Boater Brennon McCord of West Frankfort, Illinois, won the 36th annual T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American tournament on the Potomac River presented by General Tire Saturday, capping off the event with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 3 ounces. McCord's three-day cumulative total of 15 bass weighing 45-11 was enough to edge second-place angler Joseph Thompson of Coatesville, Pennsylvania – who led the event for the first two days – by 1 pound, 4 ounces. For his win, McCord netted $100,000 and an invitation into the world championship of bass fishing – the FLW Cup.
"This win means a lot. I grew up listening to my dad talk about this tournament and my grandpa talk about it – about how they always wanted to get here, but never made it. My dad has fell short a couple of times. Those two guys taught me everything know I about this sport. It's an unbelievable feeling and it's going to take a while to sink in, for sure."
McCord said 14 of the 15 fish that he weighed this week came using a 3/8-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer, in Spot Remover or black and blue, with either a Strike King Rage Tail Menace Grub or a Zoom Z-Hog Jr. trailer.
"I was fishing in Mattawoman Creek – I never left," said McCord, who earned his second win in FLW competition. "There was about a 200-yard stretch of milfoil that I found that had a little of bit of hydrilla mixed in with it and I think that was the key. Nobody fished it either, except for today. There was a local tournament going on."
After working the area Thursday, McCord said he fished another spot in the same stretch of grass Friday. He noted that he actually caught his first fish flipping a laydown near the bank with a blacklight-colored Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver with a 5/16-ounce tungsten weight on 25-pound-test Seaguar line, and then proceeded to do the rest of his work with the Jack Hammer.
Saturday, McCord said his day got off to a slow start at the grass stretch, prompting him to make some changes. With one good one and a keeper in the boat, he made another stop, but again, couldn't get anything going. "I pulled in to the back of the creek and started skipping my ChatterBait up underneath the pads and caught a good one, right up on the spatter-docks," continued McCord. "Three of my best fish ended up coming from underneath the lily pads today. I went to a patch of milfoil in the middle of the creek back there that I had a weird feeling about, and I ended up catching a big one at it. I got lucky and had four good bites today."
The top 10 boaters on the Potomac River finished:
1st: Brennon McCord, West Frankfort, Ill., 15 bass, 45-11, $100,200
2nd: Joseph Thompson, Coatesville, Pa., 15 bass, 44-7, $21,100
3rd: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., 15 bass, 42-2, $20,000 + $8,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
4th: Chris Martinkovic, Hamilton, Ohio, 15 bass, 41-7, $14,500 + $7,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
5th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 15 bass, 40-13, $13,000 + $6,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
6th: Doug Ruster, New Palestine, Ind., 14 bass, 39-13, $12,000 + $5,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
7th: Robert Walser, Lexington, N.C., 15 bass, 39-11, $12,500 + $4,500 Ranger Cup Bonus
8th: Seth Davis, Harrison, Tenn., 15 bass, 39-2, $10,000
9th: Ronnie Baker, Providence Forge, Va., 13 bass, 35-2, $9,000
10th: Moo Bae, West Friendship, Md., 13 bass, 34-13, $8,000 + $3,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Overall, there were 45 bass weighing 112 pounds, 7 ounces, caught by the final 10 boaters Saturday. The catch included seven five-bass limits.
Ben Dacey of Chesterfield, Virginia, won the Co-angler Division and $50,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 38 pounds, 2 ounces, followed by Todd Blakeman of Chatham, Illinois, in second place with 14 bass weighing 36-15, good for $16,950.
The top 10 co-anglers finished:
1st: Ben Dacey, Chesterfield, Va., 15 bass, 38-2, $50,250
2nd: Todd Blakeman, Chatham, Ill., 14 bass, 36-15, $15,150 + $1,800 Ranger Cup Bonus
3rd: Jeff Rikard, Leesville, S.C., 13 bass, 35-12, $6,000
4th: Levi Crossway, Jacksonville, Fla., 14 bass, 34-9, $5,000
5th: Frank Godwin Jr., Bainbridge, Ga., 11 bass, 30-5, $4,500
6th: Zach Barnes, Chickamauga, Ga., 11 bass, 28-9, $4,000
7th: Willis Kennedy III, Flomaton, Ala., 12 bass, 27-8, $3,500 + $1,300 Ranger Cup Bonus
8th: Michael Bahnweg, Union Dale, Pa., 10 bass, 26-15, $3,000
9th: James Moore Jr., Lampasas, Texas, 11 bass, 25-4, $2,500
10th: Tristen Trull, Mt. Holly, N.C., 10 bass, 24-8, $2,000
Overall, there were 30 bass weighing 73 pounds, 4 ounces, caught by the final 10 co-anglers Saturday. The catch included four five-bass limits.