Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 04/04/2018

Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos courtesy of Kurt Dove - FLW stage photo courtesy of @asmartimage

Amistad, Texas –  In December of 2015 The BASS ZONE ran a feature on Kurt Dove, who had just committed to fishing the FLW Tour for the 2016 season after competing on the Bassmaster Elite Series from 2006-2008 and again from 2013-2015.  

To read the original story, CLICK HERE.  

Now fishing in his third season with FLW, the Amistad, Texas pro is off to the best start of his Tour career.  Through three tournaments, he sits in 19th place in the FLW Tour Angler Of the Year race and recorded a career high 8th place finish in late February on the Harris Chain of Lakes.  

With four tournaments remaining on the Tour schedule, Dove is in good position to qualify for the first Forrest Wood Cup of his career.  

“I think one of the key factors to my success this season is the fact that I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to think about anything,” Dove said with a laugh.  “When I finally get out on the water to fish a Tour event this year, I’ve been incredibly open minded.”  

He pointed out the importance of his back-to-back top 60 finishes in Florida to kick off the 2018 season. “I’ve been able to avoid the early bomb, which is a big key in putting together a good season.  Now that I’ve been fishing professionally for over a decade, I realize that this whole game is about putting yourself in the best position to succeed and I’ve been able to do that so far this year.”  

During the 2018 season, Dove has roomed with fellow Tour pros Bryan Schmitt, Brad Hallman, and Billy Shelton.  Through three Tour events, all four anglers are inside the top 60 in the Angler Of the Year point standings and have combined to cash seven checks, including an FLW Tour victory (Hallman on Lanier) and a 2nd place finish (Schmitt on Okeechobee).  

“There’s a lot of positive energy when you’re fishing well and your buddies are fishing well,” said Dove.  “We talk to each other on and off the water, and it’s great to hear feedback from three other guys who want to see you do well.   It’s been a great dynamic and we are having fun.  If you’re not having fun out there, it’s a lot tougher to be successful.    

In March of 2017, Dove was hired as the General Manager for Hayabusa U.S.A., Inc. after the Japan based company decided to make a push into the freshwater hook market in the United States.  “I like to set lofty goals because I want to achieve things that are substantial and really mean something to me and the people that I work with.  It’s been a lot of work, but we are growing at a very steady pace.”  When Dove took the position there were less than 10 retailers in the country.  13 months later that number has grown to over 70 retailers. 

Working with both distributors and retailers, Dove said that he has enjoyed the challenge of the new position.  “I’ve been able to put my 10+ years of marketing and promotional experience to play on the business side of the industry, and that has been very rewarding.”

In February, Dove traveled to the Hayabusa headquarters in Japan where he toured the factory and attended Fishing Show Osaka.  “They’re the number one bass fishing hook in Japan, so it’s very enlightening when you see what they’ve been able to build over there and the reach that they have.”

Dove is also preparing for his seventh annual Pro-Bass Camp that he hosts on Lake Amistad for high school aged anglers.  

Pro-Bass Camp is designed to be much more than an introductory course to bass fishing. The four day and four night all-inclusive camp includes three days where campers are paired with a different instructor and spend seven hours on Lake Amistad, fishing side-by-side and fine tuning specific techniques with some of the best in the business.
Following each day of fishing and instruction on the water, the campers take part in classroom style seminars that are conducted by the instructors. The camp concludes with a tournament on Lake Amistad where scholarship money is awarded to the top finishers.  

“In the past, we’ve only had one Pro-Bass Camp each year with 28 campers and we would have to turn away a lot of campers because logistically we just couldn’t take any more kids,” explained Dove.  “This year, we’ve decided to host two separate sessions in order to accommodate more campers and give them the opportunity to be a part of this experience.”   

For 2018, session one will take place June 12-16, and session two will take place July 24-28.

(Currently there is minimal space still available for session one and roughly 10 spots still available for session two.  For more information on Pro-Bass Camp, contact Kurt Dove at [email protected] or visit the Pro-Bass Camp Facebook page)

Throw in the fact that Dove plans on approximately 40 guide trips this year on Lake Amistad and continues to co-host Bass Edge Radio with Aaron Martin, and there’s no denying the fact that he has a full plate in 2018.