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

Low water keeps Schmitt atop Potomac field

Low water keeps Schmitt atop Potomac field
Another day of 18 pounds kept Bryan Schmitt on top at the Potomac River.

MARBURY, Md. - The good thing about cold fronts is their predictability - you'll usually get some level of precipitation and a lot of wind with the approach and then the dreaded high pressure and bluebird skies on the back side. Mild as this week's weather system was, that's still the scenario that played for anglers fishing the FLW EverStart Series Northern Division tournament on the Potomac River.

Cloudless skies, lighter winds and warming conditions made for a pleasant day on the water and it's safe to say, most were out of those jackets by mid-morning. Still, bluebird skies have a way of making life difficult for anglers seeking the hyper-sensitive largemouth bass. Today, several anglersMost anglers reported struggling under the high, bright skies of day. figured out ways to gather good limits, but many reported struggling with fish that were clearly still a little discombobulated.

Pros caught 102 limits, compared to 120 yesterday. Total weight and overall catch numbers were also lower.

Then you have Bryan Schmitt, the easygoing, soft-spoken pro from Deale, Md. who has approached this event with an apparent disregard for, and immunity to the weather. It's hard to tell if Schmitt's driven by supreme confidence or just that truly rare combination of genuine talent and the ability to lock in one tactic and do it better than anyone around you. Whatever's in his wheelhouse, it's working, because he added 18 pounds, 6 ounces to his day-one limit of 18-0 for a 2-day total of 36-6 and a leading margin of 5-12.

A homemade black/blue jig did the trick again for pro leader Bryan Schmitt.Schmitt's preference for his homemade black and blue 1/2-ounce jig is well-documented and he changed nothing today. A Zoom Super Chunk adds some profile and subtle movement to the back end.

Fishing his trusty jig around grass in about 3 feet of water, Schmitt said he found his best action during the low water period. Essentially, this morning saw outgoing water through late morning and then an incoming cycle that started gaining steam by noonish.

"Today, we had really high tide this morning and the fish really weren't biting first thing," he said. "I caught three decent ones early, but I caught all of my weight between 11 and 1 o'clock. The outgoing tide and then the beginning of the incoming were best."

Schmitt said the low tide stages worked to his advantage because they concentrated the fish into key areas, whereas high tides scatter the bass throughout the cover. This enabled him to spend less time searching and more time targeting the productive areas.

"I slow way down on the low tide," Schmitt said.

Day two yielded approximately 25 bass, a performance similar to that of day one.

Gagner goes to second

TBF "Living the Dream" winner Gilbert Gagner demonstrated the skills that earned him this TBF prestigious title by rocketing up the leaderboard from 38th place to second on day two. Gagner, who tied Schmitt for the biggest sack of day two (18-6), said he has not fished the Potomac since 1995. He managed just 12-4 on day one, but today's effort pushed his total to 30-10.

"I got off to a terrible start," Gagner said. "I just concentrated on fish where I had previously caught fish in practice. On the Potomac, hitting every one of your places is not possible. You really need to buckle down on an area, stay there and work it. That's what I did today after I ran around for a little while. I calmed down and said 'I really need to sit down and fish'."

Gagner said the spot that delivered the fish he needed for a final-round berth was a large weed bed. When he approached the area, several other boats were scattered throughout the vegetation so he found an opening and went to work. It didn't take long to get the party started.

"You talk about being in the right place at the right time," Gagner said. "We pulled into a weed line and I caught three of those big ones right off."

Gagner caught his fish on a Booyah Pad Crasher frog. Like yesterday, he caught six fish on day two.

Tibbetts goes small, takes third

Third-place pro Jason Tibbetts caught his bass on a shaky head fished over deep structure.For third-place pro Jason Tibbetts, the remedy for a bright, sunny day was fishing deep. Doing so gave the Centreville, Va. pro a limit catch of 16-5, which moved him up from 16th place with a two-day total of 30-7.

Tibbetts targeted concrete, rocks and wood in about 8 feet of water and fished a 3/8-ounce shaky head. While the sunny conditions made it tough for anglers fishing shallow, Tibbetts said the solar motivation facilitated his plan.

"The (shaky head) style of worm was triggering the bites better," he said. "I started off with a jig and that wasn't working."

Timing was key for Tibbetts, who said he rotated through a set of main locations to stay with the ideal tidal scenario. "I had four key spots that I was running today and I had to run it with the tide. As the tide goes in and out, those spots turn out and then I just circle back through. I'd go to spot 1, 2, 3 and 4 and then make my way back as the tide switched."

Grike rises to fourth

On day one, Robert Grike, of Dumfries, Va. actually tied Gagner for 38th place with 12-4. Today, heFourth-place pro Robert Grike said he targeted areas with fewer fish, but better quality. also made a big move by sacking up 17-4 and climbing to fourth place with 30-2. For him, the warming effect of sunny skies had a calming effect on his fish and allowed him to establish the consistency he lacked yesterday.

"I was lucky to even get a limit yesterday," Grike said. "Today, they were in a better mood."

Grike caught his fish by casting weightless Texas-rigged soft plastic stick baits around grass, rocks, docks and laydowns. Seeking quality over quantity was the key for him.

"A lot of these guys are fishing areas where there's a ton of fish bunched up," Grike said. "They're catching tons of keepers. I'm not; I'm pecking at them one at a time. They have to be in a good mood for me to have a chance and this weather made them bite for me."

Hooker improves to fifth

Popping frogs fished over grass during lower tide stages enabled David Hooker to move up to fifth place.David Hooker of Stafford, Va. started day two in 37th place with 12-5, but a limit of 17-10 boosted his total to 29-15 and raised him to fifth place. Hooker, who caught his fish on a Spro popping frog, said he found the tides much more to his liking.

"The wind laid down and the water went out," he explained. "Yesterday, it was a funny tide. It seemed like it didn't want to go out and as soon as it went out it turned. Today, it slowed down and I could fish more of my game. I was fishing topwater. I need low wind and low water and today I got both."

Hooker caught his fish over grass. Yesterday's persistent high water deprived him of the optimal depth - a lower tide stage when the grass started matting over. Today, he got the scenario and the frog got plenty of attention.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Potomac event:

6th: James Steiner, of Levittown, Pa., 29-13
7th: Mike McDonald, of Randleman, N.C., 28-14
8th: Rodney "Tank" Mosley, of Woodbridge, Va., 28-10
9th: Terry Olinger, of The Plains, Va., 28-9
10th: Shayne Berlo, of Fairfax, Va., 28-7

Brown takes over co-angler lead

Derek Brown, of Charlottesville, Va., made a big day-two move by climbing 20 spots to take over theCo-angler leader Derek Brown fished shaky heads over shallow rocks. co-angler lead with 24-10. Brown caught a limit of 9-15 on day one and added 14-11 today.

Brown caught his bass on weightless Senkos and shaky heads with green pumpkin and Junebug worms. He was fishing his baits over rocks in 4-5 feet of water where a slow wiggle was the right presentation.

"The fish were really finicky and they've seen a lot of baits this week, so I thought I throw a smaller presentation and it worked," Brown said. "

In second place, Lenny Baird, of Stafford, Va., had 23-0, while Josh Demaury, of Troutville, Va., took third with 22-14. Fourth-place Andy Dick, of Wilmington, Del., had 22-13 and Marvin Reese, of Gwynn Oak, Md. had 22-4.

Dick earned Big Bass honors for his 5-6.

Best of the rest

This 5-pound, 6-ounce largemouth earned co-angler Andy Dick the Big Bass award.Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Potomac event:

6th: Alex Antipenko, of Brooklyn, N.Y., 21-12
7th: David Williams, of Fredericksburg, Va., 21-9
8th: Billy Dehart, of Burlingame, Calif., 21-7
9th: Scott Macrobbie, of Linthicum, Md., 20-13
10th: Thomas Bavaro III, of Joppa, Md., 20-7

Day three of EverStart Series Northern Division action on the Potomac River continues at Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 5:45 a.m. (Eastern) at Smallwood State Park located at 2750 Sweden Point Road in Marbury, Md.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2013-06-20-potomac-river 

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