Justin Lucas leads Day One of 2016 Elite Series Potomac River Event

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2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Potomac River Day One Leader Justin Lucas - photo by Gary Tramontina - Bassmaster

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Potomac River Day One Leader Justin Lucas – photo by Gary Tramontina – Bassmaster

CHARLES COUNTY, Md. — There has been a lot of talk the past few years about the declining quality of bass fishing on the Potomac River.

But on Thursday, the best bass fishermen in the world proved there is still plenty of hope for the famed fishery.

Things were especially good for Alabama pro Justin Lucas.

Lucas caught five bass that weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces, off “one special place” to take the lead in the Bassmaster Elite at Potomac River presented by Econo Lodge. California angler Brent Ehrler is second with 17-13, and Washington pro Luke Clausen is third with 17- 9.

The Top 62 anglers in the 107-angler field caught at least 10 pounds of bass.

“I think the river has taken a little hit the last couple of years, but there’s more grass growing this year than there has been the past two or three years,” Lucas said. “That really helps the weights in a tournament.

“The bass get up in there and eat bluegill and whatever baitfish they can — and it fattens them up.”

Lucas worked his Day 1 magic in one spot that he was surprised to have to himself.

“At certain times of the year, I think the place I’m fishing is a pretty popular place,” Lucas said. “But this time of year, I don’t think it is. I only saw one other boat all day, and that was surprising.

“I stayed there almost until the end of the day — just guarding it more than anything.”
With three days left to fish, Lucas wouldn’t say which lures he was using. He only said he was fishing “West Coast style.”

He also wouldn’t say which stage of the tide was best for him during the opening round. But he did say his experience fishing tidal fisheries in his native California played a role in his success.

“This is so different from a place like the California Delta,” said Lucas, who won the 2015 Elite on the California Delta with 82-14. “Honestly, other than the fact that the water goes in and out every day a couple of feet, they’re just two totally different places.

“But the understanding of how to fish tidal waters is definitely helpful.”

Lucas is hoping that other anglers will stay away from his magic spot as Day 2 begins Friday — and he can’t afford to let up with six anglers within 4 pounds of him.

One of those anglers is Alabama pro Gerald Swindle, the current leader in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.

Swindle said he believed his day was one of those that was “just meant to happen.”

“Anybody who looks at my weight and thinks I really caught them, needs to talk to my marshal,” said Swindle, who brought in 16-5 to land in seventh place. “It was a grind. At one point, I told (my marshal) ‘I ain’t getting no bites; I’m lost; I’ve burned 30 gallons of gas.’ It was just tough.”

But then, things eventually worked out.

“It was truly a blessing,” said Swindle, who caught most of his fish late after a day-long struggle. “I don’t really get all sappy about crazy stuff like that. But I believe sometimes, when you’re meant to catch them, you’re just meant to catch them.”

Swindle’s catch increased his lead in the AOY battle to 44 points over Keith Combs. Jacob Powroznik is in third place 51 points back, and Randall Tharp is 69 points back in fourth.

The anglers’ catches were especially impressive, considering the tournament was very much in doubt back in March because of biologists’ concerns that the bass fishery is declining.

New state regulations in Maryland would have only allowed anglers to weigh in five bass per day, 12 inches or longer, with only one that measured 15 inches or longer. The regulations caused B.A.S.S. officials to consider canceling the event.

But an alternative plan was reached that allowed anglers to weigh five bass that measure at least 12 inches with no maximum size limit.

Special fish care measures were observed during the first round, including an expedited weigh-in that lasted less than 90 minutes.

The tournament will resume Friday with takeoff from Smallwood State Park at 6:15 a.m. ET. The weigh-in will be held back at the park at 3 p.m.

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Berkley, GoPro, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Shell Rotella, Shimano, Academy Sports + Outdoors, A.R.E. Truck Caps, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Power-Pole, Rapala

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

2016 Bassmaster Elite at Potomac River presented by Econo Lodge 8/11-8/14
Potomac River, Charles County  MD.
Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   

1.  Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  20-04  110
Day 1: 5   20-04
2.  Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA        5  17-13  109
Day 1: 5   17-13
3.  Luke Clausen           Otis Orchards, WA        5  17-09  108
Day 1: 5   17-09
4.  Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  17-04  107
Day 1: 5   17-04
5.  Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  16-13  106
Day 1: 5   16-13
6.  Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA         5  16-09  105
Day 1: 5   16-09
7.  Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL         5  16-05  104
Day 1: 5   16-05
8.  Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  16-01  103
Day 1: 5   16-01
8.  Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  16-01  103
Day 1: 5   16-01
10. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  14-13  101
Day 1: 5   14-13
11. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  14-12  100
Day 1: 5   14-12
12. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          5  14-12   99
Day 1: 5   14-12
13. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  14-11   98
Day 1: 5   14-11
14. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  14-07   97
Day 1: 5   14-07
15. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  14-06   96
Day 1: 5   14-06
16. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  14-05   95
Day 1: 5   14-05
16. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  14-05   95
Day 1: 5   14-05
18. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  14-04   93
Day 1: 5   14-04
18. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  14-04   93
Day 1: 5   14-04
20. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  14-03   91
Day 1: 5   14-03
21. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  14-02   90
Day 1: 5   14-02
22. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  13-15   89
Day 1: 5   13-15
23. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  13-13   88
Day 1: 5   13-13
24. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL             5  13-10   87
Day 1: 5   13-10
25. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  13-08   86
Day 1: 5   13-08
25. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  13-08   86
Day 1: 5   13-08
27. Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                5  13-04   84
Day 1: 5   13-04
28. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  13-02   83
Day 1: 5   13-02
29. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  13-01   82
Day 1: 5   13-01
30. Hank Cherry Jr         Maiden, NC               5  12-15   81
Day 1: 5   12-15
31. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                5  12-11   80
Day 1: 5   12-11
32. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                5  12-10   79
Day 1: 5   12-10
33. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  12-09   78
Day 1: 5   12-09
34. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  12-08   77
Day 1: 5   12-08
35. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  12-04   76
Day 1: 5   12-04
36. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  12-03   75
Day 1: 5   12-03
37. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  11-14   74
Day 1: 5   11-14
38. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  11-13   73
Day 1: 5   11-13
38. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  11-13   73
Day 1: 5   11-13
38. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  11-13   73
Day 1: 5   11-13
38. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  11-13   73
Day 1: 5   11-13
42. Chad Grigsby           Maple Grove, MN          5  11-11   69
Day 1: 5   11-11
42. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  11-11   69
Day 1: 5   11-11
44. Fabian Rodriguez       Ocean City, DE           5  11-08   67
Day 1: 5   11-08
45. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  11-07   66
Day 1: 5   11-07
46. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  11-06   65
Day 1: 5   11-06
47. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       4  11-06   64
Day 1: 4   11-06
48. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  11-04   63
Day 1: 5   11-04
48. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA  5  11-04   63
Day 1: 5   11-04
50. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          4  11-04   61
Day 1: 4   11-04
51. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  11-03   60
Day 1: 5   11-03
52. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               4  11-01   59
Day 1: 4   11-01
53. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  10-15   58
Day 1: 5   10-15
54. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  10-14   57
Day 1: 5   10-14
55. Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ             4  10-14   56
Day 1: 4   10-14
56. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  10-13   55
Day 1: 5   10-13
57. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  10-12   54
Day 1: 5   10-12
58. Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             5  10-11   53
Day 1: 5   10-11
59. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          4  10-04   52
Day 1: 4   10-04
60. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  10-03   51
Day 1: 5   10-03
60. Billy McCaghren Jr     Mayflower, AR            5  10-03   51
Day 1: 5   10-03
62. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  10-01   49
Day 1: 5   10-01
62. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  10-01   49
Day 1: 5   10-01
64. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  09-15   47
Day 1: 5   09-15
65. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  09-14   46
Day 1: 5   09-14
66. David Williams         Newton, NC               5  09-11   45
Day 1: 5   09-11
67. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  09-08   44
Day 1: 5   09-08
67. John Murray            Spring City, TN          5  09-08   44
Day 1: 5   09-08
69. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  09-07   42
Day 1: 5   09-07
70. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               4  08-12   41
Day 1: 4   08-12
71. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            4  08-11   40
Day 1: 4   08-11
72. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           4  08-11   39
Day 1: 4   08-11
73. Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 4  08-07   38
Day 1: 4   08-07
74. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              3  08-07   37
Day 1: 3   08-07
75. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  07-15   36
Day 1: 5   07-15
76. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  07-12   35
Day 1: 5   07-12
77. Casey Scanlon          Rocky Mount, MO          3  07-12   34
Day 1: 3   07-12
78. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         2  07-12   33
Day 1: 2   07-12
79. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  07-11   32
Day 1: 5   07-11
80. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  07-07   31
Day 1: 5   07-07
81. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          3  07-05   30
Day 1: 3   07-05
82. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              4  07-04   29
Day 1: 4   07-04
83. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  4  07-01   28
Day 1: 4   07-01
84. Randy Allen            Shreveport, LA           3  06-12   27
Day 1: 3   06-12
85. Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         2  06-08   26
Day 1: 2   06-08
86. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         4  06-02   25
Day 1: 4   06-02
87. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               2  05-05   24
Day 1: 2   05-05
88. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             2  05-04   23
Day 1: 2   05-04
89. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  04-15   22
Day 1: 5   04-15
90. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           2  04-11   21
Day 1: 2   04-11
91. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         4  04-10   20
Day 1: 4   04-10
92. John Hunter Jr         Shelbyville, KY          3  04-04   19
Day 1: 3   04-04
93. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            3  03-14   18
Day 1: 3   03-14
94. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               1  03-12   17
Day 1: 1   03-12
95. Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         1  03-10   16
Day 1: 1   03-10
96. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            3  03-09   15
Day 1: 3   03-09
97. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           2  03-06   14
Day 1: 2   03-06
98. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                1  03-05   13
Day 1: 1   03-05
99. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           2  02-13   12
Day 1: 2   02-13
100. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            1  02-13   11
Day 1: 1   02-13
101. Ken Iyobe              Tokoname  Aichi JAPAN    2  02-07   10
Day 1: 2   02-07
102. Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN          1  02-05    9
Day 1: 1   02-05
103. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        1  02-01    8
Day 1: 1   02-01
104. Jay Brainard           Enid, OK                 0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
104. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
104. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
104. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        69       440      1074-10
———————————-
69       440      1074-10