Morehead cashes in on secret fishing hole Kentucky angler takes Bassmasters tournament

OUTDOORS

September 29, 1996|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

MARBURY -- Dan Morehead, a three-year pro angler from Paducah, Ky., stepped to the scales at the $273,000 Bassmasters Maryland Top 100 Pro-Am yesterday knowing he had a good chance to win his first major bass tournament.

What he didn't realize was that he won by going where few fishermen had gone before -- to the head of Broad Creek, a shallow bay on the Maryland shore of the Potomac River just upriver from Fort Washington.

"I guessed I had found something," said Morehead, who completed the three-day tournament with 54 pounds, 11 ounces and a winning margin of more than 6 pounds. "Because for all three days I had it all to myself."

What Morehead had found accidentally during practice, he said, was a bass fisherman's paradise.

"This place was absolutely unbelievable," said Morehead, whose best finish in a top tournament until yesterday was a seventh place. "There is a huge milfoil bed, and when the tide was going out it cleared the water and I could see where the fish were -- and where they were going.

"The first time I saw that, it scared me to death."

While many of the top pros in the 225-man field were running farther upriver to the Washington area or downriver from the launch area at Smallwood State Park as far as the Route 301 bridge, Morehead simply stayed put.

"For three days in a row, I'd run the boat in there, shut off the motor and not start it again until it was time to leave," said Morehead, who is 28 and did not start fishing as a pro until after he had earned a degree in finance from Murray State University in Kentucky.

His strategy was to play the tide as it flooded into the creek early each morning and then work out the creek as it ebbed.

He chose his most successful lures after noticing "the bass in the live well were spitting out crawdads with dark bodies and bright orange claws."

So Morehead concentrated on using brown and orange spinnerbaits and crankbaits, and it paid off in $45,000 worth of cash and prizes.

Yesterday morning, carrying the lead in the tournament, Morehead said he went into Broad Creek and played a waiting game for almost two hours, while the tide rose and his pattern developed.

"When I knew the tide had reached its peak, somewhere around 11 o'clock," Morehead said, "I started following the fish out the creek into the huge milfoil bed, where you could see them swimming in the 8 inches or so of water above the grass."

David Fritts of Lexington, N.C., the 1994 Bass Anglers Sportsman Society Angler of the Year, weighed in more than 19 pounds yesterday to finish in second place with a total of 48 pounds, 7 ounces.

Fritts said he caught more than half of his fish in Mattawoman Creek, upstream from the park.

Peter Thliveros of Jacksonville, Fla., finished third, and Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Mo., was fourth.

Brauer, also a former Angler of the Year, said he fished primarily Mattawoman, Potomac and Aquia creeks, "but never really did a good job of staying with the tide yesterday."

Asked whether he had considered fishing Broad Creek, Brauer said, "Broad Creek? Hell, I'm not sure I even know where it's at."

On the amateur side of the tournament, Mike Glazier, a 30-year-old Montgomery County firefighter who lives in Mt. Airy, caught 12 pounds, 10 ounces yesterday (36-13 total) to take first place and win a $20,000 bass boat.

Glazier said he spent two of the three tournament days in Chicamuxen Creek.

Pro division: 1. Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 54 pounds, 11 ounces; 2. David Fritts, Lexington, N.C., 48-7; 3. Peter Thliveros, Jacksonville, Fla., 47-14; 4. Denny Brauer, Camdenton, Mo., 47-3; 5. Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 45-0; 6. Carroll Hagood, Auburndale, Fla., 44-4; 7. Pete Gluszek, Frankinville, N.J., 43-3; 8. Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 43-1; 9. Gerald Beck, Lexington, N.C., 42-15; 10. Toshinari Hamiki, Japan, 42-8.

Amateur division: 1. Mike Glazier, Mount Airy, 36-13; 2. Mark Sabbles, Sarasota, Fla., 35-12; 3. Claude Rabb, Ferriday, La., 32-4; 4. Robert deGrandcourt, Alexandria, Va., 31-14; 5. Jim Behnken, Garden Ridge, Texas, 31-4; 6. Andy Putetti, Middlebury, Conn., 30-10; 7. Bob Parker, Milton, Ky., 29-13; 8. Randolph Stallings, Fairfax, Va., 29-11; 9. Michael Margelos, Fredericksburg, Va., 29-1; 10. Glenn Groome, Richmond, Va., 28-11.

Pub Date: 9/29/96

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