UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Working with water

Working with water
Overcast skies and drizzly rain evidenced a cold front passing through the area on day three.

MARBURY, Md. - This is truly a case of going with the flow. Stren Series Northern Division anglers woke to a damp, windy third day on the Potomac River, but fortunately, what's going on below the surface matters more than what happens above it.

A cold front approaching the Potomac region brought rainy, sometimes blustery conditions that began shortly before the day-two weigh-in. Friday saw morning temperatures only a few degrees lower than previous tournament days, but as the front progresses, the cooler air will hold daytime temperatures to about 64 degrees. By comparison, 82 was yesterday's high.

In short, the Potomac's tidal waters are heavily influenced by the daily incoming and outgoing cycles.New Jersey pro Michael Iaconelli was suited up and ready for a rainy morning. Weather patterns matter; however, local bass are so accustomed to moving and feeding with the tides that fronts affect them less significantly than fish in nontidal waters.

"This is such a tidal area, and the temperature only dropped a few degrees this morning, so I don't think that's enough to affect the fish," said Pennsylvania pro Howard Hammonds. "The bass are still in the fall feeding mode, and they're chomping on crawfish, shad and whatever comes through their grass bed."

Day three of the tournament starts on incoming water with a high tide around 10:30 a.m. That means anglers will enjoy strong outgoing movement through about 5 p.m. Falling water is generally the preference, as it concentrates fish that scatter over broad areas on high tide.

Breezy conditions will complicate boat positioning for anglers fishing in exposed areas.Sitting in 25th place, Joe Sancho of New Windsor, N.Y., said the biggest concern for frontal conditions is wind, but his strategy will insulate him from that: "I'm fishing in a protected area, so the wind shouldn't be a problem at all. Out in the river, those guys might have a problem with this north wind blowing in and muddying up their areas.

"I think the (lower temperatures) are going to make it a tougher bite. It got a little tougher yesterday. This weather is probably going to slow the fish down, so you'll have to slow your baits down and work them really hard to get the bites you need."

Sancho will use a Spro frog as a search bait and turn to his Texas-rigged Sweet Beaver with an ounce Often used as a search bait, the venerable plastic frog will lead many anglers to the hot areas on the Potomac River.and a half bullet weight.

"I'm getting a reaction strike with the frog. The fish will blow up on it, and then I'll throw another bait on them. Once I know the area that they're in, I can slow down and punch those mats with the Sweet Beaver."

In preparation for the low-light conditions that will persist for much of the day, Sancho used a permanent marker to color his green frog's belly black.

"With these overcast skies, the black seems to work better, and hopefully I'll get more hookups."

Hammonds will be casting and flipping a Texas-rigged worm around large mats of hydrilla. Giving his spot time to produce is his objective.

Flipping heavily weighted baits like a Sweet Beaver will be a productive tactic for reaching bass below matted vegetation."You have to be patient and stay on your good spot," Hammonds said. "If you're one of the guys who has (many) spots to hit, you can run and gun and gamble on catching the active fish. I have one spot, and I'm going to sit on it all day."

A perimeter approach will be Hammonds' strategy, he said: "I'm staying on the outside because (other anglers) are pounding the inside. When they do that, the fish tend to move out."

New Jersey pro Mike Iaconelli gives his baits a competitive edge by applying a scented attractant paste before launch.

"I like to rub this on my baits first thing so the scent has time to settle in."

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Smallwood State Park located at 2750 Sweden Point RoadPennsylvania pro Howard Hammonds will be flipping an 8-inch Texas-rigged worm around the outer edges of grass beds.
Marbury, Md. at 7:30 each morning. Friday's weigh-ins also will be held at Smallwood State Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 40 Drury Drive, La Plata, Md. beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

The Potomac River Stren Series tournament is hosted by the Charles County Economic Development and Tourism. Pros are fishing for a top prize of $65,000 and co-anglers are competing for a $35,000 award.

Friday's conditions

Sunrise: 7:19 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 56 degrees
Expected high temperature: 64 degrees
Water temperature: 67-69 degrees
Wind: NE at 8 mph
Humidity: 50 percent
Day's outlook: showers early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon

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

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