Gluszek Will Lead Northern Open Field Into Saturday’s Championship Round On The James River

Armed with a lucky penny, touring pro Pete Gluszek jumped into the lead of the second Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open Friday at the James River.

After having some engine troubles and landing in 37th place with 10-14 Thursday, the Mount Laurel, N.J., pro caught 20-2 Friday and took over the lead with a two-day total of 31 pounds. His Friday catch was the biggest single-day limit of the event so far.

The service crew worked until after dark Thursday to help Gluszek get his motor running again, and his lucky penny kicked in next.

“Before I left to come down here, my little boy Jake gave me a lucky penny,” Gluszek said.

Jake rubbed the penny and told his dad to carry it with him the whole week. “And it’s working,” Gluszek said.

Playing a weather pattern also helped Gluszek.

“I am always looking for the developing pattern,” he said. “In practice, the rain came through, and it changed things on the bay because the bay gets sweltering hot and the fish do a certain thing (in the heat). Then the rain comes (again) and cools things down, and it can scatter the fish.

“But now we are back into heat waves again, and it is grouping them back up for me. So, I caught them way better today than I did yesterday.”

He has also noticed the low tide is getting better for him every day. “I think the tide is going to be better tomorrow for everybody,” he said.

Second place in the pro division is a logjam with three anglers, Garrett Paquette, Matt Madlener and Greg Dipalma all weighing in with 28-11.

The 22-year-old Paquette from Canton, Mich., is a Lake St. Clair guide who missed fishing the right tide on his spots Thursday.

“Today, I went into my prime areas a little earlier and that was really the biggest adjustment,” he said. “After that, I kind of got on a deal that I think not a lot of guys are doing. No one is in my area, and I am fishing with a bait that maybe only five guys in this tournament have.”

During Thursday’s opening round, Madlener traveled by boat from Richmond all the way to the Chickahominy River and back and ran out of gas. As a result, the Lake Villa, Ill., angler failed to complete his five-bass limit.

“I really focused on fishing a lot cleaner (Friday),” he said. “It was tough. I didn’t have a 12-incher by 12 o’clock and then got down to the Chickahominy and the tide was all wrong. But, I got lucky and hit a little stretch and got three quick ones.”

Then he ran back to Richmond with enough fuel to complete his limit.

Dipalma’s main area tapered off throughout the day, so he went to another spot with about an hour left and caught two quality fish to improve his bag. The Millville, N.J., angler said he is fishing “South Jersey style” since the James River fishes similar to his home waters.

“We are used to fishing mud basically, in real shallow creeks — and there is a lot of that here.”

First-day leader Shin Fukae of Palestine, Texas, caught a 12-pound limit today but dropped into fifth place with 28-10.

Catching an 8-9 largemouth while fishing with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Michael Iaconelli helped 49-year-old Jon Jezierski of Troy, Mich., take the lead in the co-angler division with a two-day mark of 19-3.

“Today, I had three keeper bites, and Mike helped me get all three of them into the boat,” Jezierski said.

The finish carpenter said he caught the big bass at around 11 a.m. and later caught a 2-pounder to complete his three-bass limit. His big catch leads the co-angler side of the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award.

Leading the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award in the pro division is Rick Shannon of Woodlawn, Tenn., with a 9-3 largemouth.

Friday’s launch will begin at 6 a.m. ET from the Osborne Park and Boat Landing, 9530 Osborne Turnpike in Henrico. The final day weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops at 11550 Lakeridge Parkway in Ashland and will begin at 3:15 p.m.

The event is hosted by Visit Richmond.