County host­ing na­tional fish­ing tour­na­ment this week

FLW Tour reg­u­lar sea­son fin­ishes up this week­end

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CHAR­LIE WRIGHT cwright@somd­ Twit­ter: @Char­lieIndyNews

The Fish­ing League World­wide Tour will con­clude its sea­son with a lo­cal event on the Po­tomac River this week, where pros will bat­tle for a $125,000 prize and a spot in the 2017 For­rest Wood Cup.

Com­peti­tors will take off from Small­wood State Park in Mar­bury at 6:30 a.m. each day of the four­day tour and re­turn each af­ter­noon for weigh-ins.

The fi­nal con­test of the reg­u­lar sea­son for the pro­fes­sional bass fish­ing league will have a to­tal purse of more than $800,000 and in­clude 320 pros and co-an­glers from around the coun­try.

Lo­cal tal­ent Bryan Schmitt of Deale is look­ing to build on last month’s vic­tory on the Mis­sis­sippi River in his re­turn to the area.

“I got a lot of mo­men­tum go­ing right now, I think we’re in for a good fish­ing week,” Schmitt said. “I love trav­el­ing, but I’m al­ways ready to get back home. To be able to fish a big tour­na­ment and sleep in my own bed, that’s a lot of fun.”

Schmitt has 10 tour­na­ment wins over his five years on the FLW Tour and earned $125,000 for his re­cent win.

The FLW Tour com­pe­ti­tion ran­domly cou­ples pros and co-an­glers each day, with the for­mer pro­vid­ing and steer­ing the boat and the lat­ter fish­ing off the back deck. Be­gin­ning on Thurs­day, co-an­glers will go against each other over two days for a $25,000 prize, con­clud­ing their event with a weigh-in on Fri­day. Pros will face off ver­sus fel­low pros on Thurs­day and Fri­day, with the top 20 fin­ish­ers mov­ing on to Satur­day. From there the top 10 pros ad­vance to Sun­day and the win­ner is de­cided by the heav­i­est four-day to­tal.

This week’s event will be the last op­por­tu­nity for an­glers to make a push for the For­rest Wood Cup, the world cham­pi­onship of pro bass fish­ing. Pros ac­cu­mu­late points based on per­for­mance dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son in or­der to qual­ify for the post­sea­son com­pe­ti­tion. Schmitt fin­ished 46th in last year’s cham­pi­onship, his first ap­pear­ance in the Cup.

Clark Wend­landt of Le­an­der, Texas, won the last FLW Tour event on the Po­tomac two years ago, fin­ish­ing with a to­tal of 60 pounds in 2015.

“It’s al­ways been one of my very fa­vorite places to come in the whole coun­try,” Wend­landt said. “I just like the his­tory there, and I think the fish­ery is about as dy­namic as any shal­low water fish­ery we’ve ever fished.”

In ad­di­tion to the tour­na­ment, there will be a free FLW Expo be­fore weigh-ins on Satur­day and Sun­day from noon to 4 p.m. Fans will get to in­ter­act with tour pros and take part in ac­tiv­i­ties and give­aways of­fered by FLW spon­sors.

Kids can also par­take in the free FLW Foun­da­tion Uni­fied Fish­ing Derby at Small­wood State Park on Satur­day from 9 to 11 a.m. Par­tic­i­pants who are 18 years of age and younger as well as Spe­cial Olympics ath­letes of all ages are in­vited to join Cody Kel­ley and other pros for the event, with equip­ment pro­vided to the first 50 par­tic­i­pants.

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