It looked like Virginia was about to be embarrassed, going into the final day of the B.A.S.S. Nation Mid-Atlantic Division tournament on Lake Erie this past week.
Leading Virginia's pack of 14 entries was Bryant Copley of Altavista, who was in 19th spot. Jeff Lugar of McGaheysville was 21st.
Fat chance for an Old Dominion angler to come out on top.
Then, "out of nowhere," as B.A.S.S. described it, came a charging Lugar who weighed in a final-day catch of 19 pounds, 13 ounces. That gave him a winning three-day total of 39 pounds, 11 ounces, 2 ounces better than runner-up Jason Vaughn of Delaware. Lugar's last-day catch was the heaviest of the tournament and included a trophy 5-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth, which won the Carhartt Big Bass award.
The 42-year old Lugar, a member of the Rockingham Bass Anglers, stumbled out of the gate with a measly first-day catch of 4 pounds, 12 ounces. The next day was an improvement, 14 pounds, 11 ounces. But with 20 of the best weekend anglers in the country ahead of him, Lugar didn't give himself much chance.
"I never thought I would have a chance at winning this," he told B.A.S.S. The last day provided what Lugar described as "lights out" fishing for three or four hours. "It was just one of those days. We caught walleye, drum, yellow perch, rock bass and, of course, some big smallmouths."
His victory earns him a berth in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship scheduled for Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas, Oct. 24-26.
Delaware won the tournament's team championship; Virginia placed sixth.
Busy week for saltwater fishing tournament
It was a busy past week for the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, with four changes in the weight division leaders and the first tarpon of the season, all boosting the tournament's citation count to more than 1,600.
The new weight leaders include a 20-pound, 8-ounce blueline tilefish for David Cohn of Virginia Beach, who was fishing the Norfolk Canyon; a 90-pound cobia for William Million of Gloucester Point taken from the Baltimore Channel; a 50-pound dolphin for Stephen Schaf of Edgewater, Md. landed from the Washington Canyon, and a 15-pound, 3-ounce sheepshead for Dave Tainum of Virginia Beach, who was fishing the Third Island of the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel.
Two tarpon releases have been registered, including one 100-pounder by outdoor writer Ric Burnley of Virginia Beach.
- Mark Winkler of Fairfax Station has been appointed to the board of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries by Gov. Bob McDonnell. Winkler is a dentist and owner of Northern Virginia Dental Association.
- A bill aimed at assuring that anglers have equal access to hunt and fish on federal land, has reached a milestone of 100 co-sponsors. Called the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act (HR. 1825), it awaits a flood vote.
- The Dog Days of August aren't the best time to fish at Smith Mountain Lake, where hot temperatures and boating traffic tend to keep down catches. But there are techniques that work, according to guide Capt. Dale Wilson. One is to fish at night for bass and early mornings for stripers. As for daytime fishing, well leave that to the kids dunking night crawlers for sunfish around docks.
- It is not too early to be thinking about Youth Deer Hunting Day, a Department of Game and Inland Fisheries event scheduled the last Saturday in September. Last year, the hunt resulted in a reported deer kill of 1,979 deer. New this year, Apprentice License holders will be eligible to hunt that day, regardless of age.
Events, seasons, dates
- Sportsman's Warehouse Expo, Aug. 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., features factory representatives, the new Roanoke branch of the Quality Deer Management Association and Hunters for the Hungry. No charge.
- Meeting of the new Roanoke Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association, 6:30 p.m., Aug. 6 at Sportsman's Warehouse in Roanoke, will feature a presentation on Deer Management Assistance Program by DGIF biologist Dan Lovelace.
- Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show, Aug. 9-11, Richmond Raceway Complex, sponsored by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association, www.sportsmanshow.com.
- Roanoke Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation banquet, Aug. 16, Valley View Holiday Inn, tickets from Billy Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org, Jim Basham, 540-521-8274 or at Sportsman's Warehouse in Roanoke.
- Virginia State Catfish Championship, Aug. 17, Kerr Lake, 3 p.m.-1 a.m., weigh-in at Staunton View Boat Ramp, information from www.thecatfishshowdown.com.
- Triangle Archers 3D tournament, August 18, on club range between Christiansburg and Blacksburg, $12, $25 per family, cub and pee wee $6, information from Jim Overfelt, 540-552-8023.
- Friends of NRA Banquet, Aug. 24, Salem Civic Center, doors open 5:30 p.m., 25 firearms up for grabs, tickets $45 for a single, $80 for a couple, $35 for youth, information and ticket available from Mike Kessler, 540-529-7304, and Al Milton, 540-797-7777.
- Hunters for the Hungry banquet, Sept. 14, Moose Lodge on Virginia 311 in Roanoke County, tickets $25 for a single; $40 for a couple, tickets and information from Ralph and Lois Graybill, 540-427-5125, and John and Wanda Reed, 540-427-4788 or Sportsman's Warehouse in Roanoke.
- Western Region Big Game Show, Sept. 14 and 15, Rockingham County Fairgrounds, Harrisonburg, this is the show that measures for the Virginia record book deer, bear and turkey killed the past season. Awards ceremony 3 p.m. Sept. 15. Information from Jon Ritenour, 540-434-8028 or check www.VPSA.org. State Championship Sept. 28 & 29 (see below).
- Jakes event sponsored by Botetourt County Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Sept. 21, registration at noon, activities 1 to 6 p.m., seven rotating stations set up to teach youngsters about turkey hunting, no charge, but for $10 you can become a member of the NWTF Jakes program, door prizes, information from Richard Pauley, 540-992-1883 or Pauleyr@nationwide.com. Earlier this year, the Botetourt chapter won the NWTF's top award for its Jakes program.
- Triangle Archers 3D tournament, Sept. 22, on club range between Christiansburg and Blacksburg, $12, $25 per family, cub and pee wee $6, information from Jim Overfelt, 540-552-8023.
- Youth deer hunting day, Sept. 28.
- Eastern Regional Championship and State Championship Virginia Big Game Show, Sept. 28 & 29, Southampton County Fairground, Franklin, information from www.VPSA.org or Kenneth Pickin, 804-633-0275.
- Smith Mountain Striper Club tournament, Nov. 2, www.smithmountainstriperclub.com/tournament-info.html
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