Thursday, April 20, 2017

Potomac swimbait surprise

potomac walleye
Potomac river toothy fish.

potomac smallmouth
First fish on Friday.
Since Karen was on spring break from teaching last week and I usually get done with work early on Fridays, we decided to go camping on the C&O Canal last Friday.  We got to Antietam Creek Campground and realized that they do online "reservations" instead of just paying at the campground for your site.  Karen figured out there were a few sites that hadn't been reserved, and we set up camp at one of the open sites.

I went fishing at one of the spots I normally go to.  Should come up with a nickname for it since I usually hit this spot in the area.  Maybe "The Plateau" -- the rocky terrain under the water forms kind of a plateau for 50 yards that drops off a couple feet on the downriver side.  You can't see it for the most part unless you wade out in the river.

Anyway, I caught a couple smallmouth bass in about an hour, one dink and this chunky one that was about 12 inches.  Both were on a Reaction Innovations Little Dipper.  During the summer, the water is usually too low for crank/jerk baits, but it was running a couple feet higher than normal.  Since I felt confident that I wouldn't snag it, I tried a Rapala Shadow Rap for a little while ... and had zero interest from the fish.

Chunky 12-inch smallmouth
Because The Plateau forms a point out from the bank, it creates a pool downriver against the bank.  I had never caught anything from that pool -- always in the faster moving water.  Figuring "what the heck," I ambled down the muddy bank and tossed a swimbait into the pool.  Water was really murky, and because of the river depth, I wasn't sure how deep the pool was.

Well on that first cast, I had a fish hit.  Reeled it in and to my surprise it was a walleye!  It measured right at 15 inches (fish pictured at top of page).  A couple casts later, another fish -- this time a smallmouth, but it freed itself right at the bank.  A few casts later, another fish -- another smallmouth, but this stayed on the hook.  This one was 12 inches but not as chunky as the one earlier.

And after that, nothing.  It was like a switch turned off, and the fish stopped biting.

After that, I tried a Whopper Plopper and again the fish weren't interested.  In fact, I have yet to even get a bite on topwater lures yet this year.  But I'll keep trying them until the fish want them.

potomac turtle
I saw this turtle on the bank near "The Plateau" on Friday. 
When I went back on Saturday, it was there again!
Karen said she caught one cookie-cutter smallmouth bass fishing downriver from me during this time.

Saturday morning, I woke up early and headed downriver to an area that has large exposed rocky formations.  Usually.  Most of the rocks were submerged, and the river was flowing fast.  I couldn't get the fish to bite so I moved up to where Antietam Creek flows into the Potomac.  Usually this area is really shallow, but I figured with the higher water would hold some fish.  I managed to catch one cookie-cutter smallmouth on an orange/black Z-Man TRD Finesse Worm.

After Karen made breakfast, I went back to The Plateau and caught one cookie-cutter smallmoth.  So that made the tally five smallmouth and a walleye on this trip.  Not too shabby, but it pales in comparison with what happened the next time we went fishing.

antietam creek aqueduct
Antietam Creek Aqueduct.

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