Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 15 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the James River with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 52 pounds, 12 ounces. For his victory, Schmitt earned $29,329 and a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard.
“I caught 90 percent of my weight in the first 15 minutes every day,” said Schmitt, who is now tied with FLW Tour pros Koby Kreiger and Randy Haynes for most career Rayovac FLW Series wins with five. “I would catch a few giants in the morning and then work as hard as I could to fill my limit the rest of the day.”
Schmitt said that he targeted two key outside bends of a creek channel that had a mix of grass and pads on them for his early morning weight before targeting thicker vegetation the rest of the day. Schmitt reported catching most of his fish on a 6th Sense Core X Swimbait with a 6/0 Owner Beast Hook. He said he used P-Line braid when targeting the thicker vegetation and P-Line fluorocarbon on the outside edge. Schmitt also caught a few fish on a Strike King KVD HC 1.5 Squarebill Crankbait.
“The first day I caught nine fish, the second day I caught five bass and today I caught six,” said the tidal-water expert. “If I didn’t have that little window in the morning I wouldn’t have even made the top 10.
“I was making an hour long run,” said Schmitt. “By the time I got to my spot in the morning it was starting to get bright. The tide was low enough for three more hours for those big fish to stay there, but they would disappear. I almost think it was some sort of morning frenzy that didn’t have anything to do with the tide.”
The top 10 pros on the James River were:
1st: Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., 15 bass, 52-12, $29,329 + Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Wayne Vaughan, Chester, Va., 15 bass, 50-3, $11,365
3rd: Kelly Pratt, Williamsburg, Va., 15 bass, 48-1, $8,799
4th: William Shelton III, La Crosse, Va., 15 bass, 42-7, $7,332
5th: Chris Baumgardner, Gastonia, N.C., 15 bass, 37-3, $6,599
6th: Bo Boltz, New Kent, Va., 15 bass, 33-6, $5,866
7th: Shayne Berlo, Fairfax, Va., 15 bass, 32-0, $5,133
8th: Frank Poirier, North Prince George, Va., 15 bass, 31-11, $4,399
9th: Robert Whitehurst, Henrico, Va., 15 bass, 30-5, $3,666
10th: Straight Talk Wireless pro J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., 13 bass, 28-7, $2,933
Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Wil Hardy of Harlem, Ga., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Thursday – a 9-pound, 1-ounce bass that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $180.
Michael Crocker of Pasadena, Md., won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117C with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor, with a three-day total of 11 bass weighing 27 pounds, 6 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on the James River were:
1st: Michael Crocker, Pasadena, Md., 11 bass, 27-6, Ranger Z117C with a 90-horsepower outboard
2nd: David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., 15 bass, 26-6, $3,719
3rd: Derek Brown, Charlottesville, Va., 15 bass, 26-5, $2,975
4th: Manuel Cruz, Clifton, N.J., 13 bass, 25-10, $2,603
5th: Lenny Baird, Stafford, Va., 15 bass, 25-6, $2,231
6th: Junior Allen, Biscoe, N.C., 15 bass, 24-7, $1,860
7th: Dick Gum, Woodbridge, Va., nine bass, 22-8, $1,488
8th: David Ball, Durham, N.C., 11 bass, 21-2, $1,302
9th: Cory Bechtel, Macungie, Pa., 13 bass, 18-10, $1,116
10th: Michael Martinez, Lanexa, Va., eight bass, 14-9, $930
John Shultz of Trucksville, Pa., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Thursday – a 6-pound, 10-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $120.
The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the no-entry-fee Rayovac FLW Series Championship. The 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 30-Nov.1 on Wheeler Lake in Rogersville, Ala.
The Rayovac FLW Series on the James River was the third and final regular-season Northern Division event in 2014. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Logo courtesy FLW Outdoors