, a North Carolina Sportsman Magazine fishing columnist; David Williams of Maiden; and Dave Wolak, a transplanted Pennsylvanian living in Wake Forest, are the three Tar Heels who will compete at the 39th Bassmasters Classic Feb. 20-22 at the Red River near Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

The field also will be highlighted by Kim Bain-Moore, the first female to compete in a Bassmaster Classic.

Wilks, 31, who qualified for his fifth Classic, made the tourney field while a fisheries science student at N.C. State University after winning the Bassmaster 1998-99 Eastern Trail Invitational Angler of the Year award. He led for two days the first BASS tournament he entered, the 1999 Virginia Invitational at Kerr Lake,  and eventually finished third.

This past season (2008) Wilks, who resides at Rocky Mount, finished 13th in the Angler of the Year Race among Elite Series anglers, earning his Classic berth.

Williams was the final 2009 Classic qualifier and brought the number of Classic rookie qualifiers to 13. At the Sept. 2008 Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship at Lake Norman, where he earned his Classic spot, Williams bested final-day leader Jeff Coble, a Snow Camp native trying for his fifth Classic, by jumping from third to first place with 12 pounds, 9 ounces of bass the last day.

Wolak, who won the 2006 Bassmaster American tournament, finished 17th in the Elite Series. The Red River Classic will be his fourth; he has almost $700,000 in career earnings.

Classic qualifiers include the top-36 anglers from the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings derived from the 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series; the top three anglers from the Bassmaster Open points standings in each of two 2008 Opens Divisions; six amateur competitors through the 2008 BASS Federation Nation Championship and Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, defending Classic champion.

Bain earned her berth by capturing the Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Angler of the Year title on the strength of a banner performance on the Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors.

The Classic will feature daily launches at 7:15 a.m. Feb. 20-22 at Red River South Marina. Daily weigh-ins will take place at the CenturyTel Center at 3:30 p.m.

The tournament will receive more than 10 hours of television coverage on ESPN2 during the three-day event.

About Craig Holt 1382 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.

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