UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Lake Erie

Griggs runs tide for first at Potomac

Griggs runs tide for first at Potomac
Pro Eddie Griggs of Richmond, Va., caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to lead day one of the Stren Series Northeast Division event on the Potomac River.

LA PLATA, Md. - There are two ways to fish the tidal waters of the Potomac River: run and gun or sit and wait. As it turned out Wednesday, both tactics worked equally well as the top two pro weights on opening day of Stren Series Northeast Division competition came from runner Eddie Griggs and sitter Charlie Hartley.

Griggs busts 17, could have had more

Griggs, a pro out of Richmond, Va., caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces - including a 5-11 kicker largemouth - to take top honors for the day. However, to hear him tell it, he should have brought in a bag breaking the 20-pound barrier.

"It was bad. I broke off four big ones," he said. "Tomorrow, I'm going to go get me some big rope to catch those things."

Nevertheless, Griggs was happy with his production Wednesday and the tidal pattern he ran to catch his fish.

"I'm fishing a combination of grass and cover, and I'm just running the tide," he said. "There are two ways to fish the tide here: sit and wait it out or go with it - and I don't have the patience to just sit there. I probably have about 50 spots I'm fishing up and down the river."

Griggs said he fished the low tide south of the takeoff point at Smallwood State Park for the first hour and half of the day. Then, as the tide came up, he followed it up the river throughout the day. Focusing mainly on grass and some docks, he caught just a few fish in the morning, but things warmed up when the water came in and left during the afternoon.

"In the first half of the day, I had five fish that probably totaled 5 pounds," he said. "Then the tide hit. The big ones started biting with the very last half of the outgoing tide."

Griggs caught the bulk of his big keepers on a 3/8-ounce, black-and-blue Booyah jig with a Yum trailer, but he also followed up the big jig with a Spotsticker jighead on light line and caught a few more.

"When I'm working one little stretch, I'll make my first pass with the heavy jig and then turn around and run it again with the Spotsticker and light line," he said. "I probably caught 30 keepers today. The key combination here is to find hydrilla and milfoil, especially with some slime on top, which is just like the icing on top, right there."

Second-place pro Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, landed a limit weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces.Hartley stays put, limits early

Flipping grass mats near Smallwood State Park with a Venom Sweet Dream creature bait, Hartley landed a limit weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces to earn second place. However, unlike Griggs, Hartley didn't do much running with the tide.

"I stay put. You just pretend (the tide) is not happening because the fish are relating to the bottom, not the water level," the pro from Grove City, Ohio, said. "When you do that, you have to wait because they'll go long stretches without biting, but if you leave, you might miss that big 20-minute bite."

Hartley's bite window occurred on low tide early this morning, when he caught four of his keeper fish - including a kicker largemouth in the 5-pound range - in the first hour. He's looking forward to Thursday, when the low tide is scheduled to stay an hour longer.

"I should have a little more fishing time," he said. "There are plenty of fish in here. It's hard to beat this creek."

Pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., caught a limit weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces and placed third Wednesday.FLW co-angler champ Arey third

Fresh off his Co-angler Division win at the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship on Logan Martin Lake a week and a half ago, Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., is proving his mettle from the front of the boat, as well. Fishing as a pro at the Potomac this week, Arey caught a limit weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces and placed third Wednesday.

"Fishing's such a mental game. Once you get that momentum, you don't want to lose it," he said. "I just hope it continues into tomorrow and through Saturday."

Arey said he caught his fish Wednesday on a variety of baits ranging from a Chatterbait to flipping a jig to throwing a Senko.

"Oh yeah, I caught them on everything," he said. "This is trash-fishing at its best."

Hoskings fourth, Kemper fifth

Mike Hoskings of Dumfries, Va., placed fourth for the pros with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces.

James Kemper of Frankfort, Ky., rounded out the top five pros with a limit weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces.

Wayne Burchett of Pulaski, Va., caught this 6-pound largemouth to earn the day's Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division, worth $650.Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one at the Potomac River:

6th: Kenny Holloway of Eatonton, Ga., five bass, 15-2
6th: Henry Zienowicz of Budd Lake, N.J., five bass, 15-2
8th: Larry Evans of Southpoint, Ohio, five bass, 14-14
9th: Scott Hamrick of Denver, N.C., five bass, 14-8
10th: Chad Hicks of Rockville, Va., five bass, 14-7

Wayne Burchett of Pulaski, Va., caught a 6-pound largemouth to earn the day's Snickers Big Bass award for the Pro Division, worth $650.

Sixteen-year-old Mark Condron of Wilton, Conn., leads the Co-angler Division after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces.Sixteen-year-old Condron leads co-anglers

Fishing just his third Stren Series event ever, 16-year-old Mark Condron of Wilton, Conn., leads the Co-angler Division with a limit weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces.

"I caught four of them on a Zoom trick worm," he said, "and I culled out my biggest one on a Chatterbait."

High five co-anglers

Perennial Northeast Division points contender Ryan Bowman of Seneca, S.C., claimed second for the co-anglers with a limit weighing 12 pounds, 8 ounces. He said he caught his fish on a topwater and a Senko.

"Man, I love the Potomac River. Up here, they're all grass fish and they bite," he said. "I love it."

Another teenager, 17-year-old Shane Lehew of Charlotte, N.C., claimed third place for the co-anglers with a limit weighing 12 pounds even.

Co-angler Gary Guilliams of Troutville, Va., took fourth place with a five-bass weight of 11 pounds, 15 ounces.

Butch Zadlo of Boone, N.C., placed fifth for the co-anglers with a five-bass weight of 11 pounds, 13 ounces.

Rest of the best

Real Andrews of Milford, Conn., earned $230 for the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 6-pound, 2-ounce largemouth bass.Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:

6th: Gilbert White of Accokeek, Md., four bass, 11-12
7th: Brantley Peoples of Raleigh, N.C., five bass, 11-8
8th: Don Vantassel of North Egremont, Mass., five bass, 11-6
9th: Leroy Harriott of Woodbridge, Va., five bass, 11-5
9th: Steven Kozemko of Meshoppen Pa., five bass, 11-5

Real Andrews of Milford, Conn., earned $230 for the Snicker's Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 6-pound, 2-ounce largemouth bass.

Day two of Northeast Division competition at the Potomac River begins as the field of 180 boats takes off from Smallwood State Park at 6:30 a.m. Eastern time Thursday for the second half of the opening round. Following tomorrow's action, both fields will be cut to the top 20 anglers apiece based on two-day total weight.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2006-08-16-potomac-river 

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