Live now : ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING 2020 Ft. Gibson

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River
Ryan Davidson

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.

Taking the win in wire-to-wire fashion in the second stop of the season, which was presented by Lowrance, Marvin Reese fished hard stuff up by Washington, D.C., but only managed four fish on the final day, turning what could have been a runaway into a nail-biter. Low weights across the board also gave folks a lot of opportunity to move up and down quickly, as evidenced by Troy Morrow’s surge from 10th to second and Adrian Avena’s jump from ninth to fifth.

Reese’s winning pattern

Top 10 baits

Complete results

 

Troy Morrow

2. Morrow surges on the final day

Catching 14-7 on the final day, Troy Morrow could have won the event with a little more consistency. Mixing both grass and hard cover, Morrow nearly put together the winning combination.

“It happened because of all three days,” says Morrow. “I elected to fish grass on the first day, it’s all I fished, and I fished nothing but two different Speed Worms, and I had five keeper bites all day and one was a 5-pounder.”

On day two, figuring he needed more bites, Morrow went north and fished hard cover. That worked, but he changed up for day three.

“I elected to combine the two,” says Morrow of his final day. “The quality bites seemed like they were coming from the grass, but the numbers were coming from the hard targets. I went to the hard targets first to get my limit, and actually lost the winning fish doing that, and then went to grass at the end and made my last cull.”

Fishing the hard stuff, Morrow relied on a Zoom WEC E1 crankbait, a moccasin blue-colored wacky rig on a 1/8-ounce Gamakatsu G-Finesse Series Wacky Jig Head and a drop-shot with a Zoom U Tail Worm and a 1/0 G-Finesse Series Light Worm Hook. For both finesse baits, Morrow used braid with a 10-found-test Sunline leader.

For his grass bitw, Morrow targeted stretches and clumps that were submerged and off the main hydrilla edge. Ideally, he had his boat in about 4-feet of water and could still reach the topped-out grass edge with a cast. Though most of the grass was hydrilla, he says some clumps of star grass were mixed in. Fishing in Mattawoman Creek and south of there, the fish chewed for him on the final day.

In the grass, he plied a Zoom Speed Worm with a cut tail in moccasin blue as well as a Zoom UltraVibe Speed Worm in watermelon moondust. He rigged both on a Gamakatsu Superline EWG hook, with 16- and 20-pound-test Sunline fluorocarbon and a pegged 3/16-ounce weight.

 

Justin Atkins

3. Atkins leans on a drop-shot

Sticking in second until the final day, Justin Atkins weighed a total of 37-3, but saw his weights decline each day.

Atkins fished a handful of different places with water running into the river, some main-river rock, and the grass bed south of Pomonkey Creek. He mixed a few other baits in, but leaned hard on a drop-shot. 

“It went really good,” says Atkins of his event. “I learned last time here in August that the fish aren’t biting everywhere. This week I spent a lot of time with the trolling motor down paying attention to where I got bites and I found three or four areas, one main grass area and three or four places that were current-driven areas, that had bites and I just spent my time casting in ‘em.”

Atkins’ main bait, in grass or current, was a drop-shot with a fat 4 1/2-inch hand-poured worm. On the first two days he always stuck with an 8-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon leader and a 3/16-ounce weight, but he dropped to an 1/8-ounce weight on the final day in the grass.

In thicker cover he also employed a popping frog and a Berkley PowerBait Bunker Hawg on a big weight. In some of his current spots, particularly in one with clear water, he tossed a weightless Texas-rigged 4-inch Berkley MaxScent The General.

Atkins on day two

 

Ryan Davidson

4. Davidson mines one creek

Little Hunting Creek was the primary home for Ryan Davidson on the week, and depending on the conditions he adjusted his approach to put big numbers in the boat every day.

“I was targeting the pads when you could get a high tide that was outgoing, those big fish would be in the drains of the pads,” says Davidson. “That was how you could get a quality bite, but the tide was never right for doing that. It was good numbers on low tide, but the quality was a little better on high tide and I could catch them just as good. On low tide it was the outside of trees and dock poles, and on high tide they would put their nose right on the bank, in 6-inches of water.”

Davidson figures he caught 30 keepers out of his creek on day one, 20 keepers on day two and another 15 keepers or so on the final day. In the creek, his main baits were a homemade balsa crankbait and two jigs: a Missile Jigs Mini Flip and a Strike King Fluorocarbon Flipping Jig. With both jigs, he used a 3/8-ounce model with a green pumpkin skirt and a Zoom Z Craw Jr. in Cajun craw for a trailer. 

Davidson also punched some mats in Mattawoman with a YUM Bad Mamma in black blue shadow. On day one, he managed to cull twice in the mats, but the rain killed that on day two and wind and waves had muddied the area up on the final day.

 

Adrian Avena

5. Mixed bag works for Avena

Notching his third FLW top 10 on the Potomac River, Adrian Avena’s weight got better each day as he kept practicing and hunting for better fish. Brining his john boat to practice out of instead of his wrapped bass boat let Avena be stealthy in practice, but it also limited his ability to see everything.

“I fished pretty much the whole river,” says Avena. “I have a little history here, and I tried to cover as much as I can, and in two and a half days in a john boat you can’t cover it. I basically spent the duration of the tournament practicing too, trying to just look for those better-than-average bites.

“Whenever I come here I try to keep an open mind,” he says. “The first day I caught them local, the second day I ran way south, and [the final day] I caught some local and then I ran way north. It was all over the place, and I never really found what I wanted to, so I just kept looking.”

Part of Avena’s rationale for bringing the john boat in practice was that he’d be able to sneak into the backs of creeks more easily, but that turned out to not really be the deal. Instead, Avena flipped some matted grass with a Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw with a 1 1/4 -ounce weight and fished pads, creeks, wood and other targets with a ¼-ounce black buzzbait with a 3-inch Berkley PowerBait Pit Boss for a trailer.

 

6. Hard stuff is the deal for Grike

Robert Grike has a reputation as one of the best hard-cover anglers on the Potomac, and he almost went all the way this week. Weighing just four fish on the final day, Grike had his shots at the win.

“One thing I learned from [Sunday] is that the fish are used to seeing what I throw at them,” says Grike, who fished with winning co-angler Jim Short. “I had a slick fisherman [on the final day] who knew what he was doing, and he caught that key 5-pounder, and my bait was in there, I could have caught that fish had I been throwing the right thing. But I think they’re used to seeing my lures.”

Fishing up north most of the tournament, Grike flipped a Cheeseburger Robert jig with a Missile Baits Craw Father for a trailer, mixed a drop-shot in some and also used a blue fleck-colored Berkley Power Worm.

Grike never had trouble getting a limit on the first two days, but in trying to make up a deficit on the final day, he specifically sought out big fish.

“I really swung for the fence,” says Grike. “I fell a little short, but I’d do it again.”

 

7. Thompkins power-fishes hard cover

Growing up near Winyah Bay, 17-year-old Jordan Thompkins says he’s well-versed in tidal waters and docks. That came in handy this week on the Potomac.

“Hard cover, rocks, docks, and then I had one area with some grass,” says Thompkins of his targets. “There was gizzard shad around the grass spot, and I think the little bit better fish were feeding around them. There weren’t many of them, but there was good ones.”

Unfortunately for Thompkins, his grass spot seemed to be worth about a fish a day, and nothing on the final day. He also couldn’t get into one of the two creeks he was fishing hard cover in, so he spent most of the final day in Little Hunting, fishing below Davidson. There, he threw around a squarebill and a vibrating jig for the most part, preferring to keep on the move rather than flip targets. 

Fishing just his second FLW Series event as a boater, he earned his second FLW top 10.

“It feels pretty good,” says Thompkins of his performance. “I’m still in high school, so I’ve got a long way to go I guess.”

 

8. Hays camps out in Chicamuxen Creek

Working an XCalibur Zell Pop or a weightless Zoom Fluke Stick, Dylan Hays caught limits on the first two days but came up short on the final day.

“I caught probably 90 percent of them on the Zell Pop, almost all of them first thing in the morning, in the first hour,” says Hays. “I culled three times in the afternoon on day two, I sight-fished one of them, and then it got rainy and I started just blind-casting the Fluke Stick.”

On day three, Hays caught his fish on a mix of the popper and the Fluke Stick, but the bright conditions seemed to limit his bite. Every fish he weighed came from Chicamuxen, but he didn’t plan that at the beginning of the event.

“The first day I had a limit by 8 o’clock, so I left and flipped wood all day and never had a bite,” says Hays. “The second day I decided to stay the whole time, and it worked, and [Sunday] I didn’t have anywhere else to go, so I stayed. I’m not mad about it, I caught five keepers in practice in four days, so this is good.”

 

9. Senko is all Smith needs

Putting up his second consecutive top 10, Casey Smith moved into a three-way tie with Morrow and Avena for second place in the Angler of the Year race behind Scott Dobson.

Smith has never finished outside of the top 18 in the Northern Division points, and he’d really like to take home the AOY title.

“That’s why I come to these,” says Smith, who lives in Macedon, N.Y. “I think that title holds a lot of weight, and I think a lot of the guy that wins it every year. It’s extremely difficult to do in the Northern Division, with how consistent the weights are over the year. I’ve been close two or three times, so it’ll be on my mind a lot. I’m looking forward to it.”

As for the actual Potomac fishing, it was about as boring as it gets – Smith threw a weightless Yamamoto Senko on one stretch of grass in Aquia Creek for three days in a row.

“I don’t fully understand the tides, so I don’t even attempt to run them,” says Smith. “The way I treat it here, is I hunker down in my best area. So, I pick the best of what I’ve got, wait out the dead periods and try to capitalize on bite windows.

“It was the most boring fishing,” says Smith. “I honestly thought about telling [tournament director Mark McWha] that I’d take 11th place and go home so I didn’t have to go back out there again.”

 

10. Grass falls short for Dieffenbauch 

Winding a homemade vibrating jig, Wil Dieffenbauch struggled on the final day.

Ringing in at 3/8 of an ounce, Dieffenbauch’s vibrating jig was green pumpkin, with some blue in it, and he trailed it with a watermelon red  Zoom Salty Super Fluke with orange dye on the belly.

“I make it how I want it,” says the West Virginia angler of his bait. “I put a good hook in it, and I put the right keeper in it, so I can rip it out of the grass as hard as I want and be alright.”

Fishing mostly in Aquia, Belmont Bay and Mattawoman, Dieffenbauch was walking a tightrope every day.

“I was fishing submerged grass, mainly clumps, and I was just ripping that ChatterBait as hard as I could,” he says. “I really wasn’t on anything, it was all between 2 and 4 feet, and I just didn’t get the flurries I needed [Sunday].”

Tags: jody-white  post-tournament  2019-08-22-potomac-river 

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event has been pretty slow across the board, and particularly for the leaders. Though the weather isn’t too bad and the wind is fairly manageable, the fishing in Erie is slower than it was yesterday. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was not dominated by St. Clair as some expected. Though St. Clair did produce the lead for Scott Dobson, a hodgepodge of techniques and locations got it done for the other top pros on Erie. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

From a weather standpoint, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has been almost too perfect. Slick and hot from the start, anglers have been able to go wherever they want and fish however they want. READ MORE »

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

The weights on day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie were about what folks expected: plenty of quality fish, but a lack of the plump 4- and 5-pounders that Erie is so known for. Weighing one of only two bags over 20 pounds, Scott Dobson put 20-12 on the scale after a day of fishing that took him as far from Sandusky as the mouth of the St. Clair River. READ MORE »

Ready to Rock on Erie

Ready to Rock on Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division has undergone more than its share of schedule shuffling this year, but the kickoff is finally here. Taking off out of Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, the time to chase smallmouths has arrived. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »

Review: Strike King Popping Perch

Review: Strike King Popping Perch

The frog world is pretty stacked with good options these days, but the Strike King Popping Perch still manages to stand out. READ MORE »

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Swiftly rescheduled due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, the Toyota Series Northern Division is now kicking off on Lake Erie, launching out of Sandusky, Ohio, July 9-11. The event is the first of three in the division, with the others scheduled for August on Lake Champlain and on the Detroit River in September. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

Though Jacob Wheeler won the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga in grand style, his win didn’t impact the Angler of the Year standings. Only the original Pro Circuit anglers were competing for AOY points. That means the AOY focus is still on Ron Nelson, who slipped off his blazing pace a bit, but still holds the lead heading into the final two regular-season events in July and August on the Mississippi River and the Detroit River, respectively. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

When you put one of the largest and most talented fields of bass anglers on one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, big things are bound to happen. The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga became a battle between shallow and deep, with pros on either side catching big stringers of giant bass. Here's how they did it. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

When so many anglers are throwing similar baits and running similar patterns, doing something a little different can be quite the advantage. Sure enough, the pros who made the top 10 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga all had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart. READ MORE »

Shenandoah Div. Restarts on the Potomac

Shenandoah Div. Restarts on the Potomac

Competition in the Shenandoah Division presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine will restart at the Potomac River on June 27. With the river’s bass fully into the postspawn now, the event should be a classic summertime Potomac derby. READ MORE »

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

When the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit picks back up next week with the Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the famous lake isn’t the only reservoir available to pros in the event. If they want, pros will be able to run and lock up into Watts Bar Lake or down into Nickajack Lake. READ MORE »

Review: Berkley PowerBait The Deal

Review: Berkley PowerBait The Deal

Designed by Major League Fishing pro Skeet Reese, the Berkley PowerBait The Deal is a unique twin-tailed trailer that’s right at home on the back of a vibrating jig or a swim jig. The Deal comes in 3 1/2- and 4 1/2-inch versions (I tested the 4 1/2), all the standard colors and has already seen tournament success. READ MORE »

Review: Abu Garcia Revo EXD

Review: Abu Garcia Revo EXD

Sleek-looking with purple accents, the Abu Garcia Revo EXD looks like it should be something special. After slinging a lot of jerkbaits and topwaters with it and using it to put a bunch of fish in the boat, I think it lives up to its looks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Josh Stracner won the 2020 Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Eufaula by fishing offshore. He targeted deep ledges in the mid-lake area for two days before switching to brush piles in 12 to 15 feet on the final day when a front moved through and replaced still, sunny conditions with wind and overcast skies. The rest of the top 10, with one exception, also fished offshore in what turned out to be a pretty typical June ledge-fishing tournament.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

June on Eufaula is ledge season. Well, mostly. Nine of the top 10 in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event at Eufaula fished offshore, but targets included ledges, brush piles, standing timber and some “in-between” offshore structure where bass stopped in transition from the bank to out deep. One pro even fished exclusively shallow. Here are the baits they used to make the cut. READ MORE »

Big Bags Expected at Eufaula

Big Bags Expected at Eufaula

Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition in the Bulldog Division picks up again with a weekend doubleheader June 20 and 21. READ MORE »

The Top 5 Limits of All Time

The Top 5 Limits of All Time

Catching 25 pounds in a single tournament day is a pretty rare feat, and catching five bass for 30 pounds in a tournament has been done fewer than 200 times in FLW history. Knowing just how special those giant limits are, we decided to dig into some of the top bags from years past. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Pickwick Lake greeted Toyota Series anglers with high, stained water and stronger than normal current last week. While the last week of May usually means fishing to depths of 25 feet on Pickwick, some anglers felt Pickwick’s bass were a little behind in their summer migration to the deep ledges. READ MORE »