‘Buzzing’ over Po­tomac bass

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports -

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.

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