Grass has emerged in a few areas but absent in others! Docks are best at higher tides. At lower tides, bass retreat to grass or nearby wood in slightly deeper water. Fish are in various stages of spawn. For post-spawners, try bigger suspending jerkbaits on the first cover near flats. Look for post spawn fish on Wilson Bridge pilings, Foxes Ferry, and Hogg Island. Main river grass in Piscataway in Bryan’s Cove is great. Almost none for Broad, Swan, and the mouth of Little Hunting Creek! DC provides good action in Four Mile Run, the Pentagon Lagoon, and in Washington Channel…NOTE you must have a DC fishing license and a Coast Guard approved Safe Boating Certificate to navigate DC waters and Virginia.
At Blue Plains throw split shot rigs, Carolina rigs and Shallow Water Drop Shots. Clearer water requires a faster pace for jerkbaits, like small suspending jerkbaits, to avoid giving fish a good look. Use Punisher hair jigs in brown/orange, green/ orange, and black/blue with matching plastic chunks and rattles on 10-pound test GAMMA Fluorocarbon.
Spinnerbaits and shallow crankbaits can locate fish over grass, or when fishing front grass edges or wood. Rip free for reaction strikes on 14-pound test GAMMA Edge fluorocarbon. Lipless crankbaits are great search baits: craw patterns, gold/stained water, and Shad patterns/fairly clear water. A 7-foot medium KVD Quantum composite rod enables long casts, has strength for hooksets, and is limber enough to fight a fish hooked with treble hooks. Short Shank Triple Grip Trebles with a wider bite hold on better and are a perfect replacement for baits with trebles. Upsize one size for better hookups!
Fish inside grass edges as tides come in. As tides fall, pitch, or flip to grass clumps and edges. Start on up-current side then drag baits along outside edges, then inside edges, finally dropping through tops of leaned over grass. Fish will “tell” you what’s best. Texas rig Tubes (Arkansas Craw) and weightless Texas rigged Mud Puppy Custom Lures 5” Jiggle Stick worms in green pumpkin. Skip tubes under docks; use Mud Puppy Custom Lures 1/4-ounce weedless tube head. Texas rigged bulky, thumping 3” Mad Craw, a big fish bait!
Try swimming plastics and jigs over and through grass or wood cover. Swim jig in black/blue, green pumpkin, and hot craw with the Mud Puppy Jerk Shad, and then kill when you reach clumps at the edge. Jerk Shads are deadly this time of year. White is a good choice Watch your line, look for boils. Beef up your line with Gamma Fluorocarbon 16-pound test. Use at least a 7-foot medium heavy Quantum Smoke graphite rod. Soaking baits in garlic attractant adds scent and allows baits to slide through grass easier.
In creeks like Swan and Little Hunting, look for wood…docks and laydowns. LHC also has pads. These creeks are usually stained, so darker jigs and plastics are best. Fish white skirted 1/4-ounce spinnerbaits around shallow wood and the 3/8 for higher tides over the pads. Bump wood or rip from grass.
Try Mud Puppy Boogie Buzz buzzbaits, with a dangling trailer hook. Put 2/0 or 3/0 Mustad Ultra Point Stinger hooks on first, then the piece of tubing to keep it on, allowing the hook to move freely behind the main hook. The 1/4-ounce clacker is more effective at lower tides over grass, around pads, and along wood.
Carolina rig flats near drops in Smoots (National Harbor), along South Point, and around grass flats to cover water with lizards, on 3/0 hooks. Use split shot rigs with Water Gremlin bullet shaped splitshots, 3/16-ounce BULLSHOT weights. Drag along the bottom. Set the hook, sweeping to the side. Longer med/heavy spinning rods, like 7’ make this easier.
Pitch shallow water drop shot rigs on 20-pound test GAMMA Torque braid with a 10-12 pound test Edge fluorocarbon leader line with green pumpkin 5-inch Jiggle Stick worms to milfoil clumps. The BULLSHOT (3/16-1/4ounce) weight comes in handy as an anchor for this rig. When water is a bit stained slide the weight closer to baits putting them closer to the bottom and fish. Start with a leader of about 18 inches and work down to 6 inches. Another presentation that keeps baits in front of fish is the shaky head! The perfect bait to complement any shaky head is a Jiggle Stick worm, on a ¼ ounce head.
The best topwater bite is in the evening, on cloudy days, with clear water and at lower tides. Evening water is the warmest, but don’t overlook other times when conditions present themselves. Topwater patterns for popping or spitting baits: clear/calm water conditions smaller popping baits in lighter colors, water a bit stained or small chop, go to black/gold colored bait, low stained water with a chop, go to bigger baits. Bigger poppers in light colors in clear choppy water works best, and for the muddy and choppy conditions a large black and gold popper creates a big disturbance. Start slow and increase speed…in muddy water, pause longer between pops. Hollow frogs are great anywhere, excellent over thicker grass! USE BRAID!
Walking baits draw strikes even with a bit of a chop on the water. Try throwing on no-stretch super lines like GAMMA Torque. This line responds to subtle twitches and walks very easily. For all baits with treble hooks, try medium action graphite rods to cast easier and enable you to work the bait with flexibility to fight the fish providing “give” so hooks won’t pull free.