BASS Elite Series #7

Chesapeake Bay, August 13-16, 2015

By Kurt Dove
October 2015

Well 2 bombs in a row ... Kentucky Lake and my improbable terrible finish at 1000 Islands. I have now fallen to 99th place in the AOY standings with 2 events left. My thoughts have completely shifted from AOY standings and I am now strictly thinking about making top 50's for the financial purposes ... It has been since March that I cashed a check. That's 5 events missing the $10,000 money cut of 50th place. Fortunately, I am still confident, as this event is near where I grew up in Virginia and its tidal water of which I have a good understanding. This is one of the few events I pre-practiced for and I felt that was very much worth my while. I am ready to get after it.


The practice period for the event was nearly worthless. The event was taking place in the northern portions of the Chesapeake Bay estuary. We had strong south winds all 3 days and that created a flood tide. A flood tide is where the water rises well over the normal high tide cycle and the low tide cycle is never fully achieved due to the high water being pushed in from the south winds. Basically the best times to locate bass and their where bouts on a tidal fishery is to concentrate your efforts in areas where low tide is achieved during the day. This was basically impossible to do because of the lack of a low tide cycle. The winds were scheduled to reverse during the event so tides would be turning back to a normal cycle. Dealing with the lack of normal tides in practice sent me in a direction I didn't imagine going ... up the Susquehanna River. I quickly found keeper smallmouth fairly easy to catch when getting bites nearly everywhere in the Chesapeake Bay system were difficult at best. My only saving grace was understanding some locations that would probably hold bass on the flats that were understood during pre-practice. In the last hour of official practice, I fished a stretch that should have some bass in the eel grass and I shortly boated a 3 lb largemouth. I was feeling good. I had a game plan ... hoping it would go my way.

Event Day 1: 5 Bass/13 lbs 11 oz – 16th place of 107

I began up the Susquehanna and quickly boated a limit of smallmouth bass in a few hours fishing time ... a couple of those smallmouth bass was in the 2 lb range so I was feeling pretty good. Knowing the best tide cycle around the eel grass was not going to occur until the afternoon I was ready to make some noise late in the day. Around noon I ran to the best grass I located in pre-practice and the area I got the 3 lb bite at the end of official practice.

Chesapeake Bay Bass Elite Fishing tournament

I worked up and down a stretch and saw a few fish swimming on the edge of the grass. I had to change up my presentation several times until I finally provoked one of the fish to bite a weighted wacky straight tail worm ... gosh it was frustrating but I was elated once got it in the boat and was finally was able to cull up with a nice 3 lb largemouth. I fished hard and along the edges of the grass and began working some reaction lures as windy conditions became to work in my favor. Wham! A good bite and I boated a solid 4+ lber in the boat! I had about an hour left to fish and worked my tail off but no luck ... it's hard to get those clear water fish to bite at times. I was very happy with how my game plan came together.

Event Day 2: 5 Bass/6 lbs 1 oz – 23rd place of 107

Photo of Kurt Dove and his catch on the Chesapeake Bay

After reviewing the standings and weights from the first day of competition it was pretty aperient to me that to cash a check and seal a top 50 finish I just needed to catch a limit. With the better tides moving later in the day I was going to have to fish for smallmouth to secure that goal. First thing in the morning I immediately traveled up the Susquehanna and secured a small limit of smallmouth after about 3 hours of fishing. No quality fish would come aboard on this day but I did manage a limit and knew I would make the 50 cut and take home a minimum of a $10,000 payday. Mission accomplished! What a relief. As the day wound down I worked several sections of the grass flats with no results. It was slightly frustrated but I knew it would be tough with the prime tide occurring after my tournament check-in time.

Event Day 3: 5 Bass/8 lbs 3 oz – 33rd place of 107

Nothing to loose on this final day I decided to hunt largemouth first thing in the morning hoping I could get some quality fish in the low light hours. It was a bit of a gamble but with my ultimate goal secured it was time to take a few chances. I worked several grass edges for the first few hours of the morning with no results. The water color was slightly dirty due to a wind direction change and that certainly didn't work to my favor. You almost had to be casting right on the edge of the grass or actually see the fish to target cast in order to get them to bite. I fished through the best tide that morning and then ran back up the Susquehanna and worked on the smallmouth almost the rest of the day. I culled up several times and had a couple 2lbers in the mix. I spent the last hour of the day back on the flats working to get a quality largemouth bite and did manage one cull but is was not a significant difference. Non the less I was happy with the final day and how I was able to take a few chances even though they just didn't pay-off this time.

Event Total – 15 Bass/27 lbs 15 oz – 33rd place of 107

Hot dog! I set a goal and actually achieved it! Wahoo! A confidence booster but mostly a bank account booster ... much needed! I have a week off before the last event of the season in Detroit. I will spend a few days prepping my boat for the big water and re-organizing tackle for 100% smallmouth action. I will have the same goals for that event as this one ... make some bank. As I drive back to the hotel after my final weigh-in on Sat. in MD. I have already forgotten the last 2 crummy events and I am brimming with thoughts of ... "of course I can do this, I was born to do this!"

How quickly things change ... the highs and lows of bass fishing!