Potomac powerhouse

Leading wire-to-wire, Bryan Schmitt slammed the door on his Potomac win with a margin of 7 pounds, 4 ounces.

MARBURY, Md. - Weather presented two very different obstacles to Bryan Schmitt's quest for his third Potomac River title, but the pro from Deale, Md. brushed them aside with savvy solutions that delivered a decisive victory in the FLW EverStart Series Northern Division tournament on the Potomac River. First, let's get numbers. Schmitt, who also won the 2010 and 2011 events, took a slim day-one lead by catching a limit that weighed 18 pounds. He'd expand his margin to 5 pounds, 12 ounces on day two after sacking up 18-6. Today, Schmitt added 16-2 and blew the doors off this bus with a 52-8 total and a winning margin of 7-4. So now a little back story: An approaching cold snap brought thunderstorms and heavy rain on Bryan Schmitt stuck with his homemade jig throughout the tournament.Tuesday and a nippy little temperature drop on Wednesday. It's still June and while the weather never really turned "cold" per se, the water temperature dipped from the low 80's to the upper 70's a day before the event and that's all it takes to give those temperamental largemouth bass the pouty face. No worries, Schmitt simply shifted his focus to a new grass bed that he had located in practice. This deeper habitat, he said, offered refuge for fish displaced by the cold front. "I found this spot about two weeks ago and I just had a feeling about it," Schmitt said. "I hadn't gone to it for any other tournaments. I think the colder weather put them in this grass bed because it was outside a shallower grass bed. The weather pulled them out to mine." The second weather-related hindrance facing Schmitt actually reflected the weekend's stabilizing conditions. Lighter winds, mostly sunny skies and true summertime temperatures brought out the fleet of recreational pleasure boaters, which blanketed the river and kept the water churned with non-stop wakes. Sometimes, anglers call this "the nightmare." "There were a million jet skiers out today and with all the boat wakes, I was bouncing up and down on my spot," Schmitt chuckled. Aggressive jigging action was the key for Bryan Schmitt on day three.Again - he worried not. He simply adjusted his presentations to fit the conditions. The top pro had been fishing his homemade 1/2-ounce black/blue jig with a Zoom Super Chunk all week. Schmitt said he used traditional flipping and pitching tactics for days one and two, but he had to step up the show for day three's rough water. "Early in the morning, it seemed like they were biting first thing before the boats got up," he explained. "I had probably 13 pounds in the first hour but then it just died. My best tide has been in the later part of the day, but all the boats were up by then so that was the worst part of the day. "I just felt like I needed some reaction so I'd pop it, hop it just to get a bite. They didn't want the normal flipping presentation." Ultimately, Schmitt attributed his success to the 200-yard stretch of grass that he miraculously had all to himself: "I feel very blessed - I was just around the right fish." Hooker hops into second Second-place pro David Hooker made an impressive comeback after placing 37th on day one. TheTrusting his popping frog led David Hooker on a course of improvement all the way to second place. Stafford, Va. pro posted weights of 12-5, 17-10 and 15-5 to finish with a tournament total of 45-4. Hooker noted that his big day-two performance resulted from the right combination of low tide and light wind. Day one's east wind stalled the outgoing tide and Hooker had to contend with lingering high water on his key spots. With lighter winds shifting more to the north, he enjoyed normal tides that offered a traditional low-water scenario of matted grass - the kind that's ripe and ready for the popping frog he was throwing. Today's conditions offered little of Hooker's ideal scenario, but he stuck it out and ended up with a solid bag. "I made it work today," he said. "I got very few bites, but the ones I got, I got them to the boat and that's all you can ask for." Deep shakin' keeps Tibbetts in third Third-place pro  Jason Tibbetts fished a shaky head over deep structure.Jason Tibbetts of Centreville, Va., targeted fish over deep structure all week. He positioned over rocks in about 8 feet of water and dropped a 3/8-ounce shaky head with a finesse worm. The technique yielded bags of 14-2, 16-5 and 13-8 for a third-place total of 43-15. Tibbetts said that he was so dialed in on the deep game that he never considered a different pattern. The proof was in the productivity. "My thumb is super sore and it was bleeding," Tibbetts said of his high fish counts. "My co-angler today (Josh Demaury) won the event. My first-day co-angler had 15 pounds and my second-day co-angler had about 12 pounds. I ended up pulling probably (more than) 70 pounds of fish off one spot." Grike finishes fourth Robert Grike of Dumfries, Va., entered day three in fourth place and ended up in that position with aTexas-rigged stick baits were the primary tool for fourth-place Robert Grike. total weight of 43-0. After struggling in practice, Grike said his finish was a pleasant surprise. "For me to be up here in the top-10 is really a miracle," he said. "Every day, I had to find a new place to fish because nothing panned out two days in a row." Grike said he caught his day-one fish on a dropshot with a finesse worm. On day two, he couldn't get the dropshot bite going so he randomly tied on a Texas-rigged Strike King Ocho worm and caught 17-14 in about 20 minutes. Day three saw Grike catch one fish on the Ocho, two on a shaky head and two more on the dropshot. "Anyone who knows me knows I fish very neurotically," Grike said. "I'm proud of myself this week because I stayed calm. I was going crazy inside, but I kept it together." Olinger improves to fifth On day three,  Terry Olinger improved from ninth to fifth.Terry Olinger, of The Plains, Va., gained four notches on day three to finish fifth with 42-7. He caught most of his fish on finesse baits and that was quite a surprise to him. "This river is fishing a whole lot differently than normal for June," he said. "If you had told me that I was going to be doing what I did this week to catch my fish, I would have said 'no way,' because that's not my style. I like fishing the grass." Olinger said he fished hard cover early each day and then hit the grass later in the day to try and catch fish on a frog during low tide. The grass bite never materialized for him, so he made his weight by flipping the hard cover. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Potomac event: 6th: Mike McDonald, of Randleman, N.C., 42-3 7th: Shayne Berlo, of Fairfax, Va., 42-0 8th: Rodney "Tank" Mosley, of Woodbridge, Va., 40-1 9th: Gilbert Gagner, of Highgate Springs, Vt., 38-7 10th: James Steiner, of Levittown, Pa., 37-6

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ledges-lift-wilson-to-top

Ledges Lift Wilson to Top

Tim Wilson of Gas City, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Wilson earned $5,584. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-two-in-a-row-for-fox

Two in a Row for Fox

Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, weighed four bass totaling 16 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Cumberland. For his victory, Fox earned $4,463. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-bluff-walls-carry-meredith

Bluff Walls Carry Meredith

GROVE, Okla. – Mitch Meredith of Hulbert, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Meredith earned $7,165. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-tidwell-slows-down-for-title

Tidwell Slows Down for Title

MCCORMICK, S.C. – Brian Tidwell of Seneca, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Tidwell earned $3,021. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ginter-gets-the-win

Ginter Gets the Win

CELINA, Ohio – Gary Ginter of Maplewood, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Ginter earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-jig-does-the-trick-for-roselle

Jig Does the Trick for Roselle

MARBURY, Md. – Mike Roselle of La Plata, Maryland, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Potomac River. For his victory, Roselle earned $6,235. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-lake-eufaula-day-4-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-morrow-thrift-neck-and-neck

Morrow, Thrift Neck and Neck

Georgia pro Troy Morrow brought in 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the third day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula to increase his tournament total to 54-13. Morrow maintains his lead for the second consecutive day, but he won’t sleep comfortably tonight with North Carolina hammer Bryan Thrift just 4 ounces off the lead with 54-09. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 3

Troy Morrow is leading the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. However, with one day left to fish, he has a big problem going into the last day: Bryan Thrift. The Shelby, N.C., pro is just 4 ounces behind Morrow. Here’s how Thrift and the rest of the top five caught their fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-lake-eufaula-day-3-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-morrow-marches-ahead

Morrow Marches Ahead

Day two at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State at Lake Eufaula challenged anglers with tougher conditions as clouds and wind hindered much of the offshore bite. But while some of the top 10 struggled to duplicate their success from day one, Troy Morrow moved from second up into the driver's seat with a day-two catch of 18 pounds, 1 ounce. His total for the event stands at 39-09, giving him a 1-04 lead over day-one leader Clent Davis. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 2

Troy Morrow took over the lead on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. Morrow did most of his damage late in the day once other pros in earlier flights had checked in. He’s working a milk run of brush piles, as are many of the top pros, but the continued fishing pressure is starting to really affect the bite. Here’s how the rest of the top five is dealing with the pressure. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-lake-eufaula-day-2-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »