UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Lake Erie

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Get to Know the Potomac River

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 

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Late summer on the Potomac is often tough fishing, so the contenders in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event had to pull out all the stops. Fishing everything from grass to docks and rocks, the anglers mixed up all sorts of power and finesse presentations to get the job done in the second stop of the season presented by Lowrance. READ MORE »

Short Tops co-anglers

Short Tops co-anglers

Weighing a limit on day one and two bags of just four fish each over the next two days was enough to earn Jim Short the co-angler title in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River. Weighing 9 pounds, 15 ounces on the final day for a total of 29-9, Short took home a new Ranger Z175 and $5,350 in cash. READ MORE »

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

The final weigh-in of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac was one of the most intense of the season. In the end, with just enough to hold on, Marvin Reese weighed four for 8 pounds, 5 ounces to earn the win with a 38-15 total. For his win, which was his first on the boater side, Reese earned $38,026. Finishing second, Troy Morrow rocked up from tenth with 14-7, which was the biggest bag of the day. READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 3

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac has offered chamber of commerce weather and some up and down fishing. The event, which is presented by Lowrance, has featured pretty tough fishing overall, and it seems like some of the top 10 may fall victim to it today. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Through two days of competition on the Potomac in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event the weights haven’t been nearly what the river is capable of kicking out. That said, all the top pros have managed to put at least one good day together, and some have maintained really strong consistency, just at a lesser pace than would be the norm in June or some other time of the year. READ MORE »

Better Day Keeps Reese Out Front

Better Day Keeps Reese Out Front

A lovely morning gave way to a dismal afternoon on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River, but despite the difference in conditions, Marvin Reese kept on plugging. Weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces on day one, Reese added 15-14 on day two for a 30-10 total. With his day two bag, Reese has now weighed the two biggest bags of the event, which is presented by Lowrance, and he’s widened his lead over Justin Atkins to nearly 4 pounds. READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac has been quite a swing from day one. However, despite dramatically different weather, some of the top pros are still catching, and it looks like a tight race is setting up for the final day. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

As is so often the case, the first day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River wasn’t quite as bad as some predicted in practice. Though it was hot and humid as all get out, plenty of limits hit the scale and enough pros weighed 12 pounds or better to make things really interesting READ MORE »

Reese Leads on the Potomac

Reese Leads on the Potomac

Day one of the Potomac River event, which is the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, featured plenty of limits, but getting quality bites was definitely an issue for some. In the lead after day one, Marvin Reese of Randallstown, Md., weighed 14 pounds, 12 ounces to get things underway. Behind Reese, Justin Atkins and Jason Kervin both weighed 14-5, and Robert Grike rounded out the 14-pound brigade with 14-4. Overall, just 11 pros cracked the 12-pound mark on day one of the tournament, which is presented by Lowrance, but 8- and 9-pound limits weren’t too hard to come by.  READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

As predicted, day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac River has been fairly tough. Though most folks have a fish or two, and many will undoubtedly fill limits by weigh-in, it certainly hasn’t been a catch-fest. READ MORE »

Underway on the Potomac

Underway on the Potomac

For the tournament, the wind isn’t forecast to be too strong any day, and the tides will be fairly standard, but not ideal from a timing standpoint. Today, low tide was at 6:15 a.m., and low tide on Saturday will be at 8:15. That means that pros will mostly be fishing a rising tide through the tournament, with the best windows likely coming early on Friday and Saturday. READ MORE »

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Moving south from Lake Champlain, the second stop of the 2019 Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits is on the Potomac River. The tournament, which is presented by Lowrance and runs Aug. 22-24, should offer a fairly standard set of August conditions for the anglers, with plenty of quality largemouths to go around. READ MORE »

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Many times, hitting as many brush piles as possible is the key to success, with Bryan Thrift’s 2015 FLW Tour win on Lake Eufaula serving as a prime example of that strategy. However, with the fishing pretty tough on Lake Hamilton, both Wade Strelic and Joel Willert turned to more methodical approaches to generate bites. READ MORE »

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Capt. Blake Smith was presented with the 2019 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award by the award’s namesake, Forrest Wood, at the 2019 FLW Cup pre-tournament banquet in Hot Springs, Ark. Smith, of Lakeland, Fla., has fished the FLW Tour since 2015. READ MORE »

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Casey Scanlon won the FLW Tour season finale at Lake Champlain, which he almost had to do to make the FLW Cup. Now that he’s here at Lake Hamilton, he’s got a shot at $300,000 and a possible edge over the competition due to his momentum and extensive Ozark experience. READ MORE »

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Two terrible tournaments to end the season cost Miles Burghoff his shot at the Polaris Rookie of the Year title. This week at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, he's hoping to apply the lessons learned at the end of the season to his preparation for the championship event. READ MORE »

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

In seemingly any tournament that Bryan Thrift shows up to he is without a doubt one of the favorites to win. With two FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles, six Tour wins and five Costa FLW Series wins – including his most recent on Lake Champlain just a few weeks ago – it’s easy to understand why. READ MORE »

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

In a Ranger Z520L with a 250-hp Evinrude G2, it takes about 15 minutes to run from Carpenter Dam, which impounds Lake Hamilton, to the Blakely Mountain Dam that separates Hamilton from Lake Ouachita. If you stop and chat with 11 pros along the way, however, you’ll need most of the morning, but you’ll also wind up with a pretty sound idea of what’s going on at Hamilton for this week’s FLW Cup. READ MORE »

The First Morning with B. Lat

The First Morning with B. Lat

You won’t hear Brian Latimer complain about hot weather and tough fishing in Arkansas during this week’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton. For B. Lat, sweating it out on the water is vastly better than working in the heat installing landscaping and mowing lawns for a living, which is what he was doing just a few years ago. A lot’s changed since those days. Now, Latimer is an FLW Tour champion, with a growing fishing media company and his first shot at a Cup title. READ MORE »

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

The FLW Cup goes down August 9-11 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. As the crowning event of the FLW Tour season, there’s naturally a lot that goes with it, from takeoffs, the FLW Expo, a Trace Adkins concert and of course the weigh-ins at the Bank OZK Arena. Below you’ll find everything you’ll need to follow or attend the Cup, from the times to each event and seminar to each giveaway going on. Keep in mind, everything is free to attend and all times are Central. READ MORE »