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Hard Fishing the Potomac River

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I have been killing myself out on the Potomac River here recently. I have been reading these forums for several months now and I finally decided to get an account so I could ask a few questions. I normally fish out of Aquia Creek and I bought an annual pass for Hope Springs which I will have to agree with some other guys that say it is highway robbery!!! But $15.00 for one time is too so I figured it would be worth it. I work as a Deputy Sheriff and I work shift work where I have so much time off and I'm always thinking about fishing.  But when I go out fishing I have a very difficult time actually catching enough fish to where I would be comfortable to fish a tournament and feel as if I could win. I recently fished a tournament series out of leesylvania with LAPR and my fishing partner and I only brought 1 fish to the weigh-in. When I watched other guys bring their huge bags of bass up I was astounded!  I thought the fish just were not bitting that good that day. But apparently those other guys knew the tricks to get them. So I tried talking to some of the guys but they kinda looked at me as if I was stupid for asking. So I just left it alone and then this last weekend we fished another tournament out of Aquia Creek and I had one of my best days out on the water and yet I was only able to bring 2 decent keepers in the boat. We fished mainly the grass flats since the water temp was almost 65 degrees and we were slamming the smaller bass around 12-14 inch and as you know you can't weigh-in anything under 15" now. I just want someone to tell me what I need to do to step up my game. I really enjoy fishing and I thought I was really a good fisherman until i wasn't able to perform. I even thought about getting rid of the boat I just bought last year. But my fiance talked me out of it for now. So can someone please help me out. Like I said I have lots of time off and I spend the majority of my days out on Aquia I have a green older style Nitro Bass Boat with a Mercury/Tracker 115 motor and I drive a red f-250. If you see me stop me and talk.  If anyone knows some info to help me I would love to hear from you, and if anyone just wants to meet up with me I always have a spare seat on the boat! Thank You for your time!!!

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Think Paca Craw in the grass.

Go with Senkos.

Look for the wood and stickups and try topwaters in AM and plastics the rest of the day.

Lots of grass so you may be missing bites thinking you are stuck in the grass. So set the hook all day long.

Fish the area by the Hope Springs marine before you go under the bridge.

Use weedless hooks to minimize snags in the grass.

Think creature baits.

Check tide times and be on the water 1/2 hour before the tide changes.

Fish parallel to any pilings you can find.

Black and Blue jigs with double tail trailer on 20 pound test.

Try crankbaits, too.

Low tide is best.

Look for underwater edges - count to check depth when casting to see how deep you are.

Try Penrod's Cove, with the concrete off the WW Bridge.

SproFrog or Power Pro Special in 1/2 ounce could work.

If you want to just fish the grass use 30 pound braid and "walk the dog" through the grass.

Don't forget your buzzbaits in the AM and frogs, too.

Spinnerbaits can work good as they can manuever through the grass.  Double Willow baldes.

Topwaters in the pads.

Some guys have had super luck with a weightless YUM Dinger fished really slow.  

Fish a Carolina-rig where the grass is scattered or a little sparse using the YUM Dinger in Junebug.

Mann's Minus One's can work as your crankbait of choice.

Try a gray Bandit Footloose with a black back.

Carolina rigs using Junebug finesse worms.

Don't forget your wacky and shaky head set-ups, too.

Senkos, green with red flake, have worked in the past.

The main river grass can be better than the creeks.  Try your spinnerbait in the grass.

You can always use a Carolina-rig with a heavy weight to punch through the grass using a finesse worm, lizzard or creature bait.

Ask Shellback for more suggestions as he is the "Potomac Kid."  PM him and he can bring you up to date on the Potomac.

Also PM Vekol.  Great guy.

Hopefully the NOVA guys can give you some more suggestions.

Otherwise, I really have no idea what to do on the Potomac so give everything a try.

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Thank you for giving me a better look! I'm heading out there this morning about 7-8 am hopefully I will pull in a nice one!!!

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Find a club that is more interested in teaching members and sharing information.  The only way to get better is to learn from those who know what they're doing.  I belong to such a club and if you're interested PM me and I'll send info.  For local tournments we lauch out of Leesylvania

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My son and I have had good luck at a few places launching out of Leesylvania State Park. I would be more than glad to go out with you and show you some spots to fish. I have caught decent limits of fish in short periods of time (two hours).  Send me a PM if you interested.


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Don't get too down on yourself, and certainly don't sell your boat! (Just typing the words made me queesy.) I practically never get skunked on the Potomac between March and October, but I have fished long days and only caught 2-3 mediocre fish.

If you do some research on the results of tournaments held on the Potomac river you will be amazed at how many guys come in with empty sacks. Even professionals can have a bad day on the Potomac. It's location, location, location. A couple of things I have discovered over the last couple of years:

1. If you are not catching fish where you are at then move. Don't spend a lot of time in an un-productive place trying to get a fish to bite. They are either there or they are not, and they are either in an active feeding mood or they are not. Unlike a reservoir where you can use your sonar to locate suspending fish, or those holding off of a ledge, you can't do that in the Potomac because the huge majority of the fish are so shallow that by the time you get near them they get spooked--never get into the sonar's cone. Also, because the water is generally so murky you can't generally "tease" a bass into striking a bait if it is not in the mood to feed. (The exception to this is summer in weed filled bays, the weeds clean the water and it is quite clear. This is why punching mats is so effective.) So keep moving until you find feeding fish.

A couple of hints on that. First, use the current to your advantage (keeping in mind that it changes direction twice a day.) There are two ways to do that. In the bays, like Aquia creek or Mattawoman, the fish seek current. It brings food to them. Target places where the current will tend to concentrate food--you will have to use some visualization techniques to do that. In the main river, bass avoid the current as it can be very strong. Look for things that break the current, and concentrate on those. The huge weed fields (can't think of a better term) do that to some extent in the summer. This time of year, look for other objects that are protruding in the river that can obstruct current. The picture in my avatar was taken in just such a location on the Potomac. Second, be observant of what is going on. When you start so see baitfish hopping out of the water, or you see the osprey's, eagles, and herons feeding that should tell you something. If the place looks dead, particularly in the spring and summer, it probably is. Go somewhere else. You may not have to move far--sometimes a hundred yards or so can make all the difference.

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Vekol, great update on the Potomac, you nailed it right on the head. Fishing tidals waters is not an easy task, it can take a while to figure them out. I find the best time to fish is starting about an hour before the high tide and until a couple hours after the high tide.

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