Ryan Abey Fishing

Helping Reel In The Cure

Ram Open 5/5/2018

Stop number 2, found us hitting the Upper Chesapeake Bay, launching out of Anchor Marina. The initial tournament was scheduled for 4/14/2018, but was canceled due to high winds and small craft advisory's. The make up date was set for 5/5/2018.

I was unable to get out on the water to practice, due to a very busy work schedule but I sat down the week prior and looked over past reports and notes I had. I felt confident I would be able to find a few fish.

I started out on tournament day, heading to the Furnace Bay area. Prior to getting there, I saw a boat that appeared to be stuck on the flats and I attempted to help the anglers out. They had scooted a little bit further in (like 8 feet) off of the channel and found the flat (at this time it was ankle deep water). I was unable to help them but the boater was grateful I at least stopped and tried. While trying to help, I broke the pull rope on my trolling motor and had to make the best repair I could while out there fishing.

I headed over to my fist spot, and fund about 10 other boats in the area, fishing a few grass clumps that had stated to emerge. I saw a few fish caught, but no one was able to locate a keeper. I was trying to target the fish, using an Explosive Tackle Wiggle Blade (Pearl Shad and Black/Blue) as well as the Livingston Lures Pro Ripper (Spring Craw) and the Livingston Lures Primetyme SQ 2.0 (Matte Tiger). 

I made a move from Furnace Bay, into a creek where I have caught good fish in the past. I switched my tactics up, and stated using a Reaction Innovation  Sweet Beaver (several different colors). I immediately hooked up, however they were under the 15 inch size limit. I continued to work lay downs, pilings, and other hard cover until the the tide turned to come in.  Once that happened, I saw an increase in hook ups however, none of them were 15 inches.  

I made a move to another creek and again found several smaller bass but was unable to find any keepers. This continued until it was time to weigh in. Its a hard pill to swallow, not weighing fish in but its further proof that nothing substitutes time on the water. 

Next tournament is 7 days away on the Potomac River. Short turn around with lots to do before hitting the water on 5/12/18  

Ram Open 3/31/2018

First tournament of the 2018 season, and man is it cold!! Old Man Winter just wont go away!!! 

Hit the water on Friday, March 30 to see if I could locate a few 15 inch fish after not being down here for nearly a year. The water was in the 50's and very dirty. The wind did not help at all either!! 

I started out in a spawning area near the launch, just to see if there was any grass starting to fill in. I was using a Livingston Pro Ripper and was able to find very sporadic grass growth. No fish were willing to take the bait so I made a run down river to the Chicamuxen Creek, another well known spawning area.

I was greeted by several other anglers and a little bit better vegetation growth. I again was using the Livingston Lures Pro Ripper to try and locate the fish. I had a few strikes, but none that would full commit to taking the lure. I continued to seek out some fish until the wind picked up and forced me off the water due to small craft advisory. I always error on the side of caution. 

Tournament Day!!! I started out the event, making the run south to the Chicamuxen Creek. I drew an early boat number but still arrived in the creek to about 15 other boats. I headed back to a section of the creek that I found with pretty good grass growth and began to work the edge with the Livingston Lures Pro Ripper (spring craw and Guntersville Craw). I would switch between that and the Explosive Tackle Company Wiggle Blade (Black Blue and Texas Craw).

I was able to land my only keeper around 10 on the Pro Ripper (Spring Craw). I continued to work the area catching several small fish (Maryland legal size limit 15 inches) but no other keepers. I did manage to catch a 10 pound Snakehead which fell victim to the Pro Ripper as well!! 

At around 12, I made a move to the Smallwood State Park area, and hit the area of Marsh Island. I again started working the channel edge of the grass flat and immediately hooked up with a nice fish. As I was scrambling to get my net, the fish came unbuttoned and I was unable to get it in the boat. I continued to work the area, picking up a few more short fish but was unable to boat another keeper. 

Weigh in time arrived and I was able to head to the scales with my 1 keeper that weighed 2.26 pounds and I found myself finishing 66th place. Not the best, but still valuable points. 

Time to put this tournament behind me and start preparing for the 2nd stop of the trail on the Upper Chesapeake Bay in a few weeks!! 

Anglers Choice 5/9/15

Hit the water for the second stop of the Anglers Choice Potomac Pro Team trail on May 9th. Started the morning out by getting the other 9 teams registered and launched. Once that was completed, I had to tend to Trim issues with my boat. Starting to see a pattern this year with boat issues!! Was able to get it fixed and we got launched only about 15 minutes behind the rest of the field.  

I had received a few reports from friends that fished the Potomac River the weekend prior to our tournament and developed a game plan to head to a near by creek which has been holding good numbers of fish.  We targeted lily pads and found the tide to be coming in. Within the first few hours we were able to boat a limit of "cookie cutter" Potomac Bass (all about 2.5 to 3 pounds). We opted to stay in the area and fish the falling tide in hopes of getting one or two "kicker" fish. We continued to upgrade all day (ounces at a time) but were unable to locate the 4 pound class fish we were truly hoping for.  As time counted down, we headed back to the launch site and fished a few areas around it but were unable to pull out any fish that would help our limit.  

Once weigh in was all said and done, we ended up in 3rd place with a 5 fish limit that weighed 14.66 pounds and was anchored by a 3.91 kicker.  All of out fish came on an isolated lily field and isolated wood near slightly deeper water. I was using a Sweet Beaver and my partner was using a custom made jig. With that finish, we currently are sitting in 3rd place for Anglers of the year and are optimistic on improving that standing in the up coming events.  

Tournament Conditions: 
Location: Potomac River
Date: 5/9/15
Air Temp: 60-70 degrees
Water Temp: mid 60's 
Water Clarity: Clear to stained
Wind: 0-5
Lures: Soft Plastics and Jigs
Pattern: Lily Pads and Isolated wood

Anglers Choice 4/18/15

      I started the 2015 season off fishing the Angler Choice Potomac Pro Teams event out of Smallwood State Park on Saturday April 18. My partner and I had a great plan and felt that if we followed that plan, we would be on the winning bag of fish.  Once we got all the boats launched (we launched last since I am the director of the trail) we headed on out to our first spot. We had planned on going up north to fish a few docks near the main river. 

      While heading that, way, I noticed that my boat was running very very sluggish and would only reach 50 Mph. I also noticed that it was surging as if the motor wasn't getting enough fuel. None the less, we continued to our first spot, dodging large debris fields on the main river.  The water color was not as bad as I though it was going to be, and we had an almost high tide that would be falling most of the tournament. Those conditions, on time of beautiful weather and little to no wind, really had me confident that we would have a great day!!

      Once we arrived at our first stop, we immediately noticed that we had the entire area to ourselves. The water temps were reading in the low to mid 60's. My partner picked up his custom made jig and I picked up a beaver to start picking the docks apart. Within the first few cast, my partner was setting the hook on what we were hoping was a good Potomac River bass. It turned out to be a Catfish instead!! While landing the fish, I noticed that both of my bilge pumps had kicked on, and they would remain on for about 90 seconds.  I asked my partner if he was sure he had put the plug in, which he responded he had. Now I became concerned that maybe we hit something on the main river that had caused damage to the hull of my boat. 

      While my partner was taking care of the catfish, I went back and checked my bilge area.  To my surprise, it was rapidly filling with water due to what appeared to be a small hole in the bottom of the hull.  I had turned the bilge pumps on and watched the water pump all out, which revealed not just 1 hole but a total of 4!!! The holes appeared to have been cause by the instillation of my new Lowrance puck. This was not a good thing as the water was rapidly coming in. My bilge pumps appeared to be able to keep up with it however my concern for the battery life and our safety caused me to make the decision to head back to Smallwood State Park to attempt to fix the holes.

      Once back at the park, my partner headed to Walmart to buy some epoxy so that we could pull the Pink Fishing/Preston Automotive Triton out and sealed up.  Once he was back, we did just that, sealing the holes with epoxy. In doing this, we ended up losing a total of 4.5 hours of valuable fishing time. It did however, give me the chance to meet a few local Outdoor blog/podcast host from Blanchard Outdoors (www.blanchardoutdoors.com). We exchanged information and Lenessa Terry took a few photographs of the boat and truck before we dumped back in and head back to try and catch a few fish.

      We left the state park at approximately 11AM and head right back to the location we left. Once we arrived, we found several other boats fishing that area.  We pulled in to our first dock and with in 30 minutes had our first 3 pounder in the boat. This first fish fell victim to my partners custom made jig.  We continued to fish this pattern until we had to make our run back to weigh in. We picked up a total of 4 fish only 3 measuring over the minimum 15 inch size limit. Both my partner and I were not feeling like we had enough to come close to winning however we were happy with being able to weigh in fish as it will be vital to staying in the hunt for "Anglers of the Year" for the trail. 

      Once back at the ramp, I started talking to other teams that were fishing our tournament and found out that even though we only had 3 fish, we might still be in contention for the win as 4 teams did not catch a legal sized fish and another team only had 2.  As I stated to weigh in other teams fish, the realization of winning had slipped away and the frustrating fact that had we been able to fish our spot in the morning without having to leave, we most likely would have won the event.  I weighed a total of 5 teams (not counting us) none of which had a limit of fish. 2 teams weighed in 4 fish, 3 teams (counting us) weighed in 3 fish and 1 team weighed in 2 fish.  The winning bag of 4 fish went 11.11 with second place being 4 fish for 9.55. Our 3 fish put us in 5th place with 6.75. 

      Our next tournament for Anglers Choice is on May 9th out of Smallwood State Park!! 

New Video Updates Will Be Coming Soon!!! 

Tournament Conditions:
Location: Potomac River
Date: 4/18/15
Air Temp: 60-75 degrees
Water Temp: low to mid 60's
Water Clarity: Slightly Stained 
Wind: 5-10
Lures: Soft Plastics/Jigs
Pattern: Docks 

USAC 7/20/13



                I headed out to fish the Potomac Pro Teams event alone this week since my teammate was fishing the B.A.S.S. Nation Divisional on Lake Erie. I started out already behind the “8-ball” since my outboard motor was still not fixed. I decided to fish the event only on my trolling motor which limited me to the area in and around Smallwood State Park. This and the heat would truly test my will to “grind out” the day.

                Once we launched, I headed over to a nice stretch of lily pads and a healthy looking grass bed. The tide was falling and had been for a few hours. I decided to start throwing surface lures, first throwing a hollow bodied frog and a bird lure by “Flip in the bird”. I got several blow ups but was only able to boat one of them which fell the “bird lure” and weighed about 3 pounds.  I continued to target these fish but was unable to get any other fish to fully commit to the surface lures. This fish came onboard first thing so in the back of my mind I began to think about fish care. I turned on my Fish Guardian System and felt confident that my fish were going to be just as healthy at the end of the day as they were when they came in the boat.

                I made the decision to troll across Mattawoman Creek to another grass bed that has produced for me in the past. This area isn’t really far away however it took about 20 minutes on the trolling motor. Once I was there I again started throwing surface lures but was getting no takers.  I made a switch to a beaver that was Texas Rigged with an Eco Pro Tungsten 1/8 ounce worm weight, flipping to mats of grass. I was flipping this rig on the Denali Jadewood Custom Worm/Jig Rod.  I spent over an hour in this area only catching a few 12 inch fish.  I during this time, I made several changes in colors, and size but was unable to get any other fish.

                I trolled back over to the area that I was in during the morning fishing a little closer to deeper water. I again started using a beaver flipping to grass mats.  As the tide began turn and come back in, the fishing picked up.  I was able to boat my limit, which was a small limit, by noon.  As the water moved continued to rise, I moved closer to the shore, and was able to catch another 20 fish, calling all but one small one.

                As I headed back to the ramp I felt that I had a nice bag but was unsure if I had enough to finish the event anywhere close to the top.  As I started to weigh in the other anglers, my confidence level rose greatly as it appeared most anglers had a tough day. I was the last to weigh in and knew that I didn’t have 16.02 pounds, which was needed to take over first place, but felt that a top 5 was within grasp.  I put my fish on the scale which showed a weight of 13.18 pounds. This bag landed me 4th place overall.



Potomac River 3/30/13

I had the chance to take a little trip to the mighty Potomac River to fish the Delaware TBF Buddy Tournament with a good friend, Lew Bouldon, on Saturday 3/30/13. Both Lew and I really had not been out on the river prior to this event so our expectations were to go out and have a good time fishing. We both have been hearing how tough this river is fishing this year so we didn't want to set out goals to high. 

We launched in the 52nd position out of approximately 60 boats. I had received some tips from a pro staff member of Explosive Tackle who took 2nd place in the B.A.S.S. Weekend Series the weekend prior. So taking that information, I tied on a black/blue Explosive Tackle Wiggle Blade V2.0 with the a silver blade tailed by a black/sapphire blue chunk craw . I colored the blade of the Wiggle Blade black using a sharpie marker which has been the key over the last few weeks. Since the water was pretty dirty and the temps were only in the mid 40's, I knew it was going to be a grind. 

Our first stop was a little community hole where lily pads are just breaking the bottom. We set up in about 2 foot of water and started making our cast. Lew was throwing a red color shallow running crankbait and immediately hooked up with a nice bass. This fish absolutely devoured the crank. Not a bad start for only fishing 30 minutes!!! We continued to fish the flat area and sure enough about an hour later, I hook up with a nice 2.5 pounder. After getting the 2nd fish in the boat, it only took about 15 minutes before I had another fishing. This fish just made the 15 inch length requirement however, it was number 3 and we were happy. 

This action continued for the next few hours catching several fish, most of which were under the 15 inch limit. Lew was not hooking up with the crank bait so he decided to switch to a similar style bladed jig however he was having difficulty keeping his blade on the bottom at the extremely slow retrieval rate needed to trigger the strikes. Since I had a few extra blades, we made a very quick change out so that he could now keep his bladed jig on the bottom, using an Explosive Tackle blade. 

After boating out 4th keeper fish, the bite seemed to just stop. The area we were fishing had now become a bass boat parking lot, so we made the decision to make a move to another area that had some submerged wood structure near a nice deep ledge. Lew started flipping the wood as I continued throwing the Wiggle Blade. With in 10 minutes, I was able to hook up with our 5th keeper.  We continued to fish the area for about an hour and a half after boating that fish. But no other fish came out of that area.  

We made out last and final move for the day, ending up right in front of the launch site fishing a similar flat as we did in the morning. Making this move seemed to work, as it only took 20 minutes for the Wiggle Blade to land our 6th fish. Unfortunately that would be our last fishing, leaving us just shy of the 7 fish limit. We headed in to the weigh in very happy with the day. 

As we brought our bag to the scale, we were happy to see the total weight hit the 13.64 pound mark. We missed the top 10 and a check but never the less, we had a great day fishing.  We went ahead and wiped down Lew's Triton and headed home. All in all it was a good day out on the Potomac.  The fish seem to be getting a little more active as the water temps moved up into the low 50 degree range. After talking to several other anglers, it seemed that coloring the blade black was the key. I am gearing up for the next trip out on the water, which will be on the Upper Chesapeake Bay for the US Anglers Choice Pro Teams event on April 7th!!!  

Upper Chesapeake Bay 3/17/13


Potomac River 3/16/13

On 3/16/13 I fished the U.S. Anglers Choice Potomac Pro Teams on the Potomac River. We launched out of Smallwood State Park and head out to the main river to see if we could get some of those pre-spawn bass to bite. 

Prior to us leaving the ramp area, my partner and I both noticed that the water looked like chocolate mike. It was very muddy and murky. The water temp at that time was 47 degrees. We decided to hit a dock on the main river that has been known to hold bass.

As he approached the dock, we again noticed that the water was still very muddy and that the water temp had not changed.  We began to pick the dock apart throwing jigs, soft plastics, crank baits and even bladed jigs.  The first hour goes buy with no bites. As we worked our way around and down the adjacent bank, my teammate got the first bite missing the hook-up. He described the bite was very soft. As we re-approached the dock, I was throwing a shakee head finesse worm in watermelon. I had a very aggressive bite but missed the hook up.  We made a pass down the dock and as we came back up, I threw the shakee head back to the pillion that I had missed the earlier bite and immediately hooked up with a 14inch Rock Fish. Yea it was a bass however not what we were hoping for.  We made a few more passes and I again hooked up with Rock Fish almost every time. 

The decision was made to make a run across the river to a few rock jetties that also have produced great numbers of fish.  When are arrived, we saw that we were 1 of about 5 boats fishing these rock jetties.  We again started to throw everything we had trying to provoke a bass into biting, but we were unsuccessful. We fished this area for about an hour and noticed that the water on this side of the river was much dirtier than the other side.  Water temps were still in the high 40’s.

After fishing the jetties, we headed to the Chickamuxen Creek and tried fishing that area.  The water was a little better however it was still very murky and muddy. We targeted isolated wood and a few docks throwing a variety of different lures with no luck catching any fish.  At this point in the game, my teammate and I were in scrabble mode trying to figure the fish out. 

We made a few more main river stops with no luck on any fish. We decided to then go back into Mattawoman Creek and try Trash Point.  As soon as we started fishing this area, I immediately hooked up with a nice bass. I flipped my shakee head finesse worm to a isolated piece of concrete and pulled out a bass weighing 3.07 pounds. We then focused our attention on this area, throwing at everything. Within a few cast, I again hooked up with another bass that would have weighed about 2 pounds however we couldn’t keep it due to it not being 15 inches.  As the time grew to an end, we realized that we were not going to be able to put anymore keepers in the boat.  We headed back in to the launch site and got ready for the weigh in.   

At the close of the scales, our one fish was good enough for us to take 8th place. A good friend of mine won the event with 15.01 pounds. He told me that they were able to catch their fish using a all black bladed jig and a small black and blue crawfish style soft plastic.  They targeted lily pad fields, working the lures extremely slow.  They stayed in Mattawoman Creek the entire day!!!

Upper Bay 7/23/11

Fished our club tournament on the Upper Bay on Saturday July 23. We launched out of Anchor Marine and were ready to battle the heat and the fish. Temps were slated to hit 100 plus the heat index would make it feel like 110. I drew boat one and lead the charge out of Anchor. I had spoke with a few friends of mine that were more familuar with the water on that side of the bridge and was given a few area's to target. Seeing how I did not get the chance to pre fish I figured it was best to talk to those that new the water.

My first stop was a grass bed that had produced several double digit bag (22 pounds down to 16 pounds) a week or so prior to our tourny. I started fishing top water throughing and Explosive Tackle Buzz Bait, The Worlds Best Bass Frog, and a Spro Frog with no takers. I then picked up my go to bait and start flipping the edges and thicker areas. Again no takers.  After about 45 minutes of this, I decided to make a move. I had falling water and I knew these fish should have been eating.

The second place I hit was a small bay area that had shallow water (less then 1 foot) with some wood here and there. My non-boater for the day immidately put 2 nice 2 pounders in the boat pitching the outer edge of the grass line. As I started targeting the "crazy looking" thicker grass area's I was able to land my first keeper which weighed in at just under 2 pounds. I flipped back to the same spot and again picked up another 1.5 pounder.  Feeling like this area was good, I continued to work the outer edge, working back and forth. I again picked up another 2.5 pound fish doing this.  As I worked towards the mouth of this cut, I saw what appeared to be an old wreck of some sort and I started targeting that. On the second cast to this structure, I hooked up with my biggest fish of the day and what would later be the tournament lunker, a 4.17 pound large mouth.  We continued to work this area for about and hour until we weren't getting bit anymore and I again decided to move.

I only moved out to the mouth of the cut where the main channel ran close to another outer edge of a grass bed.  At this time, the sky turned  gray and it started raining which contiued for about 20 minutes.  During that time, I picked up my limit fish which was a nice 3 pounder.  Now the hunt was on to cull the two smaller fish out.  This didn't take long as I was able to up grade very quickly with anouth 3 pounder and on fish that was 3.25 pounds.  As I culled the last of the smaller fish, I looked at the clock and to my delight it was only 8 AM. I still had a lot of fishing to do. I was able to pick up a few more fish that up graded my limit by ounces.

The fishing seemed to drop off as the tide turned so I took this time to make sure the live wells were doing what they should be. I had been changing the water out every 20 minutes with the airator on the entire time. As I checked in on the fish I noticed that I had already lost one. Now my day had turned form fishing to worring about the live well issue. I tired everything I knew to do to keep the fish healthy and save. I was not sucessfull at this as I ended up losing 2 more fish and had to take a 3 dead fish penalty (which was .75 pounds). This was the first time in 16 years of fishing that I had ever weighed in a dead fish. I was upset to say the least.

As the scales opened and my club members started bring the fish in, I was feeling pretty good knowing that I had about 15 pounds prior to any penatly. But I wasn't out of the clear as two of the "big sticks" still had to weigh in. Once they weighed there fish, I knew if I had what I thought I had weight wise I would be ok even with the penalty. The heaviest weight prior to me (I was last to weigh in) was 12.29. As I put my fish on the scale I watched it lock in at 15.45 pounds. Once the .75 penalty was taken off I still had 14.70 pounds winning by a little over 2 pounds. 

What a day. My co-angler ended up 3rd with 4 fish weighing in at 8.81 pounds. The only thing to make this day better would have been putting all 5 of my fish back into the bay alive but sometimes theres nothing that can be done.  I will say, I have already looked at several additional systems to help with keeping my fish alive in the future. I am hoping to decide on one of them with in the week and start getting it ready for my next tourny.

Upper Bay 6/5/11

I fished the US Anglers Choice Eastern Shore Pro Teams event on 6/5/11. My teammate, Shelton Walters, and I headed out trying to edge the other teams out of taking home the gold. We launched out of Turners Creek and headed to a little area off of the bay.

Once we got into this secluded area it became very obvious that we would be "jocking for position" while we were there. At the start, we had one boat that was bow to bow with mine fishing the same area. The rider on that boat was using my outboard as structure, pitching and flipping to my lower unit. Utter frustration struck at first but was quickly kicked by landing a nice 3 pound bass. After boating the first fish, several other boats had entered this area and were pretty much right on top of us. I held my ground and we were able to land yet another 2 pound large mouth bass. The tide was incoming and both of these fish came on soft plastics flipped to pilings. I lost 3 good fish during our 2 hours in this area. 

We then decided to make a move to an area that helped win the Bass Masters Classic that was held on the bay back in the 80's. Cranking this area boated us yet another nice fish. We made several more passes and decided to head out to another locations. The decisions was easy since we were getting slammed by wind, and wake making very difficult to keep the boat in good position. 

At the next location, we targeted standing wood, fallen wood and grass but were unable to get any takers. We made several passes trying everything from plastics, to blades but couldn’t find a fish.  A tough decision was made and we headed back to the Sassafras River and started hitting some of the feeder creeks looking to finish off out limit.

The first creek we hit immediately produced several fish that didn't make the 15" measurement but I felt this was a good sign. As we continued to fish a bank with great cover, I landed another good keeper fish and missed 2 more on bad hook sets.  My partner was able to land the limit fish a short time later leaving us about 90 minutes to find a "biggin." We however were unable to do that and raced back to the launch with seconds to spare.

As weigh in started I had a good feeling that we might have won the tournament as no other teams had their limits.  As the teams weighed in, it was very clear that we had won this one but not by much.  We weighed our 5 fish in last and the scales read 11.28. Yes this was first but not by much as the second place team that weighed in 4 fish had 10.24. It was close, but a win is a win.

I'd like to thank not only my teammate Shelton Walters but all of my sponsors that have kempt me on the water and able to fish these tournaments this year. Without their support, I’d be sitting home watching it unfold before my eyes instead of "living the dream."

Lake Anna 4/2/11

Lake Anna 3/31-4/2/2011

                I made the trip down to Lake Anna VA this past weekend to fish the B.A.S.S. Weekend Series Maryland Division tournament. I went down a few days early to get the lay of the lake since I had never been down to the lake. I arrived at the lake at 7AM on Thursday morning and launched out of Dukes.

                As I backed the boat down to the ramp, I took a few minutes to look at the water and saw it was “gin clear”. It had been raining the entire trip down and was over cast skies. The air temp was in the low 40’s and the water temps where not much higher. I noticed at the start of the day, my Lowrance unit was reading a water temp of 42 degrees. Not my favorite conditions to fish but it was the hand that I was dealt.

                I headed out of Dukes Marina and started fishing the first cove to the left hitting the docks, rocky points, standing and fallen wood with no luck. I fished slow moving spinner baits, jigs, soft plastics, medium sized swim baits and even tried a jerk bait. I did see some spawning beds but did not see any bass on or bear them.

                I moved out of that cove and headed towards Dike III near the damn. Again targeting rocky points and drop off’s, as well as docks. Still no luck, so I changed my approached and started hitting secondary points. I slowed my retrieves down and took note of the water temps which now had reached 48-50 degrees.   But despite my best efforts, still no fish.

                I left that area and found another cove that had several good points with deeper water. The wind had picked up and this cove had points exposed to the wind and points protected from the wind. I tried them all. I finally hit a shallow wood bulk head that had about 1-2 foot of water on it and was able to get several strikes on a watermelon jig with a black craw trailer. I pulled off of the bulk head and started slow rolling a spinner bait near the small drop off by a boat dock at received 2 more strikes. Still no true takers and no fish landed but signs of life. Not wanting to mess up the already locked jaw fish, I moved out of the cove and tried to see if I had discovered a pattern.

                I headed back to Dukes and hit the rear of the cove beyond the marina. Again slow rolling a spinner bait near the ledges and using a jig to fish other wooden bulk heads. I did not repeat the results I got in the prior cove. I did however see a “buck” bass around a spawning bed.  He was only about a pound or so but I made mental note of where it was and what the water temps were.   The temps had only risen to 54 degrees and the wind had increase. I decided to call it a day around 430PM and loaded my boat.

                On Friday, I got a slightly later start and headed out of Sturgons Creek. As I launched the Triton, I noticed two things that were different from the day before. First was the water was discolored and second was the water temps where starting in the mid to high 40’s. I headed out of the creek and started towards some secluded islands in the main lake.

                I had read in the weeks prior to the trip, that these islands have been known to hold good size fish and a good quantity of them.  I again started targeting the windy points that had deep water close by. I started off Shakee heading and then switched to a jig. No takers and after about an hour and a half of fishing and looking I headed to my next locations. 

                I pulled up to the first secondary point in just past Sturgons creek and started fishing. I had a friend with me who was also struggling to get a bite.  As we fished the point,  my rider was able to land a fish using a finesse worm on a shake head. The fish wasn’t big but was a keeper.  Not wanting to stick the fish, we moved out and went to the next point and again started getting strikes so we again decided not to stick the fish and left the area.  I noted the locations and the water temps which at this time had risen to 54 degrees. 

                The next location I targeted was a cove with a feeder creek . This cove had fallen timber on both side with about a 1 to 3 foot drop off and started throwing everything I had at them.  No takers and after about 2 hours of fishing the cove and the nearby banks, I decided to move back into Sturgons creek. 

                After fishing most of the points in Sturgon with no takers, I decided to pull out and rest up for the tournament which was less than 24 hours away.  At this point of the trip, I still did not have great game plan for the tournament and was hoping for a good draw.

                On Saturday after the launch of the tournament, I started towards the points that I had gotten a good feel for on Friday. My non-boater and I fished these points for more than 90 minutes throwing everything from Shakee heads, drop shots, to crank baits and jerk baits but were unable to get any fish. My partner made the suggestion to head towards the split and we did.

                As we approached the split, I saw a cove that “just looked and felt good” so I pulled in and we started fishing. This cove had much dirtier water and some old grass on the point and towards the back.  As we pulled in towards the back of the cove, I noticed the water temp was 53 and the wind had started picking up. My non-boater made a cast towards the outside edge of a weed bed. He was using a Texas rigged green watermelon green Chigger Craw. As he started working the bait, he set the hook on what would later be a 4+ pound largemouth bass. Both of us were very happy and were hoping that we figured some kind of pattern out so we started targeting similar areas.  After nearly 3 hours of targeting similar areas with no luck, we headed in to Sturgons creek to fish the point there.

                We hit the points and coves of Sturgons and could not get anything so we headed to a cove just on the other side of Sturgons.  My non-boater had switched his tactic from Texas Rigged soft plastics to a Carolina Rigged Watermelon Seed color senko. He was working the channel edge and picked up a 2 pounder on our third pass. But that would be the only fish caught in that cove.

                We made several more moves with no luck. We again tried Sturgons creek for our last few minutes and were just unable to pick up any fish. My non-boater ended the day only one fish shy of his 3 fish limit and ended up weighing just over 6 pounds and he was able to cash a check. I was unable to put anything in the boat and went home very frustrated. This fact would compound as I later found out that the winning limit of fish came just a few miles away from where we boated the 4+ pounder.

Nanticoke River 3/26/11

Fished the Eastern Shore Bass Masters Club trail event #4 for 2011 on the Nanticoke River on Saturday. 12 club members battled the 34 degree weather tempatures and 45 degree water temps chasing after the Angler of the Year title. I drew boat position 1 and had done alittle research since the last Nanticoke tournament that I zeroed on. As the 630 blast of time came upon us, my non-boater and I headed North from the Seaford Ramp towards the railroad bridge.

I had seen and read that the shallow side had and has consistantly produced so decided to pick it apart. I started with a custom color Explosive Tackle 1/2oz Football jig that I later lost after setting the hook on a strike and landing a bridge pillon. After methodically fishing the area with a jig, I did the same with a custom Explosive Tackle Spinner Bait that was slow rolled in and around the wood structure near the bridge and shore line. I worked the area for nearly 1 hour with no luck. I made the decsion to move to Broad Creek. I noticed the water temp prior to moving was 48 degrees, which was nearly 5 degrees lower then the last tournament on 3/12/11.

After making the brisk run to Broad Creek, I started targeting wood in or near deeper water. I again slow rolled a spinner, used a jig and added a El Grande Lures, Hatch Match lure to the mix. My rider was able to land a 13 inch fish slow rolling a spinnerbait near a beaver dam. I was able to catch my first bass of 2011 which measured only 11 inches. He was picked up in the chanell in about 12 feet of water on a spinnerbait. That would be my only fish for the day.

After trying a few other locations in Broad Creek, I decided to move to main river areas and fish the remaining 90 minutes out there. I again targed docks and wood structure with a spinnerbait, jig and the El Grande lure but didn't get another fish. My rider was able to boat another 14 inch fish around 130. After hitting several area, it was time to call it a day.

As weigh in concluded, I learned that I was on the correct patern just not in the right locations. The winner, Bob Wallace wieghed in 4 fish for a total of 7.36, said that he was slow rolling an Explosive Tackle Spinnerbait on key main river locations. The lunker for the tournament was a nice 3.69 large mouth that was caught by Muddy Waters Tackle owner, Kevin Williamson on a Zoom Brush Hog. Kevin said that the fish was cught first thing.

On the ride home, I realized that the Angler of the Year title is slowly slipping out of my reach. I need to put something together and get fish in the boat. I started thinking of my next tournament which is Sunday 3/27/11 on the Wicomico River. This tournament is the first of seven team tournaments for the US Anglers Choice Region 4 Pro Teams. I have not been on the Wicomico River in about 1 year but have done pretty good in the past. I am just hoping that the snow holds off!!

Nanticoke River 3/12/11

 Went out and fished the Nanticoke River on March 12, 2011 during the Mega Bucks Open Tournament. We launched out of Seaford at 7 AM and I headed out to fight the cold river, with water temps at 49.2 degrees. As I idled past the no wake area, I realized that my outboard motor was not running properly. Not the way I wanted to start the day off. I stayed at idle speed and headed to a marina just north of the launch ramp. 3 Boats had already entered the marina and there was on boat fishing on the south seawall. I decided to hit the northern bank fishing the channel ledge where there was wood close by. I was throwing an Explosive Tackle Company 3/8oz Football Jig in black/blue. I was pitching the jig to the wood laydowns and working it back from 2 feet of water, to the ledge which was in 10-12 feet of water. I worked the bank from the marina entrance all the way up to the Seaford draw bridge with not luck. I started back down the bank throwing a Strike King Red Eye Shad in Gizzard Shad color, again casting in and around the wood laydowns with now luck.

 As I approached the entrance to the marina, I saw one of the 3 boats pulling out and heading south. I decided to go ahead and enter the marian and start fishing the outside southern docks since a friend, Josh Wich, was fishing the northern outside docks. I again went back to flipping the Explosive Tackle Company 3/8oz Jig targeting every pillon. My rider was throwing everything from a wacky worm to a chatterbait with now luck either. As I worked my way around the docks, I swithced from the jig to a shakee head worm. Still no takers on either end of the boat. As I started working the inner docks, i did get a short strike on the jig on an outter isolated pillon but was never able to get a solid strick. So I made the choice to give the outboard motor another chance and head south towards Broad creek.

 As I idled out of the marina and under the railroad trussel, I realized that my big motor was still not operating correctly. I made several attempts to get the boat up on plane but was unable to do so unless my rider sat on the front deck. Once i figured that out, we headed south. Pulling into Broad creek, I shut the down and started fishing the wood near Philips Landing and called my boat mechanic (Ian from Abell Marine). After a few minutes on the phone with Ian, I picked my jig back up and tried hitting the wood again. Still no takers so I switched over to a Mann's Bait Company Baby 1 Minus Elite crank bait in Blue Gill. I fished this lure in several different speeds, in and around wood and old lilly fileds. Still no takers.

 As I hit another area, a fellow angler idled past and asked how we were doing. He was not fishing the tournament and was out palying with his Lowrance LSS1. He told me that he was out a few days prior and was able to get a good bite bouncing a spinnerbait off of wood in mid to deep water. After hearing this, I picked up an old trusty Explosive Tackle Comapny 3/8oz double willow blade spinnerbait in Chart/White shimmer (I saw old trsuty since Explosive Tackle Company no longer makes spinnerbaits). I begain to target wood laydowns and tried bounce the bait off of the submerged limbs. Still no strikes. I took note of the water temp which had climbed to 50.2 degrees. I also was trying to located sunken wood using the Lowrance LSS1 but was unable to locate much in this area.

 I made the choice to move closer to the launch ramp due to the issues with the outboard motor. As we pulled back into the Seaford area, I hit a dock that normaly holds fish. I picked apart the dock throwing both the jig and the shakee head worm. Still no fish. The wind had picked up at this point and the water was murkey. After fishing the dock for about 20 minutes, I decided to head back to the marina and try again since the tide had turned. Still no luck. With 30 minutes to go, I decided to just call it a day and load the boat.

 Even though I did not catch any fish, I had a blast. This being the first tournament of 2011 I was glad to be out on the water. The long tournament season starts officialy with the Eastern Shore Bass Masters Nanticoke River tournament on March 26th. I am hoping for warmer weather and water. I am also hoping that the outboard issue is minor and easly fixed. I will be spending much of the next few days trying to figure out the issue.

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