UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

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Life on Potomac means battle to finish

Life on Potomac means battle to finish
Leading the pro division after day two is Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa. with 39 pounds. He has a 1 pound, 1 ounce lead heading into Saturday's final round of the Stren Series Northern Division tournament on the Potomac River.

MARBURY, Md. - In first place is a pro who began pre-fishing here last week. In second place is a pro who admittedly is flying by the seat of his pants.

And that's all you need to know about the Stren Series Northern Division season opener on the Potomac River, where not only can anything happen, it already has.

Consider that the current second-place pro, Chris Dillow was in 18th place yesterday and that the current co-angler leader, David Wilder, was 31st . That will happen when behemoth bass are hard to come by and angler after angler steps to the scales with cookie cutter fish.

Yet some nice largemouths have been caught. Today's Folgers Big Bass, taken by rookie Adam Janerella of Jersey Shore, Pa., checked in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce. There have been three 6-pounders as well. But after that it's been a parade of fives and fours and so on down the line, making this tournament anybody's to win as it heads for tomorrow's final round.

On the pro side, Dave Lefebre has a 1 pound, 1 ounce lead over Dillow. Separating 1st from 10th places are 5 pounds, 11 ounces. Sean Stepp of Staffor, Va. and Chris Baumgartner of Gastonia, N.C. are tied for ninth with 33 pounds, 5 ounces. Eight ounces ahead of them in eighth place is Nick Gainey with 33 pounds, 8 ounces.

Shed a tear for Michael Hall of Annandale, Va., who missed the top 10 cut by one ounce. But let's hear it for James Way of Tarboro, N.C. who cashed the 40th and final check with 27 pounds, 8 ounces, one ounce better than both Brandon Coulter of Knoxville, Tenn. and Michael Draper of Glen Burnie, Md.

It's been that kind of tournament, and don't surpised if tomorrow the 10th place pro and 10th place co-angler both rally to win their respective divisions.

That's life on the Potomac.

Lefebre puts first place on ice

We're not speaking metaphorically. Lefebre literally iced his catch today after taking a 1-pound penalty yesterday for bringing two dead bass to the weigh-in.

"I had 10 pounds of ice with me today," said the Union City, Penn. pro., who won a Stren Series tournament here in 2006. "That kept them going all day."

Lefebre himself kept going all day after big bass got scarce on his best spot. But he has numerous others where he's caught fish during practice, but some are 20 miles south and others are 30 miles north. That's a lot of water to cover.

"And I haven't even been up north yet," Lefebre said. "I went part of the way yesterday and there were 15 boats in my primary area, but they weren't where I want to fish. So I'm a little excited about that."

One fish here and one fish there is Lefebre's style. He isn't one to sit on a spot waiting for the bite to turn on. Today, however, he said he ran his trolling motor for almost 8 hours - most unusual.

As for his day two catch of 20 pounds, 7 ounces, which brings his tournament total to 39 pounds, Lefebre said, "It could have been better, but I won't complain. I had my chances yesterday to blow itChris DIllow of Waynesboro, Va. is in second place in the pro division with 37 pounds, 15 ounces. wide open and give myself a break, now I'm just going to have to catch everything I can tomorrow."

Dillow goes in quest of the perfect jig

Today Chris Dillow jumped from 18th place to second, a monumental leap anywhere but on the Potomac. The Waynesboro, Va. pro said he never doubted it was possible.

"I had my fish by 11:15," Dillow said, "and they all came on my homemade jig."

Which he calls Dillow's Perfect Jig. But perfection in tournament bass fishing is measured by production, and if Dillow can again bring the heaviest bag to the scale tomorrow he might win this thing. Today's bag weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces, and only Lefebre and Stepp (20-12) came close.

Asked if his spots will produce tomorrow, Dillow said, "I have no idea. Lord willing I'll catch 'em, but you never know. I'm winging it here. I haven't pre-fished. I just showed up for the tournament."

But maybe that's how Dillow works best. Last year at this tournament he signed up as a co-angler but there weren't enough pros and he was put on a waiting list. Then another co-angler signed up and DIllow decided to turn pro at the last minute so he could fish rather than sit on shore.

Mike Hicks of Goochland, Va. is third in the pro division with 37 pounds, 8 ounces. Next thing you know, Dillow's hoisting a first-place check for $25,000 over his head.

"It will be tough to beat the favorite," he said of Lefebre. "But you never know. Anything is possible."

Hicks is determined to win

Yesterday Mike Hicks caught all of his weigh fish but for one in one spot. He went there today, fished until 12:30 p.m., and caught two.

"I was hoping the tide would get right," Hicks explained. "It just never panned out and I finally left. I probably burned 50 gallons of gas today. I'm runnin' and gunnin' all over the place."

Wood, rocks and lily pads have all produced fish for Goochland, Va. pro, whose only Stren Series win came at Santee Cooper 11 years ago. He's competed on the Potomac many times as a pro but his only win here came as a co-angler.

" I'd really like to win one as a pro," he said. "I don't want second, I want first."

Chad Hicks plays the tide for fourth place

Chad Hicks said he's hitting about a dozen spots throughout the day and catching all his bass with topwater baits and with flipping worms. He said he's lost some nice fish, but so has just about everybody. All of fish have been caught on grass beds.

"I know where they're at," said the Rockville, Va. pro, whose father will start tomorrow in the number two spot on the co-angler side. " But I have to be there at the right tide."

Best tide for Hicks has been "as low as it can be." He runs upstreams to catch as much low tide as he can, the follows the sweep of the water back downstream.

"It's the most important thing here," he said.Terry Olinger of The Plains, Va. is fifth in the pro division with 36 pounds, 1 ounce.

Olinger is fifth with 36-1

Terry Olinger of The Plains, Va. said he caught 15-20 keepers today but that overall the bite was tougher.

"I caught 'em good early, then it died off, " he said.Adam Janarella of Jersey Shore, Penn. had the Folgers Big Bass of the Day at 7 pounds, 1 ounces. He also caught another nice bass to go with it.

Best of the rest

6. Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 35-3
7. Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., 34-8
8. Nick Gainey, Charleston, S.C., 33-8
9. Sean Stepp, Stafford, Va., 33-5
10. Chris Baumgardner, Gastonia, N.C., 33-5

Wilder is wild about the Potomac

David Wilder fishes the Potomac as often as he can and competes in numerous tournaments on several different circuits over the course of a year. That might explain his ability to pull a day two limit weighing 19 pounds, 9 ounces, heaviest among all co-anglers, and jump from 31st into first place heading into Saturday's final round.
Leading the co-angler division heading into the final day of competition at the Stren Series Northern Division tournament on the Potomac River is David Wilder of Baltimore, Md. with 31 pounds, 4 ounces.
"I'm from here and we fish this river 12 months a year," said the Baltimore, Md. co-angler. "Going into this I was dialed into what's happening, and you just hope to execute."

In the morning when the water is high, Wilder said he's thrown chatter baits and flipped some worms as well. But come about 10 a.m. he's switched to frogs, which have been his best bait.

He weighed 11-11 on day one after losing several big fish. Today his catch of 19-9, heaviest bag of the day among co-anglers, was anchored by a fish weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces, Folgers Big Bass of the Day on the co-angler side.

Wilder takes a 1 pound, 10 ounce lead over Claude Hicks into Saturday's finale. Five pounds, 8 ounces separates 1st from 10th places.

Wikder isn't the only co-angler to make a big leap today. Claude Hicks, father of Chad Hicks, jumped from 13th place to second with a bag weighing a 16 pounds,3 ounces.

"It will really be a treat to fish with (Chad)," Claude said of being in the top 10 along with his son.
Tomorrow, Claude goes out with Chris Dillow while Chad hooks up with Kermit Crowder.

Best of the rest

2. Claude Hicks, Rockville, Va., 29-10
3. Robert Johnson, Schuylkill Haven, Pa., 29-5
4. Kermit Crowder, Matoaca, Va., 28-8
5. Micah Frazier, Noonan, Ga., 27-13
6. Brian Wright, Fredericksburg, Va., 27-8
7. Doug Richardson, Newmarket, Ont., 26-10
8. Mike Hundley, Clarksville, Va., 26-6
9. Valeri Timofeev, East Stroudsburg, Pa., 26-2
10. Mike Branham, Alexandria, Va., 25-12

Tomorrow's weigh-in begins at 4 p.m. at the Walmart in La Plata, Md. It's free and open to the public. Prior to that, the National Guard College Fishing Tournament will have its weigh-in at 2 p.m. at Smallwood State Park. It's also free and open to the public.

Tags: vince-meyer  headline-story  2009-06-25-potomac-river 

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