Maryland bolts into lead

NORTHEAST, Md. — The big story of the day in the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional is the jumbling of the state team standings. First-place Delaware fell into the No. 3 spot, while second-place Zimbabwe fell into fifth place. Maryland now leads, up from fifth place.

West Virginia, however, which is in last place, has the top overall angler — Robby Fleshman. Fleshman held onto his lead from yesterday with 35 pounds, 5 ounces over the two days. He’s currently 4 pounds, 3 ounces in front of Virginia’s Bryant Copley.

Maryland’s rise can be attributed to an extraordinary come-from-behind performance by its team members. Seven anglers brought double-digit weights to the scales. Included in that number were two bags heavier than 17 pounds — Richard Martin Jr. (17-3) and Moo Bae (17-7). Bae’s bag was the heaviest of the day.

The fishing was markedly better today. A total of 254 bass were brought to the weigh-in — 53 more than yesterday — with a total weight of 647 pounds, 11 ounces. All fish were released alive. Today’s average weight was approximately 2 1/2 pounds per fish. That’s right where it was yesterday.

The top angler from each state team will advance to the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship, Oct. 25-27, on Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala. Current state leaders are Fleshman, West Virginia; Copley, Virginia; Kevin Waterman, Maryland; Wayne Golla, Pennsylvania; Roger Shirkey, Delaware; and Dean Lewis, Zimbabwe. Antonio Gomez and Craig Townsend of New Jersey both brought in 19 pounds, 5 ounces; Gomez is the leader based on a tiebreaker.

The Cabela’s Big Bass honor of the day went to Richard Martin Jr., who fishes for Maryland. He weighed a 6-pound, 10-ounce monster this afternoon.

This is a tight tournament. Pennsylvania is less than 7 pounds out of first place. Third place Delaware is less than 13 pounds off the mark. The individual competition is no different. At least a half-dozen anglers are within striking distance.

The competitors aren’t giving up much information about what’s working on the water. However, the bite is getting better as the tournament goes on, and the anglers are beginning to figure the bass out. That trend is expected to continue tomorrow.

Competitors will launch for the final day of competition at 6:30 a.m. ET tomorrow at Anchor Marina, and weigh-in will be held at the same place at 2:30 p.m.

Junior Bassmaster anglers will also fish tomorrow in a one-day competition that will qualify two contenders (one in the 11- to 14-year-olds age group and one in the 15-18 bracket) for the 2012 Bassmaster Junior World Championship next month, held in conjunction with the adult championship.

Tune in to for live streaming video of the adult and junior weigh-in tomorrow.
For full coverage of the 2012 Cabela's B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Mid Atlantic Divisional, please click here

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