Florida’s Michael Catt earns first career win at Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats at Potomac River - Major League Fishing
Florida’s Michael Catt earns first career win at Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats at Potomac River
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Florida’s Michael Catt earns first career win at Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats at Potomac River

Image for Florida’s Michael Catt earns first career win at Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats at Potomac River
June 9, 2024 • MLF • Press Releases

MARBURY, Md. – An ounce off the lead on Day 1 of the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Northern Division event on the Potomac RiverMichael Catt blew the competition away after that. Moving into the lead on Day 2, he weighed another 16 pounds, 8 ounces on the final day for a 53-13 total. Beating out Spike Stoker by 3 pounds, Catt earned $44,500 for the win and qualified for this fall’s Toyota Series Championship.

Potomac events are often contested on the big grass flats that line the river, but that’s not the only thing there. In places, there are key pieces of hard cover, and the backs of the creeks – where they narrow down – offer marshes and steep, current-swept banks. It was there that Catt did his damage.

“I ran a 200-yard stretch five times a day, and a grass stretch five times a day, and that’s all I did,” he said. “One stretch is nothing but a grass line with a hard dropoff, and I was pitching to that with a drop-shot. The other stretch is all laydowns. The fish come out of a field of pads, and they go up underneath the logs and the brush and the laydowns.”

On Day 3, with the tide falling out later, Catt had to wait a while for the time to be right.

“The number one thing I knew about my spot is that I had confidence in it,” Catt detailed. “I knew when the tide came down, there were so many fish there. When the tide finally went down today, I caught a 4 1/2-pounder, and then a 5-pounder 30 minutes later. Throughout the day I just culled up and culled up and culled up – once the tide went out, it was lights out.”

Catt’s main bait was a Texas-rigged Bruiser Baits Bruiser Hog, with a 1/4-ounce Flat Out Tungsten weight and a 5/0 Owner hook he threw on 17-pound Seaguar AbrazX. For the T-rig, he used a 7-foot, 4-inch, heavy Ark Invoker Pro. Catt went with a Bruiser Baits Drop Shot in Potomac special for his drop-shot rig, and used a 1/4-ounce or 1/8-ounce weight, a No. 2 hook and 8-pound Seaguar Tatsu for his leader. On the rod, he went with a 7-foot, 2-inch, medium-heavy Ark Invoker Pro.

Catt would adjust his drop-shot weight depending on the strength of the tide, going heavier when it was moving faster.

“I wanted it to drift with the current a little bit, but not fast,” he said. “I think that made the bite better, because it gave them a longer time to react to the bait.”

A hardcore co-angler in years past, Catt owns a cabinet installation company and has been at this fishing thing for a long time. Considering the factors in play, it’s not surprising that he got it done this week, halfway up the coast from his home in Jacksonville, Florida.

“It fishes like home, I’m accustomed to it,” he said. “It didn’t bother me to fish here. Back home on the St. Johns River, we fish stuff like that. When I went (to his winning area) in practice on the very first day, I spent 30 minutes and I never went back – it was loaded, I had 100% confidence the winning fish were there.”

Catt was right, and it resulted in a moment he’ll remember the rest of his life.

“I’m ecstatic, it’s beyond words,” Cat said of the win. “I don’t feel like it even set in yet. It’s my lifelong dream to win one, and I finally won one. The Potomac is a place I’ve always done good at, and I knew I could do it – this is my first professional win, it’s just a blessing beyond words.”

The Top 10 pros on the Potomac River finished:

1st:        Michael Catt, Jacksonville, Fla., 15 bass, 53-13, $44,500
2nd:       Spike Stoker, Cisco, Texas, 15 bass, 50-13, $17,000
3rd:       Tommy Dickerson, Orange, Texas, 15 bass, 50-4, $12,750
4th:        Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., 15 bass, 48-9, $10,750
5th:        John Duarte, Middle River, Md., 15 bass, 47-8, $11,050
6th:        Flint Davis, Leesburg, Ga., 15 bass, 45-15, $8,375
7th:        Chase Serafin, White Lake, Mich., 15 bass, 45-8, $7,300
8th:        Ben McCann, Bradenton, Fla.., 15 bass, 45-5, $7,300
9th:        Ryan Ingalls, Manassas, Va., 15 bass, 44-14, $5,300
10th:     Mikey Keyso, North Port, Fla., 15 bass, 44-11, $4,200

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Catt earned Thursday’s $500 Berkley Big Bass Award with a bass weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces. Pro Dave Miller of Stratford, Connecticut, earned the $500 Berkley Big Bass Award on Friday with a 6-pound, 13-ounce bass.

Jerry Pyles of Middletown, Maryland, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 40 pounds, 5 ounces. Pyles earned the top co-angler prize package worth $34,000, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers on the Potomac River finished:

1st:        Jerry Pyles, Middletown, Md., 14 bass, 40-5, Phoenix 518 Pro boat w/115-hp Mercury outboard
2nd:       Jesse Ketchum, Columbia, Md., 14 bass, 36-4, $5,525
3rd:       Christopher Dam, Staatsburg, N.Y., 13 bass, 35-0, $4,300
4th:        Josh Whitehead, Kent, Ohio, 14 bass, 33-15, $3,650
5th:        Doug Jenkins, Saint Leonard, Md., 14 bass, 32-11, $3,150
6th:        Matt Hollins, Nokesville, Va., 11 bass, 32-8, $2,650
7th:        Roland Gittings, Perryville, Md., 11 bass, 32-0, $2,150
8th:        Lenny Baird, Stafford, Va., 12 bass, 32-0, $1,975
9th:        Cooper Jett, Norton Shores, Mich., 14 bass, 31-13, $1,530
10th:     David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., 12 bass, 31-8, $1,290

Strike King Co-angler Phil Jarmon of Apex, North Carolina, earned Thursday’s $150 Berkley Big Bass co-angler award with a 5-pound, 3-ounce bass, while Friday’s Day 2 $150 co-angler award went to Jesse Ketchum of Columbia, Maryland, who weighed in a 4-pound, 13-ounce bass.

The Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats at Potomac River was hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners. It was the first of three regular-season tournaments for the Toyota Series Northern Division. The next event for Northern Division anglers will be the Toyota Series at Lake Champlain Presented by Suzuki Marine, July 11-13 in Plattsburgh, New York. For a complete schedule of events, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The 2024 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions or the Wild Card division and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 and a qualification to REDCREST 2025. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2024 Toyota Series Championship is hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Madison County Commission, and the Huntsville Sports Commission.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Toyota Series include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, FX Custom Rods, General Tire, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, REDCON1, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, WIX Filters, YETI.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Toyota Series updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at FacebookInstagram and YouTube.