Tides an important factor on Upper Chesapeake

The expansive grass flats of the Upper Chesapeake Bay will receive plenty of attention from the competitors in the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional this week in Northeast, Md.

“It is a good possiblity it could be won out of a good section of grass holding a decent number of fish,” said Roger Trageser, Maryland B.A.S.S. Federation Nation president, who frequently fishes the bay. “Most guys are going to go out on that grass and throw popping frogs and ChatterBaits.”

Trageser predicted black or white buzzbaits and 1/4-ounce white willowleaf spinnerbaits will also trigger strikes from bass in the grass, especially during high tide. When the tide is low, soft plastics such as creature baits and craws in green pumpkin or black-and-blue hues produce best.

Timing will also be a key to catching bass in the bay. “There will always be better fish caught on a moving tide going out and coming in,” said Trageser, who noted the best time will be early in the morning with a moving tide.

Divisional contenders can run up the tributaries to catch quality smallmouth, but the better sacks of bass in this event will contain largemouth from the bay.

“I know that upper portion of the bay has given up 6-, 7- and 8-pounders in the past,” said Trageser. “What we might see is a bunch of fish in the 4-pound class.”

Bay facts

  • Forage — shad, yellow perch and white perch
  • Average depth — 12 to 13 feet in the channel and 2 to 4 feet on the flats
  • Expected water clarity — 18 inches to 2 feet
  • Dominant structure/cover — milfoil, hydrilla, docks and rocks
  • Predicted winning weight — 40 pounds

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