Yamaha angler wins Bassmaster Elite tournament

Yamaha pro Justin Lucas finished the Bassmaster Elite at Potomac River tournament on Sunday with a catch of 19 pounds, 13 ounces to win the event.
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Yamaha pro Justin Lucas finished the Bassmaster Elite at Potomac River tournament on Sunday with a catch of 19 pounds, 13 ounces to win the event with a four-day total of 72 pounds, 14 ounces.

It was the Guntersville, Ala., angler’s second career Elite victory. He won in 2015 on the Sacramento River in California.

Other Yamaha anglers who finished in the top 12 on the Potomac River in Charles County, Maryland, included Bill Lowen, fourth, with 61-0; Keith Combs, sixth, with 59-6; Randall Tharp, seventh, 58-10; and Clifford Pirch, 12th, 50-11.

Pirch caught the largest bass of the tournament — a 6-pound, 11-ounce largemouth he boated on Saturday.

Describing the wooden pier where he caught every one of his fish as “the best spot I’ve ever found in my tournament career,” Lucas led all four days of the event. He brought in catches of 20-14, 19-14, 12-15, and 19-13, and at times led the tournament by nearly six pounds.

“It was a long pier adjacent to a water discharge plant, located about 20 miles up the Potomac from our launching spot,” Lucas said in a statement, “and I think the real keys to the area were vegetation that grew right to the edge of the pier, steady current and the 5- to 8-foot water depths. I fished it with a 6-inch plastic worm on a drop shot rig that I could pitch easily. I used spinning tackle with 10-pound braided line because of all the cross timbers and boards between the pilings.”

A California native who now lives in Guntersville, Ala., Lucas caught his final fish of the tournament about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday and then left for the weigh-in. He’d actually caught his first limit by 8:15 that morning, then was able to cull several times before leaving.

Lowen, who started the final day in second place, fell to fourth after bringing in just 13-13. He spent his tournament flipping a jig in very shallow water in a narrow tributary creek. Combs and Tharp likewise flipped jigs and soft plastic lures into the Potomac’s thick vegetation for their fish.

Combs and Tharp now rank second and third, respectively, in the 2016 Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. Lowen is 16th. With his victory, Lucas moved into eighth place.

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