CHARLES COUNTY, Md. – Boater Joseph Thompson of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, took the early lead Thursday at the 36th annual T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American tournament on the Potomac River presented by General Tire with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 8 ounces. Right behind Thompson in second place is Doug Thompson of Mabelvale, Arkansas, who brought five bass to the scale good for 15 pounds, 15 ounces.
The T-H Marine BFL All-American features a field of the top 98 boaters and co-anglers from across the 24-division BFL circuit competing for a grand prize of up to $120,000 in the Boater Division and $60,000 in the Co-angler Division. The top boater will receive an invitation to compete for bass fishing’s most coveted prize – the 2019 FLW Cup – Aug. 9-11 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Thompson said he fished five key spots today, three of which he rotated through for the majority of his day.
“I went to my first spot that I had really big fish at in pre-practice,” said Thompson, who has six career top-10 finishes and one win on the Potomac River in BFL competition. “I spent a lot of time trying to make that spot happen and it just didn’t.
“I left and bounced around the river. I pretty much stuck to my main spots and took what the river gave me,” continued Thompson. “There’s a variety of different patterns and things going on.”
Thompson said that he caught around 12 to 15 keepers, adding that he had a limit fairly early and was culling by 9 a.m.
“I culled probably three or four times, but just for ounces – except for the couple of big ones I caught. I had two over 4 pounds,” said Thompson.
Thompson went on to say that he feels good about what awaits him on Friday.
“My two primary spots I left, and I feel that there’s still fish there. They’re places I hardly ever see anybody fish,” said Thompson. “I was only able to get one today at my big fish spot – it’s gnarly, gnarly stuff. I’m going to start there tomorrow and see if I can get a big one right away, then run around and try to find 2½-pounders. It’s hard to get a big fish right now.”
The top 10 boaters after day one on the Potomac River are:
1st: Joseph Thompson, Coatesville, Pa., five bass, 16-8
2nd: Doug Thompson, Mabelvale, Ark., five bass, 15-15
3rd: Doug Ruster, New Palestine, Ind., five bass, 15-11
4th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., five bass, 15-10
5th: Kip Carter, Mansfield, Ga., five bass, 15-1
6th: Jason Crone, Kalispell, Mont., five bass, 14-11
7th: Ronnie Baker, Providence Forge, Va., five bass, 14-8
8th: Jason Grape, Attalla, Ala., five bass, 14-3
9th: Tommy Williams, Shepherdsville, Ky., five bass, 13-13
9th: Matt Stanley, Alexandria, Tenn., five bass, 13-13
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Overall, there were 218 bass weighing 565 pounds, 2 ounces, caught by 49 boaters Thursday. The catch included 37 five-bass limits.
Ben Dacey of Chesterfield, Virginia, leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces, followed by Zach Barnes of Chickamauga, Georgia, in second place with five bass weighing 15 pounds even.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Ben Dacey, Chesterfield, Va., five bass, 15-14
2nd: Zach Barnes, Chickamauga, Ga., five bass, 15-0
2nd: Michael Bahnweg, Union Dale, Pa., five bass, 15-0
4th: Randy Paquette, Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 14-15
5th: Todd Blakeman, Chatham, Ill., five bass, 14-7
6th: Tristen Trull, Mt. Holly, N.C., five bass, 13-14
7th: Levi Crossway, Jacksonville, Fla., five bass, 13-9
7th: Brandon Ackerson, Afton, Okla., five bass, 13-9
9th: Wayne Miller, Morgantown, Ky., five bass, 12-14
10th: Willis Kennedy III, Flomaton, Ala., five bass, 12-11
Overall, there were 163 bass weighing 404 pounds, 6 ounces, caught by 46 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 18 five-bass limits.
BFL All-American competitors will take off from Smallwood State Park, located at 2750 Sweden Point Road in Marbury, at 7 a.m. EDT each morning. Friday’s weigh-in, May 31, will be held at the park beginning at 3:30 p.m. Saturday’s Championship weigh-in, June 1, will also be held at the park, but will begin at 4 p.m.
The 2019 BFL All-American is being hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners and Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism.
Television coverage of the 2019 BFL All-American on the Potomac River will premiere in the fall of 2019. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs each Saturday night at 7 p.m. EST and is broadcast to more than 63 million cable, satellite and telecommunications households in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean on the World Fishing Network (WFN), the leading entertainment destination and digital resource for anglers throughout North America. FLW television is also distributed internationally to FLW partner countries, including Canada, China, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe.
The popular FLW Live on-the-water program will air Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1 of the BFL All-American. FLW Live features live action from the boats of the tournament’s top anglers each day. Host Travis Moran will be joined by FLW Tour pro Luke Dunkin to break down the extended action each day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On-the-water broadcasts will be live streamed on FLWFishing.com, the FLW YouTube channel and the FLW Facebook page.
The 2019 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. The 2019 BFL All-American will be held May 30-June 1 at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland, and is hosted by the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism and the Commissioners of Charles County. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2019 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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