MARBURY, Md. (June 19, 2023) – Pro Nick Hatfield of Greeneville, Tennessee, caught a five-bass limit Monday weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces – the largest limit weighed throughout the three-day tournament – to win the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational T-H Marine Stop 5 at the Potomac River . Hatfield’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 53 pounds, 12 ounces, earned him the win by a 5-pound, 3-ounce margin over Bass Pro Tour angler Cody Meyer of Star, Idaho, who finished second with a three day total of 15 bass weighing 48-9, good for the $50,000 runner-up payout.
After a Polaris Rookie of the Year win in 2021 on the Pro Circuit, Hatfield signed on to the new-look Invitationals for another go-round. After finishing 101st at Lake of the Ozarks in May, it looked like his Bass Pro Tour dreams may have gone by the wayside; but winning the Potomac vaulted him back into the Top 10 in points and may prove to be a key moment in a long career.
Starting the day in second behind Martin Villa, Hatfield knew he was close to a win. Still, the Top 10 was about as stacked as can be on the Potomac, and he also knew he needed to do more than just hold serve.
“Today I decided to scrap where I’ve been starting because it sucked yesterday,” Hatfield said. “I didn’t want to try to go in there and scrap out 14 or 15 pounds, I wanted to go for the win.”
So, he rolled into Chicamuxen Creek and started fishing in a recently opened spawning sanctuary.
“I knew it hadn’t had the pressure; I didn’t know if I could catch them in there, but I figured it hadn’t had the pressure like everywhere else,” Hatfield said. “So, I went in there and started catching them pretty quick. I got in a few areas there and caught them on a bunch of different things, but there was one little area in there that was a bream bed, and most of the big ones I caught, I caught off of it. When it went down it was pretty crazy.”
After catching a few swimming a jig and frogging in a marshy creek, Hatfield pulled out a popper as he roamed around. Things happened in a hurry after that.
“I stumbled into it as I was fishing, just going down the bank,” he said. “I threw a popper up close to the point, and one engulfed it. I kept throwing over there, and upon further inspection, after I caught some, I saw it was a bream bed. So, I actually went back to it later in the day and caught another 4-pounder off of it.”
Running bream beds has gotten a bit trendy recently, and the Top 10 definitely added them into the mix with the usual Potomac staples. For Hatfield, a big patch of spawning bluegill in Quantico Creek did a lot of the heavy lifting.
“I saw the one in Quantico the second day of practice and I saw there were a bunch of big ones swimming on it and it was easy to get bites,” Hatfield said. “I never found another one until today.
“I’d say out of 15 bass I weighed, maybe four or five came off something else,” he said. “Swimming a jig, a frog, ChatterBait, something like that. It was all on bream beds, basically.”
For his bream beds, Hatfield’s primary weapon was a wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senko with a No. 1 Hayabusa WRM. He also mixed in a 3/8-ounce Z-Man Evergreen ChatterBait JackHammer, a 3/8-ounce Hayabusa Lil’ Schmitty Swim Jig , a popping frog and a bone Lobina Rio Rico. He used Doomsday rods for all of his techniques, opting for a 7-foot, medium-heavy model for the wacky rig.
“I’ve wanted to win one of these, I’ve tried hard,” Hatfield went on to say. “I knew that I could do it, and today just shows that I can. I can’t wait for the next one, I’m ready to go right now.”
The top 50 pros at the T-H Marine Stop 5 at the Potomac River finished:
1st: Nick Hatfield, Greeneville, Tenn., 15 bass, 53-12, $117,500 (includes $35,000 Phoenix Bonus)
2nd: Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 15 bass, 48-9, $50,000
3rd: Eric Panzironi, Longwood, Fla., 15 bass, 48-8, $20,000
4th: Wyatt Frankens, Corrigan, Texas, 15 bass, 46-9, $18,000
5th: Martin Villa, Charlottesville, Va., 15 bass, 46-8, $17,000
6th: Blake Hall, Rogersville, Ala., 15 bass, 46-1, $17,000
7th: Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif., 15 bass, 46-0, $15,000
8th: Keith Carson, DeBary, Fla., 15 bass, 45-13, $14,000
9th: Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., 15 bass, 45-12, $13,000
10th: Kyle Weisenburger, Columbus Grove, Ohio, 15 bass, 44-11, $12,000
11th: Pete Ponds, Madison, Miss., 15 bass, 44-8, $10,000
12th: Jim Moynagh, Shakopee, Minn., 15 bass, 44-5, $10,000
13th: Jordan Collom, Canyon Lake, Calif., 15 bass, 44-4, $10,000
14th: Troy Stokes, Trenton, Mich., 15 bass, 44-1, $10,000
15th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 43-13, $10,000
16th: Cody Spetz, Hollister, Mo., 15 bass, 43-12, $10,000
17th: Flint Davis, Leesburg, Ga., 15 bass, 43-11, $10,000
18th: Hunter Eubanks, Inman, S.C., 15 bass, 43-11, $10,000
19th: Cole Hewett, Orange Park, Fla., 15 bass, 43-10, $10,000
20th: Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 15 bass, 43-9, $10,000
21st: David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., 15 bass, 43-7, $10,000
22nd: Jeremy Southerly, Fulks Run, Va., 15 bass, 43-6, $10,000
23rd: Robert Nakatomi, Sacramento, Calif., 15 bass, 42-14, $10,000
24th: Jason Vance, Battle Ground, Ind., 15 bass, 42-13, $10,000
25th: Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich., 15 bass, 42-11, $10,000
26th: Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., 15 bass, 42-7, $10,000
27th: Charlie Reed Jr., Gloucester, Va., 15 bass, 42-5, $10,000
28th: Justin Cooper, Zwolle, La., 15 bass, 42-4, $10,000
29th: Wayne Vaughan, Chester, Va., 15 bass, 42-3, $10,000
30th: Mike McClelland, Blue Eye, Mo., 15 bass, 42-2, $10,000
31st: Blake Felix, Warsaw, Mo., 15 bass, 42-1, $8,000
32nd: Cody Pike, Powhatan, Va., 15 bass, 42-1, $8,000
33rd: Michael Catt, Jacksonville, Fla., 15 bass, 41-14, $8,000
34th: Tyler Stewart, Dubach, La., 15 bass, 41-14, $8,000
35th: Christian Greico, Tampa, Fla., 15 bass, 41-13, $8,000
36th: Kyle Hall, Granbury, Texas, 15 bass, 41-11, $8,000
37th: Joe Wieberg, Freeburg, Mo., 15 bass, 41-9, $8,000
38th: Matt Greenblatt, Port Saint Lucie, Fla., 15 bass, 41-4, $8,000
39th: John Duarte, Middle River, Md., 15 bass, 41-2, $8,000
40th: Marshall Robinson, Landrum, S.C., 15 bass, 40-15, $8,000
41st: Braxton Setzer, Wetumpka, Ala., 15 bass, 40-15, $8,000
42nd: Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., 15 bass, 40-10, $8,000
43rd: Terry Olinger, Louisa, Va., 15 bass, 40-9, $8,000
44th: Eddie Carper, Valliant, Okla., 14 bass, 39-11, $8,000
45th: Travis Harriman, Huntsville, Ark., 15 bass, 39-4, $8,000
46th: Austin Culbertson, Moberly, Mo., 14 bass, 39-2, $8,000
47th: Jack Daniel Williams, Kingsport, Tenn., 15 bass, 38-4, $8,000
48th: Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill., 15 bass, 37-7, $8,000
49th: Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., 15 bass, 36-15, $8,000
50th: Kyle Minke, Lindstrom, Minn., 14 bass, 36-12, $8,000
Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 247 bass weighing 663 pounds, 3 ounces caught by the 50 pros Monday. The catch included 47 five-bass limits.
The three-day tournament was hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners and featured a roster of 150 pro anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024. The next Tackle Warehouse Invitational event will take place July 25-27 at the Tackle Warehouse Invitational at the Mississippi River Presented by Mercury in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
In MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational competition, the full field of 150 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Saturday and Sunday in a traditional five-fish, weigh-in format. Only the top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advanced to the final round on Championship Monday, where they competed for the grand prize of up to $115,000, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus for qualified anglers. The winner of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational T-H Marine Stop 5 at the Potomac River was determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight and will now receive an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024.
The season-long Invitational Bally Bet Angler of the Year (AOY) will also earn a berth into REDCREST and the Top 8 anglers in the season-long Invitational AOY point standings will qualify for the 2024 Bass Pro Tour. After four events in the six-event Qualifying Circuit, pro Ron Nelson of Berrien Springs, Michigan, leads the AOY race with 953 points. Charlottesville, Virginia, pro Martin Villa sits in second place with 929 points, while Keith Carson of DeBary, Florida, is in third with 911 points. Pro Michael Neal of Dayton, Tennessee, is in fourth place with 905 points, while Junction City, Wisconsin’s Matthew Stefan rounds out the top five with 874 points.
The MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational T-H Marine Stop 5 at the Potomac River will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the CBS Sports Network on Saturday, October 28.