VanDam, with almost 19 pounds, grabs lead in Bassmaster event


September 27, 1996|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

MARBURY -- Storms and high water levels have changed the fishing conditions of the upper tidal Potomac River, where the Bassmaster Maryland Top 100 pro-am tournament is being fished through tomorrow. But, according to the pros who are leading the field, the big bass are still there for the taking.

"It's tougher than the last time we were here," said Kevin VanDam, the Kalamazoo, Mich., pro who weighed in five bass yesterday for 18 pounds, 13 ounces and the lead after the first day of competition. "There's a lot less grass. It's trickier to get them to bite.

"But the tide is high in the morning and low in the afternoon, and it allows me to fish the two strong patterns that I have."

If he can get his patterns to work today and tomorrow, VanDam said, he will be hard to beat. The purse in the three-day tournament totals $273,200.

Second-place angler Gerald Beck from Lexington, N.C., made good use of spinnerbaits on Day 1 while fishing a section of the Potomac near Washington. Beck weighed in 17 pounds, 15 ounces and fished well enough to have culled a 3-pounder.

Jay Yelas, of Jasper, Texas, who won here in 1993 and finished second in 1992 and 1994, is in third place with 17-6. Yelas has been fishing the Fox Ferry Point area near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

Denny Brauer, a seasoned pro from Camdenton, Mo., stands in fourth place with 17-2. Brauer was fishing an area near the Route 301 bridge.

"The muddy water grouped up the fishermen quite a bit," said Brauer, "but every move I made today was the right one -- I never missed a fish and I seemed to be right with the tide. This was the best day I ever had on the Potomac."

On the amateur side, Robert deGrandcourt, of Alexandria, Va., held the lead with 14 pounds, 12 ounces. The top Maryland finisher on Day 1 was Mike Glazier of Mt. Airy, with 11-13, good for ninth place.

Weigh-ins today and tomorrow are at Smallwood State Park in Charles County, beginning at 3 p.m. Admission is free.

Pro division: 1. Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 18 pounds, 13 ounces; 2. Gerald Beck, Lexington, N.C., 17-15; 3. Jay Yelas, Jasper, Texas, 17-6; 4. Denny Brauer, Camdenton, Mo., 17-2; 5 (tie) Chuck Economou, Lake Orion, Mich., and Carroll Hagood, Auburndale, Fla., 16-8; 7. (tie) Paul Elias, Pachuta, Miss., and Tashinari Hamiki, Japan, 16-7; 9. Dion Hibdon, Stover, Mo., 16-6; 10. Jeff Magee, Florence, Miss., 16-4.

Amateur division: 1. Robert deGrandcourt, Alexandria, Va., 14-12; 2. Jim Behnken, Garden Ridge, Texas, 14-6; 3. Randolph Stallings, Fairfax, Va., 14-4; 4. Mark Sabbles, Sarasota, Fla., 13-1; 5. Glenn Groome, Richmond, Va., 12-15; 6. Claude Rabb, Ferriday, La., 12-8; 7. Robert Keaton, Yorktown, Va., 12-7; 8. Troy Muniz, Woodbridge, Va., 12-1; 9. Mike Glazier, Mt. Airy, 11-13; 10. Dennis Kolender, Alba, Texas, 11-2.

Pub Date: 9/27/96

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