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

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River
Charlie Machek

Water flow controlled much of the action in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener presented by Plano on the Potomac River. Tournament morning started with outgoing tides and anglers caught fish during the fall and the rise. With the full moon only a few days after the event, stronger tides pushed the water higher than normal and put more water in the backwater creeks and pad fields.

Weather factored into the week, as well. The thunderstorms forecasted for days one and two never hindered tournament hours, but day two saw windy conditions stirring up some key areas. Skies cleared for the final day of competition and anglers fished in calm, sunny conditions.

Fortunately, the combination of tidal waters and filtering grass kept several areas in play. New York pro Casey Smith found just such a spot and sacked up the winning total of 51 pounds, 6 ounces.

Smith’s winning pattern

Top 10 baits

Complete results

Charlie Machek

2. Machek overcomes losses to finish second

Plagued by lost fish, Virginia pro Charlie Machek made enough of his opportunities count to take the runner-up spot. After placing fifth on day one, Machek yielded one spot on day two before surging up to second place with a combined weight of 49-11.

“I had horrible execution; I probably left a pound or two every day, including the final day,” Machek says. “I only had three culls all week, but I caught the right ones.”

A limit of 18-1 on day three clearly boosted Machek’s performance and that was largely due to a key grass bed he had located during a previous Potomac tournament.

“I didn’t get to go to my big fish spot on day two because it was blown out, but I pulled in there on day three and in the first 10 minutes, I caught my big fish,” Machek says. “Right before it was time to come in, I culled one more.”

Machek caught his fish with a mix of Texas-rigged Yamamoto Senkos on 5/0 Gamakatsu EWG SuperLine hooks and 1/8-ounce sinkers, a Zoom UV Speed Worm with a 3/16-ounce weight and a 3/8-ounce Bait Buffet Swim Jig with a craw trailer. He pegged his Senko weights, but left the Speed Worm weight unpegged, as this allowed better action.

After losing several good fish on the swim jig during the first two days, Machek switched to the Bait Buffet model because the stouter hook helped him keep his fish buttoned up.

“When I’d hook ‘em, I’d get like 10 cranks and they’d get down in that grass and I’d lose them,” he says. “So my buddy, who makes these baits, threw a couple of them in my boat. That helped on the final day.”

Machek was adamant about the impact of his Power-Poles. Particularly during the latter half of day three, targeting well-defined spots on a nearshore grass flat played a big role in his game plan.

“You really can’t fish out here without Power-Poles,” Macheck says. “I probably caught half of my fish because of them.”

 

Ron Nelson

3. Looking at ‘em leads Nelson to third

We typically think of sight fishing as a spawn-related deal, but third-place pro Ron Nelson says he was visually picking out his targets in shallow grass beds. Doing so delivered the third-place total of 48-2.

Nelson says he found his best action during the last hour of the outgoing tide and the first hour of the incoming. Water clarity and food delivery were the two main factors.

“When the tide is drawing too fast, the area gets muddy, but there was a certain stage toward the end when it gets clear,” he said. “It’s still pulling water and pulling food out of the shallows. That’s when the fish were looking to feed.

“Once I figured out the area, I knew what clumps of weeds they’d sit on. I’d make long casts and I’d see them come and eat it.

Nelson caught his fish on wacky-rigged green pumpkin and black/blue Yamamoto Senkos. The key to his success was adjusting his presentations to the tide stage.

“When the tide was right, you could really snap it and keep it really high in the water column,” he says. “Those fish would chase it down and eat it quickly.

“When the tide was not right, you had to fish it really subtly. You didn’t snap it or work it a lot and the bites came on the bottom.”

Nelson said he could always tell if the tide stage was right by watching fish behavior.

“When the tide was right, if you’d see two or three fish together, the big one would always charge it first,” he says. “The other key was that I had to be going against the current, because if I went with the current, I was pushing the fish.”

 

Aaron Hastings

4. Hastings grinds it out for fourth

Maryland pro Aaron Hastings posted a pair of matching scores (15-2) on days one and two and added a 16-12 in between to take second place with 47-0.

Noting “determination and hard work” as the foundational elements of his success, Hastings caught his fish on a 3/8-ounce swim jig with a Zoom Swimmin’ Chunk trailer and a chartreuse/white spinnerbait with double Colorado blades. Hastings ensured his spinnerbait efficiency with a 1/0 trailer hook.

Despite the fact that kickers eluded him, Hastings said he was pleased with what he weighed. Essential to his effort, he said, was monitoring water flow and keeping himself in areas where the tide stage promoted active feeding.

“It was just a matter of staying with the tide and making good decisions,” he says. “I really fished a clean week. I didn’t lose any fish.

“I caught just about everything that bit, but I never got a big bite. I could catch steady fish all week, but I never saw a big fish all week. That’s the key to winning this event — you have to have a big one or two a day.”

 

Bryan Schmitt

5. Schmitt preps for Tour event with fifth

With the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Champlain scheduled for the week following the Potomac event, tidal Jedi Bryan Schmitt contemplated skipping the contest he’s won three times. Good for him, his wife’s nudging encouraged the Maryland stick to fish his home waters and Schmitt sacked up 45-12 for a fifth-place finish.

After catching 15-12 and 17-6 on days one and two, respectively, Schmitt struggled the final day and weighed 12-10.

“It was a lot tougher on day three; I caught one little one first thing and then I lost a really big fish and it just got in my head,” he says. “It had me spun out and running around.”

Eventually righting the mental ship, Schmitt got his head back in the game and caught most of his final-round weight in the final 20 minutes.

Schmitt says he caught most of his fish on a prototype Riot Baits Recon bladed jig with a blue steel Riot Baits Fuzzy Beaver trailer. He bit the front half off the trailer for optimal profile.

“It was just patience,” Schmitt said of his meticulous work. “It was just sitting on the fish and grinding through the tides.”

 

Gregory Wilder

6. Wilder worms his way into sixth

Focusing on main lake grass beds, Maryland pro Greg Wilder consistently delivered solid bags of 15-11, 14-15 and 14-11 for a sixth-place total of 45-5.

His game plan differed from the majority of his competitors who incorporated some type of reaction baits into their delivery. Wilder fished the entire event with unweighted worms, like the Yamamoto Senko. Green pumpkin and bright red were his top colors for these worms fished on 4/0 Gamakatsu wide gap hooks.

“It was all finesse fishing,” Wilder says. “I couldn’t get the big bite, but I put together about 15 pounds a day. I just stayed in one area and ground it out.”

 

Chris Baumgardner

7. Reaction baits rule for Baumgardner

Placing 15th on day one with 15-10, Chris Baumgardner earned his final-round spot by improving to eighth for day two with 15-13. Rising a notch on day three with 13-9 gave him an even 45 pounds for seventh place.

Baumgardner said he was able to get bit early and late on periods of moving water. Although he generally junk fished, two tactics rose to prominence.

“I caught them several different ways, but the majority of my fish came on a Zoom Horny Toad and a ChatterBait,” Baumgardner says. “I was catching them good on the high tide in the morning and then I caught them good on the incoming tide.”

 

Joe Wood

8. Wood winds up eighth

Massachusetts pro Joe Wood made a big move on day two by improving on his 20th-place day-one finish and reaching the final round in seventh place. He’d end up yielding one spot with a tournament total of 43-8.

Wood did most of his work with a 1/4-ounce black/blue Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Swim Jig with a green pumpkin Reaction Innovations Little Dipper. He backed that up with an unweighted green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko.

“I found a couple of areas that were stockpiled with fish and there were times I caught them on every cast,” Wood says. “I was just fishing milfoil beds.

“I had a particular pattern I was working in a couple different places. On the low outgoing tide, the fish were in there, but on day three, that bite disappeared.”

 

Jeff Coble

9. Popper anchors Coble’s effort

Early momentum positioned Jeff Coble to finish ninth with 43-7. The North Carolina pro grabbed the number-two spot on day one after catching a limit of 17-14 with an atypical tactic — a Rio Rico popper.

Picking grass off nearly every cast made for tedious work, but Coble found the fish more receptive to this bait than the dozens of frogs they were seeing. Day two saw that bite waning, so he worked in a 1/4-ounce Dave’s Tournament Tackle swim jig with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Speed Craw trailer.

In the final round, he knew the weekend recreational pressure would likely nullify the popper bite, so he stuck with the swim jig.

“I don’t like grass fishing because you never know which blade of grass will have a bass behind it,” Coble joked.

 

Bill Chapman

10. Chapman’s pattern dwindles

Day-one leader Bill Chapman got off to a strong start with 17-15 by pushing far back into Mattawoman Creek and targeting clumps of pads on low tide. The combination of super-high water and increasing boat traffic in his area caused that deal to dwindle on day two, as the West Virginia pro dropped to fourth place with a limit of 14-2.

By day three, Chapman found himself scrambling to find four keepers that weighed 5-7 and gave him a three-day total of 37-8.

Chapman caught fish on a squarebill and a buzzbait, but his most productive option was flipping a Missile Baits D Bomb in the bruiser flash color. He Texas-rigged the bait with a 6/0 hook and a 3/8-ounce weight.

“The bites would come as soon as the bait went in,” Chapman said. “You’d just drop it in there and they’d pick it up.”

Tags: potomac-river  summer  david-a-brown  post-tournament  2016-06-16-potomac-river 

Occoquan’s Pirowski Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Potomac River

Occoquan’s Pirowski Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Potomac River

MARBURY, Md. – Boater Alex Pirowski of Occoquan, Virginia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. For his victory, Pirowski earned a total of $5,337... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

When you put one of the largest and most talented fields of bass anglers on one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, big things are bound to happen. The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga became a battle between shallow and deep, with pros on either side catching big stringers of giant bass. Here's how they did it. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

When so many anglers are throwing similar baits and running similar patterns, doing something a little different can be quite the advantage. Sure enough, the pros who made the top 10 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga all had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Josh Stracner won the 2020 Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Eufaula by fishing offshore. He targeted deep ledges in the mid-lake area for two days before switching to brush piles in 12 to 15 feet on the final day when a front moved through and replaced still, sunny conditions with wind and overcast skies. The rest of the top 10, with one exception, also fished offshore in what turned out to be a pretty typical June ledge-fishing tournament.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

June on Eufaula is ledge season. Well, mostly. Nine of the top 10 in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event at Eufaula fished offshore, but targets included ledges, brush piles, standing timber and some “in-between” offshore structure where bass stopped in transition from the bank to out deep. One pro even fished exclusively shallow. Here are the baits they used to make the cut. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Pickwick Lake greeted Toyota Series anglers with high, stained water and stronger than normal current last week. While the last week of May usually means fishing to depths of 25 feet on Pickwick, some anglers felt Pickwick’s bass were a little behind in their summer migration to the deep ledges. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

From shallow bars to deep ledges, the offshore bite on Pickwick was the deal for the majority of the field in second stop of the Toyota Series Central Division. Because the offshore bite reigned supreme, it’s no surprise that the lures thrown by the top 10 pros were standard issue for the Tennessee River this time of year. READ MORE »

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Matt Becker recently shared a great video that details the three patterns he used to earn a fourth-place finish at the season’s third stop on Lake Martin. Becker, who’s currently second in the Angler of the Year race, caught both largemouth and spotted bass and capitalized on a variety of tactics for a top finish. His patterns included targeting staging and spawning spotted bass on shoals, skipping docks and sight-fishing for spawning largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Spotted bass dominated the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on Lake Martin, but they didn’t win it. Sure, the sheer abundance of spotted bass in Martin left most pros’ thumbs bloody and raw from catching so many fish. Yet, it was the key largemouth that really separated the field, and what helped Jason Abram earn his first victory. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Though the total weights didn’t live up to some expectations, the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee was still a lot of fun. The weather was great, there were plenty of fish caught the first two days, and there was a truly dramatic race for the win on the final day. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Because of high water and cooler conditions, bass on Lake Hartwell haven’t quite gotten fully into the mood to spawn. During the Toyota Series Eastern Division opener on Lake Hartwell, there were plenty of shallow fish to be had, but catching them wasn’t as simple as finding one pattern or one primary bait. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Early March on Lake Hartwell can be feast or famine. The bite often depends on weather patterns, as both largemouth and spotted bass are staging before the spawn. MLF Bass Pro Tour pro Marty Robinson pulled off a wire-to-wire win, but the victory wasn’t easy. The final field of 10 contained a lot of local knowledge and experienced anglers who were ready to knock Robinson off should he falter. Here’s a look at how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their paychecks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

In February, with water temperatures in the high 40s, no one expected a fast and furious bite during the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. What everyone hoped for was quality fish. There were two 10-pound-plus bass brought to the weigh-in stand, but it appeared consistency was the name of the game, at least for the winner, Jim Neece Jr. of Bristol, Tenn.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

In past FLW events on the chain, the grass was best in Griffin and Harris, but this time Dora, Beauclair, Eustis and Harris provided most of the top bags. Targeting hydrilla, eelgrass and hard spots, prespawn and postspawn fish were the focus for the vast majority of the top schools. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

It was February, so low temperatures were the norm for the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. Water temperatures were in the high 40s, which meant the bass were generally not overly aggressive or active. Not all, but most fish were taken in shallow water where the bass were moving up to feed and/or take advantage of warmer, shallower water. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Between cold fronts and pressure, the Harris Chain has been a tough nut to crack, yet the top teams in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance got it done with a combination of plastic and hard baits. Certainly, the teams learned a thing or two from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event held the week prior on the chain, but you still can never go wrong with a Texas-rigged worm, vibrating jig or lipless crankbait in Florida. READ MORE »

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Warren “Butch” Kritsberg has only lived in Florida for a few years, and he’s still learning a lot about fishing the Harris Chain of Lakes. Fortunately, he now has a lot of new intel about where and how to catch giants after riding along with Laramy Strickland on the second tournament day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event, which was presented by Bad Boy Mowers. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Each day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes was markedly different from the day prior. Most of the field struggled a bit, and the final 30 anglers were left scrambling to figure out how to find and catch fish in the post-frontal conditions that are often so detrimental for Florida largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

At Florida’s Harris Chain, in late winter, it’s a good bet the same handful of baits are going to produce more than any others, from Lake Harris down to Apopka. During the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on the Harris Chain, presented by Bad Boy Mowers, it was Texas rigs with black and blue plastics, jerkbaits, Carolina rigs and a few other moving baits that most often got the call.  READ MORE »