UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

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Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges.

The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves.

Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale.

 

2. Morgan Ran the Tide for the Best Grass, Docks

In the category of “junk fishermen,” there might be none better than Andy Morgan. True to form, Morgan junk-fished most of the event, switching back and forth between grass and docks.

“I’d just start on the tide and go from there every day,” Morgan says.

While he hit a number of areas, his main spot through the first three days was a small pocket with little patches of grass as opposed to the massive flats for which the river is known. On day three, most of the top 20 pros struggled due to constant rain and wind, but Morgan might have had an opportunity to make a run at winning the tournament. His 15-pound, 11-ounce bag was still the largest of the day, but he says he lost a couple of good ones that would have pushed his bag into the upper teens.

With his main area ruined by the after effects of that same bad weather, Morgan switched gears on day four and relied heavily on docks.

For both he used a combination of a swim jig, vibrating jig and a Zoom Z-Craw. He totaled 55 pounds, 12 ounces over four days.

 

3. Avena Targeted Ditches

When the tournament started, Adrian Avena figured he had four areas he could cycle through depending on the tides. Those four worked perfectly on day one when he caught 16 pounds, 12 ounces to take the lead. By day two, though, three of those four areas were blown out, forcing him to scramble. Avena even took a big risk that didn’t pay off on day three with a long run south.

“In all of my areas, I wasn’t really targeting grass or wood, but ditches,” Avena says. “At lower tide, the fish had no place to go but those ditches. On days one and two it worked well. Days three and four the tide never fell.”

Avena kept a dozen rods on his deck throughout the tournament with a vast assortment of lures. His main contributors were a Reaction Innovations Pocket Rocket worm, Zorro Baits Booza Bug jig, vibrating jig, buzzbait and frog.

His four-day total was 54 pounds, 1 ounce.

 

4. Robertson Made Good on His Big Bites

Darrel Robertson will tell you that he wasn’t doing much different from anybody else. It’s just that when he got a good bite he usually made it count.

Robertson relied primarily on a grass flat in Quantico Creek, plying it with a weightless Yamamoto Senko. On day one he caught five from the area and left, but never really caught much more. So he devoted himself there on day two and cracked 15 pounds, 12 ounces. Day three is where things turned. Robertson caught some fish right away, but he lamented setting the hook too quickly on a giant bass he would eventually lose.

“That one hurt my feelings,” says Robertson, who weighed in 52 pounds, 13 ounces in four days. “I know it was at least a 4-pounder, but it might have been a 6.”

Shortly after, the weather trashed his area, and he was forced to scramble the rest of the tournament. Robertson also mixed in a shallow crankbait.

 

5. Homemade Jig Helped Voyles

When everyone is throwing the same lure, throwing one a little different can make a difference. It certainly did for John Voyles on day one.

“I was using a homemade vibrating jig,” Voyles says. “It has more thump than a ChatterBait, and the fish were inhaling it in practice.”

The homemade jig was a black-and-blue color fitted with a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper, and he was burning it for a reaction bite. Unfortunately, the weather hurt his area in Piscataway Creek, and Voyles had to switch gears and slow down with a 1/2-ounce Secret Lures MVP Swim Jig and a Yamamoto Senko.

Voyles’ tournament total was 52 pounds, 10 ounces.

 

6. Martin Used Two Areas to Lock up AOY

Scott Martin has won before at the Potomac River, but his main focus throughout the first three days this time was winning Angler of the Year. He ended up doing just that, while also making a serious run at another Potomac title with a four-day total of 52 pounds, 9 ounces.

Martin spent the majority of his week in Mattawoman Creek and a smaller creek toward the north end of the river. The goal was to catch a limit from Mattawoman before moving to his second spot to try and upgrade, which is something he managed to do repeatedly throughout the week.

As for his pattern, Martin used a mixture of flipping and moving baits. His flipping lure was a Tightlines UV Hog in junebug on a Lazer Trokar TK130 flipping hook. He also threw a 3/8-ounce vibrating jig with a Bruiser Baits Crazy Craw trailer, a 3/8-ounce M-Pack Lures swim jig and some topwater baits.

 

7. Haynes Utilized Florida Techniques

The joke during the tournament was that Randy Haynes must have managed to find an offshore ledge on the Potomac River. In truth, what the ledge-fishing expert found was a fishery similar to one of his newer favorites, Lake Okeechobee.

“It’s a lot like Okeechobee with all the grass,” Haynes says of the Potomac. “And I like it down there.”

In typical Florida fashion, Haynes did a lot of flipping with a Profound Outdoors KJ Craw in green pumpkin and grapevine. Like most everyone else, he also threw a Yamamoto Senko, but with a twist – he added a Profound Outdoors MJ Rig to it, which is a screw-in willow-leaf blade that adds extra flash.

Haynes weighed in 51 pounds, 14 ounces over four days.

 

8. Schmitt Never Able to Fish Best Spot

Bryan Schmitt knows more about the Potomac River than almost anybody, but even he doesn’t know why the fish in his primary area were there.

“It has some of the ugliest water and ugliest grass, but the fish are just fat,” says the Deale, Md., pro. “My only thinking is there is a lot of bait in there.”

“There” was a tiny main-river area near Little Huntington Creek on the north end of the river.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature never let Schmitt really be able to access what he figured were the winning fish. Higher-than-normal tides and muddy water pretty much ruined the spot, which he says was best at low tide. Schmitt ran a number of other areas, but he eventually decided to grind it out there. Things were made worse on day four when a local angler also decided to camp on that spot.

His main lures were “typical” Potomac River staples: a Z-Man ChatterBait, Yamamoto Senkos, a 6th Sense Lures swimbait and a Zoom Speed Craw. Schmitt’s four-day total was 51 pounds, 12 ounces.

 

9. Nixon Milked a Tiny Stretch

It was never hard to find Larry Nixon during the event. Almost as quickly as he took off every morning in Mattawoman Creek he would be coming off plane on a small stretch of grass a few hundred yards away. Once there, he’d put his Power-Poles down and dissect the area with a weightless Yamamoto Senko.

“I’ve probably used more than 40 Senkos during this tournament,” Nixon said at one point. On day two he even joked that he might run out, what with how frequently the fish were eating the stick bait.

Throughout the four days Nixon rarely moved from that stretch, which was roughly 50 to 75 yards long. His best tide was the low tide in the morning.

The spot ended up producing a four-day total of 51 pounds, 5 ounces.

 

10. Moynagh Relied on Jig’s Versatility

Jim Moynagh says he did just about the same thing every day this week. The only difference weight wise was that he had two big bites that anchored a 15-pound bag on day two.

The Carver, Minn., pro was more than at home in the Potomac’s vast grass flats, running six different areas in the mid-river section based on the tides.

His main weapon of choice was an All-Terrain Tackle Swim Jig with a grub trailer that allowed him to swim it over the grass and flip it when the bite slowed down. He also incorporated a swimbait and a topwater throughout the week, with the topwater playing a key role in his bigger bites and early on day four.

Moynagh ended up weighing in 49 pounds, 2 ounces.

 

Complete Results

Tags: flw-tour  potomac-river  sean-ostruszka  headline-story  2015-06-25-potomac-river 

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