La Crosse's Monsoor grabs 1st place in FLW Qualifier

Tom Monsoor has a simple reason why he is leading the FLW Tour Qualifier on the Potomac River in Marbury, MD.
With a possible $125,000 paycheck within in his grasp, the veteran La Crosse professional bass fisherman says the reason for success so far is, "I'm just catching fish in a tourney rather than in practice. I haven't made any changes. I'm just fishing."
Monsoor may downplay his first two days of competition, but he is not "just fishing." He's fishing really well.
Monsoor is known for two things - his patented swim jigs and river fishing after growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River. Both may finally be coming together for him after two days of the FLW Tour on the Potomac River presented by Costa Sunglasses.
He's fished the Potomac many times, but has had trouble figuring out the tides. However, tied haven't been a problem so far this week.
On Day 1, Monsoor thought it finally clicked, as he utilized a pattern he felt was tide dependent. Helping the matter was his boat position of 149, which allowed him to capitalize on both key feeding windows brought on by the tide changes in the morning and afternoon.
However, being in the first flight Friday, and with the tides backing up an hour, he knew he really only had the morning window. He made the most of it, cracking 16 pounds, 14 ounces to take over the lead with 36 pounds, 4 ounces. Robert Behrle of Hoover, AL, is in second place with 35-2.
“I had a limit by 8 a.m. on the first spot, and then I culled out four of them in the second spot,” Monsoor told FLW officials. “I was done fishing by noon and just went looking after that.”
It was a good thing Monsoor was done so early, as his batteries went dead and his livewell began leaking, forcing him to stop and refill his livewell any time he ran so much as a mile.
He got both problems fixed late Friday.
"Yup, I'm ready to go," he said from his hotel room Friday night.
The 156-pro field was cut to the top 20 for Saturday's round. Only the top 20 advance to Sunday's final round.
"We'll found out tomorrow," Monsoor said after exiting a late night FLW meeting for semifinalists. "I'm just taking it one day at a time and see what happens."
Monsoor has won almost $750,000 during a 14-year career on the FLW Tour. However, he has failed to cash in any qualifier this year. A six-figure payday on Sunday would certainly fill his wallet.
"I'm just a fisherman, he chuckled. "I've led FLW tourneys after Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3, but never after Day 4. "We're not even close to that yet."