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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

CF: Top 3 Patterns from Potomac River

CF: Top 3 Patterns from Potomac River
The top 10 teams that moved on from the Northern Conference Invitational to the 2015 College Fishing National Championship.

The Potomac River was the site of the 2014 FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Invitational Oct. 11-12, and like always on the Potomac, the tides and grass were the dominant factors. As evidenced in the top three patterns, the most successful teams understood how to adjust their strategies based on tidal movements and the effect the tide has on bass positioning within the abundant grass beds of the big river.

1st Place

West Virginia University

Matthew Gibson and Edward Rude III

10 bass – 34 pounds, 2 ounces

Mathew Gibson and Edward Rude III of West Virginia University landed 10 bass for 34 pounds, 2 ounces, to earn their second Northern Conference Invitational win.

The West Virginia University team of Matthew Gibson of Morgantown, W.Va., and Edward Rude III of Falling Waters, W.Va., relied on years of Potomac experience to shorten the learning curve going into the event.

“Ed is very familiar with the Potomac, and I have fished it as well,” says Gibson. “During practice we knew right where to start, and we found the good area right away.”

The “good area” featured an abundance of crawfish scurrying through scattered grass.

“There were crawdads everywhere; you could just see them all over in the grass,” Gibson adds. “We picked one up to see what color it was and saw that they were a dark brown color.”

With that in mind, they began experimenting with baits until they settled on a Mann’s Baby 1-Minus shallow-diving crankbait in a dark brown or dark orange color.

The winning spot was in Pohick Bay and was about the size of a football field. It featured an island surrounded by scattered clumps of grass and lily pads, adjacent to a creek channel. They moved throughout the area depending on the tide.

“When the water was up the fish would push up toward the island, and when it was low, they would move away from the lily pads and into the creek channel,” says Gibson.

Ideal tidal timing took place at around 11:45 at high tide and again at 12:30.

Gibson and Rude spent the morning hours in Belmont Bay on day one, waiting out the right tidal window on their honeyhole. They caught eight keepers on a drop-shot with a Roboworm in the orange crusher color, but ended up culling all of those fish later in the day on the crankbait after moving into the Pohick area.

“The fish wouldn’t eat anything else but a crankbait in those colors,” Gibson says of the bass in Pohick. “A big key was that we were using a regular medium-heavy-action rod instead of a crankbait rod [with a more moderate bend]. You had to have a heavier rod to get them out of the grass once they were hooked.”

The team used both G. Loomis IMX and GLX rods with 15-pound-test Seaguar fluorocarbon to fish their crankbaits across and through the tops of the grass stalks. Gibson and Rude ended the first day in the lead with 16 pounds, 7 ounces.

On the second day, the Mountaineers committed to Pohick Bay and spent the duration there, culling to a 17-pound, 11-ounce limit for a dominating winning margin of 6 pounds. This Invitational win is the second in as many seasons for Gibson and Rude, who won the 2013 contest on the Chesapeake Bay.

 

2nd Place

Radford University

Justin Witten and Will Bowling

10 bass – 28 pounds, 2 ounces

2014 College Fishing Potomac River - Invitational Oct 11 -  12 - JUSTIN WITTEN

The Radford University team of Justin Witten of Radford, Va., and Will Bowling of Fincastle, Va., relied on finesse tactics in a power-fishing locale to finish in second on the Potomac.

“We were using a drop-shot rig with really light line, and everyone who fishes that grassy area flips and pitches with a creature bait,” says Witten. “We told some people about it afterward, and they couldn’t believe we were doing that there.”

The unconventional move to fish 8-pound-test line in thick grass proved to be the difference as Radford easily caught its fish the first day.

“It was really rough water and took us an hour to get to our spot in Mockley Creek, but once we got there we caught five by 9 o’clock and left to save the fish for the next day,” says Witten.

Radford ended the day with 13 pounds, 15 ounces, which was good enough for third place.

Knowing they had a chance, Witten and Bowling decided to spend the entirety of the second day on their prime location, fishing the thick grass with a drop-shot. The second day proved to be more challenging.

“It was much slower, but we still ended up catching about 10 keepers,” recalls Witten. “Later on we switched to fishing a frog over the grass and caught a few.”

The combination of finesse and frog tactics helped Radford turn in a 14-pound, 3-ounce bag to slide up one position into second place for the tournament.

 

3rd Place

Liberty University

Travis Rulle and Caleb Eppler

10 bass – 27 pounds, 1 ounce

2014 College Fishing Potomac River - Invitational Oct 11 -  12 - TRAVIS RULLE

The Liberty University team of Travis Rulle of Huntersville, N.C., and Caleb Eppler of Sachse, Texas, had never seen the Potomac River before arriving in town to prep for the Invitational tournament. Rulle and Eppler spent two days of practice familiarizing themselves with the sprawling river.

They figured out that the fish were positioned between hard grass-line edges and the bank.

“It had to be a cleared-out spot for what we were doing, and we just looked for areas that had that combination and fished until we could trigger a reaction,” says Eppler.

The team primarily used fast-moving Z-Man Original ChatterBaits along the bare spots between the grass and the shoreline in small backwaters off the main river.

A tip learned from Walmart FLW Tour pro Scott Martin in a video prior to the event proved to be helpful in fishing the ChatterBait.

“We switched the trailer to a craw instead of the standard one that comes with it,” says Eppler. “I saw that in a video, and it seemed to have a much better action.”

Water-clarity changes due to fluctuating tides also influenced the bite for Liberty.

“The low water was really the best bite for us, and there wasn’t really a good period of low tide during this event,” says Eppler. “When it was lower, the water was much clearer, and we seemed to catch more fish than when it was higher and muddy.”

As one of only four teams to land back-to-back limits, Liberty secured third place with a two-day total of 27 pounds, 1 ounce.

Tags: tyler-brinks  post-tournament  2014-10-11-potomac-river-invitational 

Top 10 Baits from Clear Lake

Top 10 Baits from Clear Lake

Even though cold, windy and rainy conditions challenged the field throughout the event, Clear Lake still showed the caliber of fish that swim in it during the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Western Division season, which was presented by Ranger Boats.   READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock

Fishing at Table Rock during the Costa FLW Series Central Division event, presented by Power-Pole, was pretty remarkable, at least until it wasn’t. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Table Rock

Top 10 Baits from Table Rock

It really didn’t matter what pros threw at Table Rock. The fish were probably going to eat it. Yet, despite a banner practice, things certainly got tougher throughout the Costa FLW Series Central Division event, which was presented by Power-Pole. Thus, pros needed to continually adapt to the conditions with their offerings.Here’s a look at the lures that helped the top 10 anglers.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

The timing of the FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga was both a curse and a blessing for the top 10 finishers. There were plenty of fish to be had – and on a multitude of patterns – but the big double-digit females Chick is known for were hard to track down. READ MORE »

ROY Update: Lake Chickamauga

ROY Update: Lake Chickamauga

We didn’t bother with an update on the Polaris FLW Tour Rookie of the Year race after the fifth stop of the FLW Tour season at Cherokee Lake. At that point, Miles Burghoff had the overall lead in the AOY standings and a 108-point lead for ROY. It looked like it was locked up. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Most people probably don’t equate Lake Chickamauga to spinning rods and finesse techniques, but both were prevalent during the FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Chick. Plenty of pros threw swimbaits, jigs and crankbaits, but the common thread among most of the top 10 is the use of a stick bait (usually wacky- or Texas-rigged) to target bedding or postspawn fish still hanging in the shallows.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Santee Cooper

Top 10 Patterns from Santee Cooper

Santee Cooper is full of 30-pound stringers. It’s also been known as a lake that will humble an angler quick. Bradford Beavers had experienced that before, having twice before weighed in 30-plus-pound stringers in tournaments on his home lake only to bomb the next day. Well, third time was the charm. After weighing in 31-02 on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by Power-Pole, he managed to back it up on day two by fishing both lakes for his first signature victory. Of course, he had to hold off some hard charges from some veteran locals to do it. Here’s how they and the other top pros managed to carve out their own patterns and stay consistent on Santee. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Santee Cooper

Top 10 Baits from Santee Cooper

There were three predominant patterns at Santee Cooper: Pitching wacky rigs to cypress trees, sight-fishing and the shad spawn. Yet, they weren’t the only patterns, as a couple locals managed to do plenty of damage with some locals-only offshore patterns at the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season finale presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Targeting spawning smallmouth bass was by far the dominant pattern when the FLW Tour visited Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee in April. With a few exceptions, the top 10 pros targeted various combinations of rock and gravel banks where the fish were bedding. Finesse baits such as shaky heads, Ned rigs and small swimbaits saw the most work. READ MORE »

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Jason Bridwell fishes in the Volunteer Division of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League, and his track record on Cherokee, a lake at which he considers himself a local, is nearly spotless, especially after a win in the FLW Tour Marshal program contest. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Cherokee Lake

AOY Update: Cherokee Lake

This year’s FLW Tour Angler of the Year race is hurtling toward one of the most dramatic finishes ever. After finishing 46th at Cherokee Lake, rookie pro Miles “Sonar” Burghoff took advantage of a stumble by Terry Bolton to move into the top spot in the standings. If Burghoff can hold on through the final two events, he’ll be the first rookie since Shinichi Fukae in 2004 to win the AOY award. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

The smallmouth bass spawn was on at Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee when the FLW Tour came to town in April. Most of the top pros caught their fish on Ned rigs and shaky heads, as well as swimbaits and jigs. READ MORE »

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake featured great fishing again and remarkable consistency from many of the leaders. Still on top, Andrew Upshaw weighed 17 pounds, 14 ounces of smallmouths to up his total to 36-4. In second, Dylan Hays dropped off the pace slightly and weighed 16-11 for a 34-8 total to lurk a bit less than 2 pounds behind Upshaw. Overall, 18 pros weighed more than 16 pounds on day two, and 28 pros have amassed totals over 30 pounds. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Kentucky Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Kentucky Lake

Power-fishing tactics with spinnerbaits, jigs, Texas rigs and ChatterBaits on prespawn cover and structure dominated the top 10 at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in April. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Kentucky Lake

Top 10 Baits from Kentucky Lake

April is transition time in the Tennessee Valley, when bass make their push from prespawn staging areas toward spawning grounds. They set up on rocky banks, shallow points and any kind of wood cover near shore in areas adjacent to spawning pockets. As we saw at the Costa FLW Series Central Division opener presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, some of the best baits for catching bass this time of year are old-school springtime classics: spinnerbaits, jigs, shallow-running crankbaits and Texas rigs. Add in vibrating jigs and wobble-head jigs, and you have about all you need. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Grand Lake has a history of being feast or famine, and it was a lot more famine this past week for the FLW Tour’s fourth stop of the 2019 season, presented by Mercury. Falling water and inconsistent weather made just catching a limit a herculean task, as nearly as many pros didn’t weigh in a fish as brought in a limit every day of the event. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

If you’re going to fish Grand Lake this time of year, you’d better be good with a spinnerbait. The FLW Tour event at Grand Lake last week sure showcased that. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Grand Lake

AOY Update: Grand Lake

Terry Bolton is now more than halfway to his first FLW Tour Angler of the Year title after another top-30 cut at Grand Lake last weekend. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s four top-30 cuts in four events, including two top 10s and his first FLW Tour win. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits From Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits From Chickamauga

Prespawn on Lake Chickamauga usually means a healthy dose of lipless crankbaits and umbrella rigs, so it wasn’t surprising that those were exactly the baits that dominated for the top 10 at the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by T-H Marine on the east Tennessee fishery. Square-bill crankbaits had their place, as did vibrating jigs and a variety of other baits. In the end, though, the common thread connecting many of the anglers in the top 10 was either a trap or a rig. READ MORE »

Stacey Has Big Plans for Marshal Winnings

Stacey Has Big Plans for Marshal Winnings

Holice Stacey has a little more spending money in his pocket after taking home the top prize in the FLW Tour Marshal program contest at Lake Seminole last week — money he plans to pump right back into his passion for fishing. READ MORE »