UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 2
David Barnes Sr. loads up for a cast.

After two days of competition, Ray Hanselman leads the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River, but as the leaderboard has reflected, the river’s hefty smallmouths are certainly capable of producing some fireworks and providing some surprises.

Take, for example, Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., who weighed in just one bass on day one and blasted 18 pounds, 11 ounces on day two to rocket into the 10th place spot to fish on the final day. Here’s a look at the top five anglers, and how they reached Saturday’s championship round.

Complete results 

Ray Hanselman's leading pattern

Leading co-angler patterns

 

David Barnes Sr. watches for his weight. He only weighed two the second day and fell to second.

2. David Barnes, Sr. – China, Maine – 28 pounds, 7 ounces

Barnes' day one pattern

In contrast to Fitzgerald’s path to the top 10, David Barnes, Sr., brought in a whopping 21 pounds on day one to take an early lead, but brought in just two bass Friday for 7 pounds, 7 ounces and slipped to second.

According to Barnes, just the slightest alteration in current flow can send the smallies packing for different residences.

“The current was lighter and I think that really scattered the fish out,” Barnes suggests. “Yesterday, when it was ripping, the fish were tucked down in those holes tight and easy to target. Today, I think they started roaming the flats a lot more. The two I caught and the one my co-angler caught were nowhere near the holes – they were just wandering around out there on the flats.”

 

Second place pro Brian Holder hoists 'em.

3. Brian Holder – Belmont, N.C. – 27 pounds, 10 ounces

On day one, Brian Holder caught four bass that weighed 14 pounds, 6 ounces to start the event in third place. Today, Holder again showed up with four bass – these weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces – to hold on to his position.

“If I could ever get that fifth fish, I might move up a little higher,” Holder says with a laugh.

Junk fishing any kind of current breaks with crankbaits has been Holder’s primary play so far.

“The main thing I’m looking for are current washes over pea gravel points,” Holders says. “But I only really have two places that fit that exactly, which are my best spots. The other places I’m running are just any kind of current breaks out off the bank.”

While others are camping on several key spots or rotating among them, Holder is only making one stop per place as he works his way up the river.

“I pull up, make a few casts and move one,” he says. “I want to catch the most aggressive fish that’s set up there to feed. I’m not trying to finesse them.”

 

Tyler Suddarth has improved slightly each day and is in the hunt and in fourth place.

4. Tyler Suddarth – Valdosta, Ga. – 27 pounds, 7 ounces

Video interview with Tyler Suddarth

Tyler Suddarth moved into the top five on day two with consistent catches of 13-6 and 14-1 over the last two days.

Suddarth, too, is fishing the same stretch of water as the other leaders and targeting smallmouths as well.

“I’m rotating between four different offshore current breaks,” Suddarth says. “Some are in 8 to 9 feet and one is as deep as 17 feet. They are very isolated spots in the river and it’s pretty meticulous fishing.”

Suddarth also felt that the current’s force had slackened somewhat in the second round.

“The fish didn’t seem to be as tight to the breaks as they were yesterday,” he says. “I think those fish roam around more when the current is lighter and it makes them hard to pinpoint.”

“Timing is everything on those places,” he adds. “I just keep rotating through them over and over again hoping to find a fresh smallmouth that has just pulled in to feed.”

 

Brandon Perkins has stayed steady and is sitting in fifth heading into the final day.

5. Brandon Perkins – Counce, Tenn. – 27 pounds, 5 ounces

With anglers in the top five from Texas, Maine, North Carolina and Georgia, Brandon Perkins comes as close as anyone to being considered a local. Being from Pickwick Lake, Perkins knows a thing or two about current-driven smallmouth on the Tennessee River.

Given his background, Perkins pre-practiced four days side-scanning the river for rockpiles and current breaks. In all he ended up with 15 offshore places that have come into play for his catches.

“Some of my better places are as deep as 16 or 17 feet with the fish sitting in 19 or 20,” Perkins says. “I can see some of them on my graph and it takes time to make the right presentation to make them bite. The hard part is telling the drum from bass on the electronics, but I’ve become better at distinguishing between the two, which has been a big help this week.”

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