When Florida pro Christian Greico arrived for pre-tournament practice for the MLF Toyota Series event on the Potomac River, he liked what he saw: acres of matted milfoil in the back of Mattawoman Creek, suited to his style of fishing.
“Punching mats with a heavy soft plastic is what I love to do; it’s a comfort technique for me and what I’ve had the most success doing over the years,” said Greico.
After connecting on some quality fish with the technique in practice, he noticed most of his competitors fishing in the same area were primarily working hollow-body frogs across the tops of the mats. This gave him even more hope his punching technique could be the subtle difference to a high finish.
“To win an event, you have to do something different than everyone else, so I had high hopes that my punching plan would work well going into the competition days,” said Greico.
His desire became a reality as the three-day event was shortened to two due to inclement weather. Greico emerged at the top of the field with 33.1 pounds for the two days of competition.
Greico explained that the key to his success was the hard edge effect from the matted milfoil, which ended abruptly in 2 to 3 1/2 feet of water, depending upon the incoming or outgoing tides of the Potomac.
“The key for me was the canopy that formed under the matted vegetation, as this gave the bass the perfect shade and overhead cover to position beneath,” he said. “As soon as that heavy sinker punched through the mat, the bass would thump it”.
In order to get his soft plastic under the mats, he had to go with heavy metal. Using a 1 1/2-ounce Epic Tungsten Flipping Weight, Greico pegged the heavy sinker with an Epic Weight Peg on 65-pound braided line. Beneath the weight, he used a Googan Squad Bandito Bug on a 4/0 flipping hook.
“I caught nine of the 10 fish I weighed with the punching rig,” said Greico. “However, I also caught a key 4-pounder on a hollow-body frog that I weighted with a couple of Epic 6-millimeter Tungsten Beads. The added weight helps get the frog deeper into the mat, making a more defined trail in the vegetation. The beads also give the frog a little rattle as it moves across the mat, which helps the bass find it easier in the grass.”
With a payout of just over $40,000, Greico’s plan at the Potomac event fell into place. Sometimes, you just have to punch them in the mouth to win.