NORTHEAST, Md. — The anglers fishing the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional have a full day under their belt and, according to some, it’s now up to the fish.
The individual leader, Robby Fleshman (West Virginia) moved constantly all day Tuesday with what can be described as an intermittent bite. Although he wouldn’t say much about what he was doing, it was obvious to everyone around him that he was far from confident about the future of his bite. He made several references to the weather and how it was affecting his fish — they’re shallow.
Kevin Waterman (Maryland), currently in second place in the individual standings, said basically the same thing when he was asked about his bite on Tuesday and how things might change.
“I pretty much covered water with a fast moving bait. I fished grass, wood and docks with deep and shallow presentations. I was mixing it up all the way. The bite was good, though. I culled several times over the day. What’ll happen tomorrow, no one knows for sure.”
Much of what they’re worried about centers on the dying wind and clearing skies. But, according to Roger Trageser, President of the Maryland B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and a man familiar with the Upper Chesapeake Bay, there’s more to it than that.
“This is a tough time to fish, in the fall. Many of the guys are placing a lot of emphasis on the tides. That’s appropriate but there’s more to it than that. In a tidal system, your windows of opportunity can be narrow. As the tide flows so do the fish bite. The thing is; the tides aren’t perfect. If they don’t do exactly what they’re supposed to do, it can mess you up.
“The seasonal pattern is also working here. It’s getting to be fall. The days and nights are colder and there’s less light. That makes a big difference in how the fish behave. Sometimes, at this time of the year, they don’t seem to know what they want to do — go deep or stay shallow and eat. That makes them hard to figure out.”
Trageser continues by pointing out that all these factors combined tend to scatter the fish at this time of the year, especially on the shallow east side of the bay where almost all of the anglers are fishing.
Add to that the fact that these waters can fish big — the grass covered flats seem endless — and you can see why there’s so much confusion. Anyone can have a banner day, and anyone can struggle.