MARBURY, Md. – Major League Fishing pros brought down the hammer on Day 1 of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Federal Ammunition Stop 5 Presented by Lucas Oil at the Potomac River on Thursday, with a total of 149 five-bass limits and more than 20 pros weighing in bags over 15 pounds. Rookie Lawson Hibdon of Versailles, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds even to grab the early lead going into Day Two of the event. Pro Zell Rowland of Montgomery, Texas, ended the day in second place – a mere ounce behind Hibdon after bringing a 16-15 limit to the scale – with pro Joey Cifuentes right on his heels with 16-14, good for third place.
The fifth stop on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit features bass fishing professionals from around the world competing for a shot to win up to $135,000 on the tidal fishery – an opportunity made even more accessible to a number of anglers after the Potomac’s stellar showing on Day One.
Although Lawson has practiced on the Potomac with his dad – legendary pro Dion Hibdon – and fished it as a co-angler three or four times in the past, he said he doesn’t have much experience on the fishery.
“I’m trying to stay away from other anglers, but still had to fish around people a time or two,” said Hibdon. “The biggest thing I had to figure out today was that I needed to slow way down. I only expected to weigh in 12 to 13 pounds like we saw a lot of other guys do, but I slowed down with a worm and caught some more quality fish this afternoon. It was very unexpected, and I wasn’t ready for it at all, but it worked out for me today.”
While anglers with more experience on tidal fisheries may plan to use the tide to their advantage, Hibdon said that’s not part of his strategy.
“I don’t know anything about how the tide works in this area and how it affects the fish or fishery,” said Hibdon. “I had 11 pounds by 9 a.m. but then I started catching some big ones. Not sure if it had anything to do with the tide, or just me slowing down, but I caught the bulk of my weight from 10 to 2 today.”
Lack of experience on the Potomac didn’t seem to hinder Hibdon, who moved around the fishery to find what worked for him; however, with mere ounces separating the top three spots, the rookie still has his work cut out for him on Day Two if he wants to stay at the top of the leaderboard.
“I hopped around a couple different creeks today and caught fish out of each creek I went to,” said Hibdon. “Two of the creeks fished better, so I’ll probably start with those two tomorrow and see if they are still in play. Hopefully I can bounce around and do the same thing tomorrow and pull some big fish.
“I probably caught more than 20 keepers today, on moving baits – spinnerbaits and ChatterBaits – before slowing down with the worm,” continued Hibdon. “I got less bites overall with the worm, but they were definitely better-quality fish.”
The top 10 pros after Day 1 on the Potomac River are:
1st: Lawson Hibdon of Versailles, Mo., five bass, 17-0
2nd: Zell Rowland of Montgomery, Texas, five bass, 16-15
3rd: Joey Cifuentes of Clinton, Ark., five bass, 16-14
4th: Adrian Avena of Vineland, N.J., five bass, 16-6
5th: Terry Bolton of Benton, Ky., five bass, 16-3
5th: Justin O’Brian Cooper of Zwolle, La., five bass, 16-3
7th: Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 16-2
8th: Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 16-1
9th: Ron Nelson of Berrien Springs, Mo., five bass, 15-11
9th: Bradley Dortch of Atmore, Ala., five bass, 15-11
For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Avena won the day’s $500 Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division after bringing a bass weighing 5 pounds, 9 ounces to the scale.
Overall, there were 778 bass weighing 1,919 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 158 pros Thursday. The catch included 149 five-bass limits.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Federal Ammunition Stop 5 Presented by Lucas Oil at the Potomac River is hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of anglers compete in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition on Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. ET each day from Smallwood State Park, located at 2750 Sweden Point Road in Marbury. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park daily at 3 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, Federal Ammunition Stop 5 Presented by Lucas Oil at the Potomac River will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, August 29 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Weigh-ins will be streamed daily, and fans can catch live on-the-water action all day Saturday and Sunday, June 19-20 on MLF NOW! beginning at 7 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.