Pro angler Adrian Avena of Vineland, New Jersey, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Thursday weighing 16 pounds, 12 ounces to take the lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. Avena will start the second day of competition with a 1-pound, 6-ounce lead in the nationally televised four-day tournament, hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, that features 142 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
Right behind Avena in second place is pro Troy Morrow of Eastanollee, Georgia, who weighed in five bass totaling 15 pounds, 6 ounces.
Prior to the start of the tournament many anglers were lamenting the tough conditions and wondering if they were going to be able to catch a fish, let alone a five-bass limit. However when the final fish was weighed Thursday, 114 of the 142 pros competing were able to fill their limits and the entire field caught at least one fish.
“I’ve been looking forward to this event all season long,” said Avena, who has two prior top-10 finishes in FLW Tour competition, including a ninth-place finish earlier this season at Lake Eufaula. “This is the closest tournament to home, and I grew up saltwater fishing and I love tidal waters. That’s what I did today – run the tide. I probably hit 25 different places today and caught 15 keepers.
“Some of the places are one-fish spots and others are multiple-fish places,” Avena continued. “I’m fishing a combination of grass, current and rock – textbook tidal-river junk fishing. I have like 20 rods on my deck, and I caught my keepers today on seven different baits. Basic stuff – a ChatterBait, swimjig, frog, small crankbait and a weightless worm. “
Avena said that he culled out a solid 12-pound limit throughout the day and left a few areas where fish were still biting.
“I was catching 2- and 2½-pounders, but they weren’t helping me and those fish could potentially help to get me to the weekend,” Avena said.
“If we get a bunch of rain tonight, that could really mess up the conditions and I’ll likely have to scrap my plans and just go fishing tomorrow,” Avena went on to say. “But, every day in practice it seemed like I was catching around 12 to 14 pounds so hopefully I can continue to catch that. I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”
The top 10 pros after day one on the Potomac River are:
1st: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 16-12
2nd: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., five bass, 15-6
3rd: Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., five bass, 15-5
4th: Travis Fox, Rogers, Ark., five bass, 15-2
5th: Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, five bass, 15-1
6th: Clark Wendlandt, Leander, Texas, five bass, 14-13
7th: Andrew Upshaw, Sapulpa, Okla., five bass, 14-8
8th: John Voyles, Petersburg, Ind., five bass, 14-7
9th: Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., five bass, 14-6
10th: Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., five bass, 14-3
For a full list of results visit FLWFishing.com.
Fukae and Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tennessee, tied for the Bridgford Big Bass Award on the pro side Thursday, each weighing bass totaling 5 pounds, 2 ounces to split the $500 prize.
Overall there were 646 bass weighing 1,479 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 142 pros Thursday. The catch included 114 five-bass limits.
Eric Self of Lawndale, North Carolina, leads the co-angler division with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces followed by Shane Melton of Kokomo, Indiana, in second place with five bass weighing 12-13.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Eric Self, Lawndale, N.C., five bass, 15-14
2nd: Shane Melton, Kokomo, Ind., five bass, 12-13
3rd: Kyle Prskalo, Hobart, Ind., five bass, 12-3
4th: Warren Shores, Bulls Gap, Tenn., five bass, 12-0
5th: Simon Borja, Johnson City, Tenn., five bass, 11-15
5th: Jim Jones, Big Bend, Wis., five bass, 11-15
7th: Tee Watkins, East Point, Ky., five bass, 11-11
8th: Jim Short, Ocean Pines, Md., five bass, 11-10
9th: Mark Holman, Cornelius, N.C., five bass, 11-2
10th: Joey Cifuentes, Clinton, Ark., five bass, 11-1
10th: Jim Hippensteel, Rochester, Ind., five bass, 11-1
There was a three-way tie for Thursday’s Bridgford Big Bass Award in the co-angler division. Josh Smith of Hamilton, Ohio, Timmy Thompkins of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Nathan Ragsdale of Fayetteville, Georgia, each caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 7 ounces to split the $250 prize.
Overall there were 444 bass weighing 913 pounds, 3 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 39 five-bass limits.