UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Holloway handles the Potomac, leads opening round

Holloway handles the Potomac, leads opening round
Pro Kenny Holloway of Eatonton, Ga., caught a 10-bass limit weighing 33 pounds, 7 ounces to lead day one of the Stren Series Northeast Division event on the Potomac River.

LA PLATA, Md. - All week the anglers have been catching fish in the grass, but Kenny Holloway is doing it differently. He aimed his jig at the trees to gain the opening-round pro lead in Stren Series Northeast Division competition at the Potomac River.

While he caught the week's heaviest sack Thursday - a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces - and leads with a two-day weight of 33-7, the pro from Eatonton, Ga., has paid the price for throwing his baits into the woods.

"The fish I'm catching are buried up in the trees. I lost or broke off six good fish today," Holloway said. "If you touch any limbs up in there, it feels like you're touching a piece of concrete. It's amazing."

The reason for the rough texture on the laydowns that Holloway is fishing is barnacles, which attach themselves to everything below the surface, like submerged wood, on the Potomac. While it provides excellent cover for some big bass, it wreaks havoc on fishing line.

"I was using 25-pound Berkley Big Game monofilament line, and it breaks like thread when it gets hooked on those barnacles," Holloway said. "I'm going to try to come up with some 30-pound mono for tomorrow, but to be honest, I don't think anything is going to hold up in there. It's like razor blades."

Holloway said he caught four of his fish Thursday on a lightweight jig tipped with a Zoom Ultravibe Speed Craw trailer which, he says, makes the bait look like it's swimming over submerged branches, eliciting a reaction bite from the muddy-water largemouths. The area he's fishing is tucked way into the back of a creek, which is somewhat of a departure from some other top pros who are fishing grass mats closer to the main channel. The tides, which have bedeviled some pros and benefited others, had little effect on Holloway's fishing spot other than that he had to be ready when the water started moving and the fish started biting.

"It's a good area. It's been a little crowded, but it keeps holding up," he said. "The fish were biting when I left there today, and they're not getting any smaller. So I'm ready to go."

Still, he's worried about all those barnacles. Thursday, he tried switching to 80-pound braided line to eliminate break-offs, but he doesn't like the feel of it when fishing laydowns. So he's hoping for a little help from Mother Nature Friday.

"I understand we're supposed to get some clouds tomorrow, which would be nice," he said. "If I could get those fish to come out of that cover and those barnacles to take the bait, my goodness, that could really change things."

Hoskings second

Mike Hoskings of Dumfries, Va., placed second in the Pro Division with an opening-round weight of 30 pounds, 9 ounces.

"I'm catching them all off the grass, flipping a jig," he said.

What kind of jig?

"A handmade jig, 3/8-ounce, black and blue," he said, and then added, "You know, that is a complete lie."

Pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., caught the third-heaviest weight in the opening round, 30 pounds even.Lefebre third, feeling confident

Former Wal-Mart FLW Tour pro winner Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., caught the third-heaviest weight in the opening round, 30 pounds even, and felt he could have snagged even more.

"I could have had more than that today," laughed Lefebre, who caught five bass weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces Thursday but said he laid off his fish after 9:30. "I'm feeling confident because I made the cut in an area I found on the last day of practice, and it's an area where I think I can win. Plus, I've been fishing in a crowd, and I've been able to just go in there and catch them. The main thing is that I had a morning buzzbait thing figured out in practice, and I haven't even done it yet during the tournament. Every one that I've caught on a buzzbait has been a giant, and I haven't used it yet. So I'm excited about that."

As it was, Lefebre said he caught his fish on a prototype Mizmo bait that he designed himself. It was the same bait that led him to a fourth-place finish in last month's Northeast Division contest at Lake Erie.

"So this'll be back-to-back tournaments making the cut on that bait, which is nice," he said.

George Acord Jr. of Lancaster, Pa., grabbed fourth place for the pros with a two-day weight of 28 pounds, 9 ounces.Acord on the move for fourth

George Acord Jr. of Lancaster, Pa., grabbed fourth place for the pros with a two-day weight of 28 pounds, 9 ounces. He caught the second-heaviest stringer Thursday, which weighed 18-3.

"I just found some fish in the grass in practice. I didn't think they were that big," he said. "I just thought they were decent fish."

Acord said he flipped plastics in water no deeper than 4 feet, but he had to move around a bit to follow the fish with the tide.

"It's not an exact thing. They were actually at their high-tide location at low tide, and then they started moving around," he said. "But I was definitely getting a lot of bites. I probably caught three limits today."

Pro David Borodziuk of Audubon Park, N.J., made the cut in fifth place with an opening-round weight of 27 pounds, 12 ounces.Borodziuk fifth

Pro David Borodziuk of Audubon Park, N.J., made the cut in fifth place with an opening-round weight of 27 pounds, 12 ounces. He caught a limit weighing 15-6 Thursday, including a 5-pound kicker largemouth.

Rest of the best

The top 20 pros made the cut into the two-day final round starting Friday. The cut weight settled at 25 pounds, 4 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 pros of the opening round at the Potomac River:

6th: Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., 27-11
7th: David Butenewicz of Monroeville, N.J., 27-10
8th: Eddie Griggs of Richmond, Va., 27-9 (day-one leader)
9th: Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., 27-6
10th: J.T. Kenney of Daytona Beach, Fla., 27-6

Each of the top 10 pros - in fact, the top 20 - caught limits both days of the opening round.

Gary Cossaboom of Winchester, Ontario, earned $650 for the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 6-pound largemouth bass.

Butch Zadlo of Boone, N.C., took top honors in the Co-angler Division thanks to an opening-round total weight of 23 pounds, 13 ounces.Zadlo tops co-anglers

Butch Zadlo of Boone, N.C., took top honors in the Co-angler Division thanks to an opening-round total weight of 23 pounds, 13 ounces. He caught a limit weighing 12 pounds Thursday.

"I've had some great partners the last two days," said Zadlo, who fished with pros Kenney on day one and Christopher Sumanksy on day two. "I got to fish with J.T. Kenney yesterday and he taught me how to flip grass mats. That's something I always wanted to learn but never really had the chance. It's amazing what you can learn from these guys."

Zadlo said he caught his fish Thursday on a Lucky Craft RC 1.5 and a jig thrown around laydowns.

Kenneth Hoffman of Scotia, N.Y., placed second for the co-anglers with an opening-round weight of 21 pounds, 14 ounces.

Co-angler Ryan Bowman of Seneca, S.C., earned third place with a weight of 21 pounds, 12 ounces.

Day-one leader Mark Condron of Wilton, Conn., qualified in fourth place with a weight of 21 pounds, 2 ounces.

Shane Lehew of Charlotte, N.C., rounded out the top five co-anglers with a weight of 20 pounds, 13 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers to make the cut at the Potomac River:

6th: Gilbert White of Accokeek, Md., 19-2
7th: James Seay of Richmond, Va., 18-8
8th: Walter Whitman of Greensboro, N.C., 18-7
9th: Michael Burchett of Pulaski, Va., 18-6
10th: Barton Wines of Warrenton, Va., 17-11

Larry Church of Keysville, Va., earned $230 for the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 12-ounce largemouth bass.

The top 20 co-anglers advance into the next round. The co-angler cut weight settled at 14 pounds, 14 ounces.

Into the cut

Day three of Northeast Division competition at the Potomac River begins as the semifinal-round field of 20 boats takes off from Smallwood State Park near La Plata at 6:30 a.m. Eastern time. Anglers' weights are reset to zero for Friday, and winners in both fields are determined by the heaviest accumulated weight over the next two days.

Friday's weigh-in begins at 4 p.m. Eastern time at the Wal-Mart store located at 40 Drury Road in La Plata.

On the Web

For fishing fans unable to attend the Stren Northeast tournament taking place this week in Maryland, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, a real-time video look at the daily weigh-ins. Just access the online application during weigh-in hours to keep tabs on your favorite anglers.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2006-08-16-potomac-river 

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