Baumgardner Just Kept Producing Mid-Teens Bags
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Chris Baumgardner caught at least
15 pounds each day on his way to winning the Potomac River FLW Tour.
The Rad Lures ChatterBait
was Chris Baumgardner's primary weapon en route to winning the
Potomac River FLW Tour. The ChatterBait accounted
for all of his weigh-in fish but one.
Ah, but that "other" fish - caught on a bait borrowed from his
day-2 co-angler - was a beauty, and he wouldn't have won without it. In fact,
he wouldn't even have made the Top 10.
The 46-year-old veteran from North Carolina was the only angler in the
field who caught at least 15 pounds on all 4 days, and he dominated the final
2 days to claim his first tour-level victory. His 33-05 total was 6-12 better
than runner-up David Dudley.
Here's how he did it.
Like most in the 200-angler field, Baumgardner had an excellent practice.
He caught fish just about wherever he went and got quality bites on several
When everything's working, it can be tough to narrow down a gameplan. But
he finally settled on a couple of primary areas - one for mornings and one
for afternoons - and determined that the ChatterBait
was producing his highest-quality bites.
One huge bonus was that he could get bit in either area regardless of the
tidal stage. He wasn't forced to chase the outgoing tide up and down the
river, as many of his competitors were.
"The tide really wasn't too much of a factor, although I seemed to
get the most bites when it was changing. I could get bites on any tide, but
especially when the water was moving one way or the other."
He caught at least 15 pounds on each practice day, but was a bit
apprehensive about whether he could continue that type of production through
4 tournament days.
"Sometimes you can get stuck on what you did in practice, and then
things change and you don't make the right adjustments in the tournament. I
was fortunate that everything just continued to fall into place."
> Day 1: 5, 15-06
> Day 2: 5, 18-10 (10, 34-00)
> Day 3, 5, 16-07
> Day 4: 5, 16-14 (10, 33-05)
Baumgardner spent the early portion of the first 2 days at his lily-pad
spot, which was in Quantico Creek. At about 1:00 he relocated to the milfoil
area, a few miles south of Mattawoman Creek on the main river.
He brought in his lightest bag of the tournament on day 1. He was
outfished by his co-angler, Donald Tross of Virginia, who caught 17-03 to
lead that division.
"The tide was real high that day, and I was kind of worried," he
said. "We went to the pad fields and (Tross) threw a buzzbait and I
threw a ChatterBait, and we just caught
a bunch of fish.
"Both of us had a good limit, and we went to the milfoil late in the
day to try to catch a few on the low tide. He got a 5-pounder, and I got a 3
On day 2, he got a huge boost from his co-angler, Larry Hostetler of
Baumgardner holds up the two fish
that completed his limit and sealed his first tour-level victory.
"He was catching them real good
on a (Yamamoto) Senko," Baumgardner noted. "I didn't have any, so I
asked him if I could borrow one - and a hook."
Hostetler obliged, and a short time later, Baumgardner was hooked up with
a brute that weighed nearly 7 1/2 pounds. It was the biggest fish weighed in
during the event, and his 18-10 bag moved him up 32 places to 7th at the cut.
He only spent about an hour on the pads on day 3, and had just two small
fish to show for it.
"I could see that the pad bite was going away. So I went to the
milfoil and just kind of fished around and caught a few, but it was kind of
"Then right about when the tide turned (around noon), I hit a little
place and caught three good ones right in a row."
His bag was more than 2 pounds lighter than the previous day, but it was a
pound better than anybody else in the Top 10 field could manage. He was just
1 more solid day away from the biggest win of his career.
He went straight to the milfoil to begin day 4 and had one 10-minute spurt
early on that produced three good fish, including a 4 1/2-pounder. From there
on, he picked up one here and one there until he had a stringer that pushed
It was the best sack of the day by more than 4 pounds.
Baumgardner tipped his ChatterBait with a Zoom Super Speed Craw.
> Many anglers had concluded that the spawn was over before the
tournament started, but Baumgardner thinks at least some of the fish he
caught from the milfoil might have been in the midst of the reproductive
ritual. "Several of them had bleeding tails," he said. "And
that big one I caught (on day 2) sure looked like it was full of eggs."
> His prime milfoil stretch was only about a 10-minute run from the
Winning Gear Notes
> ChatterBait gear:
6'10" medium-heavy American Rodsmiths Dion Hibdon signature series jig
and worm rod, Abu Garcia Revo STX casting reel (6.4:1), 17-pound Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon line, Rad Lures ChatterBait
(brown/green-pumpkin and black/blue), 4" Zoom
Super Speed Craw trailer (green-pumpkin).
> The ChatterBait he
used were equipped with wider-gap hooks than the original. That's a new
addition, and those baits aren't on the market yet.
> He used the brown/green-pumpkin bait to catch nine of his 10 weigh-in
fish over the final 2 days. Fellow competitor Andy Montgomery tied the skirt
on that one, so he nicknamed the bait "Little Andy."
The Bottom Line
Main factor in his success -
"Probably just having patience with the ChatterBait and
knowing the bites would come. I've been throwing it for about 3 years now and
I'm gaining more and more confidence in it all the time."
Performance edge - "The ChatterBait with
that Speed Craw on it. That's a real good trailer for it, and
the boys from ChatterBait
turned me on to it."