An aversion to crowds and a savvy practice led Jeremy Prouty, of Vero Beach, Fla., to the biggest bass of the 2009 Northern Open on the Chesapeake Bay.
"I didn't want to fish in the Susquehanna River because of the crowds. It was just too crowded for my style, so I headed up the Sassafras River. I found an old shipwreck off a deep point in about 16 feet of water. A part of one bulkhead was at about 8 feet, less than that when the tide was out. The only other angler near it was Ken Cook.
"During practice I caught one around 8 pounds there, so I knew it held big bass. Really, that didn't surprise me. That boat and point was the only cover and structure in the area. Big bass always gravitate towards the best places, so I figured it'd be good once the tournament started.
"Like all the other places up here, though, the bite didn't get going until the current picked up so you had to be fishing it at the right time. That was a problem this week. The tide was messed up — impossible to gauge — and wasn't responding normally at all."
Come Thursday Cook arrived at the wreck first, so Prouty had to wait his turn. It was a wait well worth his time, however. He caught his only bass of the day, and one of only two he boated during the tournament.
"When he [Cook] finally left on Thursday afternoon I threw a Cell Mate (white), Spro Little John into the wreck. I let the bait just tick the bulkhead, then stopped it. It floated up for a second or two, and she inhaled it.
"The hardest part about catching big bass is finding them. This is an example of that. There was nothing else around. Anything big in the area had to be on that boat. If the tide would have cooperated I think that wreck would have given up the winning weight."
Tackle: A 6 foot, 9 inch Carrot Stix rod (medium action) with a Team Daiwa Sol reel (5.8:1 gear ratio) and 10-pound-test Seaguar InvisX 100% Fluorocarbon line.