Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener presented by Plano on the Potomac River got off to a better-than-expected start, as this tidal fishery dodged the forecasted stormy weather. Overcast skies delivered a few light showers, but midday saw the arrival of partly sunny conditions.
Practice reports told of big limits, but the action seemed to be starting slowly. Some of this could be tide-related, as Potomac fish pattern their feeding to water movement/levels. Takeoff saw a high outgoing tide in Mattawoman Creek, on which the Smallwood State Park is located. It’s likely that some anglers will find an afternoon window of opportunity when the right tidal dynamics trigger the bass.
In play was a predictable mix of techniques — frogs and Senkos in the spatterdock, ChatterBaits on wood and grass and flipping shallow cover like laydowns and duck blinds. These, along with some jig and topwater application should continue to produce.
That is, unless a northern snakehead finds it first. These slimy, slithering invasive fish made their way into the Potomac by escaping aquaculture pens and have since proliferated to astounding levels.
Ideally suited for hiding amid aquatic vegetation, the exotic nuisances mangle frogs, ChatterBaits and pretty much anything they attack. Maine pro Troy Garrison found a few while frogging the pads and ended up regretting the encounters with these toothy irritants.
“I lost one of my frogs in the pads when my line broke,” he said. “I knew I should have retied after that second snakehead.”
Around the field, lots of pros were working with limits, but the day one leader is still a mystery. Pros off to a decent start include David Cioppa, John Hansen, Chris Johnston and Gary Woodruff.