Ultimate Bass

Freeman wins Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Division

Virginia’s Jeff Freeman had a 2-pound lead going into the final day of the Bassmaster Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional, and he felt a limit was all he needed to clinch a wire-to-wire victory. He got some help from the weather, with fog rolling in for a good early morning bite.

Virginia’s Jeff Freeman had a 2-pound lead going into the final day of the Bassmaster Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional, and he felt a limit was all he needed to clinch a wire-to-wire victory.

He got some help from the weather, with fog rolling in for a good early morning bite.

“We caught a limit on topwater really, really quick,” Freeman said.

After the fog broke, he was forced to move a bit deeper but was able to pull together a 6-pound, 5-ounce limit for a three-day total of 18-3.

That pushed him 3 pounds, 7 ounces ahead of Pennsylvania’s Tim Dolon, who moved from third to second with a total of 14-12.

Don Denault of Delaware finished third with 13-4, while West Virginia’s Rick Hammer wrapped up in fourth with 12-12 and West Virginia’s Steve Marks tallied up 11-4 to finish in fifth.

Freeman said he really keyed in on the bite during practice, a fact that gave him confidence for the tough fishery.

“The main thing is in practice I really ran around a lot and I had an idea of what I thought the fish were going to do at what stages of the day,” he explained.

He learned bass were orienting to two things: submerged structure and laydowns.

“A downed tree with grass on the end of it, you could just about call your shot on that,” Freeman said.

The submerged structure came in the form of humps providing current breaks in which bass would hold.

His key lure was a drop-shot rigged with a 6-inch Roboworm above a 1/8- or 3/16-ounce sinker.

“I would throw up current so the lure would hit the hump,” Freeman said. “If they didn’t hit it on the (initial) fall, I would have to jiggle it.

“When I would jiggle it, the weight would come off the bottom and just work its way down current.”

A secondary tool was a ghost minnow Lucky Craft Gunfish, but it was more of a location lure.

“I would throw it over humps, and if I had a fish swirl on it I could throw (the drop shot) and catch that fish,” “Freeman said.

Freeman not only sealed the tournament’s win, he earned a berth in the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation National Championship slated for Oct. 28-30 on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes.

Joining Freeman will be the top anglers from the other five state teams in the division. Those anglers moving to the championship are Delaware’s Denault, Maryland’s Brett Quader (8-7), New Jersey’s Scott Weiland (10-2), Pennsylvania’s Dolon and West Virginia’s Hamer.

In the team competition, in which a $30,000 Skeeter/Yamaha boat package was on the line for the team accruing the most three-day weight, Virginia eased into first with a total of 81-15.

Pennsylvania finished in second with 77-2, New Jersey ended in third with 75-7 and event host West Virginia wrapped up in fourth with 73-14. Delaware’s 71-2 put that team in fifth, with Maryland rounding out the field with 58-1.

In the Junior Bassmaster divisional competition, New Jersey’s Frank Appaluccio took the 15- to 18-year-old competition by weighing in one of only four limits in the day’s competition.

Surprisingly, Appaluccio’s 9-pound, 12-ounce stringer also ranked as the heaviest one-day weight of the tournament (including the adults) and pushed him into seventh place in the overall individual competition.

“It’s an honor,” Appaluccio said. “I didn’t think I’d get the biggest bag; I thought I might get a limit of 12-inchers.”

John Duarte of Maryland, who won the older CastingKids title yesterday, earned the Junior Bassmaster divisional title in the 11- to 14-year-old competition.

Appaluccio and Duarte will fish the Junior World Championship to be held in Florida in conjunction with the adult Federation Nation championship in October. Full standings can be found at Bassmaster.com.

About BASS: For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and its expansive tournament structure while championing efforts to connect directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.

As the flagship offering of ESPN Outdoors, the Bassmaster brand and its considerable multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer; comprehensive Web properties in Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com, ESPNOutdoors.com and ESPN360.com; and ESPN2 television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.

BASS oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Women’s Tour, BASS Federation Nation and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.

BASS offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.



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