‘Buzzing’ over Potomac bass
The upper tidal Potomac River currently delivers unbelievably great bass fishing. The past week has seen a veritable explosion of largemouth bass that are willing to strike a variety of lures. It’s the talk of the day among tidal river fishing fanatics.
Fat, sassy bass are hooked from as far south on the river as the Arkindale Flats and then all upriver portions in coves, tributary creeks and main-stem sections. As long as there’s sunken brush, waterlogged trees, or freshly emerging submersed aquatic vegetation, you’ll get plenty of action.
“There isn’t a spot where I’ve stopped to fish that didn’t turn up bass,” said pro fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski of La Plata, Md. “The fish are taking crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics,” added the guide. “I’ve had clients aboard who don’t fish very often, but they’ve hooked 20 to 30 bass each without any problem.” Our fishing pal, Dick Fox, said it took 27 pounds (for five bass) to win a small tournament on the river last weekend, and the news of a bass that weighed more than 9 pounds being caught by a participant in another contest has everybody buzzing.
As if that wasn’t enough, white perch and hickory shad are caught up around Fletcher’s Cove, off Canal Road in Georgetown, and up or down the river wherever quiet side pockets with plenty of hiding cover are found, chances are you’ll catch a crappie. If that isn’t good enough, large blue catfish (including a recent 80pounder) are available in the Potomac’s channels and deep cuts between the Wilson Bridge and Marshall Hall.
Hickory shad are in the Fredericksburg sector of Virginia’s Rappahannock River. However, state fisheries biologist John Odenkirk told me that the river sorely needs a good rainfall. “Water levels are way down,” he said, “and the shad, as well as other fish, are kind of laying low right now.” Apparently, the hickories and American shad do not like very clear, shallow water.
Elsewhere, crappie, bass and stripers are turning on in all of the Virginia reservoirs, starting with Lake Anna, west of Fredericksburg, south to lakes Gaston and Kerr along the Virginia/carolina border. The same is true of southwestern Virginia’s Smith Mountain Lake, while the James River from Richmond down to the Appomattox is good for fat blue catfish.
If it’s great saltwater action you want, Virginia Beach’s super lady angler, Julie Ball, says the offshore tautog bite has been quite good when the weather and wind cooperate and bait crabs are available. Inside the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, the bridge-tunnel offers tautogs and the first flounder of the year. Stripers are slowly heading up the bay toward Virginia’s Northern Neck and southern Maryland, but don’t be in a hurry to start trolling. It will be a while before they arrive.