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Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the EverStart Series Northern Division event presented by Power-Pole on the Chesapeake Bay with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 52 pounds, 4 ounces. For his victory, Schmitt earned $24,337 and a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor.
      Schmitt caught the largest limit of the tournament to win his fourth FLW tournament on the Chesapeake Bay. The key to his success was finding a hidden gem in the Chesapeake Bay’s vast grass flats.
     “I strictly fish grass when I come here,” said Schmitt. “I’ve always done well fishing trenches. This year I fished a whole new area that I’d never caught fish on before. I found a ¼-mile long stretch of grass that had 6 feet of water surrounded by 2 feet of water.
      “I thought I knew about tidal fishing,” continued Schmitt. “I had really good success on my area with a high, incoming tide in practice. I would hit it at the end of the day with the right tide, and I’d catch my fish there. The third day, (tournament director) Ron Lappin let us go a little bit earlier, and when I got there the water was high and just starting to go out. It made an eddy on the outside edge of the grass because the current was so strong, and the fish absolutely went off for one hour. I thought it was a high, incoming spot but it was actually a high, outgoing spot.
     “I had other places that would produce keepers, but I always caught my weight off that spot,” said Schmitt. “The biggest key was that it wasn’t a visible trench. You could ride by and not know it was there. The flats are such a community area that finding a spot nobody else is fishing is key.”
     Schmitt said he fished a 6th Sense Core-X swimbait and a Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait on Owner Beast hooks.
The top 10 pros on the Chesapeake Bay were:
            1st:    Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., 15 bass, 52-4, $24,337
            2nd:   Mike Moran, Ruffs Dale, Pa., 15 bass, 50-1, $9,126
            3rd:   Frank Poirier, Hopewell, Va., 15 bass, 49-3, $6,084
            4th:    Charles Harvey, North East, Md., 15 bass, 40-14, $5,476
            5th:    Dan Rodriguez, Monkton, Md., 15 bass, 40-8, $4,867
            6th:    Matt Stasiak, Pittsburgh, Pa., 13 bass, 38-15, $4,259
            7th:    Michael Sentore, Gloucester City, N.J., 14 bass, 36-11, $3,651
            8th:    Joseph Wood, Westport, Mass., 13 bass, 36-6, $3,042
            9th:    Jay Pirollo, Warwick, Md., 12 bass, 34-5, $2,434
          10th: Jerrod Lloyd, Millville, N.J., 10 bass, 29-2, $1,825
     Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
     Richard Damiano caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Friday – a 5-pound, 12-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $152.
     Ryan Bauman of Fleetwood, Pa., won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117 with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor with a three-day total of 11 bass weighing 38 pounds, 2 ounces.
 The top 10 co-anglers on the Chesapeake Bay were:
            1st:    Ryan Bauman, Fleetwood, Pa., 11 bass, 38-2, Ranger Z117 and Mercury or Evinrude outboard
            2nd:   Marvin Reese, Gwynn Oak, Md., 13 bass, 33-6, $3,384
            3rd:   Dick Gum, Woodbridge, Va., 11 bass, 27-3, $2,707
            4th:    Jerry Pyles, Middletown, Md., 10 bass, 26-15, $2,369
            5th:    Lenny Baird, Stafford, Va., nine bass, 26-8, $2,030
            6th:    Thomas Bavaro III, Joppa, Md., nine bass, 24-10, $1,692
            7th:    Manuel Cruz, Clifton, N.J., nine bass, 20-12, $1,354
            8th:    James Goins, Baltimore, Md., eight bass, 18-13, $1,015
            9th:    Chris Lang, Joppa, Md., eight bass, 17-6, $677
          10th: Andy Dick, Wilmington, Del., seven bass, 16-10, $541
     Gum caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Thursday – a 5-pound, 14-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $101.

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