Cooler temperatures are on the way. We should see a water temperature drop by month’s end to around 65, opening the tacklebox for most moving baits and topwaters. Buzzbaits, poppers, walkers, and wakers! Note, water warms in midday toward the evening providing a good topwater bite twice a day! Speed is key…Slower presentations in cooler mornings. Speed up as water warms to 70. Fish crowd available hard cover like docks and laydowns in shallow water as scattered grass in Broad, Swan, Piscataway, is breaking up. To see fish-holding cover, try HT lenses like Maui Jim Polarized–Plus ideal for low light to full sun conditions. The Wilson Bridge barges and pilings are great. Target structure like drops and edges around the Spoils, and Smoots (National Harbor).
Topwater action is great early under low light or in the evening. Start with a continuous pop, pop, pop of a Lucky Craft G-Splash, throw in pauses, and smaller twitches. During colder conditions, wait 10 seconds between pops. Watch baits carefully to note bass movement under your bait. A pull is better than a pop! Feathered hooks give you a “second chance” if fish blow up and miss. Replace with MUSTAD feathered Ultra Point trebles …also in RED!! Just reel to make feathers move slightly! Fish sometimes strike several times before they take baits. For rods, use a medium 6 foot 6 inch or even 7-foot rod to gain distance and leverage. Cooler water, try walking a Lucky Craft Gunfish. Wake baits like Mann’s WAKER are great fished at various speeds. Use a med/heavy rod with 30-pound test GAMMA Torque braid for best results in clear water over grass.
Buzzbaits with clackers, like Dave’s Tournament Tackle builds, draw strikes from quality bass in cover over grass clumps as tides fall, and after water warms through the day. Use a freely swinging trailer hooks like 2/0 Mustad Ultra Point. Mann’s HARDNOSE Swim Toad on a 5/0 Mustad Ultra Point swimbait hook is great over and around cover. The hard nose keeps the bait in place even in thick grass.
Cover depths with Carolina rigs with HardNose lizards on points or grass edges near deep water. Use a 3/4-ounce weight, Mustad Ultra Point Mega Bite hooks, and an 18-inch leader…sometimes shorter. Move baits with rod, dragging slowly, stopping to let baits cover drops. Bump cover, stop and let sit a few seconds. When you get a bite, sweep set. For the tough bite, try splitshotting smaller baits, lighter weights, line and tackle.
Target grass remnants with lipless crankbaits like Lucky Craft’s LVR D-7 in shad patterns and firetiger in stained water. Because lipless crankbaits are notorious for big bass to throw, upgrade to Mustad Ultra Point KVD Triple Grip short shank trebles…go up a size. Cover water on long casts with a 7-foot medium action KVD Quantum composite with 12-pound test GAMMA EDGE Fluorocarbon line to rip baits free from grass.
Burning Mann’s Classic spinnerbaits, willow/Colorado combination and a white skirt, near cover produces hard strikes. When water warms, try double willow, faster retrieves. For clear water, use silver blades, gold for stained and a combo for in between. Bump cover and rip free from grass. At higher tides, it’s easier to work a 3/8-ounce and larger bait down to the grass.
As tides fall, work edges, clumps or isolated pieces of cover including docks with Mizmo Arkansas Craw and green pumpkin candy tubes soaked in garlic flavor Jack’s Juice Texas rigged on Mustad 3/0 Ultra Point Tube hooks with 3/16 weights. In stained water, use black/blue with blue pepper tails or the new ‘jig’ tube colors! Use Mizmo tubes with tube heads around bridge pilings and docks deeper than 5 feet on 10 pound test GAMMA Copoly, on spinning gear. With cooler temperatures following cold fronts, hop smaller profile baits like Mann’s avocado Stingray grub on 8-10 pound test GAMMA Copoly rigged on a 1/4-ounce head in ditches and in front of pads.
For drop shots use Mann’s 5-inch HardNose Finesse Worms on 3/0 Mustad wide gap Mega Bite hooks with 8-inch leaders. A 3/16-ounce Water Gremlin Bullshot weight is perfect in current on 10-pound test Copoly line. It has less resistance and sinks better, so I don’t have to add heavier weight to keep it down in current. Make short pitches to pilings along sides and leave on slightly slack line. Shake as needed. Feel pressure; set the hook with a reel and pull.
Get to the bottom fast with heavier 1/2 or 3/4 ounce Black/Blue Mann’s Stone Jigs with Mizmo’s new Shredder Chunk with tube tails in bright blue. Metal rattles from Punisher Jigs, the loudest attachable rattle, inserted into chunks will not come off! Pitch to cover, occasionally shaking to attract a bass. Watch line for bites! Higher tides and sun are better for dock fishing. As tides fall, move to deeper pilings. At lower tides, fish are moving to scattered grass in deeper water. Search baits like Mann’s Baby 1-Minus and spinnerbaits are working in these spots. Remember; slow presentations in stained water! More speed in clearer water. Swim Stone jigs around grass, wood cover and docks!
Crank South Point, Smoots, Spoils, Fox Ferry, Hogg Island, Fort Washington, barges in Broad, around barges near the Wilson Bridge, pilings, and all hard cover. Cover different depths: Mann’s Baby X and for deeper spots Mann’s 15+ with a wide wobble on 12-pound test GAMMA EDGE Fluorocarbon. Sharp hooks are a must! Treble hooks are big in numbers, not big in bite, not holding in much of the fish. Line stretch and rod flexibility make it easier for fish to take baits and provide “give” needed to land fish hooked on trebles.
Capt. Steve Chaconas, Potomac bass fishing guide, BoatUS “Ask the Expert” (http://my.boatus.com/askexperts/bassfishing/) Potomac River reports: nationalbass.com. Book trips/purchase gift certificates: info@NationalBass.com.
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