UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Good Grass Awaits on the Potomac

Tides, grass and perhaps the best fishing the Potomac River has offered in years are all set to greet 144 boaters and co-anglers on the first day of competition in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division. The Potomac River event is presented by Plano and hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners and is being held right about a week earlier than last year’s Potomac River stop of the Walmart FLW Tour. With any luck, the fishing should be even better than the pros saw last June.

 

About the fishery

The Potomac River is the best known of the Mid-Atlantic tidal fisheries and flows right through Washington D.C. and past many historic and military landmarks, especially on the Virginia side of the river. Though there are smallmouths in the river, largemouths are the focus of tournament anglers almost all the time. Last year, Clark Wendlandt won the FLW Tour event by fishing docks with a vibrating jig and a jig, but that’s not usually the case on the river. Though “hard cover” such as rocks, duck blinds and docks can play a role, the real attraction for fishermen and bass is the grass. From spatterdock and pads to hydrilla and eelgrass, there’s a bit of everything in the Potomac, but the main player is usually milfoil, which can grow in thick beds beneath the surface as well as topped out in the shallows or when the tide is low.

Though things change from year to year, it sounds like the Potomac is ready to show out.

“It’s fishing really well right now. Compared to the last few years, it’s really had a bounce back,” says Ryan Ingalls, a local competitor. “I think that can be directly attributed to not having a flood in the spring. We’ve had that the last few years, and that’s really torn up a lot of the grass. There’s more grass in the river now than there’s been in three, four or five years probably.”

The increase in grass is likely good overall, but it’s still a lot to pick through. The bass aren’t everywhere, and there is plenty of good-looking water on both the main river and in the large creeks and bays.

The tide also offers an additional challenge. Though the techniques used on the Potomac aren’t much different from any other grassy Northern lake, learning to understand how the bass, the tides and the habitat all interact is a whole different ballgame. Some, like local favorite Bryan Schmitt, have perfected it. Others will elect to run a few spots or camp in a productive area to see all the varying levels. This week, low tide is going to be around lunchtime, so most anglers will get to fish both a falling and rising tide throughout the day.

 

Current conditions

Today has dawned warm, humid and very cloudy. If the weather report holds true, day one should be pretty good, with warm air, some rain and a moderate wind out of the northeast. Friday is projected to be a whole different ballgame, with lots of rain and strong northeast winds. Saturday should be cooler, post-frontal with a moderate northeast breeze, and sunny and dry.

 

Ryan Smith

Tactics in play

Almost all the bass in the river are postspawn now, and while some anglers will target fry-guarders, most are planning on focusing on fish that are putting on the summer feedbag. The Potomac has always been a good place to throw a topwater, and poppers and frogs should play a role. There will also be plenty of ChatterBaits, swim jigs, flipping baits and Senkos tied on. We could see some square-bill crankbaits come into play, but that’s only likely around hard cover such as riprap and docks.

 

Critical Factors

- The water color: Most of the river has very good water color at the moment, but strong winds or rain could muddy up certain areas a lot. Staying in fairly clean water is likely to be important.

- Crowding: Anglers have a tendency to concentrate into productive areas on the Potomac, and this event is likely to be par for the course to an extent. The pro who has free reign in an area or a slightly different approach might be well off.

- The tide: Everyone knows the tide is a factor, but not everyone will play it correctly. Sheer luck and a good tide on the right bit of cover can also make a pro look like a genius in a hurry. If someone can take advantage of the tide instead of fighting it, he could be on the fast track to success.

 

Dock Talk

As usual, the projections are pretty well split between anglers, and not everyone is going to light it up. That said, locals such as Ingalls and FLW Tour pro Michael Hall have seen enough to say that the fishing should be quite good.

“I know it’s fishing good, and I expect it’s going to take more weight than it would have last year,” says Hall. “I would predict that for three days it will take about 55 pounds to win, and I believe a lot of fish will get weighed in. On my last guide trip, I took out a 60-year-old mother and her 40-year-old daughter, and they caught a 5-pounder, a 4-pounder and several 3-pounders. I really would have liked to have been in a tournament that day.”

“The river is really clean even though it had a blowout tide all weekend,” adds Ingalls. “Everything looks good, and it’s been taking over 20 pounds to win pretty much every tournament this year, so I would expect it to continue to be big. It’s gonna be fun.”

 

Tournament Details

Format: All 144 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 6:30 a.m. ET

Takeoff Location: Smallwood State Park, 2750 Sweden Point Road, Marbury, Md., 20658

Weigh-In Time: Days 1 & 2 & 3 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Weigh-In Location: Smallwood State Park, 2750 Sweden Point Road, Marbury, Md., 20658

Complete details

Tags: jody-white  morning-story  2016-06-16-potomac-river 

AOY Update: Lake Toho

AOY Update: Lake Toho

 With the first two events of the 2019 FLW Tour season in the books, it’s time to take a look at how the Angler of the Year race is shaping up. At Sam Rayburn and Lake Toho the pros were tested with very different conditions, and the standings include anglers different specialties and skill sets than at this time last year, when the Tour’s first two events were both held in Florida. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Toho

Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

A Look at Lake Toho

A Look at Lake Toho

Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. READ MORE »

A Different Okeechobee

A Different Okeechobee

Cold fronts, dirty water and lower water levels make for an interesting start to the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Toho Preview

2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Fishing deep-diving crankbait, dragging Carolina rigs and working finesse baits such as drop-shots were the keys to success at the FLW Tour opener at Sam Rayburn. Here are the bass-fishing baits that the top pros used. READ MORE »

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »

Practice Starts at Rayburn

Practice Starts at Rayburn

Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Amistad is one of south Texas’ most famous reservoirs – the other being Falcon. Though it’s not the juggernaut that it was in the not too distant past, Amistad is still an incredible tournament fishery, with room to spread out and plenty of grass and rocky structure to target for big giant wintertime bass. READ MORE »

2019 Rookie Rundown

2019 Rookie Rundown

No matter how you get to the FLW Tour, you’re only a rookie once. This year, 34 pros are taking their talents on Tour for the first time. READ MORE »

How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

Some of the best fishing of the year in the South occurs on the reservoirs with spotted bass in Georgia and the Carolinas. As a guide on Lake Lanier, FLW Tour pro Rob Jordan is adept at staying on the spots all winter. He knows when to fish deep or go shallow, and how to apply a jigging spoon, jig, underspin and crankbait to take full advantage of the opportunities. READ MORE »

Rookie Profile: Ron Nelson  

Rookie Profile: Ron Nelson  

While plenty of the Tour’s new pros have impressive resumes, few boast records as well-rounded and superlative as Ron Nelson’s. After years of success at the Costa FLW Series level, it’s finally time to see what the Michigan angler can do against the best in the nation.   READ MORE »

How to Fish Umbrella Rigs for Bass

How to Fish Umbrella Rigs for Bass

Castable umbrella rigs, also called Alabama rigs or A-rigs, were first deployed in tournament bass fishing by Paul Elias in the 2011 FLW Tour Open on Lake Guntersville. Since then, they’ve garnered a lot of controversy and caught a lot of bass. READ MORE »

Sinking a Staysee for Winter Bass

Sinking a Staysee for Winter Bass

Fishing late and early in the season is often challenging. Because the water is cold, it can take a lot more patience to find fish or to coax them into biting. If you truly want to put your patience to the test, you might consider fishing a jerkbait ultra-slow. If you want to try for superhuman patience, you might want to fish a jerkbait like Cody Murray. READ MORE »

Hallman’s 5 Go-To Baits for New Lakes

Hallman’s 5 Go-To Baits for New Lakes

Deciding how best to figure things out on a new lake is one of the toughest challenges Tour pros and regular anglers alike encounter. Sometimes familiarity with the style of lake makes it easy, but other times you eventually need to stretch well outside of your comfort zone. Bradley Hallman has had success all over the country, and he’s got a stable of baits that he likes to rely on early in the process of breaking down a new lake. Your starting baits might be a little different, but Hallman’s approach to new water is worth considering. READ MORE »

Review: Graph Glass

Review: Graph Glass

Graph Glass is a tempered screen protector that you can self-install on the most popular models of fishing electronics. For about $45 to $60 per unit, it protects the screen from flying tungsten or other projectiles, and there are other benefits as well. As far as I can tell, it’s a real winner of a product. READ MORE »