Here are some shady tips on hooking smallmouth bass


June 06, 1993|By LONNY WEAVER

The Monocacy River, Pipe Creek and Potomac River are popular fishing spots for Carroll County smallmouth bass fans. Other hot spots within easy driving range include the Susquehanna, both in Maryland and Pennsylvania, plus Virginia's Shenandoah and James rivers.

Countless other area creeks and streams hold healthy populations of smallmouths running through woods and farmlands.

Because their habitat is generally clear, limited in size and in places of safety, these smallmouths are light-shy and more likely to feed early and late in the day.

Because of their living conditions, river and stream smallmouths must be constantly alert. They are more likely to go for smaller bait than you may be accustomed to flinging.

Stream temperature is important to the angler as well as the fish; 55 to 70 degrees is about right. But I don't think vegetation is all that important to this type of fishing. In fact, I have found generally slow fishing in local streams and creeks with heavy plant growth. Instead, look for a gravel bottom or hard-packed sand that allows the current to flow at a good pace.

River bass are similar to trout in that they seek out the same types of cover and feeding stations. Look for rocks or other obstacles that break the flow of the water and often you will be rewarded with a smallmouth.

Bass will venture into the main portions of a river usually only during low light times (morning and evening). The rest of the time you will do well to thoroughly investigate shady spots offering protection.

The bends in streams are certain to provide bass hideouts. Remember that the outside of the bend is always the deeper side of the creek and the side most likely to hold a bass.

When fishing stretches of water that flow through meadows, such as is common along much of Big Pipe Creek and the Monocacy River, never overlook a spot where tall grass hangs over a bank above slowed current. Also, be especially alert for bank undercuts, which almost certainly hold bass.

The main ingredients of smallmouth diet in these types of waters are nymphs, minnows and crawfish. In our area, common types of so-called nymphs will be mayflies, stoneflies and caddis flies. Use a standard trout pattern on a fly rod and you'll be in for some great action.

Another favorite choice for the flyrodder are streamers that resemble minnows. My own favorites include the muddler minnow, gray ghost and matuka.

Any lure used in these types of waters will be most effective if it is on the smallish side. For smaller creeks, 1/16-ounce lures would be about right, and I wouldn't recommend anything heavier than quarter-ounce. A good representative selection should include Mepps-type spinners, Rebels and twister-tail grubs rigged on small jigs.

This type of fishing is made to order for light and ultra-light tackle. A 6-foot graphite spinning rod and a matching petite reel loaded with 4-pound test is right for all-around use. Fly fishing fans will be well served with a 7- to 8-foot graphite rod teamed with a 5 to 8 weight line.

Trout Unlimited busy

If you have noticed how sparkling clean the Klees Mill Road area of the Morgan Run Environment Area is looking these days, tip your hat to the efforts to the Patapsco Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter.

Twenty members patrolled the area on May 15 and ended up hauling six truckloads of logs, branches and other debris that had accumulated in logjams along the stream.

At their May meeting, they listened to Morgan Run Park Ranger Frank Ryan's recap of plans for the area that include additional land acquisition and a handicap-access and fishing area. The chapter will be assisting in many volunteer duties at Morgan Run.

The next meeting of the chapter is June 10 at 7 p.m. at the Piney Run Nature Center and will feature Joe Bruce's presentation on fishing the Potomac.

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