From Texoma to the Potomac
After hanging around New York a couple of extra days I made my way down to the Potomac River to do some looking around before the off. After finishing up at Cayuga and Oneida I went back to my roots and did some bank around the old Erie Canal. The one evening in just a couple hours I caught five or six on a frog which was pretty fun. At one point I was catching them while standing on an old concrete wall that dropped off about forty feet behind me. There’s going to be some great footage from that adventure.
We started off our month at Texoma which ended up much different than expected. Before off limits, I went and drove around, but didn’t do much fishing because I figured the high waters would stabilize. That never did happen and we were greeted with record high water levels. I focused on clear water pockets way up the Red River which ended up being a good decision. After the second day I was sitting in fourth place.
Before the third day the wind switched directions and changed the current around muddying up some of my areas. I adjusted and fished areas where I believed they were going. Unfortunately, I think I was a little too far ahead. I dropped from fourth to forty second. I think a good portion of the guys who did catch them caught them from the same areas they had been, but slowed way down and picked them apart more thoroughly. In hindsight, this is what I should’ve done in my areas. It was a lesson learned. The positive was that I got out with a check and some decent points.
From Texoma we made our way up to New York. Cayuga Lake fished a little differently than the past few years because there were a lot of fish on bed. After practice I really didn’t feel like I was on anything so I had to scramble during the event. I had some bedding fish the first day pegged, but being boat forty two, most were picked off already by the time I got there. I went to catching ones that I knew where in areas and also found others that I didn’t know were there in the process. The second and third days I covered a lot of new water. If it looked good I would slow down in an area.
I had a two pronged drop shot approach for catching both smallmouth and largemouth. The first was for more open, rocky banks which consisted of a 3” Berkley Twitchtail Minnow and a 3/16 oz Eco Pro Tungsten Pro Drop Shot Weight. The largemouth seemed to be spawning slightly deeper in the five to eight foot range, so I threw a 6.25” Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper in Watermelon Red with a ¼ oz version of the same drop shot weight. Whatever cover I was faced with determined which rig I would use.
After Cayuga I headed right to Oneida for the first Bassmaster Northern Open of the season. Being at Cayuga was a good way to get back in northern smallmouth fishing mode. I went into the Open without much pressure. I’ve been to Oneida quite a few times already and have learned a lot about the lake in years past. The fishery is changing with the smallmouth growing much bigger. They will be an even bigger factor in tournaments to come.
In practice, I drove around looking for small off the wall type stuff. Not being in an Elite event allows you to take a lot more risks with your practice time because I’m not fishing for points. I identified some areas that showed some promise and went out day one and caught a little over sixteen pounds. Every fish I had were cookie cutter clones of each other in that three and a quarter pounder category.
Day two, we had the wind change from West to East and it kicked up. It really changed them up. The big factor with the increased wind was being able to read the sonar well when your trolling motor would come completely out of the water. It was keying on little isolated rock and it became difficult to stay on it. Just like Cayuga, I had to fish new water as I didn’t have anything that I would consider to be loaded. I lost some good fish day two and came in with one shy of a limit for 9-12.
I got down to the Potomac a few days ago and had a productive time looking around. Although we are off from the Elites for awhile, I’m still busy as ever. Next stop is ICast in Orlando next week and then from there we have a Major League Fishing event. Then, the week before our Potomac event, I’ll be heading to the Delaware River to fish the Ike Foundation Charity event. We’ve got a full plate coming up this month and I’m looking forward to the short “break” from the Elites to recharge and get ready for the Potomac.