Avena Leads Day One Of Walmart FLW Tour On Potomac River Presented By Ranger Boats

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Pro angler Adrian Avena of Vineland, New Jersey, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Thursday weighing 16 pounds, 12 ounces to take the lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats, a nationally televised four-day tournament that features 142 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.

Adrian Avena of Vineland, New Jersey, leads day one of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour at the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats.

This is the closest tournament to home, and I grew up saltwater fishing and I love tidal waters. That’s what I did today – run the tide. I probably hit 25 different places today and caught 15 keepers.

Pro angler Adrian Avena of Vineland, New Jersey, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Thursday weighing 16 pounds, 12 ounces to take the lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. Avena will start the second day of competition with a 1-pound, 6-ounce lead in the nationally televised four-day tournament, hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, that features 142 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.

Right behind Avena in second place is pro Troy Morrow of Eastanollee, Georgia, who weighed in five bass totaling 15 pounds, 6 ounces.

Prior to the start of the tournament many anglers were lamenting the tough conditions and wondering if they were going to be able to catch a fish, let alone a five-bass limit. However when the final fish was weighed Thursday, 114 of the 142 pros competing were able to fill their limits and the entire field caught at least one fish.

“I’ve been looking forward to this event all season long,” said Avena, who has two prior top-10 finishes in FLW Tour competition, including a ninth-place finish earlier this season at Lake Eufaula. “This is the closest tournament to home, and I grew up saltwater fishing and I love tidal waters. That’s what I did today – run the tide. I probably hit 25 different places today and caught 15 keepers.

“Some of the places are one-fish spots and others are multiple-fish places,” Avena continued. “I’m fishing a combination of grass, current and rock – textbook tidal-river junk fishing. I have like 20 rods on my deck, and I caught my keepers today on seven different baits. Basic stuff – a ChatterBait, swimjig, frog, small crankbait and a weightless worm. “

Avena said that he culled out a solid 12-pound limit throughout the day and left a few areas where fish were still biting.

“I was catching 2- and 2½-pounders, but they weren’t helping me and those fish could potentially help to get me to the weekend,” Avena said.

“If we get a bunch of rain tonight, that could really mess up the conditions and I’ll likely have to scrap my plans and just go fishing tomorrow,” Avena went on to say. “But, every day in practice it seemed like I was catching around 12 to 14 pounds so hopefully I can continue to catch that. I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

The top 10 pros after day one on the Potomac River are:

    1st:    Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 16-12
    2nd:    Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., five bass, 15-6
    3rd:    Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., five bass, 15-5
    4th:    Travis Fox, Rogers, Ark., five bass, 15-2
    5th:    Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, five bass, 15-1
    6th:    Clark Wendlandt, Leander, Texas, five bass, 14-13
    7th:    Andrew Upshaw, Sapulpa, Okla., five bass, 14-8
    8th:    John Voyles, Petersburg, Ind., five bass, 14-7
    9th:    Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., five bass, 14-6
    10th:    Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., five bass, 14-3

For a full list of results visit FLWFishing.com.

Fukae and Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tennessee, tied for the Bridgford Big Bass Award on the pro side Thursday, each weighing bass totaling 5 pounds, 2 ounces to split the $500 prize.

Overall there were 646 bass weighing 1,479 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 142 pros Thursday. The catch included 114 five-bass limits.

Eric Self of Lawndale, North Carolina, leads the co-angler division with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces followed by Shane Melton of Kokomo, Indiana, in second place with five bass weighing 12-13.

The top 10 co-anglers are:

    1st:    Eric Self, Lawndale, N.C., five bass, 15-14
    2nd:    Shane Melton, Kokomo, Ind., five bass, 12-13
    3rd:    Kyle Prskalo, Hobart, Ind., five bass, 12-3
    4th:    Warren Shores, Bulls Gap, Tenn., five bass, 12-0
    5th:    Simon Borja, Johnson City, Tenn., five bass, 11-15
    5th:    Jim Jones, Big Bend, Wis., five bass, 11-15
    7th:    Tee Watkins, East Point, Ky., five bass, 11-11
    8th:    Jim Short, Ocean Pines, Md., five bass, 11-10
    9th:    Mark Holman, Cornelius, N.C., five bass, 11-2
    10th:    Joey Cifuentes, Clinton, Ark., five bass, 11-1
    10th:    Jim Hippensteel, Rochester, Ind., five bass, 11-1

There was a three-way tie for Thursday’s Bridgford Big Bass Award in the co-angler division. Josh Smith of Hamilton, Ohio, Timmy Thompkins of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Nathan Ragsdale of Fayetteville, Georgia, each caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 7 ounces to split the $250 prize.

Overall there were 444 bass weighing 913 pounds, 3 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 39 five-bass limits.

In addition to casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division, anglers are also competing for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 20-23 on Lake Ouachita and is hosted by Visit Hot Springs. The Forrest Wood Cup Champion could win as much as $500,000 – professional bass-fishing’s richest prize.

Anglers will take off from Smallwood State Park located at 2750 Sweden Point Road in Marbury at 6:30 a.m. EST each day of competition. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the State Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at Walmart, located at 40 Drury Drive in La Plata, Maryland, beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Walmart in La Plata prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes a Ranger boat simulator, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Pros Rich Dalbey and Todd Hollowell’s “Hooked on Helping” foundation will be hosting a food drive to benefit the Southern Maryland Food Bank. FLW fans who donate five or more cans of food will be entered to win a $50 Walmart gift card.

Coverage of the Potomac River tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) November 2 from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. EDT when Season 20 of “FLW” returns this fall. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

ABOUT FLW
FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2015 over the course of 240 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. For more information about FLW visit FLWFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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