Bobby Smith's call came at just the right time. "Let's go do some bassin' down on Mattawoman Creek tomorrow," he suggested.
I had been on vacation all week and frankly had approached my congenial limits on undersized striped bass and doves that failed to materialize in fields that should have been loaded with them. Some largemouth bassing on the tidal Potomac seemed like the perfect cure to an otherwise frustrating week.
Famed Potomac bass guide Ken Penrod once told me, "Mattawoman Creek contains the best ratio of largemouth bass age-to-size than any other tidal water in the state," and despite the tremendous amounts of fishing pressure it faces, that statement holds true.
Smith and I caught numerous respectable-sized largemouths after leaving the launching area and slowly working our way up river.
In the cool of the morning we used a variety of spinnerbaits, Rattle Traps and even a couple of surface rippling jitterbugs and it didn't seem to matter to the bass. It was just one of those wonderful, though rare, mornings when the fish nailed everything you threw at them.
Along about mid-morning we had worked our way back down the creek, in the direction of the Potomac to one of my favorite fishing holes -- Marsh Island. This spot is on the western side of the creek and a little north of the Smallwood ramp.
The water around the island is on the shallow side and the whole area is loaded with ideal bass hide-outs -- fallen trees, large amounts of vegetation, old pilings and submerged barge remains.
Here, I stuck with two lures -- a chartreuse buzzbait and, in the thick stuff, a Texas rigged Berkley Power Worm. Smitty opted for the same worm rig, but a white buzzbait and did just as well.
In my opinion, this area of the tidal Potomac River is the country's premier largemouth bass river and the upper, freshwater portion isn't far behind as a smallmouth bass factory. Give both areas a try this fall and I promise you will not be disappointed.
Mid-bay fishing report
Reports of improved catches of legal-sized striped bass are increasing. Until recently, loads of rockfish were being caught, but most were well under the minimum 18-inch length requirement.
The best fishing, and still probably the best choice for rock, is found above the Bay Bridges. I know of some excellent catches that were made around Fort Carroll.
In the mid-bay area, stripers in the 30-inch class are beginning to turn up. Limits on such fish are being taken in the areas of Matapeake, Brickhouse Bar, Bloody Point and Eastern Bay, as well as moderate to good action around the Bay Bridges. I am getting more reports of success from chummers, but the best method is still drifted eels and trolled bucktails. Breaking schools are still translating into undersized fish for the most part.
The bluefish and Spanish mackerel fishing remains superb throughout the mid-bay area. Best spots these past few days are reported to be just off the main channel edges, along shorelines and at Thomas Point and Hacketts. Tolley Point and Eastern Bay have provided superb spot fishing the past week.
Dove hunting off to slow start
I attempted to get in quite a bit of dove hunting these first two weeks of the season, but have been frustrated by a general lack of birds. All of my hunting to date has taken place in Carroll County, though similar reports have reached me from hunters gunning Frederick, Montgomery and Baltimore counties.
One planned hunt for southern Anne Arundel County was canceled by the host due to a lack of birds.