Vatalaro, Nixon Tied on Potomac River

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Pro Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, shows off his 20-pound, 2-ounce stringer. Vatalaro's catch was good enough to put him in a tie for first place with Larry Nixon during the opening round of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River.
Gary Mortenson

Chevy pro Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark. and Iams/Pringles pro Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio each crossed the stage Thursday with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 2 ounces to lead day one of the Walmart FLW Tour on the Potomac River presented by National Guard. Nixon and Vatalaro now hold a 2-pound, 11-ounce lead over Michael Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, N.J. who caught five bass weighing 17-7 in a tournament featuring over 300 anglers from all across the United States and Canada.


?I caught a lot of fish today,? said Vatalaro, who shares the lead with Nixon. ?But I just couldn?t seem to cull. I got my biggest fish early in the morning and couldn?t get any more big ones to bite. I was basically fishing a 100 foot by 50 foot area all day long. After I got my limit by about 9 a.m., I just tried to guard the area for tomorrow. I have a couple of other spots to go to, but I tried them late today and one was muddied up because of the high winds and the other had a lot of traffic on it so I am hoping the area I fished today will replenish itself and hold out another day.

?Grass is key,? Vatalaro went on to say. ?There seem to be a couple of points in the weeds that I am keying in on. The bass seem to be schooling there so it should replenish for tomorrow. The tide was high when I was catching my big fish. I like the high tide for the type of fishing I am doing. Mostly I was using a worm and a Weedless Wonder jig.

?Tomorrow I have an early draw so I am going to race to my spot and grind it out. Hopefully I?ll be able to bring in another good limit,? Vatalaro added.


Wind was a big factor in today?s tournament. Several anglers reported three foot waves coming in making it difficult to fish the grass. Others complained that the wind muddied up much of their waters making it more difficult especially in the shallow areas. Iconelli, who sits in third place and said he was all out to win the tournament, added that the wind blew out the tide which is something you never want to see.

?I was a little surprised that I brought in a 20-pound sack,? said Nixon. ?I had a couple of pretty good practice days so I knew the potential was there.

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Larry Nixon proudly displays his 20-pound, 2-ounce stringer. Nixon's catch placed him in a tie for first place with Vic Vatalaro during the opening round of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River.
Gary Mortenson

?The wind was terrible so I pretty much haunted one area most of the day,? Nixon added. ?It was a typical tide pattern, lots of grass on a hard bottom. I just hope the wind goes down tomorrow, then you?ll really see some nice bags brought in.?


Nixon said there is no privacy on the river so he remained very tight lipped about the baits he was using and the exact location he was fishing.

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

  • 4th: Band-Aid/Neosporin pro Glenn Browne, Ocala, Fla., five bass, 17-4
  • 5th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., five bass, 17-3
  • 6th: Aaron Hastings, Middletown, Md., five bass, 16-15
  • 7th: Clifford Pirch, Payson, Ariz., five bass, 16-1
  • 8th: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 16-0
  • 9th: Takahiro Omori, Emory, Texas, five bass, 15-14
  • 10th: Cory Johnston, Peterborough, Ontario, five bass, 15-10

For a full list of results visit >FLWOutdoors.com.

Takahiro Omori caught the Snickers® Big Bass weighing 5-10 on the pro side to win $500.

Overall there were 653 bass weighing 1655 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 152 pros Thursday. The catch included 103 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top five anglers in the point standings from the four 2011 Walmart FLW Tour Open tournaments will qualify.

James Schneider of Watervliet, N.Y., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 16-7 followed by Kenny Kash of Indian Head, Md., in second place with five bass weighing 15-12.

?I really had to adapt to the wind,? said Schneider. ?The combination of high wind and high tide really helped me out today. The wind helped blow the bait fish in with the tide so I tried to capitalize on that strategy. I was mostly throwing a chatterbait in a little deeper water. It was tough, I hope I can do it again tomorrow.?

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:

  • 3rd: Philip Jarabeck, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 15-10
  • 4th: Cory Leonard, Castalia, N.C., five bass, 14-8
  • 5th: Melvin Smitson, Baltimore, Md., five bass, 14-1
  • 6th: Skip Bennett, Mt. Vernon, Ill., five bass, 13-15
  • 7th: Anthony Moscato, Aberdeen, N.J., four bass, 13-6
  • 8th: Charlie Evans, Gilbertsville, Ky., five bass, 12-15
  • 9th: Brian Stack, Nanjemoy, Md., five bass, 12-13
  • 10th: Ben Due, Mauston, Wis., five bass, 12-10

For a full list of results visit >FLWOutdoors.com.

Danny Bucher of Spring City, Tenn., caught the Snickers® Big Bass weighing 5-11 in the co-angler division to win $250.

Overall there were 348 bass weighing 816 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 124 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 22 five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup. The top five co-anglers in the point standings from the four 2011 Walmart FLW Tour Open tournaments will qualify.

Anglers will take off from National Harbor Marina located at 137 National Plaza in National Harbor at 6:30 a.m. each morning. Friday?s weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday?s final weigh-in will also be at the marina beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the National Harbor Marina on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins. The Expo provides the opportunity for fans to interact with professional anglers, ride Ranger boat simulators, 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.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW Outdoors on Facebook at >Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.

About FLW Outdoors

FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world?s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player?s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.

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