CAMPBELL & PARTNER WIN POTOMAC TEAMS 4/14/18 forum contributor Joey Campbell and his fishing partner brought in a heavy sack of 5 bass weighing 23.67 lbs April 14th2018 at Leesylvania State Park in VA for the Potomac Teams season opener run by Bob Petty.  Sixty-seven boats entered this tournament on a very windy day with 15-24mph sustained winds out of the south with gusts into the 30’s.  The moon was full and the water clarity was stained as usual for a windy early spring day on the Potomac.  Air temp was 55 at launch and got up to 75 in the afternoon. Cambell and partner left with $1,780 for their efforts after a $150 entry fee.   The top 12 teams normally receive pay out and/or prizes and all of the top 12 teams had 18lbs with all top 12 teams having "5 alive".  I mention “partner” as I was unable to reach Joey's partner for permission to use his name in this article.

Campbell and partner entered the tournament at the last minute and fished the same area all day in partners Mercury powered Nitro. They did not see another boat all day until they left the creek and faced a horrendous ride with 3’ rollers back to the weigh in.  Cambell stated, "the Nitro handled it well."  Water temp at tournament launch was 50 and it got up to 58 in the creek they fished. Cambell and I spoke both the night before and during weigh-in.  I was elated to hear he won, and he described the area they fished (which I’ll remain quiet about), as a “narrow ditch 40’ wide and 100 yards long leading into a shallow creek/cove with mixed milfoil and eelgrass”. Cambell stated “we culled 14 fish and caught the fish on a variety of baits.” Cambell used a 7’11” Abu Garcia Veritas with a heavy action with a Lews BB1 spooled with 20lb Seaguar Red Label fluorocarbon.  

After speaking to 6 other friends of mine who fished this same day, I was able to get a great understanding of the patterns and areas that produced that day as I lounged on the beach in Florida with my wife.  My key spots all produced except for one main river area in the vicinity of Greenway Flats which was too stirred up.  My old favorite spring grass bed outside of Pomonkey Creek gave up a 5lb 11oz piggy and my old hot grass bed near the southern point of Chick creek gave up a 7lb beast.  The emerging Nuphar advena aka spatterdock or cow lily fields and patches were coming up 12"-24” off the bottom in a few key areas of the river. Milfoil and Eelgrass was beginning to emerge 6-14” off the bottom in many areas also and those areas close to deeper water and those with mixed pea-gravel banks with wood and chunk rock getting lots of sunshine were key for many anglers that weekend.  A few marinas also gave up some nice sacks on plastics and jigs. Major spawning areas such as the winning spot were not yet full of fish, but the migration routes into these coves/creeks were stacked up with bass as they traveled into and out of the creek following bait and their natural instinct to prep for the spawn.  

Lipless crank baits and squarebills fished through and overtop of the spatterdock were crushing fish in these areas. The wind hampered the plastics bite and many anglers were sticking with the lipless baits, spinnerbaits, squarebills, and chatterbaits.  I’d bet nearly every boat in the tournament had red lipless baits tied on and the Xcalibur XR50 and XRk50 (now Booyah), Strike King Red Eye Shad 1/2oz, and Bill Lewis Lures 1/2oz Rattletrap were doing plenty of damage on the river that day.  When faced with emerging pads, a slower fall rate is very important due to the “bump stop” technique and the Cotton Cordell 1/2oz lipless baits have a much slower fall rate than the Xcaliburs and are my choice for the “bump stop” technique inside of emerging pad fields in the early spring.  Although they don't cast nearly as well as an Xcalibur (now Booyah) Red and Firetiger Cotton Cordells were the two colors another buddy of mine boated 50+ bass on this same day, and these two colors were key for the anglers I spoke to, and very few fished plastics on Saturday. For those fishing out of the back of the boat behind a guy winging a rattling lipless a silent squarebill like a XCS 100 right behind him.  There is one particular color I’ve written about consistently and featured in my tackle awards article, which is the big ticket on the tidal Potomac. 

Congrats to Joey Campbell and partner for their win as well as the anglers in the top of the field who also took home cash.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the two anglers (brothers) who lost their lives in a bass boat on the Potomac the day following the tournament. See the forum for more details on this accident.  Always wear your PFD when the outboard is fired up. 


-Bryan “BayBass” Novotny