FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Brad Weese used a rarely exploited river fishing tactic to win the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional on the Monongahela River Friday.
In three days of undeniably some of the toughest fishing in divisional history, the West Virginian caught 19 pounds, 1 ounce to win the three-day event with 10 bass total.
His tactic focused on man-made current generated by the water release from navigational locks. Much of the tournament field of 78 anglers sharing boats locked upstream on the Monongahela into other fisheries. Not Weese, who intentionally remained within range of the discharge creating current in his area.
“That’s why I had such a good bite in the early morning,” said Weese, who fished for the Maryland B.A.S.S. Nation as a member of it’s The Garrett Bassers.
“It’s a long run into both pools so everyone was headed up there early.”
The current generated by the emptying of the 10,000-gallon lock chambers from either dam provided just enough moving water for his pattern. The bite went cold when the water returned to calm conditions.
In another wise move, Reese chose one lure capable of covering lots of water and quickly. The single bait enabled him to focus on one technique, instead of spending costly time changing lures and modifying presentations for the area.
His choice was a custom-made spinnerbait made by local acquaintance Brent Dodrill. The 1/4-ounce lure has a white skirt and head with twin gold Colorado blades.
“The presentation wasn’t anything special,” he said. “I slow -rolled the spinnerbait anywhere from 6 inches to 10 feet.”
In simple terms, Weese dictated his casts and retrieve based on the shoreline features. Casting targets included isolated laydowns and stretches with concentrations of wood on the bank.
“The key was keeping the bait in the water and not spending time running the river,” he added.
Weese spent most of the tournament in the same area:, a boat ramp he defined as a community hole. However, the appeal of making long runs by most of the tournament field left the area open to Weese.
The win was made sweeter for Weese because Maryland won the competition between the six states. Maryland finished with 88 pounds, 2 ounces, with Virginia taking second place with 74-9. New Jersey placed third with 63-6, and West Virginia took fourth with 62-7. Pennsylvania claimed fifth place with 57-14, and Delaware finished with 46-4 for sixth place. Scores were totaled based on the cumulative weight caught by each 14-angler team.
For the win, Maryland received a Skeeter/Yamaha boat, motor, trailer and accessories package valued at $33,340.
Jacob Jones and Austin Gaab of the Susquehanna Valley Fishing Club in Pennsylvania won the high school division. High school state champions fished for the final two days in the tournament under a model program that introduces students to tournament fishing at a higher level.
Weese will go to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in November as the top angler from Maryland. Advancing with him is Fabian Rodriguez of Delaware; Michael McMahon of New Jersey; Chad Shutty of Pennsylvania; Brian Harold of Virginia; and Sammy Bounds of West Virginia.
Anglers earned the following sponsorship contingency awards:. Livingston Lures Leader Award: Weese earned the $250 award by leading the tournament on Day 2 with 13-7.
A.R.E. Truck Caps Top Angler Award: Chad Brinegar earned the $250 as the top-finishing angler using the brand’s truck caps.
2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Title Sponsor: Old Milwaukee
2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Supporting Sponsors: A.R.E. Accessories, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Nationwide, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.