Live now : Sam Rayburn Reservoir - FLW Live Coverage

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 

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

All the talk leading up the final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks was about the weather. And Mother Nature did not disappoint. READ MORE »

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks will launch right as a massive cold front arrives. How massive? The forecast has been calling for heavy rain and a high of 74 today, and so far hasn’t been wrong. A major thunderstorm greeted anglers this morning and delayed takeoff by an hour and fifteen minutes thanks to abundant lightning. Tomorrow? A high in the mid 40s. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Defending his title as co-angler winner in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, was impressive enough, but the way Steven Meador did it was truly remarkable. After earning the 2018 win on Grand by 3 pounds, 6 ounces, the Bentonville, Ark., co-angler repeated the victory with a three-day total of 27-15 for a much slimmer winning margin this time around – just 10 ounces. READ MORE »

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Curt Warren was a paragon of consistency over three days at Grand Lake, and the result was a victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Warren turned in limits of 14-5 on day one and 16-9 on day two, but it was his day-three limit of 15-9 that was the most impressive – no other pro even cracked the 13-pound mark battling the tough post-frontal conditions Grand had to offer on day three. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Typically, the first day or two following a cold front put bass in a bad mood, and today, Grand Lake’s fish are following the script. This has created a challenging scenario for the top-10 finalists in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

When conditions changed, Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas completely scrapped his day-one pattern, caught a limit that weighed 13-11 and took over the lead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event, presented by T-H Marine, with a two-day total of 32-14. Here’s what the rest of the top five was up to on day two. READ MORE »

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

After his sizzling day-one pattern fizzled, Cody Bird adjusted his focus to a completely different scenario and sacked up a limit of 13-11 on day two to take over the lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, with a two day total of 32-14. Going into Saturday’s final round, Bird holds a 7-ounce lead over day-one leader and Grand Lake stick Jason Christie. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

You know fishing’s tough when the most common greeting we receive is the goose egg hand signal. No question, day two of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, had a lot of anglers scratching for bites and scratching their heads. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., leveraged his intimate understanding of Grand Lake’s tendencies to catch a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces to take the lead on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event Presented by T-H Marine. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Oklahoma stick Jason Christie overcame the unsettling effects of a passing cold front to sack up a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces for the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

After several weeks of hot, sunny conditions, anglers launched with cloudy skies, stout winds and air temperatures in the low 60s. By midday, the temperature rose into the mid to upper 60s and the wind started to subside, however, the first couple of hours saw Grand Lake’s temperamental side. READ MORE »

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Fall is a time of change and movement; two notions bound to impact the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Typical fall migrations are underway, but an approaching cold front will likely complicate the already challenging nature of autumn’s transition. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta featured all the typical Delta tactics. Punching, vibrating jigs, finesse and even a frog made an appearance in the top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta had a lot of punching as usual, but it was far from the only thing going. Due to the lush grass and windy and touch conditions, vibrating jigs and finesse played a big role as well. READ MORE »

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta, Jack Farage totaled 37-2 to edge ahead of Cesar Laguna for the co-angler win. The win is Farage's fourth as a co-angler at the FLW Series level and he took home a brand new Ranger boat because of it.  READ MORE »

Wire-to-Wire for Dyer

Wire-to-Wire for Dyer

Blake Dyer set the pace on day one with a 27-pound, 3-ounce bag and he never relinquished the lead in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Weighing 15-8 on the final day, Dyer totaled 62-13 to stay ahead of a final-day charge from Jason Borofka. For his win, which is his first with FLW, Dyer takes home $31,114 and a trophy that will last forever. READ MORE »

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Tournament fishing is full of highs and lows and today, the latter may play a key role in determining the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event resented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Specifically, several anglers expressed their hopes of doing their best work during the afternoon low tide period. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Blake Dyer has dominated through two days of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the Cal Delta. With a total nearing 50 pounds, he’s also one of just two pros to bring in back-to-back 20-pound limits. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of the crew hasn’t been doing work, and with the big fish in the Delta, anything is possible on the final day. READ MORE »