UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Dardanelle

Promising Potomac

Promising Potomac
Light cloud cover softens the rising sun as FLW American Fishing Series anglers prepare for a day on the Potomac.

MARBURY, Md. - Anglers competing in the FLW American Fishing Series Northern Division event on the Potomac River will experience plenty of ups and downs. But with proper execution, both scenarios can deliver opportunities for success on this tidal fishery.

Emptying into the Atlantic Ocean, the river expands and contracts with daily water movement. These depth changes influence boat access and fish positioning, so success requires an additional level of awareness and consideration.

A high tide around midnight dropped during the early morning hours. The incoming cycle will peakBoogie Atkins plans on flipping the grass with a Berkley Crazy Legs Chigger Craw. around midday and then fall during the afternoon. Generally, bass will move into the thick hydrilla and milfoil on high water, but as the falling tide drains and condenses the grass, they'll move to the outer edges.

Virginia pro Boogie Atkins plans on starting south of the launch site at Smallwood State Park. He'll throw topwaters and shallow crankbaits first and then flip the grass with a Berkley Crazy Legs Chigger Craw the rest of the day. With his crankbait, Atkins will target grass mats around residential boat docks.

The Potomac's tidal complexities present familiar scenarios for California pro Ish Monroe, who excels at finding big bass in the Cal Delta's tidal labyrinth. Monroe couldn't resist signing up for this event when his tournament travels brought him eastward. After spending a couple of days scouting for this week's competition, Monroe said he's expecting an exciting weigh-in.

California pro Ish Monroe will spend most of day one fishing his signature PHAT Frog made by Snagproof."Fishing has been good," he said. "I had a great day of practice and I feel like I can catch over 20 pounds. I had a lot of bites that I shook off. This has always been a great fishery and guys are going to catch them anyway they want to. If you look at the boats, (anglers) have spinning rods out with Senkos and dropshots; they're going to catch them on spinnerbaits and crankbaits."

The latter can be particularly effective when worked along grass edges on lower tide stages. Bass will be positioned along these outer areas, so presentations that mimic baitfish or crawdads moving through the perimeter vegetation will tempt bass.

A common strategy here is to intentionally snag a crankbait in the grass and rip it loose with a short, sharp rod twitch. This looks like a potential bass meal running for cover and opportunistic largemouths are quick to pounce.

Those who understand the tidal game know that the high outgoing stage can be incredibly productive, as fish start moving to the outer grass edges where they are more easily reached. Unfortunately, today's tide schedule will make anglers wait until the tail end of their fishing day for this scenario.

Nevertheless, Brandon Pyles of Frederick, Md. expects strong topwater action throughout the day.Shallow running crankbaits fished along the edges of grass lines will be a productive Potomac pattern. Light winds and temperatures reaching the upper 80s will create sweltering conditions that make the dense grass beds attractive to bass. Running weedless frogs across the vegetation often generates tremendous strikes.

"There's going to be an awesome topwater bite for the guys that can stick with it," Pyles said. "The hotter it gets, the better the frog action gets on this river."

When working the interior grass, Pyles likes the noisy display of a Spro popping frog. Later, when the outgoing tide pulls fish to the edges, he'll flip a Berkley Chigger Craw.

Monroe will also put in plenty of time with a frog. He'll work white and black models of his signature series Snagproof P.H.A.T. Frog and when it's time to fish deeper, he'll flip a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. Monroe said he'll stick with this combination all day.

"I don't change baits at all, I just change areas," Monroe said. "I look for the grass that's a little deeper and I'll look for wood that you can't see on high tide. As the tide falls, the fish just make the adjustment of being tight on the bank to the first piece of structure with water on it."

A popping frog will often tempt bass into striking during a tough bite.Anglers will be keeping a cautious eye on the weather, as thunderstorms are likely in the afternoon hours.

Logistics

Anglers will takeoff and weigh-in at Smallwood State Park located at 2700 Sweden Point Road in Marbury, Md. Takeoff will be at 6 each morning while weigh-in will begin at 1:30 p.m. daily. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $25,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with 200-horsepower outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award of $10,000. If the co-angler meets the Ranger Cup guidelines, they will earn an additional $5,000.

The Potomac River American Fishing Series tournament is being hosted by the Marshall County Tourist Commission.

Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 5:44 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 54 degrees
Expected high temperature: 87 degrees
Water temperature: 68-70 degrees
Wind: SSW 5-10 mph
Humidity: 60 percent
Day's outlook: Partly cloudy, afternoon thunderstorms

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2010-06-03-potomac-river 

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