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A Potomac River timeline

12/29/2006

MARBURY, Md. — It's the 10th tournament of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series. Where have we been?

Up until now we've been on reservoirs, both natural (Oneida, Champlain) and man made (everywhere else).

The Capitol Clash on the Potomac is the first shot at true river fishing.

Just as Congressmen descend on Washington, D.C. to bring home the pork to their constituents, a select group of anglers are taking to the Potomac to try and catch a few pigs to improve their own budgetary situations.

There's no question that rivers have a whole lot more history than reservoirs, generally speaking. So let's take a quick look at a Potomac River timeline to get a feel for the story of these remarkable waters that flow down from the Blue Ridge Mountains and out to sea through the Chesapeake Bay.

1608 — The first recorded Potomac River fishing report by explorer and colonist Captain John Smith: "… no better fish, more plenty and more variety than any of us have ever seen in a place..".

1780's — General George Washington is said to have thrown a silver dollar across the Potomac. Possibly a myth, since, although Washington was said to have a great arm, the Potomac was a mile wide at the point in question. Also undercutting this story is the fact that there were no such things as silver dollars at that time.

1787 — The first steamboat is launched on the Potomac

1791 — It is the decided that the United States Capital, located at the time in Philadelphia, would be moved to a site along the Potomac. Maryland and Virginia donate land and the result is Washington, D.C., named after the nation's first President despite whatever coin-throwing shortcomings he may have had.

1830's fishing report — "One haul of rockfish (striped bass), 450 fish with an average weight of 60 pounds was documented…"

1941 — 680 tons of sand and gravel are dredged from the Potomac, processed into concrete and molded into the Pentagon, a consolidation of all the buildings of the War Department. The Pentagon has 17.5 miles of corridors, yet it takes only seven minutes to walk between any two points in the building.

1965 — After 150 or so years of pollutants being dumped into the Potomac, President Lyndon Johnson declares the river a "national disgrace" and says it must be cleaned up by 1975.

1966 — The Clean Water Restoration Act passes and the cleanup is underway.

1972 — A Clean Water Act amendment establishes a goal of "swimmable-fishable waters".

1976 — Largemouth Bass reappear in Washington D.C..

1978 — A Full time fishing guide begins working the Potomac.

1989 — The Bassmasters hold the Maryland Top 100 tournament on the Potomac. Guido Hibdon wins with a four day total of 43 pounds, 14 ounces.

Today — The CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series Captitol Clash presented by Busch Beer is underway with the top first-day weight over 18 pounds.