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My First BFL Everstart

FLW Everstart Series on the Potomac – Tournament Recap (9/29-10/1)

Arriving at Smallwood State Park the morning of the first day of the tournament was quite a spectacle.  The multitude of FLW banners, trailers, staff, weigh-in stage, and 123 boats competing was definitely a sight to see.  Seeing several elite level pros such as David Dudley, Kevin Short, and Dave LeFebvre, along with the number of wrapped boats added to the excitement.

As my day one partner (Merle Wood III) and I launched from the ramp, the weather was forecasted to be mostly cloudy turning to partly cloudy with light winds from the SW.  The days leading up to the tournament had seen some rain and a consistent SW wind, which seemed to muddy up the Maryland side of the river quite a bit.  This seemed to push most of the competitors to the Va. side – mainly Occoquan Bay.  We headed up to DC to fish cleaner water at the spoils north of the Wilson bridge.  As the sun started peeking out, my partner began the day fishing a shaky head worm near the concrete piles in 8-10 ft. of water.  Reluctant to began the day finesse fishing and seeing a slight chop on the surface, I began burning a small white spinnerbait to the piles and managed to land a couple of 2-1/2 pounders.  My boater caught a small keeper on a little homemade jig (PB&J w/blue Netbait tiny chunk) on the concrete piles before leaving to head back south.  We headed into Dogue Creek to end the day fishing the tides.  There we encountered stained to muddy water in the shallows, and began flipping wood and grass lines in 1-3 ft. of water.  Merle, sticking with the jig, caught a handful of keeper fish to catch his limit for the day.  Throwing Chatterbaits, flipping plastics and jigs, finesse worms and topwater frogs, I never got another bite the rest of the day from the back of the boat.

The second day’s weather was set to clear up and get breezy.  To stay out of the 10-15mph SW winds, my 2nd day partner (Eric Foltin) decided to go fish the main river on the Va. side just north of Aquia.  There we fished a 200 yd. stretch of grassline and waited for the fish to move up and down with the tide.  My boater immediately caught two keepers on a black buzzbait casting over the submerged grass.  I switched from a black & blue chatterbait to the same colored buzzbait, but only hauled water.  As the sun popped higher and the water began to calm down, I began throwing a black & blue swim jig with a Zoom Ultra-Vibe Speed Craw trailer in black & blue.  Feeling the fish bump the lure a few times with a steady retrieve, I began fishing it slower and switched to a plum colored Zoom Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm as a trailer.  I soon caught several keepers before losing a 3-1/2 pounder that jumped almost 2 feet out of the water to spit out my swim jig.  Throughout the day, the bite was slow and sporadic as we moved to fish the inside and outside edges of the grass, as well as some of the laydowns near the bank. My partner rotated between a jig (PB&J w/blue Netbait tiny chunk), a Mann’s 1-minus crankbait (Citrus) and the black buzzbait to land 9 or 10 bass altogether.  I stuck with the swim jig mostly and occasionally switched to a KVD frog (black) and flippin’ plastics when the jig bite slowed and grass began to mat up on the surface.  Having four fish in the livewell using the swim jig and needing one more to fill out my limit, my boater suggested I throw a wacky-rigged Senko into the holes of the grass.  A few minutes later, I nabbed a 1-1/4 pounder to land my fifth fish, and total my catch to just over 7-1/2 lbs.

Although my two-day total of 12-07 wasn’t good enough to make the top-10 to fish the final day (or even finish in the money), I was happy to have a decent outing and finish in the middle of the pack at 60th place.  Thanks to George (Loope), my boater partners, and FLW, I came away with lots of great information and a terrific experience.  I look forward to competing in more BFL and Everstart Series events next season.