Finally a break in the heat…the nights are getting a bit longer to allow water to cool overnight, making early morning topwater bites even better! It’s also a good time to put the pedal to the trolling motor and move with the fish. At lower tides, fish will position on outside grass edges and will move in with tides.
Starting with topwaters. Buzzbaits, with 2/0 Mustad Ultra Point stinger hooks on braid over grass and near docks and wood is a good choice. Try poppers like Lucky Craft G-Splash…smaller and faster in clear water…work up in size. Start with natural colors and go darker. The subtle Lucky Craft G-Splash spits and has rattles. When water has a bit of chop or a bit stained, go to Aurora Gold. More chop; bigger Lucky Craft G-Splash 80. Shorter casts when fishing stained water and longer casts when water is calm and clear. Use a 7’ Quantum KVD medium heavy action graphite rod. For clear calm conditions, walk a Lucky Craft Gunfish 115 anywhere around grass or wood. Replace worn feathered hooks with Mustad dressed Ultra Point Trebles: sharp and hand-tied with colorful feathers and reflective material adding light flash and action. Feathers pull together when moving baits, then open while sitting to get second chance bites. Try red hooks! Topwater bite can last all day.
Hollow frogs and soft plastic toads are great in thick grass. Mann’s HardNose SWIM TOADS stay on the hook much better and have a slightly bigger profile! They can also be used with buzzbaits along with FrankenToads. Mann’s Goliath hollow frog floats over grass and can sit in holes! Great choice…Throw both on braid. Mann’s new 10” HardNose snake can be worked on top or just below the surface with weighted Mustad swimbait hooks.
Mann’s Classic spinnerbaits and Baby 1-Minus work when topwaters slow.
The grass around the Woodrow Wilson Bridge has fish on bridge pilings and drops in and around Spoils, Smoot Bay (National Harbor), and the Fort Washington lighthouse. Fish might not be grouped; however, these spots replenish. Boat channels in grass around main river docks are target areas. Crank the Wilson Bridge, Fox Ferry, and Spoils. The Mann’s 15+ has a wide wobble. For shallower applications, the new Mann’s Baby X is perfect, coming through wood very well. On sunniest days, get tight to cover. With clouds, fish use cover as a current break. Fish will tell you where they are positioned and on what type of cover. Water temperatures range from 75 to 80+ degrees.
Backs of Swan, Piscataway, and Little Hunting Creeks are good spots to pitch plastics and jigs. Green pad beds around Mount Vernon hold fish. Wind blown mats hold fish too. Punch through grass canopy especially on sunny days. Get reaction strikes with a 1 to 1.5 ounce Round Valley Tungsten weight pegged. A 5/0 Mustad Flipping hook and 60lb GAMMA TORQUE braided line with a 7’6” Quantum Biffle flipping stick with a strong reel will get the big ones out! Maui Jim Polarized–Plus HT lens are ideal for low light to full sun conditions to help you see cover.
Drop shot bridge pilings, docks and deep grass edges with 12-18 inch leader. Using 10-pound test and 1/4-ounce BULLSHOT bullet shaped split shot weights, rig HardNose Finesse worms on 2/0 Mustad Mega Bite hooks. Pitch and let settle on the bottom and gently shake. Find cover with your weight, leave to aggravate fish into biting.
Swim Mann’s HardNose 5” swimbaits on a 7/0 Mustad Ultra Point Swimbait hook with adjustable ¼ ounce weight. Also try the NEW HardNose Reel N Shad. Rip free from grass. Watch for bites on fall.
Split shot rigs on 10-pound test in deeper areas in front of grass lines at falling tides and on hard bottom deeper areas. A 3/16-ounce Water Gremlin Bullshot bullet–shaped split shot comes through cover well. Fluorocarbon lines like GAMMA EDGE help you feel bites and get baits down faster. Stickworms like 5-inch MIZMO Quiver Stix work well rigged on a 3/0 Mustad Ultra Point Mega Lite hook or wacky rigged...add 1/8-ounce weight to get to the bottom to dead stick! Slowly drag and stop! When you hit cover leave as long as you can!
Soaking Mizmo tubes in garlic Jack’s Juice that penetrates plastic eliminates re-applying. Pitch Mizmo 4-inch Arkansas Craw tubes…green pumpkin with orange tails to grass edges, docks and scattered deeper grass. Quarter-ounce insert tube heads provide the best open water action. In heaviest cover Texas rig 3/0 Mustad Ultra Point Tube hooks with 1/8 or 3/16 BULLSHOT. Punisher Rattles can be attached to plastic chunks, jigs and to insert tube heads for a rattle that won’t come off Mizmo tubes! (www.punisherjigs.com).
Capt. Steve Chaconas, Potomac bass fishing guide, BoatUS contributor. For Potomac River reports: nationalbass.com. Book trips/purchase gift certificates: info@NationalBass.com.
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