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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Bass pro Kevin Worth displays his winning catch
Bass pro Kevin Worth (center) displays winning catch. Photo: Joanne Roland

Bassmaster Fishing Tournament, Smallwood State Park

Originally stocked in 1854 with 30 bass brought by train from Ohio, the Potomac River today ranks as one of America's premier largemouth bass fisheries and is the site of numerous amateur and professional tournaments each year, including the Bassmaster. For the last 10 out of 11 years, the Bassmaster Top 150 tournament has been hosted on the stretch of the Potomac that runs through Smallwood State Park in Charles County, Maryland. It attracts fisherman in both pro and amateur divisions from throughout the United States, from Canada, even internationally. Bass fishing can be found year-round on the Potomac in Charles County. As far back as 1608, Captain John Smith marveled at the huge size and vast numbers of striped bass in the area; in fact, stripers (locally known as Rockfish) are Maryland's state fish.

The Bassmaster Top 150 is famous in fishing circles because the hydrilla growth in the river changes the conditions for bass fishing every year. Hydrilla, a submerged aquatic plant, provides the majority of the cover for the river's bass population, and its fluctuating growth doesn't seem to affect the catches, which remain high. Winning stringers regularly top 50 pounds. Fishing the tidal waters (the Chesapeake Bay is nearby) presents additional challenges to fishermen, who need to time the tides with tournament fishing hours as part of their angling strategies.

The project is documented with a printout of Bassmaster web pages, a listing of the standings for the 3-day tournament, a list of 1999 entrants in the tourney, coverage in bass-fishing periodicals, several promotional brochures, a videotape of the 1997 Bassmasters tournament, one color snapshot, and a fishing cap.

Originally submitted by: Steny H. Hoyer, Representative (5th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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