West Virginia Angler to Fish Against the Best


He is quite literally "living the dream."   Bass Angler Bob Harkness will make his casts, literally this week, for a chance at one Million dollars.  

The Elizabeth, West Virginia resident earlier this year won the $100,000 FLW Living the Dream tournament on Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas.    That victory, which he won in dramatic fashion making up a seven-pound deficit in one day, vaulted him into this week’s Forrest Wood Cup Tournament in Pittsburgh.

"I’ll be honest with you, I had a tough week this week.   I lost my father last Saturday and that’s been tough and it’s taken my mind off the tournament–which I think has helped,” said Harkness in an interview from his boat during a practice session Monday on the Mon River near Pittsburgh. "I was actually in a place where I was really, really getting nervous."

Harkness is well known among friends on the West Virginia Bass Federation Circuit.   He’s a member of the Blennerhassett Bassmasters and is a perennial qualifier for the state team.    This however, is the first time anyone from West Virginia has qualified to fish for all the marbles in the FLW Championship race.

"Practice has been tough, but I’ve been hearing all the pros talking about how it’s been tough," said Harkness. "If you had asked me three weeks ago how much it was going to take to win, I would have said eight pounds a day.  Now, after this weekend I’d say five or six pounds a day."

It took world-renowned angler Kevin Van Dam just over 12 pounds to win the Bassmaster Classic staged on Pittsburgh’s three-rivers in 2006.

"Rivers change yearly and I don’t think it’s going to be as tough as that,” said Harkness.

Harkness may have an advantage that competitors may not have, experience with tough fishing.   The Ohio and Monongahela Rivers could be considered "home water" for Harkness who knows the difficulty each of those waters can pose to tournament anglers. 

"When you’re fishing the pools around Wheeling, everything looks very, very similar to this,” said Harkness. "I wish there were more largemouth, but I’ve caught two little ones in five trips.  It’s mainly smallmouth and that’s different too.   I like to chase smallmouth, but I don’t’ typically rely on them to win and here I think you’re going to have to go out there and beat the banks for five smallmouth bites."

Practice for the 70 tournament anglers has been underway since Saturday and will end Tuesday.   Thursday marks day one of tournament competition.  At the end of Friday’s weigh-in, the 70 anglers in the field will be narrowed to a final ten.   The slates are cleared and anglers will have a full-on shootout for the top spot on Saturday.   The winning purse could be as high as one Million dollars and the coveted Forrest Wood Cup, the richest championship in tournament bass fishing. 

You can follow Harkness’ progress by clicking here.


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