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
POTOMAC RIVER 7/20/13
U.S. ANGLERS CHOICE POTOMAC PRO TEAMS
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 isnt 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 didnt 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.
HELPING REEL IN THE CURE WITH PINK FISHING
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 40s.
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 couldnt 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!!!
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.
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 couldnt find a fish. A tough decision was made and we headed back to the
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, Id be sitting home watching it unfold before my eyes instead of "living the dream."
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 40s 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 offs, 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 40s. 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 wasnt 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.
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!!
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.