Wild sort of day for this outing. It’s late March and after the early spring fake-out of amazing weather, we’ve been bogged down with a cold front that brought a few snow flurries, whipping winds, and overcast skies. So, of course, it’s a perfect day to try fishing. Much like our last outing to Patuxent waters, this trip would be defined by a few takes by the perch and a, somewhat, surprise catch. Let’s dive in.
Seeing as the last trip southward to Queen Anne Bridge didn’t yield any shad, I opted to try a spot just a few miles upriver. Maybe shad would be holding. Maybe perch. Maybe snakehead. You don’t know exactly what you’ll catch until you cast. This is a good philosophy by the way. Take it a step further; you miss 100% of the fish if you’re not casting. Period. So this was my motivation for making the drive to Governor Bridge Natural Area, a peaceful and plentiful preservation park that straddles Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties. There is access to several ponds, the largest of which is about 5 or so acres, and to the river itself. There’s even a canoe launch. But, I’d be bankfishing this go-round.
After parking in the gravel lot, it’s a short 1/2 mile hike to the Patuxent River access (canoe launch), from which there are overgrown, barely visible trails leading off in either direction along the bank. I took my time moving northward and casting the tandem shad rigs into fishy-looking spots of river, trying to eyeball deeper sections, which might be holding fish. The luck I had was, once again, with willing white perch, which hit both the shad dart and the spoons. I never did find any shad. After spending enough time along the river to feel the cold in my tippy toes, it was time to trek back toward the adjacent ponds, and, finally, the car to head home. (Of note, I spotted a trio of active osprey swooping in and out of the treetops also looking for fish. It’s awesome to see these river hawks arrive–they are harbingers of the spring season!)
My pitstops at several pond access points were well-intentioned, with a hopeful goal of getting a snakehead or largemouth bass to hit. So, the 6-foot spinning combo came out to play, loaded with 15# power-pro braid, a 20# Seaguar flouro leader, and a Gamakasu 1/16 belly-weighted swimbait hook tipped with a Bass Assassin Sea Shad in…get this…Mississippi Hippy color. Basically a dark gold color with plenty of flake mixed throughout. On an overcast day, I figured this would be a good color to work. Several casts, windknots, and one breakoff/retie later, I did, indeed land a largemouth bass that hit the lure just as I worked it from open water into emerging lily pads. It was a pretty cool take that was, honestly, unexpected, as I was nearing that “last cast” mentality we all arrive to by day’s end.
So there you have it; a nice largemouth bass that offered some fun tuggage to end the trip, preceded by a few river perch. This, by the way, is a location that I hadn’t visited in about 10 years (or put another way, since before having kids). So, it was neat to visit some old stomping grounds, catch a few fish, and be thankful for the arrival of spring…even if it was only 40 degrees and flurrying all around. See y’all on the water again, real soon!