Fishing on the Potomac: July fishing forecast

Fishing on the Potomac: July fishing forecast
July 2, 2011, 1:07 am
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Friday, July 1 2001 9:01 p.m.

By Steve Chaconas
Fishing on the


Water is clearer and grass well established, except above and below the Wilson Bridge. Here go to hard cover. The wrecks and concrete in Spoils, Fox Ferry, the point known as North Point on Smoot Bay (National Harbor) and South Point are always loaded with fish. Large groups of bass are in the grass in Dogue Creek, Broad Creek, Mount Vernon, Swan, Bryans Cove, and Greenway Flats. Go to main river grass early before big boats come through. Look for clear water.

One of the keys is to focus on scattered grass away from the hard grass edge. Pitch Mizmo green pumpkin tubes with copper flake or Arkansas Craw Texas rigged on a 30 Mustad Ultra Point tube. Shake slowly, watching your line, feeling for weight. Hard cover: docks, letdowns, riprap etc are also good targets. Stop for long periodsfive seconds or morefish have been hitting when sitting stillor coming over cover. As baits drop, get ready for bites. Skip Mizmo tubes soaked in Jacks Juice garlic attractant under docks and over shallow cover.

Crank hard cover drops with Manns 15. Split shot rigs work in the same deeper areas. Stay with 10-pound test. A 316-ounce Water Gremlin Bullshot bulletshaped split shot comes through cover. Fluorocarbon lines like Berkley Trilene 100 Fluorocarbon help you feel bites and get baits down faster. Rig stickworms like Manns HardNose Freefall worm soaked in garlic Jacks Juice on a 30 Mustad Ultra Point Mega Lite hook. Slowly drag and stop! When you hit cover, leave as long as you can! Use on bare banks or in front of grass lines at low tide, or inside grass at higher tides.

Work jigs like Manns blackblue or blackbrown Stone Jigs in stained water and green pumpkin where water is clearer. For trailers, use HardNose Craws. BlackBlue or green pumpkin orange. Swim jigs and 5 inch Mizmo tubes in white, blackblue, blackbrown at various depths, just below the surface to out of sight on grass edges and drop. The new 30 MUSTAD swimbait hooks are great for swimming tubes. But swimbaits like the Manns HardNose in shadwhite patterns are awesome big fish baits when paired with the new Mustad Ultra Point weighted swimbait hook. Use 18 ounce weighted hooksslide the weight to achieve the proper balance. The bayonet barb on the hook eye will impale the nose of the HardNose keeping it in place. Use heavier weights if needed.

Target pads and wood in creeks with dark colors in stained water. Fish are drawn to edges of cover like pads and wood on outgoing tides. Follow tides, moving up and over cover at high and out on edges when tides fall. Longer casts at higher tides cover water, at lower tides short casts with crankbaits like Manns Baby 1-Minus. Vary retrieves. Chop or cloud cover favor spinnerbaits. At higher tides with clear water, try double willow nickelgold with firetiger skirtsfaster retrieve. White skirts in stained and whitechartreuse in clearer water. Manns Classic with a ColoradoIndiana tandem gold blades in stained, nickel and gold or both nickel in clearer water. Go faster and deeper with Coloradowillow when water is nearly clear. Make shorter casts at lower tides, targeting individual clumps of milfoil and longer casts to cover water at higher tides. Try the new Road Runner Rock N Runnerchatterbait with a small willow leaf blade below and a RED hook! Another bait I like now is the EGG, Lucky Crafts very buoyant B.D.S. 4 in shad patterns. It will come over grass and snap free very easily.

The topwater bite is strong around grass and wood: four baitstwo sizes two color patterns. Small: one light pattern and one dark pattern. Same for larger baits. Use topwaters with low water, clear water, or low light conditions. Clearcalm: small baits in natural patterns like the Lucky Craft G-Splash chartreuse shad. Work faster. If water is a bit stained, go to blackgold patterns, Lucky Craft Aurora Gold. Clear choppy water; go to natural patterns in larger size G-Splash-80. If water is stained and choppy, go to larger baits in blackgold pattern. When fish miss use the reel to move baits to allow feathers to contract and open when sitting still. Shorter casts in muddy water and longer casts when water is calm and clear. Let fish tell you the speedin general, clearer water, work baits fasterslow down ALL presentations in stained water. Use a 6 12 foot medium action graphite rod to avoid losing fish. The rear hook, use a Mustad Ultra Point feathered treble. Belly hooks get RED Mustad round bend Ultra Point Trebles. Use Manns HardNose Freefall worm weightless and on a weedless Mustad red wacky hook as a follow up.

Walking baits like Lucky Crafts Gunfish are great when water is clear and you have cloud cover. Gunfish rattles and walks better than anything on the market! Buzzbaits with black skirts have been working when water is lower over grass and around shallow wood and rock cover. Try 14-ounce size with a clacker like Manns Classic Buzzbait. The hollow frog bite is awesome whenever the water is lowbetter with some light!

Stick worms are also producing over grass beds in high tides, pitch when the tide is lower. Green pumpkin Manns 5" HardNose Freefall worm in stained water, watermelon in clearer waterrigged Texas on 30 Mustad Ultra Point Mega Lite worm hooks (Wacky rigged with a red 20 Mustad weedless wacky rig hook or Mustad Octopus hook 20) Toss and dropno other action required. Let it sit on the bottom, gently twitch. Pull to the surface and drop againrepeat back to the boat, if in the strike zoneotherwise, cast again. Let stickworms sit about 2 seconds for every foot deep youre fishing. Also try soft plastic Manns HardNose jerkbaits, varying the speed.

Punch through grass with a Premiere Pro Tungsten -1 ounce weight on 65-pound test Spiderwire and a stout 76 rod like the Quantum Tommy Biffle Signature series has power to pull them out. Look for hydrilla with stalks of milfoil growing in it. Pitch, shake and let drop. Most fish hit on the drop. Manns HardNose craws stay on the hook and a drop of PROS Soft Bait glue secures the Premiere Pro Tungsten weight to the bait, so I dont have to peg. Works best on sunny calm days!