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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Get to Know the Potomac River

The Potomac River is a premier tournament destination with a ton of history to its name, bass-fishing and otherwise. This week’s FLW Tour presented by Costa Sunglasses looks to be hitting it at a prime time, with the river as healthy as it has been in years. Taken all together, it should be a fitting finale to the 2017 Tour season.

 

Smallwood State Park in Mattawoman Creek plays home to takeoff and weigh-in this week, and the creek itself is one of the best in the river, no doubt in part due to all the bass released there. Mattawoman is roughly in the middle of where the pros are likely to fish. For the most part, the river flows north to south out of Washington, D.C., and down into the Chesapeake Bay. Because of tides, it has more variable water movement than a standard river, and as you get closer to the Chesapeake Bay the salinity increases. In most bass tournaments on the Potomac the majority of the field fishes from up by D.C. down to about Potomac Creek.

 

Because of the tournament history on the Potomac, many of the best places are known by everyone in the field. Most of the more famous spots on the Potomac are creeks, or perhaps sections of them, that flow into the main river and offer shelter from harsh tides and provide consistent grass growth. Aquia (pictured) is one of the most southern creeks and one of the best, but basically all the major creeks will see action this week – from Potomac to Piscataway to Pohick (no, not every creek start with a P).

 

Creeks aren’t the only thing going though, there is plenty of grass on the main river for folks to tap into, especially this year. The picture above was taken on Greenway Flats during the 2016 Costa FLW Series, and it’s emblematic of one of the signature problems of the Potomac – many of the best spots are subject to crowding. Because most of the bigger grass flat are in pretty obvious areas, it’s easy for anglers to group up in productive places and go to town on grass-dwelling largemouths. Sometimes the pressure will get to even the best areas, but the community holes have factored into plenty of wins as well.

 

Big flats of grass are not the only places to catch fish on the Potomac, in addition to those types of places, there’s a little of most anything else an angler could ask for. Even during the heat of the summer, there are bass to be found far in the backs of the creeks where they neck down and can be nearly impassable on low tide. There, the water is usually at its clearest, and you can forget that the bustle of Washington D.C. and northern Virginia is just miles away.

 

Speaking of grass, the vegetation in the river this year is in great shape. Milfoil is the predominant type and the best, but there is also eelgrass, hydrilla, elodea and plenty of other types. The grass in most of the river hasn’t truly matted up yet, but it is growing very thick in some places and there are even a few areas with cheese mats that have formed. Between frogs, flipping baits and swimming baits, anglers will have plenty of options for plucking bass from the grass.

 


Docks are one of the primary forms of hard cover on the Potomac. Clark Wendlandt won in 2015 on a dock pattern, and they can certainly be consistent producers of bass. There are some big marinas on the river, but the bulk of the docks we’ll see anglers tap this week are likely to be pretty heavy-duty private docks running off the bank from houses and whatnot. Similar to docks, there are plenty of duck blinds scattered throughout the river as well.

 

In 2016, Justin Lucas won a B.A.S.S. Elite Series event off just one dock near the D.C. wastewater treatment plant. It’s a pretty famous spot and has probably gotten some extra pressure since his W, but it could certainly produce again this week.

 

Located on the opposite side of the river from Mattawoman Creek, Leesylvania State Park is the primary launch on the Virginia side of the river. In stark contrast to the grass beds, most of the hard cover in the river is a product of humans. From rip rap to docks and commercial detritus, there is a lot of it. Fishing hard cover on the Potomac can be productive, but again, it’s not quite as steady as the grass bite.

 

Mallows Bay has a pile of old barges and ships left to rot in it. They’re obvious and well-marked, but not everything on the Potomac is. Some of the biggest navigation hazards on the river are actually manmade in nature, and not just natural rock piles and the like. The Potomac has been a hub of human activity since before Europeans came to North America, and it remains so today.

 

In just a few hours of poking around on the Potomac you can tell that it’s a healthy fishery right now. You’ll see individual specimens of all kinds of bait pretty consistently in the grass with just a little looking. There is also a ton of bass fry right now, evidence of what must have been an excellent spawn. There are also some bluegill spawning, which could be an interesting pattern to watch for this week – big bass are known to like bluegill.

 

One last "fun" feature of the Potomac is a burgeoning population of northern snakeheads (the above caught in practice by Carl Jocumsen). Native to China, snakeheads were first found in Maryland in 2002, and have established a breeding population in over 60 miles of the Potomac River. They are big, aggressive fish that inhabit a similar niche as bowfin, and they love to blast a frog up shallow. Snakeheads are supposed to be killed when caught (decapitation is the recommended method), and they are very tasty.

 

One of the perks of fishing the Potomac is that it’s right next to Washington D.C., and between D.C. and northern Virginia, there are a plethora of interesting and historic sites to see from the water. Running up the river toward D.C., Mount Vernon is one of the first and most noticeable pieces of history you come in contact with. George Washington’s ancestral home is another historic building open to the public and has been turned into a pretty broad-reaching museum.

 

On the Maryland side of the river, the site of Fort Washington was first home to Fort Warburton (or, the first Fort Washington), built in the early 1800’s to defend the new capitol city. It was destroyed by the garrison in 1814 during the War of 1812, and rebuilt shortly thereafter. It’s part of the National Park Service today, and open for visitors.

 

National Harbor is a big, glitzy development on the Maryland side of the river just below D.C. It doesn’t look very conducive to fishing, but the 2012 T-H Marine BFL All-American was actually held there, and it was reportedly equal parts a pain in the neck and very cool. There are some docks and such that folks might fish, but it’s more a landmark than anything.

 

Right about where you cross from Maryland and Virginia into Washington, D.C., the 495 bridge straddles the river. There’s about a 10-minute long no-wake zone that runs north of the bridge in front of Old Town Alexandria, but pros can skirt it by running up the eastern shore of the river. They do so at their own risk though – that eastern shore has some hazardous rocks just waiting for a lower unit to munch on.

 

Up around Washington, D.C., the river begins to change quite a bit. Not only are almost all the banks developed in some way, but there are actually some smallmouths to be caught, particularly if you go up to the limits of navigable water. Unfortunately for smallmouth lovers, they aren’t going to be the deal this week, but it wouldn’t be a total shock for someone to weigh a brown fish or two in – Troy Morrow did in 2015. 

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2017-06-15-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 »

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

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FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. 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 »

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. 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

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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 »

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

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The 2019 FLW Live seasons kicks off on the big bass factory of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Watch your favorite stars such as Scott Martin and Bryan Thrift weigh-in at the FLW Tour season opener, and then follow the weekend action live with the top pros. READ MORE »

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

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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

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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

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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 »

Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

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Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. 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 »

By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags. READ MORE »

2019 Rookie Rundown

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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 »

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

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Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »

How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

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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 »