Final leg on FLW Tour

This week, my column comes from a hotel room in La Plata, Md. overlooking the Potomac River, site of the final FLW Tour event of the season.
It’s been a long run for the past few weeks since I left home in early June for Lake Chickamauga.
Since there only was one week between the end of that tournament and the start of practice for the Potomac, I decided to stay down south.
It’s been tough to be away from home, my wife, and family for this long. To be honest, I have been a little bit homesick. The long drives and nights alone in a hotel room are not that glamorous, but that is part of the sacrifice to doing something that I love.
Ending the season with a good tournament this week would help to make it all worthwhile.
This week has been easier because my dad has come down to join me in the boat for the practice days, and then to help me make the 25-hour drive home from the Washington, D.C. area.
We’re having a good time in the boat together and I’m hoping he’s my lucky charm. He also joined me back in May at the Lake Eufaula tournament, where I had my first top-five finish in one of these events.
Through a couple days of practice, the fishing has been really tough for us. It is, by far, the worst practice I’ve had since I’ve been fishing these tournaments the past few years.
The Potomac River used to be known as a fish factory, with loads of largemouth bass, but there’s been talk of a significant fish kill in the past couple of years.
Through two days of practice, I’ve yet to catch a limit but just about all of the anglers I’ve spoken to have been having similar results. Lot’s of fish will be caught come tournament time—I just hope I can figure out a way to put five of them in my boat!
This fishery is much different from any that I’ve fished before. It is a tidal river, meaning that even though the river is fresh water, it experiences the effects of the tide from the Atlantic Ocean, which it flows into.
The place is loaded with shallow weeds, but the key is trying to figure out which types are holding fish. And then you have to factor in the tide. Some areas are better with an outgoing tide while others are better with incoming (it’s all very confusing to me).
All I know is I have one more day to try to figure something out before this tournament starts tomorrow (June 25).
This event is important for me because I’m ranked 54th in points after five events. After this tournament, the top 40 anglers qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup in August at Lake Ouchita, Ark., where the winner will earn $500,000!
Needless to say, I want to be there! I likely need a top-10 finish here on the Potomac to make it so I need to catch some fish this week!
Last week, I spent a few extra days fishing at Lake Chickamauga. I find that I learn a lot fishing these lakes after the tournaments are over because you have an idea of what some of the anglers who did well were doing thanks to all the media coverage of the event.
The last day I was there was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. I found a few big schools of fish in 20 feet of water that I marked on my sonar, and ended up catching a nine-pounder and several over five pounds.
It definitely was nice having the lake to myself for the most part. I’m certainly looking forward to fishing another tournament there someday!
I’m going to give it my best shot this week and we’ll see how it goes. I can tell you that we’ve been working hard—launching the boat at sunrise and fishing until dark.
Regardless of the outcome, however, I’m excited to come home after the weekend and go fishing in Sunset Country! We have it so good here!