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Thread: Riva, 7-10 OCT 2015 - FoM regionals

  1. #1
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    Default Riva, 7-10 OCT 2015 - FoM regionals

    I'm posting this here because the event took place on the river. Unfortunately not a lot of catching to report. I've had many zeroes on practice and TX days but not many back-to-back. In fact I had three consecutive days without a fish counting our last practice day. I have some info that I hope will be of some use to y'all but mostly I wanted to put down some thoughts on preparing for a tournament. Not that I'm any expert, mind you, but this past week helped reinforce some pretty important (yet often ignored) basics.

    First off, the riva conditions: It was a bloody mess WED and THUR. Debris fields measured in acres everywhere. Every river or creek confluence and every turn in the main river channel held flotsam of every kind. Some of the stuff we saw was freakin' huge. The water was heavily stained on WED but cleared nicely by THUR. Was even better on FRI. FRI nite's rains jacked up the main river channel but the creeks were still in good shape. Water temps rose to 70 in some places on FRI, dropped to lower 60s w/ FRI nite's front and wind. The grass looks awesome for so late in the year. Gotta keep in mind that it didn't really come in good until AUG. I'm used to seeing dying grass this time of year. Was kinda cool seeing lots of fresh, green hydrilla and coontail. The eelgrass seems more prolific this year than years past. The few green fish we did catch were very fat, very healthy, very heavy. We had one 14'er that was easily 2 lbs. From what little we saw of it there's nothing wrong w/ the fish population in the riva.

    Now for the meat: There are no magic baits, colors, or spots. There are no tricks, no gimmicks, no stunts. Bass do very few things and we all know what they are - they eat, they rest, and they make baby bass. How and when bass do these things are fairly well known. The thread that ties all of these things together is TOW. TOW tells you what the bass are feeding on. TOW tells you black is better than blue is better than green. TOW tells you jigs on wood. TOW tells you moving baits on rock. TOW tells you where the baitfish are holding (which is where the bass are usually holding). TOW tells you which phase of the tide is best during any given season or set of weather conditions. TOW tells you how to ingress or egress from a tricky creek entrance. TOW tells you how to trim the motor in a heavy wind and big rollers. TOW tells you how far you can go on that half tank of fuel. TOW tells you if a lightweight sinker works best or if you need to go with the 1 oz punch weight. I could go on but I think y'all probably get the point. Not trying to insult anyone's intelligence here. I know all of the things I just listed, just like y'all do. And my point?

    I actually went out onto the riva this week thinking I could figure things out. I actually believed I could use a little history, some focused practice and scouting, and actually put together patterns that would stand up to a hurricane, a pretty fast moving front, and a 15-degree temp drop. A lil reminder doods: people study history. Fish don't. Understanding how a fish will relate to certain cover, under certain conditions, in an environment that changes ~daily is only understood when you spend time on the water studying how things are changing. If you invest no time you should expect no return. Invest lots of time, you should expect (and probably will get) a huge return. A little luck never hurts. I think we all appreciate that. But you eliminate (well, maybe reduce significantly) your dependence on luck if you spend the freaking' time on the water.

    I won't lie - this week left a bitter taste in my mouth. I can't change what I've already done but I can change how I go about the future. Our schedule for 2016 is already set. TOW starts next weekend. The best season Squire and I had (3 years ago) came after we invested heavily in off-season and between-event TOW. 2016 starts next SAT at SML. I never want to experience what I did this past week again. The win Squire and I often talk about is as far away as we're willing to invest in practice time. No secrets, no spots, no tricks. It's all about TOW, doods.

    Looking forward to the winter.

    best to all,
    B

  2. #2
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    Great post Brian, a lot of great reminders for the rest of us.

    Need blade baits? Click here

  3. #3
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    Spot on fella!! Good luck to you two alley cats next year my friend.
    Crank That Jank!

  4. #4
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    Very good post Brian. Thanks.
    2013 Frog Only Tournament Winner
    2010 Tie for VA-Outdoors Angler of the Year
    2009 Caroline County Rotary Club Tournament Winner
    2007 Tuesday Night Classic Champions
    "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

  5. #5
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    Could not agree with you more! My brother and I ultimately fall back on history more often than not because of our lack of TOW. Sometimes in works out but mostly we fail. Good luck in 2016!
    Eric

    2004 Fishers of Men VA-East Division Champions


  6. #6
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    I couldn't add anything to your post Brian even if I had a months pay riding on it. An awesome post and recap. I think 2016 is going to be a good year for you guys.
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



  7. #7
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    So Brian and I had very little TOW as he states below. I had all of 2 days on the Potomac this year as our spring was heavily focused on FOM Events and my summer was occupied by other issues. I was able to get out tuesday, the first official day of practice and I met up with a fellow competitor (each in our own boats) and he showed me how to run DC waters past the spoils, up past Fox Ferry point, around the mouth of Oxen Creek Cove, up past the large Blue Plains doc, across Marbury Point to the Post and then head north to whatever you wanted to hit. During the prefishing, I hit new areas as well as old and found at least 2 area's holding fish, one north of the WW Bridge and one in the back of the creek. As bad as wednesday and thursday were with floaters and flotsam, TUESDAY was unreal. Pretty much the entire run from Leesylvania to the WW Bridge was a tense dodging action of which I was mostly successful (had a chunk of wood on the LU tuesday evening). One thing I was able to accomplish was get my engine height dialed in for turning. Those of you who have hydraulic jackplates know and I am just beginning to appreciate, that 1/2 inch can make a big difference in boat performance depending on the condition and the loading/balance of the load. I had not appreciated that and pretty much used to run the jackplate fully down. In the end, during the prefishing and the Tx, 31 and I explored many new areas of the river and can now run them safely (and did) and gained a new appreciation for why some spots hold fish and what they are feeding on. The experience on the Potomac for the last 4 years in the fall is don't be afraid to downsize, spinnerbaits, swimjigs, flukes, senkos all work if you properly match the hatch and location and tide. So, yes, time of the water is key, but that is just another way of saying " time on water LEARNING" and we learned quite a bit, though with our competitiveness its a bit bitter at the moment, but this learning includes how to better prepare during our prefishing time and how important it is to get out there. Tight-Lines....
    cheers,
    Steve

    2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
    Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.


  8. #8
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    Exploring new water always pays off at some point. I admire your willingness to venture through that minefield of debris to get it done. I wanted no part of that. Just FYI; fish tails sells Daves tx tackle 1/4 oz single willow leaf spinner bait. It's a great spinner bait for fishing Potomac River grass beds. Comes through the grass pretty good.
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



  9. #9
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    Yes sir TOW his a big factor, thanks for post is food for thought. Do understand that for a lot of us that is hard to come by. I get 1 day a week to enjoy my passion so everyday I'm learning and gaining more info. I take note of what I learn from year to year to be successful but have to admit not every year is the same, but with what I've learned I can adjust fast, question most of the time is was it fast enough
    Why I don't fish big $$ stuff for that I'd want atleast 2 days prior to tx to practice. My biggest event this year will be the Apreciation Tx next weekend on Anna in the past 3 weeks I've been out twice and will be out Friday. Did find a little something in a creek that I will check on Friday that has big bass potential. What I witnessed was painting one of those ear yo ear grins.
    2017 Ironman winner

  10. #10
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    Good deal Carl. I havnt found anything worthwhile yet. Still looking.
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



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