UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Potomac Proximity

Potomac Proximity
BFL All-American anglers make their way through the day-one checkout.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Old Town Alexandria, the Lincoln Memorial, Reagan National Airport, the Pentagon - anglers fishing the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy will enjoy many memorable sights on the Potomac River, but their most commonly viewed image will likely be other tournament boats.

With a Walmart FLW Tour Major event running concurrently out of National Harbor, the All-American field is restricted to fishing north of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (I-495), while Tour anglers fish south. There's plenty of productive waters on the north side, but a lot of the more likely options (bridges, marinas) present concentrated scenarios, so anglers will lack not for company.Bridges like this one across the river from the Washington Monument will see a lot of tournament boats.

Making his first All-American appearance, Duke Jenkel, of Pinckneyille, Ill., said he's cautiously optimistic about the good practice he experienced. He found a good bite while flipping a Texas-rigged Gambler tube, but he knows that logistical concerns like the river's long idle zones, plus the mental intangibles merit consideration.

"I don't know that any single bait is going to be the key factor," Jenkel said. "There are two things that, in my opinion, will be determining factors for success. One of them is between the ears. You're going to be fishing in a crowd and the river fishes small. That's not a complaint - it's just a state of the union.

"What you have to be able to deal with is looking over at your neighbor and he just put a 3-pounder in the boat and you look the other way and that guy catches a keeper and you haven't had a bite yet. You Duke Jenkel, of Pinckneyille, Ill. will spend much of his day flipping a Gambler tube.have to be able to keep your mind in the game.

"Now, the other part is that I believe this is going to be won in one of a couple of areas and it's going to be a grinder event. It's not that you can't pattern these fish, but when I go to move I have to idle for 15 minutes, run and idle another 15 minutes. When I leave where I know there's fish, hoping to go to a place I don't even know if I can get on, because there's probably somebody there - the mental stability and good decision making is going to be important. You're going to have to keep your wits about you when your neighbors are catching fish."

Tommy Robinson of Westland, Mich., said he'll confront the challenge of crowded waters with finesse tactics. He'll rely mostly on dead sticking a Texas-rigged paddle tail worm.

"These fish are pressured, so if you move the bait, they won't hit it," he said.

Fortunately, one of the key areas within the tournament's open waters sits less than a mile north of theRemnants of long-abandoned barges share Spoils Cove with the more recently deposited rubble from the original Woodrow Wilson Bridge. bridge. Known as Spoil Cove, this mostly shallow backwater area on the river's east side was once the center of a sand and gravel dredging operation that provided the foundation upon which much of the area's historic districts were built. The skeletons of long-abandoned barges hold their final resting spots along the shorelines, while rubble from the original Woodrow Wilson Bridge adds a more recent feature.

A major spawning pocket, Spoil Cove still holds a few beds and the week's warming temperatures may find some fish up shallow. Outside this area, a large rock structure - remnant of the ferry system that once transported all that sand and gravel to Old Town Alexandria on the western shore - extends nearly a football field into the river. Bass will relate to certain points and breaks along this structure, so there should be several boats here throughout most of the day.

A noticeable lack of grass north of the bridge will limit bait options, but plenty of viable options remain. As Houston pro Dicky Newberry notes, the majority of bites will come from hard cover. An accomplished flipper, Newberry will fish a Texas-rigged Larew Biffle Bug.

A Texas-rigged Larew Biffle Bug will be the go-to bait for Texas pro Dicky Newberry."There will be some crankbait fish caught today, but I'm going to stick to my strong suit, which is flipping and casting to wood," he said. "It's going to be mostly structure fishing. We're going to be fishing wood and rocks. That's where most of the fish are at."

Newberry said he thinks an 18-pound bag each day will keep him in the hunt. No doubt, day one will quickly determine who can figure out the formula for Potomac consistency. Time management and, more importantly, mental toughness will prove just as important as bait selection.

Of course, a little luck doesn't hurt either. At least one angler, Chris Jones, got a big dose of that plus a heaping helping of moral support by way of homemade "lucky" chocolate chip cookies. Jones' wife Angel typically bakes the cookies, but she's in prespawn mode with a little one due this summer and needed a break. Fortunately, Mrs. Jones' sister Spring Austin stepped in and baked up a batch.

"Lucky cookies, lucky baby - I'm feeling pretty good," Chris Jones said.Oklahoma boater Chris Jones enjoys a

Tide Timers

Across the board, the most significant challenge facing All-American anglers will be the tide. Although tournament waters are purely fresh, the Potomac still feels the massive influence of Chesapeake Bay's daily ebb and flow. This means that fish positioning will change throughout the day, relative to water depth.

Summarily, the incoming tide's rising water allows fish to reach farther into shoreline cover, while the falling tide pulls them out to deeper water. The lower stages will concentrate fish in key areas, but greatly diminish the number of potentially productive spots by shrinking the playing field.

Today's tide schedule for the tournament area had a high at 6.32 a.m., so anglers will fish falling water through the low at 1:11 p.m. Competitors will have a few hours of incoming water, as the evening tide will peak about an hour and a half after the start of the 5:30 p.m. weigh-ins.

Logistics

The second flight of BFL All-American boats depart the National Harbor docks. Hosted by National Harbor, the tournament features the top 49 boaters and top 49 co-anglers from across the country casting for top awards of up to $130,000 in the Boater Division and $60,000 in the Co-angler Division plus the opportunity to compete in the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Lanier Aug. 11-14.

Anglers will take off from the National Harbor Marina located at 137 National Plaza in Oxon Hill, Md., at 8 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will also be at the National Harbor Marina beginning daily at 5:30 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at National Harbor Marina on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. where they can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors. All activities are free and open to the public.

Coverage of the BFL All-American will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when "FLW" airs May 6 from 1 - 2 p.m. ET. "FLW" is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, offering bigger prizes to those who Anglers pause for the national anthem just south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge that will mark their competition boundary.qualify for regional championships and those who make it to the BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the FLW Tour.

Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 5:54 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 62 degrees
Expected high temperature: 72 degrees
Wind: NNE 10-15 mph
Humidity: 40 percent
Day's outlook: sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2012-05-17-all-american-potomac-river 

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