RICHMOND, Va. -- Joshua Wagy couldn’t have asked for a better time to catch his heaviest five-fish stringer from the James River than during the first 2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open.
The 23-year-old from DeWitt, Va., thought he could count on 12- to 14-pound bags each day and take a nice check home, but his 19-11 from Day Two vaulted him into serious contention for the win, and earned him a $250 Bass Pro Shops gift card courtesy of the Luck “E” Strike Heavyweight Award.
But to Wagy, the icing on the cake is berth to the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, set for Oklahoma’s grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in February.
Wagy only brought four fish to the scales today, but they weighed 7-7 and gave him a total of 39-4, which edged out Robert Whitehurst by six ounces. Whitehurst finished with 38-14.
“I don’t really know what to say,” Wagy offered as he stood with the trophy front of the crowd at the Ashland, Va., Bass Pro Shops. “To win here in front of my family and friends is a big, big deal for me, especially since my dad taught me most of what I know.”
Wagy’s winning day didn’t start as well as it ended. He didn’t get his first bite until 7:30 this morning, 90 minutes after launch.
“I told my co-angler, ‘I’ve got to make a game-changing decision,’ and we went to my last little place that I hadn’t hit yet,” he said.
The move proved most prudent, as he started getting bites, slowly amassing the 7-7 that carried him to victory.
He relied on a Lobina Lures Rico topwater popper-style bait and a Texas rigged 7-inch Berkley PowerBait worm for most all of his catch. He pitched the Rico far back under overhanging trees and along laydown logs, and allowed the worm to be washed along by the current for a natural presentation. The other part of his plan was running the tide and hitting his spots for the right amount of time.