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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Potomac Practice with Buck

Like a lot of young pros nowadays, Grae Buck of Harleysville, Pa., started in the YETI FLW College Fishing ranks with Penn State and has since worked his way up to what is now his rookie season on the FLW Tour. It has been a tough adjustment for the 27-year-old pro transitioning from T-H Marine Bass Fishing League and College Fishing events to the big show, but now Buck has a shot to end the season strong on a body of water he has plenty of history on.

So, Buck was kind enough to let me jump in the boat and roll around the Potomac with him as he prepares for the final Tour stop of the season presented by Costa Sunglasses.

 

Buck wanted an early start, so we meet at the ramp at roughly 5:30 a.m. at Smallwood State Park. When I arrive, Buck was already launching the boat – which he makes quick work of despite the one-man show he is.

After he gets his rig parked we hop in and idle our way out from the ramp. As we takeoff, Buck starts a new trail on his Lowrance to help him decipher what water he hasn’t already covered and what he will fish today. He also pulls up the tide chart on his graph mounted next to the console to get a feel for where the tide is at this morning.

 

We make a short run across the river from Mattawoman Creek where Buck begins fishing a grass line. He cycles through a few baits, but promptly decides to pick up a wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senko and almost instantly hooks up. It’s no giant, but it is a sign of life nevertheless.  

He drops the Senko and grabs a vibrating jig as he continues along the grass edge.

 

The vibrating jig doesn’t last long as Buck goes right back to the wacky-rigged Senko. Again, he hooks up almost as soon as the bait hits the water and it’s another future stud.

“I fished this stretch a few weeks ago before the river went off limits,” says Buck. “They were spawning pretty heavily then. I figured they’d still live here and I guess they kind of do, but they got a lot smaller.”

Buck already has a handful of rods on the deck and opts to add another one to it after seeing what the Senko has produced.

 

As Buck slowly works his way through the grass he grabs a frog to cover a little more water as the grass is now just thick enough to make it annoying to fish a swim jig or vibrating jig. He’s rewarded with a decent blowup on the frog and as he skis the fish along the surface realizes it isn’t quite the size he was hoping for.

It’s time to change areas, but before we leave he busts out another rod to add to the collection.

 

We make a move closer to the Belmont Bay area, which features a popular grass flat on the Potomac. Buck spends some time checking the grass in certain spots as well as a few old waypoints as we make some short moves on the big motor followed by brief periods of fishing.

Though it is only a little after 7 a.m., the sun is already beating down. It’s going to be hot. Buck has plenty of beverages on board and makes sure to keep a constant pace of drinking them in order to stay hydrated.

 

While the bite has slowed a bit, I notice that Buck is very detailed in his waypoints. From his choice of icons to naming them, he is definitely one of the more detail-oriented anglers I have seen.

“I’m probably too detailed,” Buck says about his waypoints. “It does really help me tell what the structure is I marked or even what I caught fish on from that area. Before practice started, I turned all of my old Potomac waypoints pink just so I could tell what was history and what was current.”

 

The tide is climbing near peak right now, so Buck makes a run to a string of docks. He grabs a drop-shot and starts flipping around the pilings and gets bit not long after doing so. Again, it isn’t big, but it sure must feel nice after a bit of a drought in the fishing.

Buck checks his line, reties and is back fishing in no time. While moving baits get a lot of attention on the Potomac, a drop-shot may also be a key player this week for some.

 

As he works down through the next couple of docks he hooks up again. This is a little more of what Buck was hoping to find. It’s a decent keeper and would be better is it wasn’t postspawn as Buck points out.

Buck, like most anglers, prefers fishing at low tide when the fish get congregated in certain areas, but is happy he can get some bites during high tide.

 

We run out of docks and Buck decides it is time to move elsewhere. Before taking off he notices a vibration in the motor and pauses to check the prop. Earlier in the day we clipped bottom while getting on plane and apparently hit it a little harder than we thought as the prop is rolled over fairly bad – thus causing the vibration. It is time for Buck to demonstrate his mechanical skills.

After digging out some tools and a new prop, Buck makes quick work of the prop and we are back in action in no time.

“This is the first time I’ve had to change a prop on the water,” laughs Buck. “It is way easier to do on land I can tell you that.”

As we idle out towards deeper water, Buck rewards his hard work with a sandwich. On top of staying hydrated, Buck makes sure to keep plenty of food on board as well. If the fish aren’t biting, having plenty of snacks is a must.

 

It is nearing midday now and Buck wants to check one more place near Mattawoman Creek before dropping me off. His front deck is busting with rods now, though he has only utilized a few of them so far today.

The stretch of grass we stop on is some of the best looking yet. The water has a slight stain to it, so Buck grabs a vibrating jig.

After about 100 yards the grass begins to thicken up. Buck changes to a frog and receives a blow up, though it isn’t enough to sell him on this area.

“I may come back here closer to low tide just to see if I can get a few more bites or not,” Buck explains.

As we run out of grass it is time to run back to Smallwood State Park to drop me off.

 

Buck plans on spending the rest of his day running south. His first day of practice was tough and today hasn’t been much better. Though he still has a solid half day of fishing left, plus Tuesday to dial it in. He hasn’t checked some of his juice yet, and now that the camera is out of the boat I bet he’ll really kick it up a notch. 

Tags: kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2017-06-15-potomac-river 

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