Catt closes strong to win on the Potomac River - Major League Fishing

Catt closes strong to win on the Potomac River

Image for Catt closes strong to win on the Potomac River
Michael Catt convincingly earned a long-awaited win on the Potomac. Photo by Cobi Pellerito. Angler: Michael Catt.
June 7, 2024 • Jody White • Toyota Series

MARBURY, Md. – An ounce off the lead on Day 1 of the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Northern Division event on the Potomac River, Michael 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.

Catt ran south all week and spent his time in the back of a creek, plucking fish from moving water with both power and finesse approaches.

Texas rig and drop-shot get it done

Going back into the creeks was the key for Michael Catt. Photo by Cobi Pellerito

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 drop off, 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 said. “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.”

Long-sought win for Catt

Michael Catt put big limits in the boat every day of the event. Photo by Cobi Pellerito

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,” Catt 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.”

Top 10 pros

1. Michael Catt – 53 – 13 (15) – $44,500
2. Spike Stoker – 50 – 13 (15) – $17,000
3. Tommy Dickerson – 50 – 4 (15) – $12,750
4. Bryan Schmitt – 48 – 9 (15) – $10,750
5. John Duarte – 47 – 8 (15) – $11,050 (includes $1,000 Phoenix Bonus)
6. Flint Davis – 45 – 15 (15) – $8,375
7. Chase Serafin – 45 – 8 (15) – $7,300
8. Ben McCann – 45 – 5 (15) – $7,300
9. Ryan Ingalls – 44 – 14 (15) – $5,300
10. Mikey Keyso – 44 – 11 (15) – $4,200

Complete results