This month’s W2 Profile features one Edward “Ed” Bryce Dustin, the 52-year-old, owner of Potomac Masonry LLC / Holiday Lightscaping Pros and owner /tournament director of the Potomac River Battle Series & Battle of the Border MDvsVA Charity Event.
We asked Dustin how he started bass fishing.
“A longtime friend Billy Bitto got me into bass fishing back in the early 90’s. We started fishing tournaments together on Lake Anna in the mid 90’s. He was my sole encouragement, but I would have to say that seeing the camaraderie of all the people fishing tournaments and how they treated each other with kindness and respect was my true inspiration to compete in tournaments.“
The inspiration to run a tournament series came to Dustin a little later.
“My first interest in starting a tournament series came from helping Tank Mosley back in 2012 when he was the tournament director for the Battle of the Border MDvsVA event. Later on in 2015 Tank Mosley was looking to step away from the event as director and asked me if I would like to take over. Without hesitation I said, yes.
“So in 2015 I became the new Tournamant Director for the Battle of the Border MDvsVA event and was also nominated as the Virginia Team captain. Man, what a job that was; taking on double duties, but I think it turned out well.
“My first event turned out great and Virginia took back the title from the team I put together. After the big event, Lenny Baird and I started talking about putting together a series that would be sort of a vessel to get folks into the Battle of the Border MdvsVA annual event. So, we collaborated and began our series in 2016.”
Dustin’s tournament series is popular because of it’s simplicity and the opportunity for the teams to move on to the field in the annual Battle of the Border MDvsVA event.
“The format on the Potomac River Battle Series is a standard format for a team event, no bells and whistles needed, but we do offer if you win one of our events that you automatically earn a spot on the roster for the Battle of the Border MDvsVA as long as one of you are from Maryland or Virginia.
“Our Battle of the Border MDvsVA annual event has a format where a select State board from Maryland and Virginia select an annual team captain and their job is to put together a team to go head-to-head on the Potomac River. I oversee and facilitate the captain selection process, the state board do the rest. We also choose a local charity to donate money to from the event whether it’s a local family in need or some sort of Veterans based organization, but we all vote on it and go from there.”
Dustin also runs a unique event on Lake Anna that debuted last year. Anglers weigh in one big bass per hour during the day for prize money. The 2022 event was held in early March during a rainy, snowy, windy day and the fishing was phenomenal. There was a five-plus pounder weighed every hour! Dustin explains the genesis of that event.
“Back in 2020 at one of our Big Bass Battles, I was approached by a friend Larry Martin about having a Big Bass Battle on Lake Anna, and it really didn’t take much thought to see it was a good idea. We coordinated with another good friend, Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina, and we were off and running!
This year’s Lake Anna Big Bass Battle event date is March 11.
We asked the tournament director and hunting guide what his Battle Series entrants were like.
“A typical team that enters one of our events is pretty much everyone who is interested in bass fishing. We are a no frills and no BS tournament series. We believe we run a fun, fair and efficient series. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t perfect, but we fix our mistakes when they happen and are transparent when we make them. I believe that brings folks in and keeps them here. We encourage all levels of anglers to come and fish our series with us, but my favorite is when we see family fishing together as a team whether it is father and son, father and daughter, brother and brother, brother and sister or any combination.
Why just the tidal Potomac River as the venue for the Battle Series?
“Hosting events on the Potomac River is undeniably a great choice, the Potomac itself is truly an incredible aquatic eco system, I would say. The habitat and forage is ever-changing and truly amazing at times. It’s highly accessible for our anglers to pre fish and fish our events from Washington DC down to the Rt. 301 bridge.
W2 asked Dustin what, in his opinion would be considered one of his most satisfying moments running the trail.
“I would have to say the most satisfying moment is a combination of everything: the camaraderie of great folks and the competitive nature that drives us to a coveted victory at the end of the day. I will say that one of the most satisfying moments is seeing a team get their first win. The smiles on their faces tell it all.”
What can teams expect from the Battle Series?
“In 2022 we had around 100 teams or so. Various teams join us throughout the year when they could, and we paid out around $40,000 and do so every year. We generally get 35-45 boats per event.”
Dustin says there are no major changes planned for the 2023, the eighth season for the Battle Series.
“I have made some incredible friends while fishing and running tournaments, and we have gathered some great sponsors for our series in the last seven years so i would like to thank the following for coming on board and continuing their support in 2023: Green Top Sporting Goods, Mare of Aquia, Propeller Dynamics, TFO Rods, Optimum Baits, Omega Custom Tackle, 6th Sense Lures, K9 Fishing Line, Gamma Fishing Line, Stormr, Fish Tales @Anna Point and Sublime Wear USA.
“Many folks don’t realize what it takes sometimes to make these events successful, but I do, and that’s a combination of many things. For me it’s my family and Lenny’s family. They dedicate their time and efforts to help us from sometimes from dawn to dusk. I truly couldn’t do it without them. My family is my backbone at these events. To my wife Jane, my daughter Peyton and my son Ashton, thank you for all your hard work.
Due to his commitment to the Battle Series and his business, Dustin says he hasn’t spent much time on the water the past two years but he hasn’t lost his competitive desire.
“I haven’t lost that desire to fish or compete, I have just set it aside for the moment and hopefully I will be back in 2023 fishing tournaments. I believe it’s about time for me to step back in a give it a harder go again.”
Dustin noted he wanted to also thank some individual folks that helped him along his bass fishing journey including friend Bitto “for getting me into bass fishing and the many years we fished tournaments together which are irreplacable”, Captain Steve Chaconas “for his frienship and support. He is an incredible ambassador to bass fishing here locally on the Potomac River and fighting non stop for tournament anglers on the Potomac River”, his friend Lenny Baird “for keeping it real and keeping my head straight from time to time while running our events”, to his friend Steve Camp “for lending some great knowledge and tips on running tournaments”, his friend Teddy Carr “who really unknowingly created that competative spirit inside me to fish tournamants which led me to the Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship in 2012, you really kept my chin up in 2012!”
Last but not least to his wife Jane “who really let me be who I wanted to be and stay out and away fishing amd competing thanks for everything and holding down the house, I love you and would be less of a man without you keeping me in line.”