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    Rayovac FLW Series - Northern

    James River (Aug. 21-23, 2014)

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    Co-Angler Crocker Sweeps James River

    He only caught two keepers on day three, but Michael Crocker swept the James River event. (Photo by David A. Brown)
    Strong start paces Maryland co-angler’s Rayovac Northern Division win
    23.Aug.2014 by David A. Brown

    RICHMOND, Va. – Coming to the scales with only two bass on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the James River had Michael Crocker a little nervous, but strong performances the first two days enabled the Maryland co-angler to complete the wire-to-wire victory.

    In the opening round, Crocker caught 12-12 and took the lead by 1 ½ pounds. The nextThe Zoom Dead Ringer worm produced all week for Michael Crocker. day, he widened that margin to 4-1 after catching 11-2. Crocker’s day-two limit included a 5-5 that earned Big Bass honors.

    In the final round, his pair of keepers added 3-8 and Crocker coasted across the finish line with a pound to spare at 27-6.

    “It was tough today, but it was a whole lot of fun,” Crocker said. “Today, you had to catch your fish early and I got one. Luckily, later on, I switched up and went finesse and got that little tiny (bass) that put me over the top.”

    Throughout the event, Crocker relied heavily on an old-school James River tactic of flipping and pitching a Texas-rigged Zoom Dead Ringer worm. He fished the 4-inch worm around cypress trees on days one and two. Paired with eventual pro winner Bryan Schmitt in the final round, Crocker fished the Dead Ringer and a Senko in grass.

    “I felt comfortable going into today, but it was a nail-biter after basically all of our fish came the first hour of the day,” Crocker said. “But I spent a lot of time on this river practicing for this event since the middle of December. I was out here in January and February freezing my tail off in a kayak getting ready for this thing.

    “I put in my hard work and I guess it paid off today.”

    Williams improves to second

    A strong day-two finish pushed David Williams up to second place.David Williams, of Fredericksburg, Va. gained three spots in the standings by catching 9-7 in the final round and ending with 26-6. Williams placed fourth on day one and fifth on day two.

    The first two days, Williams caught his fish on a slider head jig with a purple trick worm. Working this rig slowly along grass edges was most productive.

    On day three, Williams caught two of his keeper fish on a topwater frog, one on a Rebel Pop-R and two more on the shaky head.

     

    Brown takes third

    Derek Brown, of Charlottesville, Va. saved his best effort for the final day and it paid off Third-place co-angler  Derek Brown moved up from seventh on the final day.with a big improvement. Coming into the day in seventh place, Brown sacked up a limit catch of 9-15 and moved up to a third-place finish with 26-5.

    Brown caught his fish on a mix of Senkos and trick worms. The first two days, he fished his worms with nail weights, but in the final round, he went with a shaky head presentation.

    Finishing fourth, Manuel Cruz, of Clifton, N.J., had 25-10, while Lenny Baird, of Stafford, Fourth-place  Manuel Cruz caught his final-round fish on topwater frog.Va. was fifth, with 25-6.

    Best of the rest

    Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series James River event:

    6th: Junior Allen, of Biscoe, N.C., 24-7

    7th: Dick Gum, of Woodbridge, Va., 22-8

    8th: David Ball, of Durham, N.C., 21-2

    9th: Corey Bechtel, of Macungie, Pa., 18-10

    10th: Michael Martinez, of Lanexa, Va., 14-9