Gone Fishin' - Oct. 10, 1994

October 10, 1994                                                                   By Charlie Taylor

Everyone has to be right sometime. Saturday was the weatherman's day. Dawn broke on the Potomac River as we were putting the boat in the water. From dawn until we took the boat out of the water, the weather could not have been better. It was pleasantly cool in the mild wind, but not too cool to be enjoyable.

On Friday night, we checked the tide charts for all the tidal creeks off the Potomac River, looking for a creek with man-made cover, that had a high tide early in the morning. The creek we selected, had a bridge crossing the entrance, and a high tide of 9:00 a.m. Since stripers like to feed early mornings on a high incoming tide, this should be an excellent. We would like to have had an earlier high tide, but this would have to do.

Arriving at the bridge, we rigged Sassy Shads and Rat-L-Traps, and began casting parallel to the wooden barricades marking the channel. We varied retrieves and direction of cast to cover the spectrum. During the first hour, we did not get a strike, so we decided to move around to the bridge pilings and fish for bass.

Switching to plastic worms, we began fishing the pilings supporting the bridge. Within 15 minutes, we had our first fish in the boat. Although this fish was a sunfish, it did not diminish the thrill of the catch. Shortly thereafter, the first bass was swung aboard. The fish then began to bite consistently. Every 10-15 minutes, one or the other of us would catch another fish.

About 8:00, we decided to move back to the channel and try again for stripers. Being closer to the high tide, we figured that the fish might have moved in. Sure enough, in the next hour, we caught six stripers along the wood barricades. These fish were not large, but gave very good accounts of themselves, before they were brought to the boat and released.

As quickly as they had started biting, the fish quit. Since the tide had turned around, we once again went back inside and fished the bridge pilings for bass. After fishing without a bite for about 30 minutes, we noticed that the water had muddied considerably. Figuring that this might have something to do with our lack of success, we decided to change colors. My partner put on a jig, dressed with a pork chunk, and began casting this into the openings between the pilings. I stuck with a plastic worm, although I switched to a darker color. Within minutes, Fran called for the net, saying that he had a striper on. Standing by with the net, I waited for Fran to bring the fish to the boat. The fish rolled and we immediately noted that this was not a striper, but a good sized bass. He played the fish expertly, bringing it to the net, where it was scooped from the water. After unhooking the fish, we brought out the scales and noted that the fish was over the five pound mark by about four ounces. Now the day was a complete success.

We had caught the stripers we originally went after, Fran had caught the heaviest largemouth bass of his life and we had enjoyed a beautiful day. But this was not the end. This was only 11 a.m.

We continued fishing the bridge pilings until 5:30, catching bass and catfish all day. Not more than 15 minutes would pass between fish. When the tide turned, we switched positions, and worked the pilings from another direction. Regardless of the direction the tide was running, we managed to catch fish. Although the largest fish came on a jig 'n pig, the greatest number of fish came on an electric blue/firetail, four inch ringworm. This worm seemed to work, regardless of the water color.

During the time we were fishing the bridge pilings, over 20 boats moved in, fished a few minutes and left. By showing patience and continuously fishing one spot all day, we managed to catch fish all day. Each of us had a good solid limit of bass, in addition to a large number of fish returned to the water immediately. All of the fish we caught were released at the end of the day, in order that they may provide enjoyment for other anglers on another day.

Good fishin'.....