Gray Wins Bass Fishing League Tournament at Potomac River

May 20, 2024
Bass Fishing League (BFL) News

MARBURY, Md. (May 20, 2024) – Boater Daniel Gray of Butler, Pennsylvania, caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on the Potomac River. The tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Northeast Division. Gray earned $10,926, including the $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory. Prior to the tournament, Gray checked the “usual spawning areas” and determined that this phase of the spawn was pretty well finished. 

“Usually they go in shallower to spawn where the grass is a little bit more sporadic,” he said. “But as soon as they pull out of there, there’s so much grass this year, it’s so thick, that they just start dispersing through that, and it’s hard to find them.”

It’s also hard to catch them. Topwater and flipping can pull big fish out of thick grass, but Gray had a different strategy. 

“I had to find some areas where the grass wasn’t totally topped out yet. That and some hard cover,” he said.

He was able to locate a couple such areas in practice. The key was being able to work a moving bait over the top of the grass. 

“My main thing was a square-bill crankbait,” Gray said. “That’s what I fished all the grass and some of the hard cover with. And I did some flipping with a (Zoom) Speed Craw and threw a drop-shot.

“The square bill I was throwing over the grass. I was feathering it through, and I had to hold my rod high. It was just kind of a feel thing. I tried to tick the top of the grass so it wasn’t burying into it.”

Gray used a Strike King KVD 1.5 square-bill. Popping it off the tops of the grass helped trigger reaction bites. 

“(Another key was) knowing when to get to the grass when the current was moving,” Gray added. “When it died off I ran and did other things. I ran up into a creek and fished where there was still a little bit of current – just staying in some moving water.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:         Daniel Gray, Butler, Pa., five bass, 17-5, $10,926 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
2nd:        Christopher Sanno, Landisburg, Pa., five bass, 16-14, $1,963
3rd:         Robert Grike, Dumfries, Va., five bass, 16-10, $1,309
4th:         Brian Mullaney, Ijamsville, Md., five bass, 15-14, $850
4th:         Zachary Borger, Brodheadsville, Pa., five bass, 15-14, $1,380
6th:         Doug Jenkins, Saint Leonard, Md., five bass, 15-11, $720
7th:         Gary Marean, Manassas, Md., five bass, 15-8, $654
8th:         John Baranik, Earleville, Md., five bass, 15-5, $589
9th:         Rick Anderson, Dover, Pa., five bass, 14-15, $523
10th:       Ryan Bauman, Reading, Pa., five bass, 14-13, $458

Complete results can be found at

Zachary Borger of Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and earned the Big Bass Boater award of $530. Kevin Jones of Mount Holly, New Jersey, won the co-angler division and $1,963 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 16 pounds, 5 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers finished: 

1st:         Kevin Jones, Mount Holly, N.J., five bass, 16-5, $1,963
2nd:        Billy Micciulla, Toms River, N.J., five bass, 14-13, $981
3rd:         Jesse Ketchum, Columbia, Md., five bass, 14-12, $655
4th:         David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., five bass, 13-14, $708
5th:         Kade Wesner, Lancaster, Pa., five bass, 13-9, $393
6th:         Andrew Hostler, Tyrone, Pa., five bass, 13-8, $360
7th:         Keyshawn Bratcher, Altamonte Springs, Fla., five bass, 13-5, $327
8th:         Patrick Stansbury, Westminster, Md., five bass, 12-15, $294
9th:         Lenny Baird, Stafford, Va., five bass, 12-14, $262
10th:       Christopher Dam, Staatsburg, N.Y., five bass, 12-11, $229

Nathan Routzahn of Myersville, Maryland, earned the Big Bass co-angler award of $265, catching a bass that weighed in at 4 pounds, 9 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.