The Realtreefishing KBF TRAIL presented by DeeZee returned to the Potomac River with 102 anglers launching on a breezy Saturday morning to compete for qualifying spots, cash prizes and precious Farwide KBF Angler of the Year points and points for Rookie of the Year presented by Rogue Fishing. The AOY points race would be a major story line for the weekend, as several new anglers broke into the Top 10.
Competitors first had to fish and the Potomac River – one of the country’s best tidal fisheries for bass species – presented unique challenges. The Potomac’s main channel is fed by tributaries as it flows from the nation’s capital out to the sea, and offers coves, creeks, marinas and scenic shorelines to anglers looking to lock into a big limit. Anglers have to fish the conditions, which include tidal flows and, on this weekend, clear, windy skies.
In the run-up to the event, Mike Ortega of KBF Partner Club NVKBA noted the river had been producing “phenomenal limits” for several weeks, and the early limits indicated an excellent bite. By 9 a.m., more than one third of the field has posted at least one fish., with Daniel Serafin setting the pace, followed by 2019 KBF ROY Derek Brundle, J.R. Rentz, John Tibbens (who would make a splash the next day) and Charles Coleman. The top 5 were averaging 16” per fish or better, and those are the kinds of numbers that make anglers competitive, but also require upgrades.
And that’s what Rentz did – he upgraded his limit. Rentz was in 3rd place at 9 am but at mid-day he surged into 1st overall courtesy of a 19.50” Largemouth Bass that has took over the top spot on the Bucketmouth Brand Big Bass Leaderboard. Rentz’ fish held up tying for 1st in length with Julian Mercado and Matt Lewisson.
How Rentz Won
Rentz won the event through a combination of map study, weather related adjustments and tactical decisions that put him in a position to win over the course of Saturday’s KBF Trail tournament. In his words:
“I launched out of Slavins Ramp on the Maryland side in Massawoman Creek. I was going to prefish Friday, but due to the weather ( wind ) I decided not to. I picked my area, based on a lot of research I did and watching the weather and studying Google maps.”
“On Saturday morning I launched, went to my area and decided I was going to fish this specific bank from point to point all day. It had pea gravel, sand, hard structure coming off of it, which I was looking for and knew it had by the research I had done. I decided I was going to float with the tide and wind and start hitting any wood coming off the bank. In the first 2 hours I had two nice hits and missed them, right on the wood. Around 8 a, I came to a piece of wood coming off the bank and another piece about 10’ off the bank, sticking out of the water. Between 8-9am I had my limit all between 16” -17” , from there on as the tide came up, my fish became larger in size and moved up on this piece of wood and structure that was near it. “
Rentz continued: “When the bite slowed, I’d switch to 2 other baits and would catch 16”-17” fish and go back to my main bait and would upgrade with that bait. I lost 1 fish off that piece [of water]. The area I fished was literally 20’ x 30’. I held that spot and caught 14 fish off of it for about 2 1/2 – 3 hrs. I left around 11-11:30 to give it a break and came back around 1pm to try and cull the 17” fish I had and was only able to pull 2 more 16” fish off of it in the afternoon.”
Rentz described winning a KBF TRAIL: “Amazing… this is what I grew up loving to do. It’s just another step in the direction I’m looking to go. Hoping it helps open the door towards other opportunities for me.”
The Top 10
- J.R. Rentz 89.50”
- Ryan Matylewicz 87.25”
- Dontrell Sullivan 86.25”
- Ryan Nye 86”
- Damien Serafin 85.50”
- Charles Coleman 85.50”
- John Tibbens 84”
- Derek Brundle 84”
- Francis Matylewicz 82.5”
- Christopher Catucci 82.25”
KBF competitors rested on Saturday, then prepared to compete again on Sunday. Strong weekends by two of the top 10 from Saturday – Ryan Matylewicz and John Tibbens – would shake up the KBF Angler of the Year standings. When it was over three anglers would break into the top of the rankings, and a fourth (2019 KBF National Champion Mike Elsea) would solidify his position. In the end, the Potomac River KBF Trail would prove to be an important pivot in the 2021 KBF AOY race…….
J.R. Rentz is on the Pro Staff for Drake Performance Fishing Gear.
The KBF TRAIL on the Potomac River was hosted by Stafford, VA: https://staffordcountyva.gov/64/Visiting
Realtree Fishing KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments are presented by Dee Zee Truck Accessories
© KBF 2021