Posts Tagged Potomac River
April 23rd and 24th mark the dates for the Mr. Bass East TBF tournament. Four members of The Bass Hounds team headed down for a few days of pre-fishing and then the two day tournament. Boaters Rich Wolota and Brad Bressler left on Monday night and arrived at Smallwood state park Tuesday morning to start fishing. Co-anglers Jeff Spencer and Derek Severns left Wednesday night and arrived Thursday in the am to fish a little and prepare for Fridays first day.
During the couple days of pre fishing, Rich had his spots and fish dialed in, a limit both days should have not been a problem. Rich was having excellent luck with a Poor Boys darter jig, with a Poor Boys KISS Craw trailer, both in green pumpkin. On the other hand Brad found fish, but not as many keepers as he had hoped for. The size limit at the Potomac is 15” and most of the fish Brad was on were 14 ¾ inches. Brad was catching a lot fish on Poor Boys Dixie Darter in black and also using green pumpkin. Even though the fishing was slow as far as keepers went, the fishing overall was very, very good, each angler reported catching anywhere from 30 to 50 fish a day.
On day one of the tournament Rich went straight to the spot that he had found this week and was very happy to find that he had this area all to himself. He was able to boat about 25 fish that first day but only two kept. Rich said, “I broke off two fish early in the day, both were really good fish, I also missed a couple bites, I am pretty disappointed, but we will see what tomorrow brings.” Brad started the day off with a keeper on his first cast, a largemouth weighing in at 3.81 lbs. A great start he thought, then he caught 3 short fish in his next 5 casts. Believe it or not Brad caught around 35 fish on day one but that first fish on his first cast was his only keeper. Co-anglers Jeff and Derek did well, Jeff finished the first day off with 2 keepers for 5.41 lbs and Derek had 4 keepers for 10.23 lbs. Both Jeff and Derek reported catching a lot of short fish, which seemed to be the way it was for most anglers.
Day two brought new hope of better results than the day before. Brad started his day off by running to a new area in hopes of some bigger bites. He did find them; Brad used his Poor Boys 4” tube in watermelon color to find these fish. He ended the day with 3 keepers for 11.89 lbs. Rich on the other hand went back to the spot that he fished the day before and today he did not lose or miss any fish. Rich did indeed catch his limit and his five fish weighed in at 13.57. Rich threw the same Poor Boys jig and trailer that he used the day before. The co-anglers on the team did not fair as well, Jeff had two more keepers on day two for 6.11 lbs. and Derek had only one fish for 2.22 lbs. Derek mentioned that he caught around 30 fish on day two, but only the one kept.
All said and done the trip did not produce the results the team had hoped for but everyone had a great time…Rich Wolota finished 15th and Brad Bressler finished 22nd in the anglers division…while Derek Severns finished 17th and Jeff Spencer finished 21st on the co-anglers side. The team looks to improve on these finishes next month at the Western 6 Man Team event on Lake Erie June 26th and 27th. The team would like to thank all of there sponsors, Valvoline Oil, Strauss Automotive, Nervous Waters, Ardent Reels, Poor Boys Baits, Metal Menders, Fish Pittsburgh.com and Nowak Commercial Refinishes.
The last weekend of April marked my second trip ever to the Potomac River and my first Mr. Bass tournament I have ever fished. As previously stated the tournament was held at the Potomac River and we launched from Smallwood State Park. Dad and I had spent two days practicing for the tournament and camp in Smallwood State Park. They have great camping facilities and if you camp there they wave the $10 per day launching fee. Since I was a kid dad and I have fished and camped together. This trip was no different than those old trips. We fished hard and at the end of the day sat around a camp fire and relaxed.
Through practice I found very little that led me to believe that I had the right fish to win the tournament. I had a small pattern that consisted of throwing chatterbaits and flipping wood with beavers. There was one creek that when dad and I went into it Wednesday we caught 2 keepers (one was a 4lber) and 2 dinks in a very short period of time. Those keepers came on chatterbaits and lipless crankbaits. We left once we stuck the 2 keepers and decided I needed to find more fish. Over the course of the next day and a half, I found nothing as good or even close to my creek. Granted I didn’t have much practice time I still felt that I had failed through practice. Little did I know my creek was better than I expected.
Day one of the tournament I told my partner that I had one creek to fish and where those fish were located. I could tell he was more than disapointed. In practice him and his partner fished that area and had no success. I was still optimistic. From my last trip to the Potomac River I learned that during high tide the fish would scatter on the flats making them hard to locate, but as the tide drops they relate to the creek channel. We started the tournament during high out going tide and so we started working the flats adjacent to the creek. I took me 4 casts to hook up with my first keeper. However, I got my first look at what was in store for me because half way to the boat the fish came off. My rider (Scott Umberger) and I continued fish the flat. As the tide got lower we caught more and more fish. We also lost more and more keepers. I never have became comfortable fishing a crankbait because of the risk of loosing fish. This tournament my dislike for fishing crankbaits has grown. Even though I boated over 40 bass that day, I lost 4 keepers during the day. I ended up weighing in 2 fish for a total weight of 4.66lbs. I was disappointed to say the least because 2 of the keepers I felt were in the 4+ lb mark. If I would have landed those fish I felt I would have put myself in good position to qualify for the classic and win the event.
Day 2 my partner (Steve Steiner) and I headed back to the same creek. When I told him that I lost 4 keepers and Scott (my partner from day 1) lost 3 keepers he was excited. I knew I had next to no chance to catch the leaders, but I was fishing for a classic birth day lunker. On my 10th cast of the morning I hooked up with a nice keeper on a red eye shad. It was a nice 3lb fish and I fought it to the boat and as the fish was coming to the surface the hook popped out of the fishes mouth. I couldn’t believe it. I had started the day on another lost fish. That set the tone for the day. Instantly I knew I probably cost my chance at a limit, but I continued to fish hard. It took about 1 hour to get another strike, but when I did it was a nice 2 lb keeper. With one in the livewell I started to feel better. Over the next hour I boated about 10 bass and lost about 5. Almost every fish was 14 3/4″ and the size limit was 15″. That is how my weekend was going. I went back to where I lost my first fish and slam. I drilled the best fish I had hooked up with. It weighed 4.8lbs. Now with 2 in the well at 9:30 my hopes were up again. We started catching alot of dinks. However, unlike the day before, we had alot of boat traffic in the small creek and it was taking its tole. I never caught or hooked up with another keeper in the creek, but Steve did catch one nice keeper. Then around 11:00 we never caught another fish there. around 1:00 we decided to head up in Mattawomen Creek to try finding some bedding bass. I managed to hook a couple of dinks and then it happened again. I flipped into a log and my line jumped and slammed. I drilled the hook into the fish and it took off for deep was like good fish do. I never got to see the fish because it popped off almost instantly.
Although my tournament was not a success in the standings, it was a success in that I shared a couple of great days on the water with some new friends and my dad. The fishing at the Potomac River is truly amazing. I can’t wait to be able to make another trip there.
There is a new fishing team that has come together for the 2010 TBF season here in PA. The name is The Bass Hounds; they are based out of Carnegie PA. They will be fishing the PA TBF events in PA’s district 5 and 6. The team is composed of 6 seasoned anglers with years of experience. The members of the team are Rich Wolota, Brad Bressler, Brian Spencer, Derek Severns, Jeff Spencer and Bob Severns.
The Bass Hounds would like to take a moment to thank all of their sponsors, because with out them, this season would not be possible. The team’s title sponsor is Valvoline Oil Co. The other companies supporting the team are Nervous Waters, Strauss Automotive, Metal Menders, Fish Pittsburgh.com, Poor Boys Baits, Ardent Reels, and Nowak Commercial Refinishing.
We will have write ups on all of these companies in upcoming blogs. Please feel free to contact any of these companies and let them know that The Bass Hounds sent you to them and they will be happy help you out. Our sponsors will provide specials that we will list on this site. When you see them, feel free to call them with the promotional code and you will receive a discount.
The team starts off the 2010 season at the Potomac River April 23rd and 24th for the TBF MR. Bass East event. We will let you know how the team fairs. Also, remember to check back at www.fishpittsburgh.com for updates on the team and sponsors.
Recently I competed in the Bassmaster Weekend Series regional championship at the Potomac River. The tournament was held on October 16 and 17, but I decided that with a new triton boat on the line and a bid to the nation championship on the line that I would go practice from Monday the 12th thru Thursday the 15th. I was fortunate enough to room with a great group of guys from Pennsylvania. I would like to thank Steve Hughes, Gus Glasgow, Ted Glasgow, Steve Allard, Mark Hughes, and my dad, Ron Cancilla, for a very enjoyable trip. It was nice to be part of a group of guys that acted like a team to help one another develop winning patterns together. For me it was my first trip down to the Potomac River and the guys gave me important information on dangerous areas and what to look for as far as fish habitat.
Before I left for my trip all I heard was how great a fishery that the Potomac River has become. I believe that if we would have got better weather I would have seen that. Unfortunately, with falling water temps all week, the conditions got more difficult as time went on. Here is my experience.
Monday was my true first day of practice and decided that I should stay close to the launching site of the tournament. The tournament was launching from Smallwood State Park on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. Smallwood State Park is a beautiful facility, but has a $10 launching fee per day. Smallwood State Park is located on Mattawomen Creek and is known for its number of bass. That was apparent right away as I boated a bunch of small keepers on white spinnnerbaits, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, and a series 1XS strike king crankbait. A keep largemouth bass during this season at the Potomac River is 12 inches and most of the fish that I found were in the 13-14″ range. Around mid day I decided that I would try a couple of my lake spots that I wanted to hit with little success. I did manage to catch a snakehead. For those who don’t know these are fish are an invasive species that you are supposed to kill when you catch them. I however did not kill the snakehead that I caught because I didn’t have a picture of the fish with me to determine if that is truly what I caught. Later that night I confirmed that is what I caught. After Some main lake spots, I decided to run to Belmont Bay and the creek in the back of it. The water looked fantastic, but I only managed 3 keepers in there. The water temperature was 65+ degrees depending on where we were fishing. The weather was warm 70′s and mostly sunny.
Tuesday I decided to make my longest run of practice. I decided to fish Aquia Creek, the Arcandale Flats, and Wades Bay. There is not a lot for me to right about Tuesday because I only managed to catch 4 bass. The best was on a series 4 strike king crankbait. It was Tuesday that I finally saw the results of catching the tides wrong. However, it would take me until the last day of the tournament to learn how to fish the tide change properly.
Wednesday I decided that I would spend less time running the big motor and more time trying to catch fish. I decided to fish Chickamoxen Creek, main river areas, and 1 other small creek. Up until 2:30 I was having very little success only catching 2 keepers all morning. I had found some rip rap in about 3 1/2 feet of water at high tide. Feeling a bit defeated I switch to finesse fishing a shakey head worm on a football shakey head jig. Wow, did it work!!! I stuck 4 fish on the 400 yards of water and had many more hits. I figured that I would have had about 13lbs of fish with my best five fish that day and was confident that I would get those fish to myself in the tournament. The weather starting changing Wednesday though. It started sunny, but the wind picked up and overcast move in. The water temperature had started to drop as well.
Thursday I decided to try to find more rip rap for my shakey jigs. The weather had turned nasty though. Cold rainy conditions should have allowed for my pattern to hold up, but it killed the bite. Around 9:30 I decided I would give Belmont Bay and its creek another try. I had no success. Around 11:00 I decided that I was going to start at the Occoquan River mouth and fish the weed line with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and chattebaits, until I found a spot with some fish or I found a lure that worked. After about 1/2 mile and 15 lures I found a lure and stretch that was loaded with keepers. They weren’t big keepers, but I figured it got tough these fish may get me into the top 50. My lure of choice was a lucky craft flat crankbait that had a less aggressive wobble in about 5-7 feet of water. The water temperature was now around 58 Degrees and falling.
The first day of the tournament was Friday and I managed to draw 1st flight and boat 25. That made me feel good since there were 167 boats in the tournament. The weather was rainy and windy and the air temperature would never get higher than 45 degrees. I had made my mind up the night before that I would start on the best fish that I found with my shakey head pattern. From 7:15 – 10:45 I worked these fish hard and only managed to catch 1 keeper that was 12 1/4″. My rider managed a small limit using a white spinnerbait. At this point I decided to make the run into the Occoquan River and work the fish I had found the day before. Over the next 3+ hours I caught 12-15 more keepers on the same lucky craft crankbait working a short stretch of water. The key to the spot was that at low tide the fish located themselves on the weed edge. Pulling crankbaits through the weeds was frustrating, but it was producing fish. At 1:30 I decided to leave the fish and try a couple of spots on the main river that I though could give me a big bite. Check-in came and I managed no more keepers. I weighted 5 keeper largemouth bass that weighed 8.34 pounds. For the Potomac River those are bad numbers, but I was sitting in 37th place. The game planning started for the next day.
Saturday morning came and I was in 2nd flight and was boat 112. The wait in the morning about killed me, but the weather was even more brutal. The air temperature would once again never break 45 degree and it would rain/sleet all day. Through the course of the night I had decided that I was going to sit on the one school of fish I had located in the Occoquan River all day. What I hadn’t truly realized yet is how the tide effects where the fish were located in the spot I was fishing. I ran to my spot right away and started working my fish with the same lucky craft crankbait. After 2 hours of fishing my stretch I had no keepers on my weed edge. Then I remembered the words that Steve told me before I left that morning. “You will be surprised how shallow that the fish will go when it is high tide.” I pulled out my spinnerbait rod opened my box and picked out a spinnerbait with 2 small nickel willow blades and a pink/white skirt. Normally, I would only throw this spinnerbait for smallmouth, but I was desperate. Three casts after I started beating the bank I caught my first keeper. Then it was back to nothing. Figuring it was a fluke I decide to work my weed edge with some other lures for another hour. Once again no luck. At this point the tide was going out so I decided to work the weeds in between the bank and my weed edge. I decided that I would also drift to not spook the fish. Oh my how it work. In the next 10 minutes I loaded the well with a small limit. But I had my limit. As I finished my drift I realized that 10 boats saw me catching fish and swarmed my area. Knowing that the fish were shallow I knew that many trolling motors and depth finders would kill the bite in a hurry. And it did! I never caught another fish shallow. Slowly the boats disappeared and around 1:00 I was the last boat on my stretch again. At this point I figured that the tide was such that the fish would have relocated at the weed edge. Since the water had dropped all the water to 52 degree I made a lure selection that even I didn’t believe I was using. I went to a lucky craft point 78. You have to understand that if there is one technique that I feel inferior in using is hard body jerkbaits. But you want to talk about instant results, my first cast I caught a keeper on a 5 second pause. It would be the first of about 15 fish that I would catch in the next 1 1/2 hours. Using a 5 -10 second pause proved to be key in getting strikes. Looking back I wish I would have used the lure all morning because I think I would have caught more fish, but it was the adjustment I needed to move up the leader board. Day 2 of the tournament I weighed 5 largemouth bass that weighed 7.81 pounds.
As weigh-in concluded I knew that my 10 bass weighing 16.15lbs would be close to the top 20 anglers who would receive a check. I ended up finishing 21st out of 167 competitors. I felt very good about my finish because I had never been there, I had a bad practice, and I made the adjustments I needed to. Like most tournaments I did make a few minor mistakes that cost me probably 2 or 3 lbs and several places in the standing. Even so, I reached my ultimate goal of going to the national championship at Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas. Starting November 1st I will be competing against 199 other competitors for $100,000 and a bid to the Bassmaster Classic this February. Check back in a couple weeks to see how that trip goes.