With a spot in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic under my belt, I’m eager to get back to regular business at the Potomac River.
I really enjoy fishing there and have had a lot of success. I’ve even won a Bassmaster event there.
It’s a really unique fishery, and I like these kinds of challenges. I remember visiting there my first full season on the Bassmaster trail and finding out just how different it was.
It looked a lot like the Grand River I fish at home with a lot of shallow grass, but the tidal situation makes it a lot different and that really changes how you approach it. It was difficult for me to understand that first year, and I barely snuck out with a low money finish.
It’s the coolest fishery we visit. You can go fish in Washington D.C. near national memorials or at the runway of Reagan International Airport. It has a lot of history and cool things you can see from the water.
It’s a different world down river. The river is very diverse, with thousands of docks, expansive grass flats, wood and rock.
What adds to the intrigue is the Potomac has a 2-foot tidal fluctuation that occurs about twice a day. We will see high and low tide each competition day.
And what makes it interesting is the tide moves slow enough that you can be fishing a high tide on one end and run 20 miles to fish a low tide. So, there is a lot of strategy and timing involved in fishing there.
Grass lines are always a key player at the Potomac. Unlike natural lake grass edges, you can go down a grass bed and catch them one way, then go back down it 15 minutes later and the fish are positioned differently. The fish are constantly changing, so the thrill is to figure out what those key windows are and follow the tide hour by hour.
Also, the wind and moon phase changes it too, so the tide doesn’t follow the tidal charts as well as on some tidal fisheries.
The fish are very conditioned to feeding on optimum tidal windows, and it’s different based upon the areas and habitat the fish are using. For example, a bass on a rocky bank knows that when the tide falls out to move to the last piece of cover in the water to set up as an ambush point. Also, the forage base includes fresh and saltwater critters, so there are plenty of things for the bass to eat.
Now, on grass flats, the bass will roam around in shallower areas on high tide, targeting bluegills and other forage they can’t get to on low tide.
If you find the right tidal window you can catch a bunch in a hurry. You can be sitting in an area and not getting bites, but when the tide window changes, you can start catching them on every cast.
There are a variety of lures and techniques an angler can use to do well. You can flip and frog the grass, use shallow crankbaits, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and topwaters. When we get to the final day of the event, you will find the Top 12 guys fishing different lures, patterns and areas.
I like fisheries that make you pay very close attention to details and make adjustments with the subtle changes that occur hourly.
That’s a part of the fishing game that is so critical to success and makes it so much fun for me.
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!