Anglers step up for payoffs, marking end of finny week


August 11, 2002|By CANDUS THOMSON

MARBURY - If it's bass, it must be Saturday.

What a week for fish tales for Ye Olde Outdoors Writer:

Monday and Tuesday, first two days of the White Marlin Open. Wednesday, rockfish and blues on the Chesapeake Bay with Brooks Robinson and Harold Baines. Thursday, a mixture of salt and fresh with the start of the BASSMASTERS Northern Open and Day 4 of the marlin tournament. Friday, more of the same, plus the Joe Judge Fishing Derby for the families of cancer patients.

Unless I missed some snakehead action (I didn't, did I?), that's the entire week's leader board.

Which brings us to yesterday, the finale of the bass bonanza at Smallwood State Park in Charles County.

It seemed only fitting that the opening event of the Northern Open should be dominated by anglers from above the Mason-Dixon line.

David Hall of Kunkletown, Pa., started the day in fourth place with 26 pounds, 4 ounces of fish and added 16 pounds, 2 ounces to the total to win.

Hall, 54, worked grass beds about 15 miles south of the launch area on the north side of Erkandale Flats. He cast a three-eighths-ounce chartreuse and white Terminator spinnerbait with an Oklahoma blade with a twin-tail trailer hook.

"The best thing that happened to me is that I didn't have a good practice, so I wasn't locked into an area," he said.

When did he think he had it won?

"I never had that feeling," he said.

Ken McIntosh of Pierceton, Ind., in 10th place with 24 pounds, 6 ounces, after two days, finished second with a total weight of 39-8. McIntosh, who took an 18-month sabbatical from competition, stuck with a cinnamon-colored spider jig.

The 44-year-old angler praised the Potomac River as "a thinking fishery" because it never shows the same conditions twice.

"I've caught good bags of fish all up and down the river," he said.

Fishing in his first B.A.S.S. tournament, Jay Boettner of Enola, Pa., took third place with a total of 38 pounds, 12 ounces. He entered the day in 15th place with 22-10.

Boettner, 49, a marine dealer in Harrisburg, Pa., said he had confidence because he has fished with most of the pros for years.

Chris Price, who last month became the first Marylander to appear in the BASS Masters Classic, finished 39th, with a total of 22 pounds, 7 ounces.

The Eastern Shore native, who started the day in 45th place, said muddy river conditions made fishing tough.

"Conditions had been stable for almost a month. It was really nice and calm, even the first day of practice. Then the wind came up and we had the worst cold front come through in a month," he said. "Everybody felt the effects of it.

"Luckily, it blew, because I would have gotten my behind kicked," he said, grinning. "It leveled the playing field for me."

The hard-luck story was pro angler Wally Szuba, who was atop the standings yesterday morning and got about 200 yards from shore when his motor quit.

Szuba, of Cary, N.C., stood on shore for nearly two hours until his amateur partner could bring his boat to the water. Once he got on the water, he found a local angler who was not part of the tournament at his spot.

He caught four fish weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces for a total of 36-15 and fifth place.

"It was just one of those things," he said.

In the amateur division, Eric Picarella of Shamokin, Pa., won $24,000 in merchandise with a three-day total of 25 pounds, 15 ounces.

Hall, who appeared in the 1985 and 1997 Classics, hoisted a huge trophy and accepted a check for $50,000.

Yesterday, White Marlin Open winners also picked up their checks at a noontime ceremony in Ocean City.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment came Friday at 10:15 p.m. after the scales at Harbour Island Marina had closed and Ye Olde Outdoors Writer was heading back to the Western Shore.

Garvan McClogan aboard Delta Dawn brought in a 688-pound blue marlin good for a $557,972 check. It was the only blue that made the 450-pound minimum.

It was the winner that almost wasn't.

After McGlogan hooked up, Delta Dawn broke down 80 miles out, near Norfolk Canyon. Capt. Pete Manuel began radioing nearby boats to ask for help in bringing the marlin back to the dock.

Capt. Daniel "Backlash" Davis, aboard Reel Magic, answered the call and waited until McGlogan landed the fish. A tricky transfer of fish, angler and captain at 7 p.m. went flawlessly, and the long ride back began.

"It was a magnificent fish," said Open spokesman Chuck Motsko. "The drama that it might come in and it might not come in was sensational."

Nearly 1,000 people waited to see the number pop up on the digital display and then roared their approval.

The rest of the official standings and prize totals are as follows:

White marlin: Bob Hughes, 78 pounds, $230,800; Jeffrey Goodwin, 77 pounds, $303,471; Dave Warren, 76 pounds, $870,150.

Tuna: Keith Davis, 113 pounds, $95,762; Bob Forwood, 112.5 pounds, $3,500; Steve Fleegle, 103.5 pounds, $37,212.

Dolphin: Jay Barnett, 38.5 pounds, $4,300; Crista Gessler, 32 pounds, $1,800; Larry Johnson, 30.5 pounds, $2,300.

Wahoo: Janet Smith, 80 pounds, $4,300; Terry Nirenberg, 72.5 pounds, $3,300; John Green, 61 pounds, $2,300.

No sharks were weighed in during the five-day tournament. A record 402 boats carrying more than 2,000 anglers competed for $2 million in cash prizes.

The rewards were just as great - even if you couldn't take them to the bank - in Friday's third annual Joe Judge Fishing Derby.

Fifteen youngsters and their family members boarded Capt. Jim Brincefield's boat, Jil Carrie, at Harris' Crab House in Grasonville for a half-day trip of bay fishing.

The outing was the idea of Donna Judge, Joe's widow, who wanted to help families that are dealing with the death of a loved one.

Brincefield volunteers his services, as do members of the Coastal Conservation Association, who serve as individual mates for each of the children, baiting hooks and offering suggestions on landing fish.

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