UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

How Schmitt Targets Late-Summer Tidal Bass

How Schmitt Targets Late-Summer Tidal Bass
Bryan Schmitt

Like it is in many parts of the country, late summer can be a tough time to catch bass on the East Coast’s tidal rivers. As we’ve seen pretty much every year in the FLW Cup, which is usually held in the South, going way up creeks to find slightly cooler water is a productive pattern in the heat of late summer. The same strategy can pay off on tidal fisheries such as the Potomac River and James River as well, albeit with some tweaks for the situation.

 

Bryan Schmitt

Why it happens

Come August and September, Bryan Schmitt knows that the traditional grass beds at the mouths of creeks can begin to get a bit stale on the tidal fisheries near his Maryland home. They’ve been beaten on by scores of anglers through the spring and summer, so a change of strategy can be called for.

“It was years ago when I figured this out,” says Schmitt. “This is actually a time of year when it condenses the fish; hence, why it’s tough to figure out. Tidal water is always connected to the ocean, so it always has some kind of salt influence. When you get into the summer, generally speaking, the rainfall is very minimal. When you get that it pushes this particular scenario even more because the bass want to get away from the salt.

“So, what happens is, I would say the bulk of the fish transition to seek cooler, cleaner water with less salinity and more oxygen,” he adds. “Where that happens is in the headwaters of creeks. The whole life system seems to go there. The bait, the fish, the catfish, the bass – everything migrates there. For some reason it’s a littler cooler, it has more oxygen and less salinity.”

Schmitt believes low flow and higher salinity are major factors in the move, but not the only factors. The summer of 2019 on the Potomac has provided a good example of that. Plenty of rain has kept the salinity low, but some fish have still moved to the backs of the creeks to escape the heat. So it’s always worth checking.

The one thing that will hold the fish in the main river and prevent or reduce the migration into the creeks is milfoil. In years with strong milfoil growth, Schmitt says grass patterns can continue to reign supreme all through the summertime.

 

Bryan Schmitt

Looking for them

Luckily, finding bass in the backs of creeks isn’t particularly difficult, though it may take a fair bit of time to reach them.

“The farthest back you can go is where they go,” outlines Schmitt. “They’ll go to the absolute stream of it, to where you can’t even get your boat. If you take a place like Aquia Creek [on the Potomac], where it’s five or six miles long, I guarantee there’s going to be a good population of fish up where it becomes a stream.”

Because it is pretty skinny water, Schmitt relies heavily on his eyes.

“When I’m on that particular pattern, I’m looking for clean water – No. 1,” he says. “I might not catch them as easy, but I like to see them. A lot of times on tidal fisheries you can do a lot of fishing and scouting with your eyes. Usually these headwaters are clean. On low tide there will just be a narrow channel, and you can see fish swimming up and down the edges.”

 

Bryan Schmitt

Catch ’em

Schmitt says that catching creek bass late in the summer is usually a finesse game. A drop-shot or a wacky rig will do a lot of his work when the tide is low and falling. With an incoming tide and fish pushing up toward the banks, he says a vibrating jig, a frog or a buzzbait can come into play.

One key is stealth. Moving slowly and not muddying up the water is very important. Power-Poles help a lot. They let him stop on a dime when he needs to really pick apart his areas.

 

Bryan Schmitt

Tournament strategy

Reigning as the best tournament angler on tidal fisheries isn’t easy, but it has taught Schmitt plenty of lessons. If you’re going to run the backs of creeks on a tournament day, you need to be careful.

“It can really hurt if you’re on that pattern and you get behind somebody else doing it,” says Schmitt. “It’s almost one of those deals that depends on your boat number. And even if the tide isn’t right, you might have to go stake your claim because some of these places are so narrow that if you get midway back nobody can really get past you.”

Schmitt says that the tactic is probably best when there isn’t a lot of pressure. After all, folks trying to be John Cox have smartened the bass up over the years.

“It’s a gamble,” adds Schmitt. “In my opinion, the last few years the fish in these particular places have gotten a lot smarter. But it’s a quick way to locate fish. There’s always a population in them, hands down. I have seen where it could be a winning deal if you find the right creek, but I think more so anymore it might not be a winning deal, but you can make a top 10 doing it.”

Tags: potomac river  james river  Chesapeake bay  summer  salinity  jody-white  tips-and-techniques 

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

From the Mississippi River to the Peshtigo River, Wisconsin and the surrounding region has miles of flowing water chock full of smallmouth bass. In the recent Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, Matt Stefan targeted rivers flowing into Green Bay for the majority of his catch, and in doing so, he was able to tap into a skillset that he’s groomed for years on the Wisconsin River and other flowages near him. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

With the whole field boxed into the Detroit River for the first two days of the final Toyota Series Northern Division event, it’s natural that the main player was the river itself. But, on the final day, when folks could branch out, Scott Dobson actually ran to St. Clair and many of the other pros ventured into Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Taking the co-angler win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River, Tony Grubb weighed four bass for 14 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day for a 46-5 total. For the win, his second as a co-angler with FLW, Grubb takes home a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat worth over $35,000. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

With the wind laying down a bit, the top 10 anglers in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River have been able to go wherever they pleased today. With crisp morning temperatures, plenty of sun and a north wind, the conditions have largely been quite good, with mixed results from the anglers. READ MORE »

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.   READ MORE »

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River saw the pros stuck in the river itself again due to the wind. Moving up from fourth place into the lead, Wilson Burton weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces to get up to a 40-11 total. With the only 20-pound bag of the day, Burton slipped past Scott Dobson by just one ounce, who weighed 19-12 and sits behind him with a 40-10 total. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

With strong wind from the north again, the Toyota Series Northern Division field was again confined to the actual Detroit River. On day one, the fishing was quite good, and several pros crossed the 20-pound mark and plenty of limits hit the scales. Today, things seem a little tougher. READ MORE »

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Strong winds kept the pros in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River pinned to the actual river, but the fishing was still very good. Plenty of anglers brought in 17 pounds or more, and the leaders are all concentrated around the 20-pound mark. In first, Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces to kick things off. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Right off the bat, the anglers in the field at the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River were thrown a curveball by the weather. This morning, with increasing wind forecasts, tournament officials made Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair off-limits, thereby penning up the 87 pros and co-anglers on the American side of the Detroit River. READ MORE »

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Originally from Wisconsin and sometimes wearing a Green Bay Packers hoodie on stage, Dustin Smith doesn’t fit the mold of Toyota Series Southeastern Division Strike King Angler of the Year. Still, Smith hammered out a pair of top 10s and a 27th-place showing en route to the title, and his style of fishing was simply perfect for this season in the Southeastern Division. READ MORE »

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

The 2020 Toyota Series Northern Division will wrap up in Trenton, Mich., Sept. 17-19, at the Detroit River. Hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Summertime smallmouth fishing makes having a drop-shot or two on the deck pretty essential, and the top pros in the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay basically all relied on the versatile finesse rig to get the job done. However, between them, there was a decent amount of variation in baits, and a few pros actually branched out from the drop-shot into other techniques. READ MORE »

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Spencer Shuffield has had a tremendous season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and he capped it off with a top 10 finish at Lake Erie. Now, he’s getting ready for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay, which has only the top 50 Pro Circuit anglers in it and will be a Major League Fishing (MLF) format event. READ MORE »

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Totaling up 41 pounds, 6 ounces, Dan Mundy won the co-angler side of the Toyota Series event on Lake Erie and is about ready to start a boat dealership. After winning the first Northern Division event of the year, the Michigan co-angler went back-to-back in the second event of the season to claim another Phoenix boat worth $33,500. READ MORE »

Mitchell Holds on at Erie

Mitchell Holds on at Erie

After weighing nearly 25 pounds on day two, Kurt Mitchell put 15 pounds, 8 ounces on the scale on the final day to close out the win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. With 60-2 total, Mitchell earned his first FLW win and pocketed $26,206 in winnings. READ MORE »

Mitchell Swings into the Lead on Erie

Mitchell Swings into the Lead on Erie

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was tough on some, but it was a party for Kurt Mitchell. Weighing 24 pounds, 11 ounces, he moved up from second into the lead with a 44-10 total. Only the top 10 fish on the final day and they’ll have a steep hill to climb to catch Mitchell. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has posed some serious challenges from a coverage perspective. Not only are the leaders fishing about as far apart as possible, but the waves to the east of Sandusky are pretty huge. Still, from the reports we have, it looks like plenty of fish will come to the scale one way or another. READ MORE »

Parker Whacks 21-6 on Erie

Parker Whacks 21-6 on Erie

Due to big winds and waves, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was somewhat hampered. Still, the fishing was pretty good, and Dick Parker of Lorain, Ohio, sacked up 21 pounds, 6 ounces to take the lead. READ MORE »

Another Erie Battle Begins

Another Erie Battle Begins

The Toyota Series Northern Division is going out of Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie once again. This week’s event takes place on August 18-20, and it is the second stop of the Northern Division. Like the last event out of Sandusky, Erie is in play, as well as the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, with all Canadian waters being off-limits to fishing. READ MORE »

Previewing the TITLE on Sturgeon Bay

Previewing the TITLE on Sturgeon Bay

The culmination of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, the top 50 pros in the standings are headed to the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. Fishing with the Major League Fishing (MLF) catch, weigh and immediate release format, the winner will take home $200,000 and be the first to win the new championship event. READ MORE »