Jones, Bladders, Devoe and Hitt punch their ticket to the Maryland Bass Nation Championship

The Maryland Bass Nation Mr. Bass event was held at Smallwood State Park on Saturday and Sunday, April 20th and 21st. The top 2 boaters and top 2 non-boaters of this event will go on to fish the Maryland Bass Nation Championship on the Pokomoke River in October of this year. The Championship will determine the top 4 boaters and non-boaters who will advance to the Bass National Championship.

Rick Jones won the boater division of the event with his 2-day total of 27.78 pounds. Rick said he located his fish in practice which had lots of pilings and grass. He said it was less of a pattern and more of a spot which had a solid concentration of fish. Rick caught 10 keepers on Saturday and only 5 on Sunday. In addition to my non-boater and I working the spot hard for 2 days, the area got plenty of pressure by other tournament anglers as well. At times, I did what I could to protect it. Rick weighed in 2 fish that came on a crankbait, one was on a spinnerbait, and the rest were caught on soft plastics which he makes himself.  Rick wanted to send a special “thank you” to fellow competitors Jim Goins and Jerome Fuller. Rick said he returned to the ramp on Friday to find that he had a flat tire on his trailer. Jim really went out of his way to plug the tire and get me back on the road. Without the help of Jim and Jerome, his travel partner for the day, I may not have been able to compete on Saturday and Sunday. “Again, thank you Jim and Jerome.” This is great to hear. Anglers helping fellow anglers.

Paul Bladders took 2nd place in the boater division with 27.03 pounds of fish for his 2-day total weight. Paul said he had a tough practice leading up to the event. He found one area that had some fish. It was a popular area but, he was able to get away from the crowds and found some spawning fish. Saturday, the water was a little dirty which made fishing a little tougher. Sunday, the water was really clean, and Paul said he was able to sight fish for spawners which allowed him to put a limit in the boat pretty quickly once it got lighter out. He said it was tough to get a bigger bite and he had a couple of missed opportunities on day 2 but, he had a solid limit that moved him up in the standings. Overall, he said it was a great tournament and he had a lot of fun. Paul extended his congratulations to Rick Jones and Joe Devoe for taking home the wins in their divisions. He also thanked Tom Bateman for running a great tournament.

Joe Devoe won the non-boater division with 13.71 pounds of fish for his 2-day total. Joe said they started their day off in a community hole that had a lot of fish. He literally caught his first keeper on his first cast of the day. He and his boater were flipping around in the grass with plastics and casting moving baits. Their second spot upriver was more of the same kind of conditions, including boat docks. The second day, his boater headed to less pressured areas that he had found in practice. The bite was tougher but, Joe was able to get a limit flipping the grass with plastics, casting jigs and chatterbaits. Joe wanted to thank his boater Brian Trieschman for putting him on fish both days. He said, if you’re paired with Brian, you know that you’re going to have your chance to put fish in the boat. 

Jim Hitt took 2nd place on the non-boater side with 13.02 pounds for his total limit for both days. Jim said, the first spot that they ran to was a parking lot of boats so they turned around and rolled out. The 2nd spot they ran to they were able to get their limits for the day. Day 2, the wind blew out their 2nd spot, so they went to the first spot and they were the 2nd boat to arrive there. Jim said, he caught 2 fish there and broke off his 3rd fish. Jim did not think that he had enough weight (“thought I blew it”) and he was shocked to find out that he finished 2nd.

Congratulations guys!

Doug Zittle

Western Region Director