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Courtesy of FLW Outdoors
This 6-pound largemouth helped Josh DeMaury of Troutville win the FLW Outdoors Northern Division bass tournament.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Josh DeMaury was about 10 years old when he won his first fishing trophy.
He was at little Loch Haven lake, fishing with worms.
"I saw the worm disappear," DeMaury recalled.
It had disappeared into the mouth of a 17-inch largemouth bass.
"I was so excited," said DeMaury, who is 28 and lives in Troutville. "I took the fish home and put it in the freezer.
"I was going to mount it."
DeMaury later scored the award for having the biggest fish of the month at Loch Haven.
He's still winning trophies, adding his biggest this past weekend.
DeMaury won the co-angler division of the Everstart Northern Division bass tournament on the Potomac River.
The tournament was only DeMaury's second at the Everstart level, a step below the top-tier FLW Tour.
In April, when the Northern Division season started with a tournament at Smith Mountain Lake, DeMaury got fourth.
DeMaury said he was thrilled to do that well in an event where back-of-the-boat anglers were at a disadvantage because many of the boaters were focused on sight-fishing for spawning bass.
"I was just hoping to finish in the top 10," DeMaury said of the Smith Mountain Lake event.
Having not fished the Potomac this season, DeMaury went into the tournament with an open mind and just hoping to draw good boaters who could help him learn more about the fishery.
The first day was pretty tough, and DeMaury was back in 32nd after bringing a small limit of 8 pounds, 15 ounces to the scale.
He wasn't too stressed, feeling like he still wasn't too far out of it yet.
"You can't win a tournament on Day One, but you can lose it," he said.
DeMaury's Day Two draw was tourney leader Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md.
"I knew he was on fish," DeMaury said. "And with him being one of the greatest fishermen on the river, I knew I had a chance."
The swimming jig that had worked for DeMaury late on the first day was not working on Day Two, but Schmitt hooked DeMaury up, loaning him a different jig.
DeMaury promptly boated a couple of nice keepers.
His next move was a classy one: He cut the jig off and returned it to Schmitt, saying he didn't want to hit Schmitt's fish too hard and ruin Schmitt's chances to hold the lead.
Without a similar jig, DeMaury gambled and started fishing a Texas-rigged Zoom speed craw on a steady retrieve through weeds.
"I'd never done it before," he said. "But you have to brainstorm.
"We were laughing about it."
Schmitt, who eventually won the tournament, and DeMaury could laugh - the tactic worked.
DeMaury's 14-pound bag moved him all the way up to third, barely a pound out of the lead.
Fishing docks on Day Three with angler Jason Tibbetts of Centerville, DeMaury had his limit by noon.
He went back to his first day swimming jig approach and caught a couple non-keepers before he got a solid bite.
The fish turned out to be a 6-pounder, anchoring DeMaury's 14-pound, 5-ounce bag, a limit that gave him a three-day total of 37-3, just over a pound ahead of runner up Derek Brown of Charlottesville.
For the win, DeMaury scored a Ranger Z117 bass boat.
He already has a boat, so he plans to sell the prize.
Halfway through the Northern Division schedule, DeMaury leads the series' co-angler points competition. The winner earns a berth in the Forrest L. Wood Cup, the FLW Tour's championship.
DeMaury wasn't planning to enter the two final events, and isn't sure if he'll be able to pull it off.
The 2007 Virginia Tech grad started a job as an environmental planner with VDOT in January and his vacation time is limited.
"I'm crunching numbers right now to see if I can do it," he said. "I'd like to because this could be my best chance to make the [Forrest Wood] Cup, but [my VDOT job] is my livelihood."
However it turns out, bass fishing has contributed nicely to that livelihood this year.
Crews third in Elite tourney
While DeMaury was excelling in the Everstart tournament, professional angler John Crews of Salem was rolling in the most recent Bassmaster Elite Series stop on the upper Mississippi River.
Crews ended up third, bringing 59.4 pounds of bass to the scales over the tournament's four days.
"That place is really neat," Crews said of the fishery. "There are lots of sloughs, backwaters and side channels.
"It's almost like a delta."
Crews focused his efforts on little side channels and the backwater marshes those channels connected.
He caught most of his fish on a Missile Baits D-Bomb, and on a SPRO frog topwater lure.
Using a Power Pole to anchor himself against current in the shallow channels was critical, Crews said.
The approach had him in third place from start to finish.
"That's the first time I've ever done that before," he said, laughing.
This is Crews' fourth third on the Elite Series, in which he has one win.
While tournament anglers often lament the one that got away, Crews said he had no regrets after the event, which was based in LaCrosse, Wis.
"I really felt like I caught as much as I could out of the areas I had," said Crews, who is 10th in the Elite Series standings. "I just didn't have the fish to win."
Roanoke trail volunteer wins
Cox Conserves Hero award
Retired Roanoke pediatrician Bill Gordge was awarded the Cox Conserves Hero award Monday.
One of three finalists for the Virginia award, Gordge was awarded a $10,000 check to donate to his chosen charity, Pathfinders for Greenways.
The award, cosponsored by the Trust for Public Land, was based on public voting.
Gordge, 85, has many fans.
He has been a dedicated trail work volunteer for more than 30 years, having started with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club before becoming affiliated with Pathfinders.
Among other things, Gordge has been the driving force behind the Midweek Crew, a group of retirees who spend nearly every Wednesday doing trail work in the region.
The Midweek Crew has built more than 30 miles of trails, work valued at close to half a million dollars.
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