November 18, 2004

Bassmaster to be?
November 18, 2004

Mark Fournier wants to be the best bass fisherman in the world, and he may just end up getting there. Mark, a native of Amesbury, was a three-sport standout at Amesbury High School, and has gone on to become a successful carpenter. I had the pleasure of fishing with Mark on Lake Attitash in Merrimack one recent afternoon, and learned that he is quickly rising in the ranks of New England freshwater bass fishermen.

Mark started fishing when he was a youngster with his Dad, and quickly became quite interested in the sport, spending much of his free time fishing local lakes and ponds. As Mark became more interested in the pursuit of bass, he joined the New Hampshire Bass Cullers, a local chapter of the national B.A.S.S organization, otherwise known as Bassmasters. Becoming a member of the local B.A.S.S. chapter has allowed Mark to fish in B.A.S.S. tournaments with his ultimate goal to get to, and win, the annual Bassmaster Classic, which crowns the world’s best bass fisherman each year.

As we eased off the boat ramp at Lake Attitash in Fournier’s 18 foot Stratos bass boat, it’s easy to see that Mark is at home on the water in search of Bass. While Mark spends most of his time fishing in New Hampshire, he still knows the local fresh water haunts well as evidenced by his ability to catch 4 quick bass to the author’s none. Since Bass like structure, Mark is quite accurate in his casting, placing his spinner bait directly under docks and other structures and setting the hook quickly as the bass take the bait.

Mark fished approximately 10 tournaments this year all leading up to the STQT, or State Team Qualifying Tourney, where the top 13 anglers move on to the Regionals, and then hopefully to the National Bassmaster Classic. Anglers win by having the heaviest weight of their combined catches. Just this year, Mark finished quite high in many tournaments, including:

- 3rd Place on July 3rd at a tournament on the Nashua River in New Hampshire
- 2nd Place on July 10th at an American Bass Anglers tournament on Lake Winnisquam in New Hampshire
- 4th Place (out of 60 boats) in the Karl Kaprelian Benefit Tournament at Lake Winnipesaukee with a total of 20.63 pounds.
- 1st Place on August 14 on Lake Winnipesaukee with the New Hampshire Bass Cullers.
- 8th Place (out of 45 boats) at the North East Bass Association Open on August 29th with a total combined weight of 18 pounds.

While Mark was hoping for a better finish in the STQT this year, he did not finish in the top 13 to move on to the Regionals, but I’m sure he will be there in the very near future.

Mark’s success has been validated over the past years as he has been able to garner the support of local sponsors, whose logos are emblazoned on Mark’s boat. Currently, Mark has five core sponsors, including Cammett Engineering of Amesbury, Sign-A-Rama of Salisbury, CPA Roger Cyr of Madison, NH, EMC Home Improvements of Amesbury, and Losi Construction of Amesbury.

In the end, Mark caught 5 large mouth bass to my zero during our outing, and despite my efforts, it was great to catch up with a fellow fisherman in his element. Mark’s passion for the sport combined with his skills, leads me to believe that one sleepy Sunday morning in the near future, I will turn on ESPN 2 to watch some of their fishing programs and will see Mark staring back at me.

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