Bob Dobart of Bel Air is well-known as the organizer of the Bass Expo, Saltwater Fishing and Fly Fishing Show held each January at the state fairgrounds in Timonium. Now, he has another designation -- Maryland Bass Federation 1998 Angler of the Year.
Dobart, a retired Baltimore County policeman, won the title after finishing fifth in the recent Top 100 Potomac II Tournament and earning a total of 1,727 points this season.
Even a fifth-place finish in the tournament by no means came easily.
After catching an early limit of bass in Potomac Creek, Dobart headed upriver toward Washington in search of larger bass and better tidal conditions. Near Marshall Hall, his bass boat hit a submerged object.
"In retrospect, I was probably a little closer to the Maryland shore than I should have been and we were cooking -- 62 or 63 miles per hour," said Dobart.
"All of a sudden, whack! It probably was a tree that had blown in the water, and it tore the skeg off, sheared the propeller blade and bent the prop shaft. It was a mess."
Using a spare prop and a tool kit he always carries on the boat, Dobart went overboard, made some temporary repairs and was able to limp back toward the weigh station on Mattawoman Creek -- where he managed to catch a 4-pound, 4-ounce largemouth that ensured "the deal was in the bag."
"I had decided before the year started that this was it for me [in tournament bass fishing]," said Dobart, who has become more involved with fishing Chesapeake Bay in recent years.
"I'd been there, done that. But I really wanted to put it together this year and go out on top."
Martin family milestone
Roland Martin, whose early years of bass fishing were spent on Loch Raven Reservoir, has been the B.A.S.S. angler of the year nine times and has won a record 19 B.A.S.S. tournaments.
At the recent Bassmaster Eastern Invitational in Florida, Martin, 58, passed another milestone in his career, competing against his 23-year-old son, Scott, on Lake Okeechobee.
Roland Martin, who lives in Clewiston, Fla., and owns a marina and condo complex on Okeechobee, was the tournament leader after Day 1, and Scott was in ninth place.
"This being my first B.A.S.S. tournament, I'm pretty stoked about getting these big fish," said Scott, who weighed in five bass on Day 1 totaling 15 pounds, 10 ounces. "It was a fun day."
The host of the well-known "Fishing With Roland Martin" television show checked in five bass for 19 pounds, 15 ounces the first day and said the bite "was slow."
By the final day of the tournament, the Martins stood in sixth and seventh places, with only 11 ounces separating them.
Buck Durrance, a longtime guide on the lake, won the tournament with a limit of 15 bass weighing 55 pounds, 10 ounces.
Durrance was 10 pounds ahead of the second-place finisher.
The top Maryland finisher was Earnest Freeman of Waldorf in 76th place.
Pub Date: 12/13/98