UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review
Bryan Schmitt

While Marvin Reese won the Costa FLW Series event on the Potomac, eliciting universal joy and praise from his friends and admirers, Bryan Schmitt finished 17th. Ordinarily, a top 20 and a check can be quite good, but for Schmitt, who has a sterling record on tidal fisheries along the East Coast, just getting paid isn’t good enough. He wants to at least be in the running on the final day, and everyone expects his next win will come sooner rather than later.

I hit the water with Schmitt after the event for some tidal insight, and while we fished, he broke down the tournament and the high-risk strategy he banked on.

Reese’s winning pattern

This year, fishing hard cover has been more productive than it usually is on the Potomac. A bad year for the grass in 2018 rolled over into slow grass growth this spring. Though there was a ton of hydrilla at the time of this event, it still didn’t set up well. Reese won the tournament primarily from one large pier.

“On the Potomac, hands down, I want to fish grass. The grass holds the numbers,” says Schmitt. “But if you look at the event this week on the Potomac, the tournament was won on structure. All I’m going to say is, nobody in the field was able to find the motherlode in the grass, but it exists. There’s always a tremendous amount of fish in the grass; it can just hold more fish, more bait, and it’s better habitat. On the Potomac – or any tidal water where grass exists – grass is king.

“At certain times of year, though, grass fishing on the Potomac can be tough, whether it’s moon phase-related or weather-related. It can get really hard to locate the fish, especially when you get to this time of year and you have miles and miles of matted hydrilla. Somewhere there’s a 10-by-20-foot section of hydrilla out there that has the motherlode, but it’s hard to find.”

Schmitt says that when the grass bite gets as difficult as it was, it can be wise to turn to hard cover. A lot of anglers in the top 10 demonstrated that – namely Reese and Robert Grike. However, both those pros also came in without limits on the final day. According to Schmitt, finding the numbers required for multiple tournament days on hard cover is extremely difficult, and if you have to split those fish up between multiple anglers, the odds of finding success get even longer.

“I was able to come out and practice a week and a half before this event for two days,” says Schmitt. “Because of my knowledge of the Potomac and my knowledge of the time of year, I knew it was going to be difficult, and I knew the fish weren’t everywhere and that all the guys were going to find the same fish.

“The Potomac is one place you cannot find something and have it all to yourself. I spent two full days fishing oddball, off-the-wall things, hoping to find a 12- to 14-pound consistent bag of fish. I felt it was that tough, to where, if an angler could consistently catch 12 to 14 pounds, they could make the cut and be in it at the end of the event. Knowing I was taking myself out of the equation for a 16- or 18-pound bag, I wanted to be consistent, to make the cut, and I knew if I made the cut I would have a chance because the leaderboard was that tight.”

Bryan Schmitt

Schmitt ended up checking basically everything he had on the Potomac without finding what he was looking for. Everything from grass to hard places didn’t seem to have the consistency he was after, until he found a backwater with wood that required a significant commitment of time to get into.

“The problem was, Wednesday [the night before the event], we had a substantial storm, and it hit my location. It didn’t hit five miles north or five miles south,” says Schmitt. “I knew it would be risky to go, but I still chose to stick to the plan. The problem was, I didn’t have a backup plan close to this location. I was all-in.

“I arrived, and it was dirty. The water was 91 degrees in practice, and now it was 71 degrees and rolling mud. It was everything I know you should never fish on the Potomac. But I knew they had to be there, and I knew I was going to throw my bait near them.”

Ultimately, it was not having a secondary location that led to a subpar first day of 8 pounds, 9 ounces that put Schmitt in a hole he was unable to dig out of.

“It was challenging,” says Schmitt. “The few bites I got, the fish would barely get it, and I missed a ton of bites because of the dirty water. The kicker was not having a backup spot close to there, and it cost me.”

Weighing just four fish from his spot on day one, Schmitt went back on day two. By then, the water had cleared up to about 7 inches of visibility, and he was able to flip up the projected 13 pounds he thought he could get with relative ease. One more fish on day one would likely have put him inside the cut.

“Marvin Reese, who won the event, he fished a location that, generally speaking, it would take a hurricane to muddy up,” Schmitt explains. “His location was very stable – cold, warm, it wasn’t going to get him.

“He made a very strategic decision, and it paid off this week. He pretty much took weather variables out of the equation, which is a smart thing to do. It’s one thing I used to do out here; I used to try to find fish that, no matter what the weather did, I could still catch them, and I kind of got away from that during this event. I knew I was choosing a very risky deal, and it just didn’t work out.”

Tags: bryan-schmitt  -potomac-river  -marvin-reese  -august  jody-white  jody-white-  post-tournament  2019-08-22-potomac-river 

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

Smith says that the best time for fall largemouth fishing happens after the first big cold snap, when the water finally drops below 60 degrees.   READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Olson Scouts Cumberland

Olson Scouts Cumberland

At just 19 years old, Lane Olson is fishing in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Were he from Alabama or Texas or any number of other southern states known for their bass fishing, that wouldn’t be too surprising. But Olson is schlepping all the way to Kentucky from Oregon, where he finished second in the Western Division Angler of the Year standings, missing out on the top spot by just one point. READ MORE »

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

Davidson, a West Virginia native, qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship out of the Northern Division and has fished the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division quite a bit. He’s spent a lot of time on Cumberland and nearby Dale Hollow in the cooler months. As such, he’s one of a handful that pundits are definitely keeping an eye on heading into the championship, and he was kind enough to let me tag along for part of the second practice day on the Kentucky reservoir. READ MORE »

The Layout of Lake Cumberland

The Layout of Lake Cumberland

The ninth largest reservoir in the U.S., Lake Cumberland is a perfect stage for the Costa FLW Series Championship. Home to all three bass species and over 1000 miles of shoreline, the lake can swallow up a big field with relative ease, and with the fall bite starting to pick up in earnest and the water level lower than usual, the fishing should be pretty good. READ MORE »

South Carolina’s Bradford Beavers Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Potomac River

South Carolina’s Bradford Beavers Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Potomac River

MARBURY, Md. – Summerville, South Carolina’s Bradford Beavers, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 28 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the weather-shortened, no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on the Potomac River Saturday. The event was originally scheduled for three days, but tournament officials canceled competition on day one... READ MORE »

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

Brian Latimer and Mark Daniels Jr. are best friends off the water, and it looks like they’ve got the makings of a deadly team on the water. Weighing five smallmouths for 21.16 pounds in the first session and 23.92 pounds in the second session, the pair totaled 45.08 pounds to win the individual competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. READ MORE »

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Though Team USA locked up the top three places, Team Canada placed six teams in the top 10 and averaged 38.98 pounds to win the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. Results were tallied based on the average weight brought in by each team in the two sessions of fishing, which almost guaranteed an extremely close finish. Earning a silver medal, Team USA finished just a hundredth of a pound back with a 38.97 average. READ MORE »

Canada Leads at Pan Am

Canada Leads at Pan Am

The first session of competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis was a roaring success. After the morning weigh-in, Team Canada is leading with an average of 21.16 pounds, Team USA is in second with a 19.6 average, Team Akwesasne First Nation is in third with 18.62 and Mexico had an up and down morning to accrue a 17.24-pound average. READ MORE »

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Austin Felix has been running a generator for a few years now, and his primary use is during the spring in the North, when he’s spending mega-days on the water practicing for tournaments that feature bedding smallmouths. READ MORE »

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Because of steady rain and hard winds at around 20 mph or more, day one of the Pan American Bass Championship has been canceled. With gusts up to 40 mph in the forecast, the organizers have decided to fish two sessions on Friday instead. READ MORE »

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

With the official training day in the rearview, the Pan American Bass Championship starts Thursday, Oct. 16, on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall, Ontario. Teams from Mexico, the Akwesasne First Nation, Canada and the United States will be competing the next two days for glory and country, but also to help along the movement to make bass fishing an Olympic sport. READ MORE »

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

The days of catching seemingly infinite bass on an umbrella rig are mostly gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fish with one. The rig is a great tool for catching fall smallmouth bass on the big waters of the Great Lakes and elsewhere up north. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Considering this was the fourth year in a row Lake of the Ozarks had hosted a Costa FLW Series Central Division event in October, everyone pretty much knew what to expect. And then the weather happened. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Fall in the Ozarks is prime time to throw a buzzbait. Sure enough, plenty of the top guys did just that during the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

“On a normal day, if the best five aren’t over 25 pounds, it isn’t a good day,” Stefan says. “My best days with a buddy have been where the best five have gone 29 to 32 pounds. We get lots of 6-pounders a year, and we’ve caught some right at the 7-pound mark. I’ve had a few on that we haven’t landed that were bigger.” READ MORE »

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Wrapping up the Costa FLW Series Central Division with an early fall stop at Lake of the Ozarks has become a tradition over the last few years. This year, the final stop of the season is presented by Evinrude and takes place Oct. 10-12, which should be good timing for a number of patterns to play. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »