UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - St. Lawrence River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Britt’s Final Practice Day on Seminole

Britt’s Final Practice Day on Seminole
Aaron Britt

Fishing his third year on the FLW Tour, Aaron Britt is off to his best start yet, sitting at 26th in the points and fresh off a top 10 at Toho. As is the case for many of his peers, Britt has never fished Lake Seminole, the site of the third stop of the FLW Tour presented by Costa. Of course, being from California makes almost every eastern fishery a new experience, so the prospect of figuring out a new lake isn’t daunting anymore. Now, all he has to do is the usual – find enough fish to get paid.

 

The final day of practice for Britt starts in the pitch black of morning with rain and a temperature of about 35 degrees. After a breezy, but warm start to practice, it’s been cold and getting colder ever since. So, Britt and his roommate Casey Scanlon grab breakfast before hitting the water. Fueled up by bacon, toast, hash browns and eggs, it’s time to head to the lake. After moving his rods from the house to the front deck, Britt towels the worst of the rain off and then fires up the truck to drive about 100 yards to the ramp.

 

Despite the pause for breakfast, Scanlon and Britt are some of the first pros in the water, and the ramp begins to fill rapidly after they arrive. After dropping the boat in and ferrying Scanlon out to his, the pair take off running, heading out of Spring Creek to a backwater that looks good on Google Earth.

 

Idling into the backwater, Britt scopes out a few stretches he likes the look of before stopping about 50 yards from a patch of reeds and snagging a rod. Scanlon starts nearby and goes the opposite direction.

After the first couple casts turn up grass with scum on it, Britt begins to get discouraged. He only caught one bass all day on day two, and giant catfish aside, his optimism isn’t high. A few casts later, Britt has his first fish of the day – a chunky Seminole bass that slack-lined his vibrating jig.

“That’s what you want, quick bites,” says Britt. “That’s as much as I had all day yesterday. There’s deeper grass out here, that’s where they should go when it’s cold. I just hope it wasn’t a false bite.”

 

“Dude, this is such gnarly hydrilla,” exclaims Britt as he fishes along. So far, practice has been frustrating for him, but a quick bite and then another from a pickerel have him excited early. As he continues to zig and zag over the grass, he picks up a frog for some pads and occasionally mixes in a swimming worm.

 

Around 8:30 a.m., Scanlon idles up for a report, and the two start fishing within earshot, breaking down the grass together. It’s not typical for Scanlon and Britt to cooperate this closely, but so far it’s working this morning.

“There’s a few guys I talk to, but me and Casey [Scanlon] share the most,” says Britt. “In this sport you’ve got to network. I can promise you, not one guy does it on his own.”

 

Flipping a worm in some pads generates another bite for Britt, and then he misses another on the vibrating jig. Then, he switches up to a swimbait and catches another.

“We gotta get out of here,” he says. “I just don’t know where to go, but I’ve gotta find more.”

 

Idling over to Scanlon, the pair talk for a bit while Britt zones in on the satellite map on his phone. After fishing a little more nearby with no success, the pair crank up and Britt leads the way to another nearby backwater.

 

Starting a bit closer to the mouth of the backwater than Scanlon, Britt begins firing around a vibrating jig and quickly gets a bite.

“He jacked it,” says Britt. “I’m so stoked right now. I don’t know why now and why here, but I’m getting so many more bites today. I feel OK now, and coming into this morning I really didn’t.”

 

Winding around in some hydrilla mixed with other grass, Britt pretty quickly gets another bite. This time, he lands it – a small one that he hams it up with before releasing. Nearby, Scanlon catches a good one and stealthily lands it on the back deck. Things seem to be coming together.

 

 

After another quick chat, the two pros fish into the backwater. Inside, the water is cleaner and shallower, and the grass is growing up to the surface in most of it. After a little bit of fishing, Britt kicks the trolling motor on high and visually scans the edge of a mound of reeds on his way out. Now, finally, he and Scanlon are going to go their separate ways.

 

Cranking the Mercury, Britt heads farther up the lake in search of another backwater. It looks good to him on Google, but getting to it proves to be a heck of a challenge. After running out of mapped water, Britt idles for a bit before putting the boat up on plane again and then thinking better of it. Almost as soon as he takes it off plane he hits a stump, proving that any run would be far too risky.

Now it’s time to idle. Giving up for now on the backwater of choice, Britt decides to head to another one that’s farther away, but perhaps more accessible. He just needs to get to a channel he can run. Eventually, we make it to a channel, with Britt cringing at every stump the Ranger rolls over. Once in the clear, it’s go time.

 

Running up the Chattahoochee arm, Britt pulls off into a big backwater after a 10-minute run that feels just as cold as the morning run despite the blazing sun. Settling down, Britt pulls out his flipping stuff to probe a stretch of bank with hyacinths and other mat-like vegetation blown in on it. After flipping along for a bit, he gives it up as a bad job – there’s too much wind, and he’s not feeling it.

 

After a short idle to some grass in the middle of the backwater, Britt picks up the vibrating jig again and goes to work. Casting and winding, he thoroughly seins the area for bites.

“It’s so nice when you get quick bites,” says Britt, as though hoping to elicit one. “You could easily go through a good area and be on the wrong pass and never get bit and not know what you missed.”

Out here, he doesn’t seem to be missing much – with no bites for a hundred yards or so he’s not feeling it.

 

Then, just when all hope seems to be lost, Britt gets bit. Swinging a small bass aboard to break the ice seems to confirm to Britt that he needs to fish back here just a bit longer. After shelving the vibrating jig to flip a worm and toss his frog for just a moment it’s truly time to go.

 

After another chilly run back into Spring Creek to drop me off, Britt heads to the house for a pit stop and a snack before heading back out. Two days of practice had him nothing but frustrated, but this morning has been quite productive. With the afternoon to go, Britt needs to put a few more pieces together, but things are certainly looking up.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-03-07-lake-seminole 

Big Smallmouths, Big Water for Season Finale

Big Smallmouths, Big Water for Season Finale

Any tournament with smallmouths in it is a good one, but when the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits heads to the St. Lawrence River it's usually a show-stopper. This year’s event, which is presented by Realtree Fishing, shouldn’t be any different as the Northern Division looks to close its season out on one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the world September 19-21. READ MORE »

Bryan Schmitt’s ChatterBait Box

Bryan Schmitt’s ChatterBait Box

“I’m pretty wild on color selection,” says Schmitt. “I always have my shad colors. I always have my black and blues. But I fall in love with trying to find a niche color. Especially when you get into the fall of the year on the Potomac. I love to find a crayfish pattern, and I feel like then a crayfish-imitating ChatterBait out-fishes anything else. And I also like to find a bluegill pattern at times, so I play with the colors.” READ MORE »

Review: STIX Fishing Rods

Review: STIX Fishing Rods

STIX Fishing is a relatively new company started by FLW Live host Travis Moran and Nick Smith that sells fishing rods with a bit of a unique plan. Instead of picking and choosing a rod or two at a time, STIX wants to sell you six rods at a time (the STIX PAX) for $500, which comes out to about $83 per rod. According to the company, the STIX PAX is a complete set of bass rods and will do everything you need rods to do. READ MORE »

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

On the Potomac, hands down, I want to fish grass. The grass holds the numbers. But if you look at the event this week on the Potomac, the tournament was won on structure. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

The Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac River was not the slugfest the season opener on Champlain was or the season finale on the St. Lawrence River is almost sure to be. As has been the case in many of the FLW events on the Potomac this year, the fishing was pretty stingy, and hard cover played an outsized role. READ MORE »

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 »