Local knowledge on a body of water can often hinder an angler more than it helps. However, on a tough Potomac River for the second stop of the Toyota Series Eastern Division, local experience certainly seems to help.
Taking the lead after day one with 17 pounds, Wayne Vaughan separated himself from the rest of the tightly-packed top 10 thanks in large part to his 6-5 kicker. Vaughan’s past experience on the river is playing a role this week, but a bite like that helps the cause almost anywhere in the country.
“That fish is out of place on the Potomac these days is all I can tell you,” Vaughan laughs describing his kicker bite. “That put me over the hump. Before I caught that fish I had about 13 ½ pounds, I reckon, and then I caught [that 6-pounder] and it put me over the hump. But I was figuring 12 to 13 pounds a day has a really good chance of winning, so when I caught that big one I knew it was kind of a special day.”
Kicker fish aside, Vaughan’s knowledge of the Potomac could easily be the key to his success this week. Targeting grass and hard cover, the local pro is relying both on timing the tide and fishing good areas.
“The hard cover stuff I do feel like is a tide deal,” Vaughan adds. “But I’m fishing grass, too. And I think it helps to have experience out here this week. I’ve got a couple of little areas I know over the years that will sometimes get fish on them that are away from the crowds. The one area I haven’t fished yet is kind of one of those areas, so local knowledge helps with some of that stuff.
“The area I caught a limit from this morning, there’s a lot of guys fishing around in there, but at the spot where I caught my big one I only saw one other boat. I don’t know if that spot will pan out tomorrow. There’s not a ton of fish in any one of these areas, there’s just not. Tomorrow I may not even be able to catch a limit. After I caught that big one I just kind of looked around. Do I think I could have caught a bunch more fish? No, sir. Do I think I could have caught a few more? Yeah, I probably could have, but they wouldn’t have helped me at that point. I need everything I can get tomorrow.”
Vaughan knows how fickle the Potomac can be, so he’s not overly confident about replicating his day-one success.
“I love fishing the Potomac and always have,” he says. “Even though it’s tough right now I’ve always loved fishing it. If I thought I knew for sure I could go catch these suckers again tomorrow, I’d tell you. I don’t know I can go catch them tomorrow. I just hope for 10 pounds to still be in this thing.”
Top 10 pros
1. Wayne Vaughan – Chester, Va. – 17-0 (5)
2. Preston Harris – State Road, N.C. – 15-14 (5)
3. Shawn Huwar – Ruther Glen, Va. – 15-13 (5)
4. Cody Pike – Powhatan, Va. – 14-4 (5)
5. Danny Kirk – Bartow, Ga. – 14-3 (5)
6. Robert Grike – Dumfries, Va. – 14-1 (5)
7. Brian Calloway – Danville, Va. – 13-15 (5)
8. James Maupin – Stanardsville, Va. – 13-4 (5)
9. Christopher Grenier – Clarksburg, W.Va. – 13-0 (5)
9. Aaron Dixon – Bel Alton, Md. – 13-0 (5)
Anthony leads co-anglers
After finishing third in the Eastern Division opener on Lake Hartwell back in March, Brian Anthony isn’t letting off the gas as he caught 11 pounds, 7 ounces to take the driver’s seat for the co-angler division. Paired with one of the Potomac’s best local anglers on day one, Bryan Schmitt, Anthony managed a solid limit to put him more than a pound ahead of second place. It’s not a huge lead, but with the way the Potomac is fishing it could certainly be the difference between fishing on Saturday or going home.