Monday, October 8, 2012

My First West Virginia Smallmouth!

West Virginia Harvest Moon
Over the last decade and a half, work has taken me to West Virginia about a dozen times or so.  It's an interesting state with a lot of really beautiful places, although the vast disparity between rich and poor is pretty apparent across the entire state.  Although I've traveled with tackle to WV before, I've never actually fished it (almost always due to rain), and a recent trip put me right on the Potomac in northern West Virginia.  Two cold fronts were moving in, and I thought I'd get rained out, once again.   Somehow, I was wrong.

A quick check of the Potomac River after the first front showed a bit of a high flow - which can be daunting on a big river - but no real turbidity.  The grass beds were thick and there were very few exposed rocks, with the river covering both banks at about 1/4 mile's width.  Neat to see.

"Former Intern Joe" and I poked down to the River after I gave a lecture on wetland and stream permitting.  Tough subject, tough crowd.  It was good to get wet - an effort made relatively easy by the fact that Maryland owns the entire Potomac River due to some 1800s politicking and hoodwinking revolving around a bunch of stuff, including the construction of Washington, DC.  So - Maryland residents can fish the river from the Virginia or West Virginia bank without a fishing license from those states.  License reciprocity would cover you in a boat - this is at the next level.  So, we got wet.  Almost immediately, we started lighting into longear sunfish.   Dozens of them.

Joe and the one millionth longear of the afternoon

Fishing around and through the grass beds was tough, but it was certainly right where the fish were.  We were using inline spinners with gold spoons and a bit of weight on the line, and a few bigger fish were chasing.   One of the great things about this whole setup is that it was 4pm.  It's rare that I can sincerely try to  catch bass in the late afternoon.  That's September and October for you!   Finally, I hooked onto what seemed to be a citation size fish, given my 5'0" St. Croix UL rod and 4lb P-Line.  It wasn't a giant.  But it was a cool fish.

Feisty 10" fish!

I was still pretty excited from that big fight from a little fish when I caught my first red-eye bass of 2012, just 20 yards downstream:

Beefy 10 inch fish!
We didn't have chestwaders (or a boat) necessary to get into the river channel, where big smallmouth were slapping bait around all afternoon, and unfortunately, all of my potential fishing partners were way too hungover the next morning to go out with me.  So after all these years,  this was it for West Virginia.  I'll be back.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Never fished for smallmouth before, but would love to cross them off the list. Looks like ya'll had a good trip!

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