Potomac overflowing with smallmouth


The time is ideal for wet-wading area rivers and streams for bass and panfish. Nearby Pipe Creek and the Monocacy and Potomac rivers are local favorites. Of the three, the Potomac River is my choice because of the world-class smallmouth fishing it offers.

Last Father's Day weekend I put on an old pair of cut-offs and a cotton fishing shirt sporting lots of pockets for lure and tackle storage, threw an old pair of sneakers with carpet glued to the soles for wading traction and a light-action spinning rig into the back of the car and headed toward Brunswick.

I usually choose the area on the Potomac between Seneca and Hancock for this type of fishing. The area between the Lander boat ramp and the Route 17 Bridge at Brunswick is an especially good choice and that's where I could be found as Saturday's hot sun broke through the morning fog and haze.

For the first hour or so I caught and released almost two dozen scrappy smallmouth bass with the same lure -- a 2-inch black Torpedo. This has been a lucky lure for me on rivers of this type.

My method is to cast it along the bank, against a rock or close to a fallen tree, give the lure a couple of quick turns of the reel %% handle, stop, give it a few more, stop, etc. Usually a bass will hit it during the first pause. When you retrieve this lure, do it just fast enough to turn the blades.

By the time the morning fog had burned off, I had tied on a pumpkinseed-colored twistertail and a 1/2 -ounce jig. After a period of missed strikes, my reflexes improved and I was able to hook and release about a dozen smallmouths. More times than not, these fish would bite as the jig fluttered toward the rocky river bottom.

A little before noon, I broke for lunch and then drove to Sandy Hook, another favorite spot of mine. To get there, take the Sandy Hook exit off Route 340 out of Frederick and turn left at the last exit before crossing the river. About a quarter of a mile down this road is a turn-off to the right, Sandy Hook Road.

This section of the Potomac, from Sandy Hook up to Dam No. 3, which is about a mile above Goodharts Lock, is the best all-round wading spot on the river.

I spent the better part of the afternoon working my way up river, catching and releasing smallmouths with clock-like regularity. Here I tied on a small Rebel crayfish lure as well as motor oil-colored twistertail jigs and 4-inch purple plastic worms rigged Texas style. They all caught fish.

Bird hunters need permits

Anyone hunting doves, woodcock, rails, snipe, coots, ducks and geese in Maryland this fall will need a free Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program permit and be required to present it for inspection when requested.

The permit will be available from vendors selling hunting licenses.

The purpose of the program is to improve management of migratory bird populations. Other states participating in the program are California, Missouri, South Dakota and Texas.

The permit will include an informational card that hunters will be asked to complete and return to the vendor. You are asked to include your name, address and basic information about your migratory bird success last year.

Local fishing prospects

Use spinners and shad darts to take advantage of good yellow perch and crappie fishing off Oakland Point in Liberty. Crappie fishing has slowed a little at the Route 140 bridge area.

White perch fishing is excellent at Prettyboy and the top bait is a spinner tipped with a nightcrawler. The same bait is a good pick to use on Piney Run's good crappie and bluegill fishing.

You will find excellent chain pickerel action in the shallows at Loch Raven as well as super white perching. Gunpowder River trout action continues to be excellent with sulphur and caddis hatches in progress.


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