Wal-Mart FLW Tour
Potomac River, Charles County, Md.
Final round, Sunday
1,750: Amount, in dollars, earned by winner Chris Baumgardner for catching a single fish. His 7-pound, 6-ounce kicker largemouth Friday won him $750 as the day-two big bass plus another $1,000 as the biggest bass of the week. In a happy coincidence for Baumgardner, the big-bass award money is handed out by Snickers, his team sponsor and also the presenting sponsor of this week’s tournament where he cleared the $125,000 victory check. Said Baumgardner: “Yeah! Go, Snickers!”
No brush-hog hog … David Dudley gave Baumgardner a run for the money this weekend, but ultimately came up short on Sunday. Still, Dudley popped one of the biggest sacks of the week on Friday and had another all-around good week on the tidal waters of the Potomac River. But it was Baumgardner who gave Dudley his biggest lift of the week – and it nearly cost him the win. “Ask him who he got his baits from,” Baumgardner said. “I was catching them on a green-pumpkin-and-green Zoom baby brush hog, and I ran out,” Dudley said. “He gave me some and said, `I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me.'”
Fishing is for fathers … It’s Fathers’ Day, and Dudley not only made sure to recognize his dad, James Dudley – who finished competition here yesterday in fifth place as a co-angler – onstage, but he accepted a squeaky “Happy Fathers’ Day!” from his son, Mason, who was in the audience. It was a fitting tribute since the runner-up finisher learned a whole lot of his tricks on the Potomac from his dad, who is a well-known stick on this waterway. “My dad is very good at one technique on this river. About a quarter of the fish that I caught came on the dominant technique that he uses this time of year,” David said about his dad. “What he’s taught me has to do with (bait) placement and current in the grass. You’ve got to make your bait present itself like it’s falling naturally in the current. If you understand that, you can do a lot better.”
A lake like many others … Save Dudley, no so-called locals made the cut at the Potomac River this week. The reason? Perhaps it’s because this waterway fishes like so many other lakes around the country with which the pros are familiar. There’s current and a lot of grass to flip. And once you figure out the tides, it fishes just like some other well-heeled tournament venues. Which ones? Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, for one, plus Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle and even the California Delta. A look at the top 10 finalists reveals the pattern: Hailing from Okeechobee territory are Bobby Lane and Sandy Melvin, and both Jerry Williams and Ray Scheide said they like fishing here because it reminds them of Dardanelle back home. And Ken Wick, who’s from Idaho, said, “The California Delta, it fishes just like it.”
Speaking of Wick … He had one of the funniest catches caught on tape Sunday. He thought he was hung up and dropped his rod in embarrassment. Turns out he had a keeper on his line. He ultimately reeled it in.
“He does good in the higher-money tournaments. This one’s only for $125,000.”
– Chris Baumgardner, joking about David Dudley.
“That’s nice, but I won’t be satisfied until, hopefully, I become No. 1.”
– Dudley, on his fourth-ranked career earnings of $2,370,410.
“Big money, little money, it doesn’t matter to me. I like to win. You want to challenge me to picking four-leaf clovers? I don’t care. I want to win.”
– Also Dudley.