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Brennon McCord of West Frankfort will step onto the biggest stage of his fishing career May 30 when he travels to Marbury, Maryland to compete in the Bass Fishing League All-American. The event will be held on the Potomac River May 30-June 1.

Although this will be McCord’s first appearance at the All-American, the 22-year-old West Frankfort resident has been auditioning for this moment for about a dozen years.

“I won my first tournament with my dad when I was eight or nine years old,” McCord said. “He got me hooked on it. You’re nine years old and walking around with a couple hundred bucks in your pocket.”

Of course, one doesn’t graduate from a local tournament to the BFL All-American without paying your dues. He has been fishing the BFL circuit intermittently for the past couple years, but 2018 was the first time McCord fished a full schedule … winning the first event at Rend Lake served as a bit of impetus.

McCord amassed enough points fishing the BFL circuit to qualify for the regional event at Tennessee’s Lake Chickamauga last October. He placed third there with 42-pounds, 14 ounces, five pounds out of first place.

“I was just pretty consistent down there, 14-15 pounds per day,” McCord said. “I wasn’t catching the big stringers, but I was consistent. I didn’t think it would be enough to get me there, but it did.

“I was pretty excited, kind of shocked really.”

The top six anglers from the nearly 200-boat field advanced to the All-American. All qualifiers fish the first two days of the event with the top 10 advancing to the final round. A first place finish at the All-American would net McCord $125,000.

“That would help out a lot, I know that,” he said.

McCord has never fished the Potomac River system, but has been working to familiarize himself with the area.

“I’ve just been doing some reading on the internet and been watching some old fishing shows on YouTube,” he said. “I don’t know if it will help or not, but it can’t hurt. It’s pretty handy.”

Since McCord likes to fish spinner baits and chatter baits, the Potomac River system could be a good fit.

“I’m hoping they are still spawning when I get out there,” he said. “I’ve fished the Tennessee River a little bit, I’ve been to Guntersville a few times. It kind of fits my style.

“I don’t know how many acres, it’s more like a river system. From what I’ve read, it’s shallow, grass river-type system.”

The river is off-limits to anglers after May 20. McCord hopes to get in a couple practice days just prior to the off-limits period.

“I’m going to go out there and hopefully everything will work out when I get there,” he said. “I’ll just look, I’ll probably just start looking for main river flats and just kind of feel it out.”

McCord admitted he checks the calendar occasionally. Although he is anxious to compete, he won’t be overwhelmed.

“The way I look at it, you can’t be that intimidated, you’ll never do any good,” he said. “If it works out, it works out.”

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les.winkeler@thesouthern.com

618-351-5088

On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​

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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

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