UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Snakes alive!

Snakes alive!
Despite having to switch tactics when his first two strategies fizzled, Bryan Schmitt maintained his lead in the pro division.

MARBURY, Md. - Too bad it wasn't a snakehead tournament. Otherwise several Stren Northern Division anglers would have tallied much higher scores on the Potomac River.

An environmental scourge, snakeheads are an Asian species accidentally released into the Potomac. Competing with native largemouths for food and nesting areas, these nuisance fish resemble the native bowfin (aka "mudfish") but with splotchy markings similar to a boa constrictor. They strike like guided missiles and fight like bulldogs, but ultimately anglers who encounter these gnarly monsters just end up with lost time.

A day earlier, West Virginia pro Daniel Welch reported losing more than precious minutes. Welch was Punctuating Bryan Schmittusing pliers to remove a spinnerbait from a well-hooked snakehead. When he pried the lure free, he looked down and saw that he had actually broken the spinnerbait in half. The other half, still lodged in the mouth of a very lively snakehead was on its way into the river - along with Welch's rod and reel.

The weigh-in crowd got a good look at a half dozen of these fish when anglers brought them to the scales just for curiosity's sake. Some weighed as much as nine pounds - significantly more than the day's biggest bass.

Novelties aside, anglers also made a good showing of bass catches despite changing weather. A cold front moving into the area brought cloudy, cooler conditions with a few light showers here and there. The result was a slower bite and a drop in total fish caught and overall catch weight.

Pro leader Bryan Schmitt caught most of his day three fish on spinnerbaits.The frog bite that had been all the rage for two days didn't completely vanish, but anglers reported a noticeable drop in aggression - a clear signal that the fish were hunkering down and playing it safe, while they adjusted to the meteorological mix-up. Flipping produced some of the fish, as did spinnerbaits and chatterbaits.

Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md. held on to his day two lead by adding a 13-pound, 8-ounce limit and racking up a total of 47-13. Through two previous days, Schmitt relied exclusively on flipping a black and blue jig, but day three's funky weather took him out of his primary and backup game plans and forced him into scramble mode.

"I had to go to Plan C today - Plan B didn't work," he said. "I started flipping first thing in the morning and caught my big fish. I went an hour without catching anything else so I left and went way north to hard structure and never got a bite. I came back south to totally different habitat, found the fish and started whacking them."

Facing a windy day with cooler water, Schmitt pulled out a spinnerbait and went to work. Between about 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., he caught 30 bass and a 10-pound snakehead for good measure.

Second place Hoskings keeps on frogging

Day two ended with Mike Hoskings of Alexandria, Va. trailing Schmitt by only 2 ounces. On day three,Focusing on specific patterns in grass beds was the key for second place pro Mike Hoskings. Hoskings remained in second place, but the gap creaked open by another 13 ounces. With a third day limit weighing 12-11, Hoskings upped his total to 46-14.

With high tide concealing the grass in the morning, Hoskings started his day by catching one of his keepers on a buzzbait. When the tide started dropping, he switched to his trusty frogs and caught most of his limit with that bait.

A 15-pound, 10-ounce bag on day three moved Virginia pro Chad Hicks into third place.Hoskings said that targeting particular areas of the river's vast grass beds was intrinsic to his success. "There's a pattern that I can see in the grass. There's certain grass that's holding these fish. Today, I went through a grass bed and found an area that looked like the pattern. We went through it and I caught (most) of my fish on that spot."

Moving up from fifth place, Chad Hicks of Rockville, Va. caught 15 pounds, 10 ounces for a total of 46-3. Darrell Stevens of Roseland, Va. had 13-11 on day three and slipped a spot to fourth with 46-0, while Thomas Wooten of Huddleston, Va. finished fifth at 45-15.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the Stren Series Potomac River event:On his first spot of day three, Maryland pro Brian Trieschmen caught the day

6th: Chris Dillow of Waynesboro, Va., 45-7
7th: Brian Stack of Nanjemoy, Md., 44-15
8th: James Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., 44-5
9th: Michael Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., 43-7
10th: Mike Balon of Clewiston, Fla., 42-9

Brian Trieschmen of Ellicott City, Md. earned Big Bass honors with a 5-pound, 9-ounce largemouth that ate a swimbait on Trieschmen's first spot of the day.

Jenkins jumps into co-angler lead

Fishing in protected areas of the Potomac River, Lew Jenkins caught a 14-pound, 3-ounce limit and moved into the co-angler lead.Frogging all day yielded a 14-pound, 3-ounce limit for Lew Jenkins of Waldorf, Md. Moving up three spots from day two, Jenkins topped the co-angler division with a 40-15 total.

Fishing protected areas off the main river, Jenkins stayed out of the wind and found the fish fairly active for the day's conditions. A 5-pounder earned Jenkins the day's Big Bass award.

After leading for two days, Afton, N.Y. co-angler Lynn Baciuska Jr. slipped back a notch to second with his 40-pound, 9-ounce total. Flipping a Texas-Rigged Lake Fork Packer Craw had produced consistently on days one and two, but Baciuska had to change gears and throw a chatterbait on day three.

In third place, Robert Clark of Woodbridge, Va. had 36-1, while Mickey Pettry of Manassas, Va. placed fourth with 34-12. David Benoit of Brattleboro, Vt. took fifth with 33-2.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the Stren Series Potomac River event:Darrell Stevens slipped back a spot to fourth place with a total of 46 pounds.

6th: Thomas Rizzo of Rochester, Pa., 32-11
7th: John Woodroof of Lynchburg, Va., 32-9
8th: Dustin Edwards of Ellington, Ct., 32-9
9th: Josh Querrey of Summersville, W.V., 30-15
10th: Gary Marean of Manassas, Va., 30-7

The final day of Stren Series action on the Potomac River continues at Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. (EST) at Smallwood State Park located at 2750 Sweden Point Road in Marbury, Md.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2008-10-15-potomac-river 

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