CHARLES COUNTY, Md. – Rick Morris has always done well in Bassmaster tournaments on the Potomac River.

After catching yet another solid limit Saturday on the third day of the Capitol Clash presented by BUSCH Beer, Morris is poised for his best finish ever.

The Virginia Beach, Va., pro brought five bass weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces to the scales at Smallwood State Park for a three-day total of 43-10 and a 2-ounce lead over 2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Mike Iaconelli.

Alabama’s Steve Kennedy, who is second behind Iaconelli in the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year point standings, was 6 ounces behind Iaconelli in third place with 43-2. Texan Kelly Jordon with 42-10 and Californian Skeet Reese with 42-4 rounded out the top five. The top angler Sunday wins $100,000.

“I’ve probably fished 10 BASS events here over the past 15 years,” said Morris, who finished third in the 2003 Bassmaster Northern Open, third in the 2002 Bassmaster Eastern Open and fourth in the 1998 Bassmaster Top 150- all on the Potomac. “Before that, I used to fish Federation Nation tournaments on the Potomac, so I’ve got 20 years experience here.”

That experience has helped Morris, whose best finish this year was a second in the Bassmaster Classic on Lake Tohopekaliga in February, stay focused on fishing a creek south of the launch site that several of the other athletes who made the top 12 cut Saturday have been fishing.

While some of those anglers struggled to catch five keepers and left to check out some other areas, Morris stayed in the creek and waited for a late bite, keyed by a falling tide, to happen.

“I had five bites today and that was after everybody left,” said Morris, who was in 20th place Thursday and moved up to 15th Friday before jumping into the lead. “It gets better late in the day.”

Iaconelli, of Runnemede, N.J., a five-time BASS winner who won the Southern Challenge presented by Berkley on Lake Guntersville in April, went from 14th place to second with a limit weighing 16-5 for a total weight of 43-8. After placing 41st the first day of the tournament, Iaconelli moved to an area with three grass beds and caught all of his fish Friday from the second of the beds.

“I started out fishing at that bed today and stayed there,” Iaconelli said.

Kennedy, of Auburn, Ala., moved from seventh place into third with a limit weighing 13-14. He caught one keeper in the morning, then went through a dry spell until he pulled up on a patch of grass that he’d found during practice, but hadn’t fished during the tournament.

“I caught all but one of my fish [that he weighed] from that spot in less than an hour,” said Kennedy, who is 50 points behind Iaconelli in the AOY standings. “Then the tide dropped out and I never got another bite.”

Brian Snowden of Reeds Spring , Mo., had the BUSCH Heavyweight stringer of the day- a 19-14 limit- to jump from 33rd to sixth at 42-2. Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark., had the Purolator Big Bass of 5-1. McClelland sits in seventh with 41-9.

Mike Frazier of Orlando, Fla., held onto his lead in the co-angler division to finish with nine bass weighing 22-5 and win a Triton boat package valued at $45,000. Shawn Huwar was second at 20-10 and fellow Virginian Mark Letosky was third at 20-3.

Local Sponsors: Local sponsors include the Charles County Office of Tourism.

CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series sponsors: Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advance Auto Parts and Theraseed®.

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.

BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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