UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Martin charges into first place on Potomac River

Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., shows off part of his first-place, 22-pound, 10-ounce stringer after the first day of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - With the weights relatively bunched up all day long, it appeared that the entire leaderboard would be separated by mere ounces during the first day of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River. However, that was until Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., stepped to the scales.

In short order, Martin - the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup champion and National Guard pro - simply destroyed the day's conventional wisdom, crushing the rest of the field with an amazing 22-pound, 10-ounce stringer. Even more staggering is the fact that Martin now holds a nearly 41/2-pound lead over his next closest competitor, a big advantage on the stringy Potamac River - a waterway that rarely yields bass over the 4-pound range.

"I feel great," said Martin. "I got a couple of key bites and that really helped. Anytime you can have a really comfortable lead on the first day, it's a big deal. So I'm pretty happy right now."

Martin surmised he was off to a special start when his first fish of the day weighed in at nearly 6 pounds.

"I thought it was a catfish at first," said Martin. "But when I saw it was a bass and weighed about 6 pounds, it really set the tone for the day."

Later in the day, Martin netted another largemouth weighing in at nearly 6 pounds to go with his limit - which turned out to be the only stringer to break the 20-pound barrier in either division throughout the entire day.

"It was just a blessed day," said Martin. "It's a great fishery, let's face it. The quality of the fish here are really exceptional. But that being said, I really didn't expect to come back with a 22-pound sack."

Martin said that he ran about 40 miles total, down to the south end of the river and back.

"I went to about 15 spots," he said. "Some were small places I'd hit real quick and others I'd stay longer and grind it out. Basically I was keying in on grass flats with a little bit of wood mixed in."

But so was most of the field.

"Yeah, but for me, the important thing was to understand the fishing pressure and how to react to it and make good decisions," he said.

Although the Potomac is a tricky tidal fishery, Martin said that the tides didn't factor into his game plan too much.

"The tides really aren't do-or-die for me," he said. "I was catching fish on tides I really don't like. So overall, it didn't matter too much."

What did seem to matter was Martin's lure selection. Although he wouldn't get too specific, he acknowledged that he was targeting bass with a combination of Bruiser Baits and "flipping-type creature baits" while keying in on unpressured vegetation.

"I wound up catching my two big fish on two entirely different baits," said Martin, who had his limit by around 10 a.m. "I was doing some flipping and casting. But by the end of the day, I did feel like I had something figured out with (regard) to my lure choices. I feel like I'm really dialed in right now."

And as far as tomorrow goes?

"I'm going with the same battle plan," he said. "And then I'll go with the flow and see what happens."

Rose, Baumgardner tie for second

National Guard pro Mark Rose of West Memphis, Ark., tied for second place after the first day of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River.Although Martin eventually bumped them from atop the leaderboard, the duo of National Guard pro Mark Rose and Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner shared the lead for the majority of today's weigh-in with identical catches weighing in at 18 pounds, 4 ounces.

"It was a great day," said Rose, who currently hails from West Memphis, Ark. "I grew up fishing the Mississippi River so I like fishing moving water. I had a couple of big bites today and I took advantage of the last part of the outgoing tide and first part of the incoming tide. That seemed to be the key for me today."

Rose said that, unlike many pros, he wasn't targeting vegetation exclusively.

"I'm not fishing a whole lot of grass," he said. "I'm basically pitching plastics to cover, although there is some grass involved. I started out the day using a Strike King KVD 1.5 crankbait and I got my best fish early on it. But later in the day, I switched to fishing soft plastics. It was a good day overall. Hopefully I can do it again tomorrow."

Rose said that he was pleasantly surprised by his catch totals today when all was said and done.

"I was getting plenty of bites in practice and I thought if I had a good day, I could catch maybe 15 or 16 pounds," he said. "But I was blessed to catch three 4-pounders today and that made the difference. The question is: Can I catch those big bites tomorrow?"

Like Rose, Baumgardner was also pleased with how well today went.

Snicker pros Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., finished the first day of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River tied for second place with a catch of 18 pounds, 4 ounces."It was a great day," said Baumgardner, of Gastonia, N.C. "I caught tons of fish today. My partner and I probably culled out about 100 fish. The key, though, was getting those 4-pound bites."

Baumgardner said that he targeted a major creek arm, focusing in on select grass areas to land the majority of his catch.

"I was looking for places where the shad was up in the grass and this was the only place I found that was really like that," he said. "In that area, the fish were everywhere. It was downright easy to catch them today."

Baumgardner said that he threw a combination of Zoom Speed Worms and ChatterBaits.

"I was around the right fish and just hoping I could get some 4-pounders to bite," he said. "And today they did. But tomorrow, there are no guarantees."

As far as Friday's game plan is concerned, Baumgardner said he doesn't have any plans to change things up too much.

"I'm going back to that same area tomorrow," he said. "It's really the only place around that has the type (and numbers) of fish I'm looking for."

Woods, Yamamoto share fourth place

With identical catches of 18 pounds, 1 ounce, Kenneth "Boo" Woods and Gary Yamamoto found themselves tied for fourth place overall by the end of the day.

"It was a good day," said Woods, of Hazard, Ky. "But it was also a grind. I was fishing around a lot of boats and watching other people catch fish can be frustrating at times. At one time I counted 20 other boats in one of my main areas."

Woods said that he traveled about 15 miles, targeting different outposts of submerged grass to land his catch.

"The key for me was making as many casts as I could," he said. "I mixed it up with ChatterBaits and Senkos. And I only wound up losing one fish. So it was a great day all the way around."

Pro Gary Yamamoto of Palestine, Texas, ended the first day of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River tied for fourth place.Yamamoto also had a banner day on the water after registering one of only five stringers in the Pro Division to tip the scales at the 18-pound mark.

"I had a good day," said Yamamoto, of Palestine, Texas. "I was primarily targeting boat docks and marinas because I generally don't like grass. I'd much rather fish structure."

Not surprisingly, Yamamoto threw Senkos almost exclusively to land the majority of his catch.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pros:

Hawaiian Punch pro Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La., finished the day tied for seventh place on the Potomac River.6th: Colby Schrumpf of Highland, Ill., 17-13
7th: Hawaiian Punch pro Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La., 17-12
7th: Ishama Monroe of Hughson, Calif., 17-12
9th: Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., 17-11
9th: Kellogg's pro Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas, 17-11

Jim Moynagh of Carver, Minn., won the days' Big Bass award after netting a 6-pound, 3-ounce largemouth.

For a complete list of the day's results, click here.

Hensley cruises to co-angler lead

Like Scott Martin, co-angler Nick Hensley of Cumming, Ga., took control of his division in impressive and dominating fashion after putting together a mammoth 19-pound, 5-ounce stringer - the second largest catch of the day in any division, co- or pro.

Nick Hensley of Cumming, Ga., used a 19-pound, 5-ounce stringer to grab the overall lead in the Co-angler Division during the opening round of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River."This was probably the best day of fishing I've ever had," said Hensley. "Last year was my first time ever for me on the Potomac River and I learned a lot. But I figured if I could get around grass this time, I could really catch them."

Hensley said that he basically fan-casted around grass, using a combination of swim jigs and ChatterBaits to land the majority of his catch.

Shannon Schiner of Pompano Beach, Fla., grabbed second place overall in the Co-angler Division with a total catch of 16 pounds, 13 ounces.

Third place belonged to Eddie Laster of Morton, Miss., who registered a total catch of 16 pounds, 4 ounces.

Ronnie Baker of Providence Forge, Va., snared fourth place with a catch of 15 pounds, 12 ounces; and Marvin Reese of Gwynn Oak, Md., rounded out the top-five co-anglers with a catch of 15 pounds, 11 ounces.

Darrell Stevens of Roseland, Va., finished the day in sixth place (15 pounds, 8 ounces) and won the day's Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division after netting the tournament's largest bass to date at 6 pounds, 4 ounces.

For a complete list of the day's co-angler results, click here.

Bass-fishing fans take note

FLW Tour action continues during Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. at National Harbor Marina, located at 168 National Harbor Plaza in National Harbor, Md.

Fans who can't make tomorrow's weigh-in in person can also tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time to watch live streaming video and audio of Friday's weigh-in.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2012-05-17-potomac-river 

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