Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hockey sucks. Fishing is better.

middle patuxent smallmouth on a z-man trd finesse worm
First fish and legal size.  But they got smaller and smaller.
With the rain we've been having, it's been difficult to find some time to go fishing.  Even as I type this, the Upper Potomac is basically unfishable.

The smaller rivers near me swell in water levels, too, but they settle back to normal within a few days.  Over the weekend, I monitored the river gauges and decided to fish the Little Patuxent on Sunday ... but didn't catch a thing.  The river was slightly higher than normal but was really muddy.

What really made fishing difficult on Sunday was that I decided to visit the Savage Mill area, which I've told myself not to do.  But I did it anyway.  I can hit most areas of the Little Patuxent and not see a single person fishing, but not at Savage Mill.  Nearly every stretch of water I've caught fish before was occupied.  It's like this almost all the time.  And people don't just fish for a little while and move on, they stay in one spot the whole time.

Because my work laptop doesn't react well with water, I had today off (and probably one or two more days) and ventured out to the Middle Patuxent River.  There are a few more access points to the river besides the one I went to two weeks ago, and I went to one of those places -- really easy to get to, just pull off the road before a bridge spanning the river.  There are even a couple trails from the parking area, so getting to the water is a breeze.

Right by the bridge I found a pool that looked really fishy.  I tried a Heddon Zara Puppy but couldn't get any rises.  I switched over to a Z-Man TRD Finesse Worm and had a hit on the first cast.  Reeled in the fish, and it was a smallmouth bass that was right at 12 inches.  A few casts later, a redbreast sunfish clamped on.

middle patuxent river
A lot of sections like this -- while not really
"fishy" -- make wading between pools on the
Middle Patuxent pretty easy.  And wading is a better
option than hiking the bank.
After awhile, I waded up river and paused to fish nearly every pool.  Lots of good places for a half mile stretch (looking at Google Earth, I should have continued further because it there is another nice stretch beyond where I stopped).  After that 12-inch smallmouth, the bass comically went down in size.  The next one was about 10 inches, the next one eight inches, and then two more even smaller than that.  Five total smallmouth and a "bonus" failfish.  I also saw what looked like a brown trout in one pool, but it wasn't interested in anything I was throwing.

Except for one smallmouth on a Reaction Innovations Little Dipper, all the fish were caught on one TRD worm (TRD stands for "The Real Deal").  Literally the same worm -- because they are made from a fancy material called elaztech, they are more durable than most plastic/rubber baits.  Even the Little Dippers get to a point after catching a few fish and getting hook-ups, the rubber baits won't stay on the jigheads, but that's not the case with the elaztech worms.  I usually snag a worm before switching out for wear and tear.  In fact, I changed the jighead today because it was mangled from snags and using pliers to free fish.

middle patuxent river
That white square is a car hood.  
Funny story, I caught one of the fish standing on rocks along the bank.  I saw a pool with several fish -- including one smallmouth that was easily 12 inches, maybe 14 -- and didn't want to climb down to spook the fish.  Of course I caught a dink smallmouth among those fish.  As I was trying to grab the fish, it freed itself and fell down into mud along the water.  The fish was rolling and caked itself in mud while trying to get to the water.  I nudged the fish with the end of my rod until it finally could cleanse itself in the water.

Hopefully, most of the big rains are behind us.  And since Karen and I don't have to go see these choke artists for quite awhile, I should have more frequent blog entries in the future.

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