Longtime Mercury pro Chad Morgenthaler earned a spot in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic after a first-place finish last weekend in the Bassmaster Classic Wild Card on Lake Okeechobee, Fla.
Morgenthaler, of Coulterville, Ill., caught a 63-pound, 13-ounce largemouth at the Wild Card, beating Jesse Tacoronte, whose catch weighed in at 59 pounds, 11 ounces, to earn the last of the 56 spots in the 2014 Classic on Lake Guntersville in Alabama.
After a successful season on the B.A.S.S. Open Tour, Morgenthaler qualified earlier this fall to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series.
“I’ve been very fortunate this year,” Morgenthaler said in a statement. “I’ve fished pretty well on the Bassmaster Open schedule this year and have been able to get into the Elites, but this win is the icing on the cake. I had two goals for the year. One was to qualify for the Elites, and the secondary goal was to make the Bassmaster Classic. I never would’ve dreamed that I’d accomplish both of them."
Morgenthaler qualified to fish the Classic in 2003, 2005 and 2006; fished the Forrest Wood Cup in 2007; and competed in the prestigious Toyota Texas Bass Classic in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. He has racked up nearly $800,000 in tournament winnings in 10 years of competitive angling, but the Wild Card victory is one of the most important of his career.
Morgenthaler will fish the 2014 Classic Feb. 21-23 on Lake Guntersville in Alabama.