MALONEY MAKES TBF HISTORY BY BECOMING FIRST ANGLER TO WIN BFL-ALL AMERICAN, ADVANCING FROM THE TBF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, NOW ON TO THE FORREST WOOD CUP!
19.May.2012 by David A. Brown (story/photos by FLW Outdoors)
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – During his final day on the Potomac River, Brian Maloney heard Coast Guard vessels cutting through the waves; he heard government helicopters buzzing overhead; he heard the thunder of a 21-gun salute. Nothing, however, compared to the memorable sound of a standing room only crowd cheering his victory in the Wal-Mart BFL All-American.
After leading the event on days one and two with 15 pounds, 4 ounces and 14-10, the Osage Beach, Mo. boater nabbed a final-round limit that weighed 13-6. His three-day total of 43-4 allowed him to slip past second-place Dick Shaffer by 6 ounces and claim a $120,000 prize.
“I still can’t believe this,” an emotional Maloney said. “I didn’t think I had (enough).”
All three days, Maloney has leveraged the daily tide schedule by staking out a 75-yard stretch of shallow flats where ditches carved by storm water drains provide natural drop-back areas for fish on outgoing tides. All three tournament days saw outgoing tides from takeoff until early afternoon. Tides advance a little less than an hour each day, so the falling water scenario lasted progressively longer with afternoon incoming cycles starting later each day.
While rising water grants fish expanding access to shoreline cover, falling tides pull them away from the shallows and into deeper sanctuaries until the water returns. Comparing tidal fisheries to the seasonal floodwaters of his Midwest home, Maloney noted that the fish get nervous when they don’t have sufficient water over their backs. Knowing he’d face outgoing tides through most of the tournament time, he made finding low-water retreats his practice priority.
“Those ditches may only be a foot or two deeper than the surrounding flats, but it was enough for them to be comfortable,” Maloney said. “When the water started falling off the flats, the fish were coming to me.”
Although a chartreuse silent crankbait produced some of his fish, the top boater did most of his damage with a black Garneau Baits Slap Stick hand-poured paddle tail worm on a 5/16-ounce football
head jig. Maloney said he made long casts on 10-pound fluorocarbon line and used an aggressive presentation to startle and irritate bass into biting.
“I was ripping the bait – I wasn’t playing with them,” he said. “I wanted them to react to it. I was pulling it up off the bottom and hopping it 6-8 inches. I guess you could call it stroking a paddle tail.
“I looked around me in practice and everybody was finessing the fish and using green baits. I decided to go with a darker bait and a more aggressive retrieve. What I was doing, I thought was the right thing and it seemed like it turned out pretty good today.”
With an FLW Tour Major event running concurrently out of National Harbor, the BFL All-American field was restricted to fishing north of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, while Tour anglers fished south. Every day, the All-Americans had to idle past the bridge en route to the check-in point, so the massive pilings presented an option for late-day limit fillers. Maloney said he took advantage of this giant fish-attractor each day of the event.
“I made a last-minute decision to run down to the bridge,” he said. “Every day I’ve been getting one that culled out. There’s one pillar out there that likes me for some reason. The first two days of the event, every pillar had 10-12 boats around it. The first one I pulled up to I caught three there. It was on the Virginia side, just a couple of pillars off the main channel.”
Final Standings of the 2012 TBF National Championship Division Winners (Boaters)
1st: Brian Maloney (Central Division Champion) – $100,000 + $20,000 Ranger Cup
10th: Marc Snyder, of St. Johns. Mich., 28-14 (Northern Division Champion) – Wins $8,000
39th: Miles Burghoff of Orlando, FL, 11-15 (Northwest Division Champion) – $1,500
41st: Jeff Erickson of Phoenix, AZ, 8-13 (Southwest Division Champion) – $1,500 + $1,000 Ranger Cup
44th: Gilbert Gagner of Highgate Springs, VT, 7-13 (Eastern Division Champion/2012 National Champion) – $1,500
45th: Steve Hughes of Rimersburg, PA, 7-10 (Mid-Atlantic Division Champion) – $1,500
47th: Brandon Glass of Resaca, GA, 5-03 (Southern Division Champion) – $1,500 + $1,000 Ranger Cup
Final Standings of 2012 TBF National Championship Co-Angler Division Champions
7th: Wesley Taylor, of Decherd, Tenn., 23-07 (Southern Division Champion) – $3,500
9th: Robert Cox, of Tippecanoe, Ohio, 22-03 (Northern Division Champion) – $2,500
16th: Robert Hime of Odessa, MO, 15-01 (Central Division Champion) – $1,500
20th: Tyler Webb of Arnett, WV, 13-04 (Mid-Atlantic Division Champion/Co-Angler National Champion) – $1,500
24th: Chris Lambert of Olympia, WA 11-12 (Northwest Division Champion) – $1,000
36th: Karl Beltz of Tucson, AZ, 8-04 (Southwest Division Champion) – $750
46th: Gary Kurensky of Bridgeport, CT, 4-11 (Eastern Division Champion) – $750
Maloney will advance as a boater to the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier. He will be the 3rd Angler representing TBF there. Gilbert Gagner, as 2012 National Champion will be fishing as a boater and Tyler Webb, Co-Angler National Champion will be fishing as a Co-Angler.
In 2007, the Northern Division Champion who advanced from the TBF National Championship 6 week before, Kevin Wells of Ohio won $70,000 as BFL Co-Angler Champion, which advanced him to the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup.