I’d been to the Potomac River several times before with the FLW Tour and I’d experienced mixed success on the big tidal waterway – there was a top ten finish, but I’d also had my share of struggles. After a few years away I was looking forward to going there and chasing the bass in the grass.
When I arrived, I realized that while the grass had improved in the past couple of years, it still wasn’t what it had once been. I spent my practice trying a number of different things, not just flipping grass, and while I got some decent bites, they were just one here, one there. It was hard to lock down on a particular technique or to identify one area that was holding more fish than the others.
On the first day of competition, I started off throwing various frogs, including buzz toads like a Ribbit and hollow-bodies like the SPRO. I also flipped a one ounce Lunker Lure Grass Monster jig, but it quickly became obvious that the Missile Baits Baby D Bomb was what they wanted. I just moved through the grass and fished everything that looked good and hoped that one would bite it.
I was disappointed that I only had four bites on the day, and could only put two of them in the boat. Fortunately, they were both quality fish and my 7 pound 12 ounce bag had me down in 78th place, but with an opportunity to make a comeback on Day Two. More importantly, both fish came from a single area and that pointed me back in that direction.
On Day Two I stayed in my primary area, but I expanded it a bit and got dialed in on the right sections. There were two or three places that had the right combination of grass, and I made sure to be on those sections at the right tides. I was gaining confidence as the event progressed and my 15-01 limit put me into the 50 cut easily, landing in 39th.
That meant that I got to fish on Saturday, and with everything to gain and very little to lose, I put my faith in the areas that had produced the day before and committed to live or die doing what I do best – flipping grass with that Baby D Bomb. It was tougher than the day before and I didn’t get many bites. Fortunately I fished clean, and except for one three pound plus fish that came off near the end of the day, I put them all in the boat and totaled 11-12. That moved me up to 33rd place and I gained some critical points. It brought me up to 59th place in the AOY standings heading into the last full-field tournament of the year in La Crosse, Wisconsin. If I can do well there and rise into the top 50, I’ll get to fish the 50-man AOY Championship on Mille Lacs. The points are so tight right now that with two good tournaments I have a legitimate shot at the Classic.
Most of my fish in this tournament came on the Baby D Bomb fished with a Reins one ounce weight, although I fished a 1 ½ ouncer in the thickest cover and a ½ ounce Reins Punch Shot on occasion. I pitched them on a Lew’s Custom Lite extra-extra-heavy rod paired with a Lew’s Super Duty Reel spooled with 50 lb. Gamma Torque braid. When I have that combination in my hands, that’s when I feel most dangerous.
The other part of my equipment that made a huge difference this week was my Power Poles. I might’ve used them more in this event than I did rest of the year. Every two or three minutes they were going up and down. The bite was so difficult and it was very slow going. It reminded me of how I often fish in Florida.
I’m looking forward to La Crosse, another grass-filled river. If I can keep my head down, keep an open mind and fish clean, my goals are well within reach.
33rd Place;12 fish, 34-09