CHARLES COUNTY, Md. — Anglers qualified for the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Northeast Regional June 7-9 will need to dial in the tide at the Potomac River — and with the right timing, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jacob Powroznik thinks there will be plenty of opportunities to catch a winning bag.
“I think it will be awesome,” the Virginia pro said. “The fish will be just getting done with the spawn and there will be a lot of topwater and frog action along with swim jigs, ChatterBaits and flipping. It will be a really good tournament.”
The Northeast Regional will feature teams from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Anglers will launch out of Smallwood State Park each day at 5:30 a.m. ET, returning at 1:30 p.m. for weigh-in. The full field will compete on Days 1 and 2, while Day 3 will feature the Top 24 boaters and nonboaters along with the top two boaters and nonboaters from each state if they are not already in the Top 24. Full coverage will be available on Bassmaster.com.
The last time the Bassmaster Tournament Trail visited eastern Maryland in 2016, Justin Lucas took home an Elite Series trophy with a winning weight of 72-14. After that event, Powroznik said the Potomac has had a couple of down years but is now on the rebound.
“The Potomac hasn’t been very good the last three years, but it has been getting better and better,” he said. “This year, there have been a lot of 22-, 23- (and) 24-pound bags weighed in there. It is coming back around, and I am anxious to see what the grass does and see how it goes.”
The tide on the Potomac has about a 2- to 4-foot tide swing, making it a little less impactful than somewhere like the Delaware River which has 7-foot swings. Still, it’s enough of a change in water level to keep the bass moving.
Powroznik also points out that a certain section of the river will tend to hold the biggest population of bass, but the bass will pull up in different areas from year to year.
Much of the production in the Potomac River revolves around the amount of grass in the fishery. Powroznik believes the amount of grass in the system is back on the rise. At the moment, there is more hydrilla in the river, but milfoil tends to be the most productive type of vegetation. There is also eelgrass.
As long as the tide is moving, whether that is outgoing or incoming, the bass will bite in the grass. Rotating through baits as the water rises and falls will be key and Powroznik said there will be certain windows where the bite will be best.
“All grass is good, but some is better than others,” he said. “As long as the water is moving, you just have to figure out if they are biting on the three-hour window, the four-hour window, the five-hour window or right before slack tide. If the tide is way up, a swim jig and ChatterBait will come into play. As the tide drops, that will create mats and that’s when the frog will come into play.”
Pitching Senkos and plastic worms into the holes in the grass will also be a productive way to catch these fish.
Along with the vegetation, there is a good selection of wood cover, laydowns and docks. Low tide tends to be best for fishing these types of cover. The bass will be in more predictable places with less water around.
“The lower the tide, the better they are going to bite,” Powroznik said. “They can get somewhere that they need to be.”
The top-finishing boater and co-angler from each state represented in this tournament will earn a spot in the 2023 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on legendary Lake Hartwell Oct. 18-20.
The tournament is being hosted by the Charles County Commissioners.
2023 B.A.S.S. Nation Title Sponsor: TNT Fireworks
2023 B.A.S.S. Nation Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2023 B.A.S.S. Nation Premier Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Dakota Lithium, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2023 B.A.S.S. Nation Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Lew’s, Marathon, Triton Boats, VMC