Team from Pennsylvania and Maryland collects $50,000 first-place check with Top 40 teams advancing to National Championship on Missouri’s Table Rock Lake this fall
National Harbor, Md. – Amateur fishing buddies Duke Nave and Steve Allender claimed first place at the regional qualifying event for the Bass Pro Shops US Open National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championships – a first-of-its-kind amateur fishing tournament offering the biggest payout in freshwater fishing history – on Saturday, July 17, on the Potomac River outside Washington, D.C.
Nave and Allender, from Oxford, Pa., and Rosedale, Md., respectively, fished from a Triton boat and hauled in a five-fish catch weighing in at 18.24 pounds to top the 250-team field. They collect a first-place prize of $50,000 and are one of 40 teams to qualify for the National Championship on Nov. 19-21 at Big Cedar Lodge on Missouri’s famed Table Rock Lake. The National Championship will be broadcast internationally on NBC and carries a $1 million cash prize to the winning team.
“This is a dream come true for us,” said first-place winner Duke Nave after winning the first-place $50,000 prize. “There’s no substitute for hard work and we put in a lot of practice on the river that helped us be successful today. We know we’ll have our work cut out for us in the National Championship but can’t wait to get to Table Rock.”
Leonard Switala from Pasadena, Md. (right), and son Larry Switala from Georgetown, Del. (left) won $4,630 for their 4.36 pound bass that was the largest caught in the event, as well as $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card for catching the largest bass among family teams.
The top 40 teams received a payout and qualified for the National Championship. Additional prizes were awarded for catching the biggest bass within the following categories:
Biggest Bass/Family Team: The biggest bass (4.63 pounds) was caught by the father/son team of Leonard and Larry Switala from Pasadena, Md., and Georgetown, Del., respectively. The Switalas won $4,630 for the catch ($1,000 per pound), will receive a replica mount of the bass with a duplicate going on display at Bass Pro Shops in Hanover, Md., and was entered into a drawing for a Nitro Z20 boat. Additionally, the Switalas won a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card for catching the biggest bass among family teams.
Junior Angler: Brandon Durham, a 13-year-old angler from Dumfries, Va., fished with dad Lazarus and earned a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card for the biggest bass (2.81 pounds) among anglers ages 11-17.
Veteran/Hometown Hero: Darlene Jenkins from Elkton, Md., landed her best-ever bass alongside fiancé and U.S. Air Force veteran Chris Schwartz from Cheltenham, Md. The 3.81-pound bass earned the couple a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card for the biggest bass caught by a Veteran/Hometown Hero team.
Darlene Jenkins of Elkton, Md., landed a personal-best bass weighing in at 3.81 pounds to win the Veteran/Hometown Hero category.
Benefiting the Future of Fishing
The Potomac River qualifying event at National Harbor benefits conservation with proceeds supporting The National Fish Habitat Partnership. Thanks to Bass Pro Shops and Toyota, 100 percent of all entry fees – over $1 million throughout the tournament – will fund critical fisheries conservation and habitat projects nationwide.
In keeping with its longstanding commitment to conservation, Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops partnered with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to help ensure all fish caught during the Bass Pro Shops US Open regional qualifying event on the Potomac River were released responsibly following a fish-friendly weigh-in.
Fans enjoyed free outdoor events and activities designed to help families get excited about the outdoors.
Remaining Regional Qualifying Events
Aug. 21 – Lake St. Clair, Michigan (registration closed)
Sept. 11 – Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee (registration closed)
Oct. 2 – Lake Havasu, Arizona (registration closed)
Oct. 16 – Grand Lake, Oklahoma (registration closed)
Nov. 17 – Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas (registration date TBA)
To learn more about the Bass Pro Shops US Open and how to register for the final qualifying event at Bull Shoals Lake, visit www.basspro.com/usopen.
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About Bass Pro Shops Bass Pro Shops is North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela’s to create a “best-of-the-best” experience with superior products, dynamic locations and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as “one of America’s Best Employers.”