SEPTEMBER 2022

Finally a break in the heat…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. This is the least amount of grass I’ve ever seen on the Potomac this time of year. This means any grass will be worth fishing and all hardcover, including docks!

Starting with topwaters. Mud Puppy Boogie Buzz buzzbaits with 2/0 Mustad Ultra Point stinger hooks on braid over grass and near docks and wood are a good choice. Try poppers…smaller and faster in clear water…work up in size.  Start with natural colors and go darker. When water has a bit of chop or a bit stained, go to darker patterns.  More chop; bigger.  Shorter casts when fishing stained water and longer casts when water is calm and clear. Use a 7’ medium heavy action graphite rod. For clear calm conditions, walking topwaters 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 or areas with floating debris. Hollow frogs float over grass and can be twitched over holes!  Great choices…throw both on Gamma Torque 50 pound braid. Soft plastic Toads can be worked on top or just below the surface with weighted Mustad swimbait hooks with a centering screw lock.

Spinnerbaits and shallow cranks work when topwaters slow. Speed is key. Also, Wake baits work over grass. Chop or stained water, cloud cover at higher tides, the 3/8-ounce spinnerbait, willow/Colorado combination and a white skirt, burned around and near cover produces hard strikes.  Faster reels spooled with 16 or 20-pound GAMMA Edge Fluorocarbon and a 7’ medium heavy rod cover wider areas.  Bump and rip. At lowest tides, use 1/4-ounce spinnerbaits with gold blades in all but the clearest water.  For clear water, use double willow nickel blades and with firetiger skirts.

Try the Woodrow Wilson Bridge pilings and drops and 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.  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 the grass canopy especially on sunny days. Get reaction strikes with a 1 to 1.5 ounce MUSTAD Tungsten weight pegged. A 5/0 Mustad Flipping hook with Mud Puppy 3” Mad Craws and 60lb GAMMA TORQUE braided line with a 7’6” 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 12-pound test and 3/16-ounce BULLSHOT bullet shaped split shot weights, rig Mud Puppy Custom Lures DS (drop shot) 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 swimbaits on a 7/0 Mustad Ultra Point Swimbait hook with adjustable ¼ ounce weight to make any bait a good swimbait.  Rip free from grass. Watch for bites on fall. In areas without a lot of grass or wood cover, use an open hook. For the bigger baits, a Mustad swimbait jig hook with a 90 degree line tie works well, especially around docks or rip rap. For smaller 3.8 size swimbaits, try the ¼ ounce Mustad head with a 60 degree line tie and a screw lock. This will come over cover well.

Split shot rigs on 10-pound test in deeper areas in front of the 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.  Mud Puppy Custom Lures 5” Jiggle Stick worms 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!

Pitch 4-inch green pumpkin tubes…green pumpkin with orange tails to grass edges, docks and scattered deeper grass.  Quarter-ounce Mud Puppy Custom Baits 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.