Baciuska wins co-angler title, $5,000

MARBURY, Md. (Oct. 18, 2008) – Pro Chris Dillow of Waynesboro, Va., caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the Stren Series Northern Division tournament on the Potomac River with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 62-00. For his victory, Dillow earned $25,000 and $3,000 in Ranger Cup for a total of $28,000.

“I knew that I would win this tournament,” said Dillow, who won his first Stren Series event. “I had a gut feeling about this tournament. I was basically just relaxed, had fun and went fishing, and I think that’s what paid off for me; I wasn’t stressed or in a hurry.”

Dillow caught his bass on a homemade jig that he calls "Dillow’s Perfect Jig" that he makes in his garage

“I felt that with this cold front that it would shut down the frog bite,” Dillow said. “A lot of the other anglers caught their bass on a frog but I never threw one. I decided when I came to this tournament that I would sink or swim with a jig.”

Dillow came to the Potomac River Stren event on the waiting list as a co-angler. On Tuesday, before registration another angler approached him about fishing as a boater so they could sign-up together. Dillow knew that if he wanted to fish this tournament that he would have to sign-up as a boater because he was so far down on the co-angler waiting list. He had zero practice days for this tournament and has only been on the Potomac River a few times before this tournament.

“This week I ran to different areas fishing wood and grass looking for the big bites,” he added. “That was my only game plan.”

Dillow opened the tournament in second place Wednesday with five bass weighing 19-06. On Thursday he added another five bass weighing 11-01. He then caught five bass weighing 15-00 on Friday to make the crucial top 10 cut in sixth place.

Rounding out the top five pros are Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md. (20 bass, 61-03, $5,696); Brian Stack of Nanjemoy, Md. (20 bass, 58-14, $5,126); Mike Hoskings of Alexandria, Va. (20 bass, 58-12, $4,557); and Thomas Wooten of Huddleston, Va. (20 bass, 57-12, $3,987).

Chad Hicks of Rockville, Va., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Thursday – a 7-pound, 3-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $172.

Overall there were 49 bass weighing 116 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.

Lynn Baciuska Jr. of Afton, N.Y., won the Co-angler Division and $5,000 with a four-day total of 19 bass weighing 48-02.

“It is a great feeling to get my first win,” Baciuska said. “I have made a few top-10 cuts but this feels great. I was a little nervous coming to weigh-in because I only caught four fish today. I had my fifth fish on late this afternoon but I never got it into the boat.

“The wind really picked up today and it changed everything. It was a lot tougher bite and the spots that my boater had were tough to fish. Even with the tough conditions today I stayed focused and fished hard.”

Baciuska caught five bass weighing 17-11 Wednesday while fishing with pro Aaron Hastings of Middleton, Md., to open the tournament in first place. He then caught five bass weighing 10-10 Thursday while fishing with pro Brian Stack of Nanjemoy, Md. On Friday he added five more bass weighing 12-04 to make the top 10 cut in second place while fishing with pro Bill Chapman of Salt Rock, W. Va. Finally, on Saturday, he sealed the win with four bass weighing 7-09 while fishing with pro Mike Hoskings of Alexandria, Va.

Baciuska’s key bait this week was a brown frog.

Baciuska finished sixth in the points race and will be going to the Stren Series Championship at Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., next month.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are John Woodroof of Lynchburg, Va. (20 bass, 43-15, $2,663); Lew Jenkins of Waldorf, Md. (15 bass, 40-15, $2,164); Dustin Edwards of Ellington, Conn. (18 bass, 39-10, $1,663); and Mickey Pettry of Manassas, Va. (19 bass, 39-05, $1,331).

Joseph Klepacz of Odenton, Md., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Thursday – a 6-pound, 3-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Snickers Big Bass award of $101.

Overall there were 26 bass weighing 48 pounds, 11 ounces caught by nine co-anglers Saturday. The catch included one five-bass limits.

After four qualifying events are complete in each of the Stren Series’ five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Branson, Mo., Nov. 5-8 for a shot at $140,000. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2009 Forrest Wood Cup, where they will compete against top pros from the Walmart FLW Tour®, Walmart FLW Series®, Walmart Bass Fishing League® and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.

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The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.

FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits. FLW Outdoors also took fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

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