UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Pickwick Lake

True Sportsmanship

True Sportsmanship
Tennessee River ledges aren't the only fishing spots that get crowded. The sprawling grass flats on the Potomac also see their fair share of boats.

(Editor’s Note: Greg Lahr is a BFL angler out of the Piedmont Division. Lahr would like to share this story of sportsmanship on the water that he witnessed at the recent Regional on the Potomac River. The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.)

In recent years it seems I’ve read an increasing number of stories about bass anglers and their lack of common courtesy: hole-jumping, waypoint-stealing, cutting off other anglers – you get the picture. With that in mind, I want to relate an incident that happened to me during the 2015 BFL Regional on the Potomac River.

If you haven’t heard or had a chance to fish it, the Potomac fishes very tough for a number of reasons, and my dismal practice there prior to the Regional was verification. I pre-fished about 150 miles of the river and backwater over three days and could only find one area that I thought was “active.” Needless to say, my expectations for the tournament were not that positive.

Like any determined angler, however, I decided to put my head down, run to my little area and swing for the fence. After all, it was the regional and a ticket to the All-American was on the line. Nobody was more surprised than I when I came in the first day with a 13.07-pound sack that had me sitting in fifth place! My No. 1 fishing goal has been to make the All-American and here, for the second year in a row, I was in a good position to make that happen.

This is where my story really begins. During that first day I noticed another angler who was fishing the same small marina area. We seemed to be on different patterns so I barely took notice of him at first. I was a little worried when I realized he watched me catch a 5-pounder, and I was positive he heard my co-angler and me high-fiving when I caught a 7-pounder. It’s hard to be quiet when a bass that size goes in the livewell! After a while we ended up close enough to exchange hellos and a bit of chitchat, but that was it. Then we were off to the weigh-in.

The next morning as I was waiting to blast off another angler floated close to me and we began a conversation about our rigs. I didn’t recognize him at first. He then told me he was the angler I spoke to the day before, and informed me he was only able to bring in a small limit that had him in 34th place. When I told him I was in 5th place he didn’t skip a beat and said: “Dude, that’s your water. I won’t go near that marina. Go get ’em. Good luck!”

Keep in mind I’d never met this guy before, and until that first day I had never laid eyes on him. All he knew was that I was in a great position and the best way he could help me was to stay out of my way. If he had been one of those fishermen that we hear about nowadays in so many negative ways, I would have expected him to race me to the sweet spot at the marina. But he didn’t…

I did see him during the second day, but he stayed far from my spots and fished a completely different pattern. I’d like to end this tale by telling you I sacked up another 13 pounds, but the Potomac tides got me and, for the second year in a row, I missed my goal. So be it; that’s fishing, but the big story of the tournament for me was the sportsmanship I witnessed. Every time I hear somebody put down a bass fisherman, I’ll remember that day and how it gave me a new appreciation and greater love for the game of competitive bass fishing.

Gary D’Angelo of Woodbine, Md.: Thank you for your display of ethics and sportsmanship, and for being one of the good guys. I look forward to the day when we again compete with the same show of respect for each other, and honoring the unwritten rules of our sport…the way it was meant to be.

Tags: greg-lahr  blog 

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