RICHMOND, Va. — Armed with a lucky penny, touring pro Pete Gluszek jumped into the lead of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open #2 Friday at the James River.
The Mount Laurel, N.J., pro took over the lead with 31 pounds by catching the biggest limit (20 pounds, 2 ounces) of the tournament on Day 2.
Gluszek suffered some bad luck Thursday when engine problems forced him to fish close to the launch area, and he finished the day in 37th place with 10-14.
The service crew worked until after dark to help Gluszek get his motor running again and his lucky penny kicked in next. “Before I left to come down here my little boy Jake gave me a lucky penny,” Gluszek said.
Jake rubbed the penny and told his dad to carry it with him the whole week. “And it’s working,” Gluszek said.
Playing a weather pattern also helped Gluszek. “I am always looking for the developing pattern,” he said. “What I found in practice was the rain came through and it changes things on the bay because the bay gets sweltering hot and the fish do a certain thing. Then the rain comes and cools things down and it can scatter the fish. But now we are back into heat waves again and it is grouping them back up for me. So I caught them way better today than I did yesterday and way better than I did the day before.”
He has also noticed the low tide is getting better for him every day. “I think the tide is going to be better tomorrow for everybody,” he said.
Second place in the pro division is a logjam with three anglers, Garrett Paquette, Matt Madlener, and Greg Dipalma, all weighing in with 28-11.
The 22-year-old Paquette from Canton, Mich., is a Lake St. Clair guide who missed fishing the right tide on his spots Thursday. “Today I went into my prime areas a little earlier and that was really the biggest adjustment,” he said. “After that I kind of got on a deal that I think not a lot of guys are doing. No one is in my area and I am fishing with a bait that maybe only five guys in this tournament have.”
Running back and forth from Richmond to the Chickahominy River and back to Richmond caused Madlener of Lake Villa, Ill., to run out of gas Thursday and miss completing him limit. “I really focused on fishing a lot cleaner (Friday),” he said. “It was tough. I didn’t have a 12-incher by 12 o’clock and then got down to the Chickahominy and the tide was all wrong but I got lucky and hit a little stretch and got three quick ones.” Then he ran back to Richmond with enough fuel to complete his limit.
Dipalma’s main area tapered off throughout the day so he went to another spot with about an hour left and caught two quality fish to improve his bag.” The Millville, N.J., angler said he is fishing “South Jersey Style” since the James River fishes similar to his home waters. “We are used to fishing mud basically, in real shallow creeks and there is a lot of that here.”
First-day leader Shin Fukae of Palestine, Texas, caught a 12-pound limit today but dropped into fifth place with 28-10.
Catching an 8-pound, 9-ounce largemouth while fishing with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike Iaconelli helped 49-year-old Jon Jezierski of Troy, Mich., take the lead in the co-angler division with 19-3. “Today I had three keeper bites and Mike helped me get all three of them into the boat,” Jezierski said. The finish carpenter said he caught the big bass at around 11 a.m. and later caught a two-pounder to complete his three-bass limit. His big catch leads the co-angler side of the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award.
Leading the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award in the pro division is Rick Shannon of Woodlawn, Tenn., with a 9-3 largemouth.
Hosting this event is Richmond Region Tourism. Tomorrow’s launch will be held at the Osborne Boat Landing, 9530 Osborne Turnpike in Henrico. The final day weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops at 11550 Lakeridge Parkway in Ashland and will begin at 3:15 p.m.