GONE FISHIN' - 10/3/1994

By Charlie Taylor

The beginning of cooler weather normally finds a number of changes in tidal waters. The baitfish begin their annual migration back up the creeks and bass, stripers and other predatory fish follow them. This cycle is the reason for some creeks being known as "Spring & Fall" creeks. The fishing is great in these creeks early and late in the year, while Summer fishing is just so-so. Nanjemoy Creek is just such a creek. The creek is located just over 50 miles south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, on the Maryland side. It is a long run from the popular launching ramps upstream, but this run is made quite frequently by tournament anglers familiar with the quality of bass in the creek.

A much easier method is to launch at Friendship Landing, located in the upper third of the creek. This is an excellent launch facility, although parking is limited. Early arrival is recommended, particularly during the open striper season. This is due to the proximity of the creek to the good striper holes from the creek mouth to the Morgantown Bridge.

On Sunday, Mark Mott of Sterling and I headed for the creek to do a little bass fishing and perhaps take on a striper or two. We launched at Friendship Landing and idled up the creek approximately 300 yards. Cutting the outboard, we dropped the trolling motor and began fishing. As dawn broke, baitfish activity increased, attracting the predatory fish.

I was throwing a buzzbait toward the shoreline and retrieving it over the submerged wood in 5-17 feet of water. All at once, a fish blew up on the bait and missed. Mark cast a crankbait toward the swirl and promptly yelled for the net. With more than a little trepidation, Mark played the fish until he got her to the net. The fish was a good one, topping the three pound mark.

We continued up the shoreline, fishing the downed wood, when Mark again called for the net. This fish gave as good an account of herself as the first fish, but Mark prevailed and this fish also came to the net. Once again, a good three pound fish.

As the tide continued to fall and no more fish were forthcoming, we decided to head farther back in the creek. Arriving at a large fallen tree on an outside bend, we proceeded to work the cover with crankbaits and plastic worms. Each part of the cover had to be patiently covered with casts using both baits. The first fish came from a small branch sticking up from the tree trunk. We cast crankbaits six times by the branch from different directions, then began flipping plastic worms. On the fifth cast, the line started moving against the tide. The hook was set and the fish was deposited in the boat.

This was the pattern all day. Blanket the cover with crankbaits, cast from different directions, then work the cover with plastic worms, over and over again. Small worms with very light weights are best, since the tide washes them under the wood. This also presents problems, when the fish pick up the worm and run with the tide. In most cases, when bass pick up the worm, they head against the tide, bringing them out of the cover. Occasionally, however, they run the other direction, and the hookset cannot get a good bite. These fish normally get off, as did three of our fish on Sunday.

Another problem is presented by the ever-present barnacles. When hooks are set immediately, there is always a good chance that the line will be cut on the barnacles. Upon feeling a tap, it is best to drop the rod tip and allow the fish to move a certain amount. Hopefully, he will bring the worm out of the cover and the hookset will "jerk his jaw". Contrary to other published accounts, there are plenty of fish in Nanjemoy Creek.