Rodriguez and Delaware Sweep Mid-Atlantic Division to Earn Championship Titles

Rodriguez and the Delaware state team have led it from start to finish at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Division Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River.  Two days ago, 84 TBF anglers launched out of Small Wood State Park in Marbury, Md., with hopes of becoming this year’s Mid-Atlantic Division Champions.  But, for most, the goal was earning a piece of the pie, a slot at the 2013 Federation National Championship.  14 TBF anglers advanced today.  They will meet next spring at the national event to compete for their share of over $200,000 in cash and prizes and the “Living the Dream” prize package.

Dan Rodriguez from Monkton, Md., had a five bass limit weighing 12lbs 5ounces making his tournament total 40lbs 10ounces.  “I started off in low water working my homemade jig with a red havoc pitboss as a trailer,” Rodriguez said.    “The crawfish had a lot of red in their claws, and so I put on that red trailer and worked with it.”  Rodriguez has fished with the homemade jig for 10 years, and this year it’s won him back to back tournaments out of the Chesapeake Bay and now the division championship.  “It has a lifelike fall; when it lifts up off the bottom it just glides like a crawfish.  I’m telling you it’s a deadly jig.”

Rodriguez went from flipping his homemade jig in hard cover to throwing an Exciter spinnerbait in grass.  “The Exciter lure is made by a local guy named Walter Ross out of the Chesapeake Bay.  It’s helped me through some tournaments.”

Seldom does an angler lead all three days of competition, but Rodriguez did it this week in his first TBF divisional appearance.  “Man, I’ve had a really good year.  This is the third tournament I’ve won.”  Rodriguez is also among the 14 advancing to nationals.  “It’s a pretty neat deal; all my friends have been calling.”

Rodriguez wanted to dedicate this tournament to his parents.  “My mom passed away a few years ago and my dad this last April.  This year has been the best fishing for me; they would have loved to see me doing what I’ve done this year.”

Rodriguez is hoping to continue his winning streak next spring at the 2013 TBF National Championship in Grove, Okla.  “Hopefully, I will do well at nationals.  I will tell you, I will be ready for Oklahoma.”

Brian Laclair from Denton, Md., has held on to second the last two days.  He will close it out right there with a limit of bass weighing 11lbs 13ounces making his tournament total 39lbs 7ounces.  Just over a pound away from Rodriguez.

Tied for third with a three day total weight of 36lbs 12ounces were Robert Harkness from Elizabeth, W.Va., and Robert Smith from Laurel, Del.  Harkness, the 2009 TBF National Champion and “Living the Dream” angler, had a limit of bass today weighing 9lbs 2ounces.  Smith had a limit that weighed 12lbs 7ounces.

The team standings are as follows with each state’s top two anglers advancing (boater, co-angler):  Delaware; Brian Laclair, Robert Smith, Virginia; Monte Aleman, Todd Saunders, New Jersey; Dave Frost, Nick Anguilo, Nations Capitol; Ed Loughran, Peter O’Donnell, Pennsylvania; Bill Showers, Jason Shipton, West Virginia; Robert Harkness, Brad Napier, Maryland; Dan Rodriguez, Thomas Turner.  Full Results Here

The 2013 Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard will be held on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla., April 8-13, 2013.  94 of TBF’s elite, including the top two Canadian Bass Federation anglers and the ACA Collegiate National Champions will vie for the national champion title and the esteemed “Living the Dream” prize package.  The package includes cash and prizes, and paid entry in the FLW Tour as a tour pro for the year with travel expenses and use of a wrapped Ranger Boat and Chevrolet truck.

This week Rodriguez and Delaware made a three day sweep for the titles, and 14 TBF anglers advance to face the best of the best as the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Division Championship came to a close on the Potomac River.