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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Mississippi River Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Mississippi River Top 5 Patterns Day 2
Matt Stefan

Fishing conditions continued to roll downhill on day two of the FLW Tour presented by Evinrude on the Mississippi River. Not only did more cold, muddy water pour through pools 7, 8 and 9 and drop the water temperature 5 to 10 degrees, but cold, cloudy weather kept anything from warming up – at all.

The overall effect, say FLW Tour pros, is that the large wave of fish moving up to spawn came to a screeching halt. Many pros believe the fish that started spawning during the practice period warm-up are still on beds, but new ones coming in to replenish them are in no hurry to do so.

At the top of the leaderboard two river wizards are separated by just 4 ounces. Andy Morgan – who honed his river skills on the Tennessee River – leads, but just behind him is Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., who honed his river experience on the Potomac.

Here’s a closer look inside the top five.

Morgan's leading pattern

Complete results 

 

Bryan Schmitt

2. Bryan Schmitt – Deale, Md. – 31-0

Bryan Schmitt toted 16 pounds, 4 ounces to the scales Friday to rocket from 17th to second with a total of 31 pounds.

Tournament leader Andy Morgan may have found comfortable water on the Mississippi, but Schmitt has also found a piece of home in the currents of the Big River as well.

“I’m mostly fishing grass and it seems like these fish are starting to set up in the grass exactly the same way they set up in it on the Potomac,” Schmitt says. “I mean, it’s almost identical.”

In practice, Schmitt found plenty of fish spawning up shallow. But what he’s discovered now excites him even more as he’s tapped into slightly deeper staging grass where he thinks prespawner bass are holding up and waiting for the next warm-up.

“Some of the ones I caught today were real fat and fresh looking,” he says. “I mean, chunks. The way the grass looks and the way they’re set up in that grass, and the lures I’m using to catch them – I literally feel like I’m on the Potomac with this bite I have going.”

 

Matt Stefan

3. Matt Stefan – Junction City, Wis. – 30-14

Stefan's day one pattern

After leading on day one, Matt Stefan slipped a couple of places to third with a 12-pound, 14-ounce catch Friday.

Stefan is playing a smallmouth bedding game along some of the main currents of the river in pools 8 and 9. Friday morning he got blocked out of the lock on the way down to 9 and lost some fishing time.

“We lost an hour or so this morning, so when I got in 9, I just decided to catch some keepers I had marked from practice to make the cut and then come back up,” he says. “The fish that were there during practice are still locked. But the thing that concerns me now is I don’t think any new ones are showing up. If I catch a fish from a bed, a lot of times I can return to that same bed the next day and catch a new one that has moved in to use that same bed. But I’ve fished enough old beds now to know that’s not happening. So I’m having to rely on the ones I found several days ago.”

 

Jeff Sprague

4. Jeff Sprague – Point, Texas – 30-11

Jeff Sprague weighed in all largemouths Friday to move into fourth place with a total of 30 pounds, 11 ounces. He, too, is spending some time in pool 9.

“I weighed in all largemouths, but I caught plenty of smallmouths, too,” he says. “Where I’m fishing there is a mix of both species. I probably went through three limits of fish today. I’m pretty sure most of them are spawning – they’ve got bloody tails and all that.”

Sprague says there has been a drop in water temperature in his area, but it doesn’t seem to have affected the fish that are already committed to beds.

“There are just so many fish in here and I don’t think this kind of weather affects these fish as much as it might in other parts of the country,” he adds. “They’re used to this stuff.”

 

Austin Felix

5. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 30-11

Austin Felix has cracked 15 pounds both Thursday and Friday to round out the top five at halftime.

Felix weighed in all brown fish Friday from Pool 9.

“I’m just taking what the river gives me based on water level,” he says. “If it comes up some more, I’ve got some largemouths I will go to. If it keeps dropping, I’ll go with smallmouths.

“Today I targeted the brown fish along a bank where I know they spawn – off-current, but close to current kinds of places. It’s not like I had any beds marked there, it’s just the right kind of banks those smallies like to spawn on.”

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2017-05-18-mississippi-river-pools-7-8-9- 

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