Martin maintains FLW Tour lead on Potomac River - Major League Fishing

Martin maintains FLW Tour lead on Potomac River

Reese grabs first place in Co-angler Division, top-20 cut announced
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National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., maintained his overall lead in the Pro Division at the FLW Tour Potomac River event with a two-day catch of 37 pounds, 11 ounces. Photo by Gary Mortenson. Angler: Scott Martin.
May 18, 2012 • Gary Mortenson • Archives

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Although he didn’t have quite the banner day that he did during the opening day of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River, National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., still managed to do enough to hold onto his lead heading into Saturday’s semifinals. With the field officially cut down to the top 20 pros and co-anglers, Martin still finds himself in an excellent position to make a run at the title despite coming back to weigh-in today with a sack almost a full 8 pounds lighter than yesterday.

“Today I didn’t get any of those real big bites that I got yesterday,” said Martin, who recorded a 15-pound, 1-ounce sack in today’s competition to bring his two-day total weight to 37 pounds, 11 ounces. “When you’re fishing these big grass beds, it’s hard to figure out exactly where those 5- and 6-pounders will be. I didn’t catch any big fish today, but I still came back with 15 pounds which is still a pretty decent weight. I really can’t wait to get back out there for day three.”

Martin said that part of his issue during today’s competition was the fact that there was massive boater congestion in some of his prime fishing areas – a reality that hampered many of the top pros all afternoon.

“Today it got pretty ridiculous out there,” said Martin, regarding the fishing pressure in his prime spot. “The best way I can describe it is that it was kind of like a chess game out there with all of the boats. You had to make sure you knew what everyone was doing and try to anticipate where people would be going next. It’s just like moving around the chess board to see who is going to be the one who captures the queen.”

However, now that the top-20 cut has been announced, there should be about 130 fewer boats on the water to contend with. And Martin says that can only be a good thing going forward.

“Hopefully I can get into that area tomorrow without as much boat traffic,” said Martin. “Because at one point today I felt like I should be putting on headphones because all I heard all day long were people catching fish. It was pretty tough to move around so hopefully tomorrow there’ll be a little bit more room out there – instead of 35 boats, maybe they’ll be just five.”

Martin said that he spent a good portion of the day sharing some prime real estate in the form a large communal grass flat. He said he targeted bass with a combination of finesse-style Bruiser Baits and some “moving baits” as well.

“Today I slowed it down a little bit,” said Martin. “There wasn’t a lot of wind so I went with a more finesse-style (presentation). I had two areas. But in my primary big-grass-bed spot, I just tried to roam around to find those big bites. In a tournament like this, you have to just go out there and keep fishing hard. I’m around some good quality fish but you have to keep reminding yourself to stay focused.”

While today was a more difficult day on the water for Martin, he said he likes where he is at this point in the tournament.

“Anytime you’re leading a tournament, it’s always a blessing,” he said. “Overall, I feel pretty excited about the next couple of days.”

Castrol pro David Dudley surges into second

Surrounded by his family, Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., leapfrogged from 17th place to second during day-two competition on the Potomac River.While Martin had to be pleased to be in first place at the midway point of the tournament, the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup champion couldn’t have been overly ecstatic to see David Dudley, the reigning 2011 FLW Tour Angler of the Year, breathing down his neck by the end of today’s weigh-in. After starting the day tied for 17th place, Dudley recorded an 18-pound, 7-ounce sack which was good enough to propel him all the way into the runner-up position heading into Saturday’s semifinals.

“I feel very confident playing catch-up,” said Dudley, who now has boasts a two-day total weight of 35 pounds, 2 ounces. “I’m feeling very good right now.”

Dudley said that he started the day with a particular game plan only to receive a call from his wife that greatly altered his day-two itinerary.

“It was funny this morning. I called my wife and she was crying. She said that she had been praying and that God had talked to her. She told me that I should start off (fishing) in a different spot today,” said Dudley. “And that was good enough for me. So that’s what I did. And in the end it worked out pretty good.”

Dudley said he wound up spending the majority of the day in the infamous congested stretch of grass flats that have ensnared so many other pros. So how did he prevail while other pros only found frustration and relatively small stringers for their efforts?

“I knew I was going to be fishing in a community area,” said Dudley, who hails from Lynchburg, Va. “And my thought was that I own a horse farm. So I just decided to put on some horse blinders and try not to worry about what anybody else was doing around me.”

Dudley said he targeted the area with some “retrieval baits” and also flipped grass with soft plastics.

“The key is obviously getting those big bites but it’s also just as important to know what’s going on around you,” said Dudley. “And I learned a few things out there today that I think will really help me going forward.”

As far as tomorrow was concerned, Dudley – FLW’s all-time money leader – remained noncommittal.

“I’ll probably go to that same area,” he said. “But then again, I never know what I’m actually going to do until I really think about it.”

Schrumpf nets third

FLW pro Colby Schrumpf of Highland, Ill., heads into the semifinals in third place overall.Unlike many of the top pros, Colby Schrumpf of Highland, Ill., decided to eschew the productive community grass flats for areas that were a little more isolated. And it paid off. Using a two-day catch of 34 pounds, 8 ounces, Schrumpf moved up from sixth place to third place overall.

“I have two areas that have been working out for me and I pretty much have them all to myself. I’ve really been trying to avoid the crowds,” said Schrumpf. “This is my first time at the Potomac but the river fishes a lot like that water I’m used to fishing back home. When I came here I just went out and found a place that has a lot of good fish. So far, I’m mostly been fishing a lot of grass and wood and have just been picking through each of those areas very slowly. The tides don’t affect me at all.”

However, Schrumpf said that this tournament has been far from easy.

“Today, I had some boat problems so I had to limit myself to just one of my areas,” he said. “There’s good fish in there – plenty of 2- and 3-pounders. And I did catch 30 keepers today. But it’s not easy to catch anything over 3 pounds. The area is good for 14 to 15 pounds a day, but I’m going to have to start finding those bigger kicker fish.”

On balance, Schrumpf said he couldn’t be much happier with the way things have turned out so far.

“My main objective when I got here was just to cash a check,” he said. “But I kept culling and getting good bites and now I’m in the cut. So I feel pretty good right now.”

Shuffield makes his move

Starting the day in 20th place overall, veteran EverStart pro Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., parlayed a two-day catch of 34 pounds, 5 ounces, into a fourth-place result by the end of day two on the Potomac River.Starting the day in 20th place overall, veteran EverStart pro Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., parlayed a two-day catch of 34 pounds, 5 ounces, into a fourth-place result by the end of day two.

“Today I was able to take advantage of having a full day on the water,” said Shuffield, who had a much later weigh-in time today than Thursday. “I was really able to capitalize on the last hour of the outgoing tide and the first part of the incoming tide – that made a big difference. But another key for me was slowing down. I was fishing and watching my co-angler get a lot more bites and he was fishing pretty slowly. So I said to myself, `Maybe I should start slowing down too.’ After that, I did pretty well.”

Shuffield said that he fished all grass with a combination of SPRO frogs, some flipping presentations and Senkos.

“The fish would position themselves differently depending on the water levels. And understanding that was important,” he said. “I wasn’t able to get a lot of bites until I had the right water levels. And there wasn’t much fishing pressure in my areas, so that was good. And the people who were fishing there, were fishing way too fast.”

Overall, Shuffield said he felt like he is now where he needs to be to make a run at the title.

“I’m tickled,” he said. “I didn’t think this is where I’d be right now so I’m happy. There are still two more days left and I’m excited to go back out there and go fishing.”

Wendlandt grabs top-five spot

Veteran FLW Tour Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, heads into the FLW Tour Potomac River semifinals in fifth place.Veteran FLW Tour Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, seemed to be having the most fun out of anyone by the end of today’s weigh-in. And why not, after having a series of up-and-down seasons the last few years, Wendlandt looks to be back in his prime fishing form – leapfrogging from 17th place to fifth place overall heading into Saturday’s competition.

“I just love this place,” said Wendlandt. “You can catch fish anywhere. I like fishing shallow water and it’s a run-and-gun type of tournament. The Potomac River has always been a special place for me.”

Wendlandt said the key to his success this week has been his versatility.

“I’m fishing grass but I’m kind of doing a little bit of everything,” said Wendlandt, who boats a two-day weight of 34 pounds, 3 ounces. “I don’t know where I’m going when I start each day and I don’t know where I’m going when I finish. But I’ve been able to play the tides a little bit.

“I’ve also been mixing it up (with my tackle),” Wendlandt continued. “I’ve been fishing slow baits, fast baits, flipping, you name it – it’s a nerve-wracking way to fish though.”

Wendlandt said that his goal is to keep coving a lot of water while keeping one eye on the tides.

“I have about 30 spots and I generally think low tide works better for me,” he said. “I struggled a little bit on the first day and got a little lucky at the end of the day. But overall, I feel great.”

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pros:

M&Ms pro Jim Moynagh of Carver, Minn., grabbed sixth place overall heading into the FLW Tour Potomac River semifinals.6th: M&Ms pro Jim Moynagh of Carver, Minn., 34-1

7th: Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., 33-11

8th: Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., 33-0

9th: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., 32-10

10th: Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., 32-9

National Guard pro Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Ala., took home the day’s Big Bass award after netting a 6-pound, 5-ounce largemouth.

For a complete list of the day’s results and to see who qualified for the top-20 cut, click here.

Reese grabs co-angler lead

Using a two-day catch of 35 pounds, 4 ounces, local angler Marvin Reese of Gwynn Oak, Md., netted the overall lead in the Co-angler Division.Using a two-day catch of 35 pounds, 4 ounces, local angler Marvin Reese of Gwynn Oak, Md., netted the overall lead in the Co-angler Division. But amazingly enough, Reese almost never made it into the tournament at all.

“I was the last co-angler to make it into the tournament so it’s worked out beautifully so far,” said Reese, who gained a last-minute entry off the waiting list. “I fish here every weekend. But I have to credit my boaters for getting me on fish. And I’ve just been able to use my local knowledge to catch them. It’s been a great tournament.”

Reese said that he targeted grass primarily in today’s competition, using a jig bite exclusively to net his quarry.

“This is one of the biggest tournaments of my career and my first-ever FLW Tour event,’ he said. “So I’m feeling pretty good right now.”

Reese also walked away with the Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division after netting a 5-pound, 8-ounce largemouth.

Best of the rest

Ronnie Baker of Providence Forge, Va., grabbed second place overall with a catch of 32 pounds, 10 ounces.

Co-angler Greg Knick of Ansonia, Ohio, finished the day in third place with a total catch of 32 pounds, 9 ounces.Meanwhile, Greg Knick of Ansonia, Ohio, finished the day in third place with a total catch of 32 pounds, 9 ounces.

“It’s unreal,” said Knick. “I’m just super blessed. This is such a great fishery. I just had a super good day of fishing and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Knick said that focused in on shallow grass using a Zoom Ultravibe worm.

“The tides also made a big difference for me,” he said. “Right before low tide, the fish really turned on. And then once the incoming tide started, the fish fired right up again.”

Chris Dillow of Waynesboro, Va., grabbed fourth place overall with a total catch of 30 pounds, 13 ounces.

Day-one co-angler leader Nick Hensley of Cumming, Ga., settled for fifth place overall with a two-day catch of 30 pounds, 7 ounces.Day-one co-angler leader Nick Hensley of Cumming, Ga., settled for fifth place overall with a two-day catch of 30 pounds, 7 ounces.

Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers:

6th: Darrell Stevens of Roseland, Va., 29-8

7th: Leo J. Reiter of Greenup, Ill., 28-13

8th: Ralph Mulleins of Cumberland, Va., 27-15

9th: David Lauer of Loxahatchee, Fla., 27-11

10th: Philip Jarabeck of Lynchburg, Va., 26-12

For a complete list of the day’s co-angler results and to see who qualified for the top-20 cut, click here.

Bass-fishing fans take note

FLW Tour action continues during Saturday’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 shortly before 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time to watch live streaming video and audio of Saturday’s weigh-in.