Kemp Starts Strong on Potomac

Catching a big fish not long into his day propelled William Kemp to the day-one lead.

MARBURY, Md. - Starting his day with a big fish gave William Kemp a ton of confidence and no doubt helped him relax en route to topping day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the Potomac River. Kemp, who caught a limit that weighed 19 pounds, 2 ounces, reported a rather lackluster morning bite. However, the bites he got were quality fish - including the 6-10 that bit at 8 a.m. and ended up earning Big Bass honors for the Scotland Neck, N.C. pro. "Overall, it was pretty slow this morning and the fish bit better this afternoon," Kemp said. "I just caught William Kemp caught this 6-pound, 10-ounce bass at 8 a.m.a couple of key big ones this morning. It was a slow bite, but I got the right bites." His big fish, he said, energized him and filled him with enthusiasm that was "through the roof." Kemp said that his morning fish bit Zoom Brush Hogs that he was flipping into grass. Later in the day, the fish seemed to become more interested in feeding. "It just seemed that the fish switched up when the tide got higher - they got a little more active and aggressive," he said. Flipping Brush Hogs produced William KempKemp fished within 15 miles of the takeoff site in Mattawoman Creek. He mostly targeted submerged grass. Success on day one was particularly rewarding for Kemp, given the challenging conditions he faced in the days preceding he tournament. "My practice was pretty slow," he said. "I only have a few places where I can get bit. It was just staying with them and beating them out. "This afternoon when the fish became more active, it became fun. But this morning it was just a grind." Kemp said the cloud cover that settled in by midday was a welcome respite from the brutally hot, still conditions he experienced in practice. "Those clouds came in and cooled it off a little bit," he said. "I think that did help the bite." Wilder winds up in second Second-place pro Gregory Wilder, of Brooklyn Park, Md. said his limit catch of 17-4 was no cake walk; in fact, it was a one-here, one-there kind of deal. Wilder noted that two key bites - one fish over 5 pounds, another over 4 - were the game-changers. "I feel blessed to catch what I had today," Wilder said. "My practice was terrible. I never really found the big fish in practice, so I'm just happy I was able to put together two good bites today." Wilder said he caught fish on both tide stages. On low water, he caught them on a buzzbait, while a Chatterbait worked best on high water. The day's alignment of tide stage and early cloud cover, Wilder said, lined up favorably for him. "I think the big thing was having low light and the low water in the morning," he said. "This draws fish to the outside edges." Shelton takes third Two things were impossible to miss when William Shelton III crossed the weigh-in stage - his Despite the discomfort of a catfish spine injury to his left foot, William Shelton III still managed to reach third on day one.beaming pride over a solid stringer of 16 pounds, 5 ounces that took third place, and the white bandage wrapped around his bare left foot. "Who said fishing isn't a contact sport," the Virginia pro joked. "I got stabbed by a catfish spine and spent last night in the emergency room. My foot was twice as swollen as it is now." He said he junk-fished through the day and took advantage of two windows of opportunity. He worked a variety of habitats, but noted that hard cover was a key element when the tide got high. "It was basically the last hour of the outgoing and the first hour of the incoming tide," Shelton said. "These periods were feeding frenzies and then the rest of the day was mostly reaction bites." Fourth for Grike Fouth-place pro Robert Grike, of Dumfries, Va. sacked up a limit that went 15-14. For him, the key was running the tide to stay on his ideal window - essentially, the latter end of the outgoing tide and then the beginning of the incoming. "I kind of worked the tides to my favor," he said. Grike caught his fish by targeting hard cover in the morning and grass in the afternoon on high water. He caught his fish on shaky heads on hard cover and, in the grass, he flipped a Texas-rigged plastic on a 1-ounce weight into milfoil. He also fish a flick shake worm around the milfoil. Baumgardner places fifth North Carolina pro Chris Baumgardner caught keepers on high and low water.Chris Baumgardner, of Gastonia, N.C., reported catching about 20 fish scattered throughout the day's tide schedule. He had spots for low water and others for high water. Combining the effort yielded a limit that weighed 15-1. Baumgardner said he caught most of his fish on Chatterbaits and Zoom Horny Toads. "The fish are grouped up and when you get around them, you can catch them," he said. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series Cal Delta event:Sixth-place pro Omari Navies shows off his catch. 6th: Omari Navies, of Fort Washington, Md., 14-14 7th: Jim Dillard, of West Monroe, La., 14-10 7th: Harold J. Marietta, of Hunker, Pa., 14-10 7th: Chris Novack, of Mansfield Center, Ct., 14-10 10th: Adrian Avena, of Vineland, NJ, 14-7 10th: Shayne Berlo, of Fairfax, Va., 14-7 10th: Bryan Schmitt, of Deale, Md., 14-7 Flipping and finesse key for top co-angler Crowder In the co-angler division, Kermit Crowder, of Matoaca, Va. leads the field with 15-8. For him, the action started when the early morning's falling tide turned and started its upward movement. Top co-angler Kermit Crowder said specific casts to targeted cover was important to his success."I caught all of my fish on the incoming tide," he said. "I caught all throughout the rest of the say and that kept it interesting." Out of courtesy to his pro partner, Crowder declined to reveal where he caught his fish, but he did note that a particular type of habitat proved consistently productive. "It was very precise; very technique-specific," Crowder said he ended up catching his keepers on flipping baits and finesse rigs. He missed a couple of early opportunities when big fish blew up on his topwater frog. Michael Bahnweg, of Union Dale, Pa. and Jeremy Ives, of Burgaw, N.C. tied for second with 14-13 apiece. In fourth place, Johnny Clark, of Fredericksburg, Va. had 14-9 and fifth place went to Gabriel Scott, of, Ruckersville, Va., who had 13-13. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series Cal Delta event:Third-place co-angler Jeremy Ives caught the day 6th: Ben Wright, of Peru, N.Y., 13-10 7th: Paul Kimball, of Philadelphia, Pa., 13-7 8th: Doug Caldwell, of Kane, Pa., 12-15 9th: Marvin Reese, of Gwynn Oak, Md., 12-13 10th: Dave Nobles, of Canisteo, N.Y., 12-4 Ives took Big Bass honors with his 7-pound, 7-ounce largemouth. Day two of Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on the Potomac River continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:00 a.m. (Eastern) at Smallwood State Park located at 2750 Sweden Point Road in Marbury, Md.

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Morgan Maintains His Lead

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Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

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Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

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Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

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Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

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Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

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Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

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Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

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Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

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Top 10 Patterns from Lake Murray

As contestants in the FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray discovered last week, fishing the blueback herring spawn can be backbreaking work. All that stooping over to grab a different rig to cast at bass busting their favorite forage, and then quickly straightening, is hard on the old spinal column. Flexing up and down is what it took to contend in the championship, however, as bass couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted their grub served on the surface or closer to the bottom. Typically, the collegians were fan-casting Carolina rigs, umbrella rigs, hard jerkbaits and even crankbaits to likely looking points and broad flats. Sometimes they caught fish with such random prospecting, but perhaps more bass were taken when anglers found themselves within casting distance of blowups and were quick enough to grab a soft jerkbait rig or topwater lure and virtually spoon-feed it to the fish. READ MORE »