Sitting in 21st place before the final weigh-in, Lugar came to the scales with a 19-pound, 13-ounce sack of smallmouth bass to clinch his first divisional title with 39-4. His final-day four-fish limit was the heaviest bag of the tournament and included a 5-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth, which won the event’s Carhartt Big Bass award.
“I never thought I would have a chance at winning this,” said Lugar, 42, a production manager for M&H Plastics. “I caught 4-12 the first day, and then I had 14-11 yesterday, and I told my partner today, I needed a big bag just to try and make it from the (state) team. At 1 o’clock today, he told me I had won the whole thing. I said there was no way since I had caught 4 pounds the first day, and you can’t win a tournament with this many good fishermen and not have a limit every day. So I don’t know what to say. I am in shock right now.”
The Rockingham Bass Anglers club member got off to a slow start in the morning until he made his second stop.
“We went east about 10 miles and started there,” said Lugar. “I caught three fish, and the second one was a 5-pounder. We got to the next spot, and it was lights out for three or four hours. I was catching 3 1/2- and 4-pound fish. It was just one of those days. We caught walleye, drum, yellow perch, rock bass and, of course, some big smallmouth.”
Lugar caught all of his fish the final day on a Jackall Lures Crosstail Shad and Strike King 4-inch finesse worm on a drop shot rig with 3/8- and 1/2-ounce weights.
Because he won the divisional and finished as the top angler on the Virginia team, Lugar earned a berth in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship to be held on Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas, Oct. 24-26. Other state winners who qualified for the Nation Championship were Jason Vaughn, Delaware; John Duarte, Maryland; Jim Groome, New Jersey; Mike Moran, Pennsylvania; and Bill Pioch, West Virginia.
Delaware won the team championship with 387 pounds, 1 ounce, while the New Jersey squad finished second with 364-8.
The next qualifying event for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship is the B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Divisional on Lake Francis Case in Chamberlain, S.D. Watch it unfold live on Bassmaster.com, Aug. 28-30.
2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Supporting Sponsors: Boat US, Carhartt, Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Luck-E-Strike, Power-Pole, Shimano