Grass has fully emerged in many areas, but still absent in a lot of 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 Lucky Craft Pointer 100 jerkbaits on the first cover near flats. Look for post spawn fish on Wilson Bridge pilings, Foxes Ferry, and Hogg Island. Main river grass below Piscataway in Bryan’s Cove is sparse. Same for Broad, Swan, Piscataway, 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!
At Blue Plains throw split shot rigs, Carolina rigs and Shallow Water Drop Shots. Clearer water requires a faster pace for jerkbaits, like Lucky Craft’s Pointer 78, 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 like Mann’s Classic and crankbaits like Mann’s Baby 1-Minus can locate fish over grass, or when fishing front grass edges or wood. Rip free for reaction strikes on 17-pound test. Lipless crankbaits like Lucky Craft’s LV-500 and LVR D-7 are great search baits: craw patterns, gold/stained water, 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. NEW KVD Mustad Ultra Point 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 MIZMO Tubes (Arkansas Craw) and weightless Texas rigged 5” Mann’s Freefall HardNose worms in green pumpkin. Skip MIZMO tubes under docks; use R&R Custom Baits 1/4-ounce tube head. Texas rigged bulky, thumping, Mizmo Swamp Monsters are a big fish bait!
Try swimming plastics and jigs over and through grass or wood cover. Swim Mann’s Stone Jig in black/blue, green pumpkin, and hot craw with the HardNose Flippin’ Craw, then kill when you reach clumps at the edge. Watch your line, look for boils. Beef up your line with Gamma Fluorocarbon 17-pound test. Use at least a 7-foot medium heavy Tommy Biffle Quantum graphite rod. Soaking baits in Jack’s Juice garlic attractant adds scent and allows baits to slide through grass easier. The Rock N Runner is a chatterbait with a small spinner blade underneath, if you find some, buy them…out of production! Add a HardNose soft jerkbait. I modify to craw patterns!
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 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. As for Buzzbaits, the 1/4-ounce Mann’s Classic with a 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 Mann’s Hard Nose lizards and HardNose Mosquito Hawk on 3/0 Mustad Ultra Point Mega-bite 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/hvy spinning rods like the 6’10” Shaw Grigsby Quantum make this easier.
Pitch shallow water drop shot rigs on 17-pound test line with green pumpkin 5-inch HardNose Finesse worms to milfoil clumps. The BULLSHOT (3/16-1/4 ounce) 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 shakey head! The perfect bait to complement any shakey head is Mann’s HardNose 5’ Finesse worm. The hard nose keeps this bait in place!
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 like the Lucky Craft G-Splash 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. The G-Splash-80 in light colors in clear choppy water works best, and for the muddy choppy conditions a black and gold G-Splash-80 creates the biggest disturbance of any popping bait. Start slow and increase speed…in muddy water, pause longer between pops. Hollow Frogs like Mann’s Super frog are great anywhere, excellent over thicker grass! USE BRAID!
Walking baits like Lucky Craft’s Gunfish 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.