Skip to main content

Lucas Goes Wire-To-Wire at Potomac River Elite

Angler Justin Lucas proves his skills once again, this time in unfamiliar waters, winning the Bassmaster Elite at Potomac River

Lucas Goes Wire-To-Wire at Potomac River Elite
Lucas Goes Wire-To-Wire at Potomac River Elite

CHARLES COUNTY, Md. — If professional bass fishing fans didn’t know it before, they know it now.

Justin Lucas is a force to be reckoned with — and it doesn’t matter which coast he’s fishing on.

The California native, who now lives in Alabama, caught five bass Sunday that weighed 19-13 to win the Bassmaster Elite at Potomac River presented by Econo Lodge. His four-day total of 72-14 was more than 4 pounds better than second-place angler Jason Christie (68-7), who finished strong himself with 23-1 Sunday.

It was Lucas’s second career victory on the Bassmaster Elite Series and the first away from his native West Coast waters. The 30-year-old pro picked up his first win last season on the Sacramento River.


“I think I proved to other people — and to myself — what I can do outside my home state,” Lucas said. “I’ve never won out of state before. That makes this one different for me, and it means a lot.”


Lucas won the event by finding and exploiting the kind of spot all tournament anglers dream of.

It was a long parking dock adjacent to a water treatment plant on the upper end of the river. The water was 5 to 8 feet deep, and the dock had aquatic grass growing all around its edges.

Instead of flipping a jig or skipping a soft-plastic bait under the dock like many anglers would in that situation, Lucas went with a drop shot rig — and he said that made all the difference.

“I don’t think the fish under that dock had ever seen a drop shot before,” Lucas said. “They’re used to seeing a bait hit the water and then fall all the way to the bottom. But that drop shot stays right in their face, and it worked all week.”


Lucas spent a little time fishing a stickbait and a swim jig. But his main technique was the drop shot rig with a 6-inch hand-poured worm in a purple and brown combo.

He fished the rig on a 7-foot-6 medium-heavy Veracity Abu Garcia spinning rod and an Abu Garcia Revo MGX size 30 reel. There were times when he also used the Revo Premiere size 30 reel.

His line choice was particularly important.


“I used 10-pound braid with a 10-pound Berkley Trilene leader,” Lucas said. “I wanted to use the largest line I could get away with on a spinning reel.”

He said the water was too deep under the dock for a standard baitcaster.

“You would have spent too much time pulling line out with a baitcaster just trying to get the rig to the bottom,” Lucas said. “It was so much easier to pitch in there with a spinning reel.”

Lucas insisted he found the spot by accident on the first day of competition after failing to get a bite there during practice.

He knew there was a discharge at the water treatment plant, and he was hoping it would produce a few fish early. After catching a couple of smaller fish from that area, he decided to pitch the drop shot under the dock.

“I caught two 3-pounders, and that told me the fish were there,” Lucas said. “So many things worked in my favor.”

Lucas said he was amazed the dock never received any pressure from anyone else, and he thanked the anglers from Maryland and Virginia for giving him plenty of space.

“This is not like a secret spot,” he said. “It’s the community hole of all community holes. So it still just amazes me that no one else fished it.

“The people here are awesome.”

The biggest key to his week, Lucas said, might have been that he had nowhere else to go.

“I didn’t have a plan B,” he said. “If I had been forced to go to plan B, I would have been running all over the place.”

The dock produced 20-4 on Day 1, 19-14 on Day 2, 12-15 on Day 3 and 19-13 on Day 4.

“I went there originally looking for two or three keeper bites,” Lucas said. “But it ended up being the best spot I’ve ever found in my tournament career.”

Brent Ehrler (62-12), Bill Lowen (61-0) and Andy Montgomery (59-12) rounded out the Top 5. Alabama pro Gerald Swindle (53-6) finished 10th and maintained a 37-point lead over Keith Combs in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.

Swindle was awarded $1,000 for leading the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race at the end of the event.

Lowen earned the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash award of $1,000 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.

Lucas earned the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500 for leading on the second day.

Lucas also won the Toyota Bonus Bucks Award of $3,000 for being the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program. The second-highest-placing eligible entrant, Jason Christie, received $2,000.

The Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award of $1,500 was presented to Cliff Pirch for weighing in the overall biggest bass of the event — a 6-11 bass caught on Saturday.

Lucas earned the A.R.E. Top Angler Award of $1,000 for being the highest placing angler using A.R.E. products.

Dick Cepek Rolling Forward Award of $1,000 will be presented to the angler who makes the largest gain in Toyota Angler of the Year points from tournament to tournament.

Click here for complete event results.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Yo-Zuri Mag Popper & 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil

Yo-Zuri Mag Popper & 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil

Yo-Zuri pro Carter Andrews discusses new saltwater fishing lures with Florida Sportsman's Jeff Weakley as part of our 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Simms Flyweight Wader

Simms Flyweight Wader

Constructed of three different kinds of Gore-Tex fabric, the Simms Flyweight Wader is durable, breathable, and features stretch in key areas of movement and stress that happen during a day of wade fishing out on a fast flowing trout stream.

Humminbird CoastMaster - A Closer Look

Humminbird CoastMaster - A Closer Look

Patterned after Humminbird's LakeMaster charts for freshwater anglers, CoastMaster charts bring the same features for salt anglers. CoastMaster delivers unrivaled nearshore and offshore fishing performance.

Lure Lock Deep and Thin Boxes

Lure Lock Deep and Thin Boxes

In this video, TakLogic president John Skrabo chats with Game & Fish's Dr. Todd A. Kuhn about what's new in the Lure Lock line. And see how the TakLogic gel will even keep a cell phone in place.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them.10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

In need of a rugged container to sip from in the backcountry? We've got you covered. From tumblers to bottles to flasks (and even clever bottle openers), we've rounded up some of the best bar gear for the outdoors.Ultimate Outdoor Bar Gear Roundup The Deck

Ultimate Outdoor Bar Gear Roundup

Chelsie Walters and Jessyca Sortillon - August 31, 2020

In need of a rugged container to sip from in the backcountry? We've got you covered. From...

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to the expectations demanded at ranges up to and beyond 500, 600 or even 1,000 yards. Try these different loads until you find the one that thumps steel at long ranges consistently.10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to...

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.12 Great Catfish Baits Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

See More Trending Articles

More News

The move is described as the largest expansion of hunt-fish opportunities in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service history.Trump Admin Opens 2.3 Million New Acres to Hunting & Fishing Conservation & Politics

Trump Admin Opens 2.3 Million New Acres to Hunting & Fishing

Lynn Burkhead - August 19, 2020

The move is described as the largest expansion of hunt-fish opportunities in U.S. Fish and...

After a huge ‘gill caught by a kid in Okla. goes viral, we take a look at the biggest of the diminutive species.The Story of Record (and Near-Record) Bluegills Panfish

The Story of Record (and Near-Record) Bluegills

Lynn Burkhead - August 12, 2020

After a huge ‘gill caught by a kid in Okla. goes viral, we take a look at the biggest of the...

With the latest giant weighing in at 151.9 pounds, Oklahoma's Keystone Lake is ground zero for record-size paddlefish.World-Record Paddlefish Déjà Vu - Oklahoma Gives Up Another Weighing 151.9 Pounds Records

World-Record Paddlefish Déjà Vu - Oklahoma Gives Up Another Weighing 151.9 Pounds

Lynn Burkhead - July 24, 2020

With the latest giant weighing in at 151.9 pounds, Oklahoma's Keystone Lake is ground zero for...

It's the first record blue certified over 100 pounds in the Peach State.Monster Blue Catfish Smashes Georgia Record Records

Monster Blue Catfish Smashes Georgia Record

Game & Fish Staff - October 20, 2020

It's the first record blue certified over 100 pounds in the Peach State.

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now