MCBA Charter Captain Bryan Schmitt owns the Mississippi - Congratulations! (August 29, 2022)
Well, not the whole river but the area in and around LaCrosse and Lake Onalaska, Wisconsin...
(From the BassMaster.com website) -- Bryan Schmitt takes the win at the final event of the 2022 Elite season! LA CROSSE, Wis. — Persistent refinement put Bryan Schmitt on track to sacking up a four-day total of 63 pounds, 4 ounces and claiming his second blue trophy at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River.
Hailing from Deale, MD., Schmitt took the Day 1 lead with 17-0 — the event’s second heaviest bag — and followed that with bags of 14-3 and 14-12.
Schmitt, who won his first Elite on Lake Champlain in 2021, started Championship Monday in third place, trailing Canadian pro Chris Johnston by 2-1. Adding 16-11 in the final round, Schmitt edged Johnston by just 4 ounces and won the $100,000 prize. He also earned an automatic berth into the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic scheduled for March 24-26 in Knoxville, Tenn.
“I’d rather have a blow-out win because this is too stressful,” Schmitt said of the dramatic finish. “When Chris brought his bag up, it looked big — I thought he had it!
“I can’t believe it. I’m 2-for-2 here. (Schmitt also won a 2017 FLW Tour event on the Mississippi River).”
Throughout the event, Schmitt focused his efforts on a 200-yard stretch of eelgrass in Pool 8. With multiple wins on grassy tidal fisheries from the Potomac River to the James River, he leveraged his vast knowledge of how bass relate to moving water and vegetation to progressively whittle down his spot.
“When you have a fishery with a lot of grass, it’s always about finding something different,” Schmitt said. “The first day, it was about depressions and edges. Then, it got so flat calm that I realized the fish would pick a place on that grass edge or depression and that was the only place you could get bit.”
Seeing the bass were not randomly strolling through the eelgrass, Schmitt dissected his area until he identified the money spot. Amid the grass flat’s consistent 6-foot depths, he identified an 8-foot trench measuring about 20 feet wide by 100 yards long.
“There was about a 50-foot section where, whenever I would get a bait on the bottom, I could feel rock,” Schmitt said. “So, there was rock meeting grass in a depression.”
The key to the spot’s attraction was the very detail that derailed many anglers’ game plans. Heavy rains from a storm that delayed the Day 2 launch by one hour muddied much of Pool 8. However, Schmitt’s area was shielded from the mud plume, while the eelgrass filtration left only beneficial water flow.
“It’s a challenge, but I enjoy fishing in current because I feel current makes fish predictable,” Schmitt said. “When I won here in 2017, it flooded. It was just like this — my spot got better and better.”
Schmitt caught most of his keepers on a Carolina-rigged Missile Baits Baby D Stroyer in green pumpkin flash. He added one of his limit fish on a bone-colored Spro Fat Papa Walker.
“I used a 3 1/2- to 4-foot leader and I think that’s why they would bite that bait,” Schmitt said. “There was so much eelgrass, the weight would get down and the bait would float above the grass for a minute and that’s when you would get bit.”
Schmitt said his win was perfectly timed, as he’ll head home and celebrate his son Dylan’s 9th birthday Thursday.
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