UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

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Local Larry leads TBF Mid-Atlantic in Delaware

Local Larry leads TBF Mid-Atlantic in Delaware
Larry Taylor claimed the overall lead as well as the Delaware team lead on day one with his limit of bass that weighed 12 pounds, 6 ounces.

SEAFORD, Del. - The tidal waters of the Nanticoke River made for feast-or-famine fishing on opening day of The Bass Federation's Mid-Atlantic Divisional championship in Delaware. While all 84 competitors weighed in at least one bass, some state leaders reported catching just a handful of keepers while others talked of multiple limits.

On the overall leaderboard, local Larry Taylor Jr. of the Delaware team jumped out to an early lead with a day-one five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 6 ounces. That leads the 12-angler Delaware team by 2 pounds, 10 ounces and the overall weight list by 1 pound, 1 ounce.

This week's divisional features 12 competitors - six boaters and six nonboaters - on seven teams, with teams representing Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. While all 84 competitors would no doubt relish being atop the overall weight list, the real competition at TBF divisionals is among the 12 competitors on each state team. At the conclusion of this week's event, the No. 1 finisher from each team advances to the 2008 TBF National Championship as a boater while each team's runner-up advances to the nationals as a co-angler.

Competition among the seven teams is also important, as tournament cash awards are given to the teams that catch the most weight over the tournament's three days. Currently, the Delaware team leads the charge with a day-one haul of 87 pounds, 11 ounces.

Taylor's local finesse works well on day one

As for Taylor, his local knowledge of the Nanticoke tides - he is a resident of Seaford, where the tournament is based - no doubt helped him as he climbed to the top of his team rankings as well as the overall list. However, count him among the people calling it a tough bite today, as he reported catching only nine keepers en route to weighing in his 12-6 limit.

"I wasn't getting a lot of bites, but the bites I got were quality fish," Taylor said. "But it was still tough today. I didn't catch many keepers."

Taylor relied on finesse fishing to catch his bass today, a technique he says he used while practicing this past Sunday.

"Basically, I was finesse fishing," he said of his day-one method. "I just laid everything down today. I did the same thing in practice - I fished a little body of water on Sunday, and I stuck two fish over 4 pounds and left it. I haven't prefished since."

Taylor may not have needed as much practice time as other competitors, as he says he fishes Nanticoke every weekend if he gets the chance.

"I live right on the river up in Seaford," he said. "I'm out here a lot."

Kramer adjusts to lead D.C. team

Sitting in the second spot on the overall list but first on the Washington, D.C., team is William Kramer with a day-one catch of 11 pounds, 5 ounces.No. 2 on the overall list and No. 1 on the Washington, D.C., team is William Kramer of Gaithersburg, Md., with a five-bass catch weighing 11 pounds, 5 ounces. He trails overall leader Taylor by just over a pound but leads his team by a 2-pound, 3-ounce margin.

"My official game plan fell completely apart, so I went and I did what I am best at, and it worked out for me," said Kramer, who is competing this week as a boater.

Like Taylor, Kramer found success today thanks in large part to his familiarity with the waterway.

"I know this place," he said. "I fish it a bunch, and it worked out for me."

Naturally, Kramer said the tide played a large role in his fish-catching ability today.

"The tide is a big influence," he said. "You need the last two hours outgoing and the first two hours incoming to really catch them good. That's essentially when I left my primary spot, and it really helped."

Kramer said he plans to stick with the new game plan again tomorrow.

Sabbi takes solid Pennsylvania lead

With a day-one catch of 11 pounds, Michael Sabbi took a solid 3-pound, 8-ounce lead on the Pennsylvania team.Leading the Pennsylvania team by 3 pounds, 8 ounces is Michael Sabbi of Downingtown, Pa., with a day-one catch of five bass weighing 11 pounds. That catch put him in third on the overall weight list behind Taylor and Kramer.

"I just stuck with the game plan," Sabbi said of his day-one strategy. "I was boat No. 1, so I said I'm going to go as far back in the creek as possible and work my way through the competition, and if I have to do a milk run, I'll do it. But things change."

Indeed, Sabbi, competing this week as a boater, said when the bite finally turned on this morning, he saw his fortunes take a turn for the better.

"We didn't catch anything until 9:30, and just all of a sudden, things changed, and that's the way tidal water is," he said. "Suddenly they started biting for us. I went back to trees four, five and six times, and that's when it started to work."

Sabbi's persistence paid off in the form of a small number of keepers, but he says he only lost one fish, and the ones he boated were solid. He caught his bass today on a jig, saying baits with a crayfish imitation was the key to catching Nanticoke bass.

"That's what these fish are eating right now is crayfish for the most part," he said. "I think each day is going to be tougher because there is a lot of pressure on them this week. When I prefished Friday, I had a lot of bites, and I shook off most of them. I'm not getting nearly as many bites now, but I had the water to myself then."

Regardless of whether or not his crayfish-in-the-trees pattern works out tomorrow, Sabbi said he's covered and that he is prepared to do whatever it takes to stay in contention.

"I have backup plans," he said. "If I have to do a milk run, I will, but hopefully I can stick with it. If not, I have a backup plan."

Woodward holds 1-ounce New Jersey lead

William Woodward leads the tight New Jersey race by only 1 ounce thanks to his day-one catch of 10 pounds, 1 ounce.Holding today's narrowest lead is William Woodward of Morrisville, Pa., with a scant 1-ounce lead over Joseph Sancho on the New Jersey state team. Woodward caught a limit of five today weighing 10 pounds, 1 ounce to narrowly edge past Sancho's 10-pound catch.

Woodward took the lead - and the No. 4 spot on the overall leaderboard - on an area he found while fishing the area earlier in the year.

"I've been out here over the summer a couple of times, and it's a spot that has the largest concentration of fish that I found," Woodward said, adding that they are quality fish. "I'm only catching them in one area."

Woodward is competing this week as a boater and says he caught only six keepers today.

"I'm just fishing slow, basically," he said. "Hopefully tomorrow's going to be the same, but better."

This is his fifth trip to a divisional championship, though he has yet to move on to the nationals.

"It's good to be in the lead," he said. "It's easier that way, I think."

Hanshaw on top in West Virginia

Charlie Hanshaw scored a 1-pound, 5-ounce lead on the West Virginia team with his day-one catch of 9 pounds, 13 ounces.Leading the West Virginia team is Charlie Hanshaw of Sissonville, W. Va., with a day-one catch of five bass weighing 9 pounds, 13 ounces. That weight afforded him a 1-pound, 5-ounce lead on the West Virginia team and put him in sixth place overall.

"I'm using a slow presentation, fishing really close to targets and just picking everything apart I can," said Hanshaw, adding that his day-one baits of choice were a jig and Senkos. "It's really the same as in practice - there's a lot of pressure in the small areas."

Despite the fishing pressure, Hanshaw still caught a respectable seven to eight keepers today.

"It seems like it's getting a little tougher each day," said Hanshaw, a boater, of Nanticoke fishing. "There are lots of people in the same vicinity."

This is Hanshaw's first appearance on the West Virginia state team, and he's hoping to extend his day-one success into a national-championship slot.

"I feel pretty good about it," he said. "Hopefully I can stay consistent. I tried to back off from what I was fishing today and save it for the next two days, so we'll see."

Williams holds slim Virginia lead

Robert Williams said he caught as many as 20 bass today, and he leads the Virginia team by 6 ounces with his day-one limit of 9 pounds, 5 ounces.Despite catching a reported four limits today, Robert Williams of Washington, D.C., leads the Virginia state team by only 6 ounces, as he bested William Roberts with a day-one catch of five bass that weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces.

"I did not catch any keepers until about 9 o'clock, and then I caught about four limits after that," said Williams, who is competing this week as a boater. "I'll use the same game plan tomorrow; I'll just be a little more patient, probably."

Williams said he was catching his bass today on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and soft plastics, with buzzbaits being the lure of choice in the morning followed by plastics in the afternoon.

About 10 years ago, Williams competed in a divisional as a member of the New Jersey state team, and he said he's enjoying being back in the action on a different team.

"It's a great thing to be able to come back 10 years later and fish another state team and be at the top," he said.

Mahan catches plenty of keepers and claims Maryland lead

Howard Mahan caught a ton of keepers today but weighed in only 8 pounds, 9 ounces, still plenty to lead the Maryland team.With a limit weighing 8 pounds, 9 ounces, Howard Mahan of Oxford, Pa., leads the Maryland team by 10 ounces. Mahan was among the anglers reporting a prolific catch today, though he says they were mostly small ones.

"I caught a lot of small keepers," Mahan said, estimating he caught probably 15 to 18 over the course of the day. "Most of my fish are coming on a jig. Fishing was tight today. I caught a lot of small fish mostly on main-river wood with a jig."

Mahan said the tide affected his fishing largely due to timing.

"A lot of stuff that you hit on one side is dry on another," he said. "You've got to run the tide and take advantage of the outgoing tide as much as you can. Tomorrow, the tide will be a little better. This place seems to be a lot better on the outgoing water."

Mahan said his catch would have been heavier today had he not gone to his nonboater's spot first. That, he says, is a change he will put into effect tomorrow.

"I let my partner go to his fish in the morning just to get it out of the way because he said it would get crowded," Mahan said. "That was a mistake, because by the time we got to my fish, I didn't have a good tide, so we'll make that adjustment tomorrow."

Host state takes solid lead among the teams

In the race among the teams, the host state of Delaware is solidly No. 1 after opening day with a combined catch of 87 pounds, 11 ounces. New Jersey currently sits in second with 75-4, followed by Virginia in third with 74-12. The Washington, D.C., team caught 70 pounds, 2 ounces to land in fourth, and rounding out the seven teams are Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

Competition continues tomorrow

Day two of TBF Mid-Atlantic Divisional competition will begin tomorrow with a 7 a.m. takeoff from Phillips Landing in Seaford. Tomorrow's weigh-in will also be held there at 3 p.m.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  headline-story  2007-09-26-divisional-nanticoke-river 

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