The Higher Chesapeake Bay has been receiving loads of notoriety over the previous couple of years as a result of improved catch charges and total weight will increase reported within the tournaments. Whereas the true river rats have recognized of this bass fishing hotbed for a while now, the current success is attracting golf equipment from throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and at the same time as distant as New York. Most of this strain has converged on the Elk River, and the Tyding’s Park space in Havre de Grace, Md., since these areas present greater than enough launching and parking services which might be obligatory to carry the tournaments. Most of the smaller membership tournaments additionally begin from the Northeast and Elk River areas. With this inflow of angling strain, most of the conventional sizzling spots have develop into more and more crowded in the course of the weekends, and have pressured anglers to make longer and longer runs seeking untapped bass waters. Many of those anglers have now found that the 20-30 minute drive via generally tough and unsafe water, to the Sassafras River, has been nicely definitely worth the effort.
Ramp and Launching Areas
The next areas and patterns, haven’t solely produced match profitable limits, however have produced over 100 bass within the 5-6 pound vary, over the past 5 years, from this river. These are true “Trophy” bass for a Northeastern River system.
The Elk River, through Elk Neck State Park, might be the most well-liked, as a consequence of it is greater than enough parking services, and shut proximity to the Sassafras. That is solely a 10-15 minute drive from the Sassafras.
Tyding’s Park and Marina, situated In Havre De Grace, Md., is the farthest, and most troublesome drive to entry the Sassafras River. We launch from this space solely when we’ve got situated good numbers of bass on the Susquehanna Flats or within the close by coves or docks of the Northeast. The drive from right here might be harmful within the early morning fog and heavy boat wakes within the Spring and Summer season. At 55 mph, it takes about 25 minutes to succeed in the primary place to begin on the Sassafras. The perfect space to launch within the Sassafras is in Duffy Creek, situated proper behind the Granary Restaurant, on Sassafras Road, within the city of Galena. It is a non-public marina, with common parking services, and ramp. It’s a pay per use facility, and expenses a each day price of $5.00.
The second space to launch is the general public boat ramp on Sassafras Road, proper earlier than the restaurant. It is a small boat solely ramp, however it’s enough for launching most any bass boat on the correct tide. In low tide conditions, this could be a difficult ramp, so nice care must be taken throughout these occasions, as this can be very shallow, and has ruined many a ship prop and hull. The following spot you possibly can launch is a “allow solely” ramp situated in Turner’s Creek. This space has probably the most parking, and presents a center of the river launch website.
When and The place To Go – Turner’s Creek
Though the Sassafras presents glorious fishing all occasions of the yr besides the winter, the Early Spring is one of the best time to start out. Spring on the Sassafras is just like every other physique of water, within the respect that the bass’s life revolves fully across the spawning course of, and the finding of spawning areas. The Sassafras usually maintain bass in virtually each space of the river, however right now of yr, it instantly shrinks to a couple, and finally, two main creeks.
Within the early pre-spawn, largemouth can discovered within the rising grasses and the wooden cowl, in areas similar to Corridor’s Creek, Freeman, McGill, Turner, DuPont, and Lloyd’s. Because the spawn will get even nearer, they make their approach to Turner’s and Lloyd’s virtually completely.
Turner’s Creek presents an enormous quantity of various cowl for bass. There’s a slender entrance to this creek the place the primary river channel runs proper alongside a wooden laden financial institution with a steep drop-off. Pre-spawn bass lay alongside this drop at depths from 2-18 ft, all of which is loaded with laydowns and rising vegetation. Straight subsequent to the doorway is a small bay loaded with lily pads and a number of other forms of rising grasses, on a gradual tapering financial institution, that finally ranges off into the primary river channel. This space on the entrance to Turner’s Creek, is likely one of the 2 main staging areas for largemouth within the Sassafras. The Western shoreline of this creek is completely coated with what are rising lily pad root techniques, which might be combined in with a number of forms of vegetation, together with Milfoil and Hydrilla. Many bass select these root techniques to spawn. The Jap shoreline presents a tough sand and all-time low, together with vegetation, that mixes in with various giant boat docks. The bass use the docks, and standing and decaying pilings to carry on, and finally make their beds on, to flee the present and predators that are prevalent within the river.
Lure Alternatives and Technique
When focusing on pre-spawn bass on the entrance of the creek, spinner baits are our weapon of selection. Terminator spinnerbaits within the 3/eight and ½ ounce sizes, with tandem blades are prime producers in these areas. “Spotsticker” Customized spinnerbaits, together with “Tru-Tungsten’s” sequence, and B&D lures, Evilution V spinner bait additionally take their justifiable share of bass on this space within the spring. Coloration isn’t that vital this time of yr within the stained to muddy water, however we’ve got had one of the best success with baits that imitate the shad, in white/chartreuse, and in “Golden Shiner” patterns. If the water is really “muddy”, then we’ll use a darker skirt many occasions.
Once we are on the lookout for that one explicit large chunk, to improve our restrict, the baits we use are “Senko’s” and “Bearpaws Handpoured Baits”. These are just like Senko’s in dimension and look, however have a unique manufacturing course of which bakes in scents, and are slightly more durable, in order that they last more when the bass are aggressive. These baits additionally produce all sizes of bass higher when a chilly entrance strikes via, and causes the motion to decelerate. When a extreme chilly entrance blows via over just a few days, it should trigger the bass to drop all the way down to deeper water within the 10 foot vary, and maintain on the tops of bushes. When this occurs, we goal them with mid vary crank baits, utilizing a cease and go retrieve, with nice success. As soon as the bass transfer to the backs of the creek to spawn, “Senko’s”, “Bearpaws”, “IKA” tubes, “Sizmic” flu-go’s, lizards, and Terminator jigs, flipped into the docks, grass, and pads, produce restrict briefly order.
On the weekends within the spring, this space might be crowded with many different anglers, and small to midsize crank baits, similar to a “Mann’s” Mid-Minus, and a “Fortunate Craft” sequence, could be a useful gizmo along with the spinner baits and plastics. Do not hesitate to throw a buzz bait across the similar cowl, as soon as the water temperature warms to 55 levels or above. This could produce some actual hawgs right now of the yr. We like to make use of a customized sort clacker buzz bait made for us by “Charon” Customized Lures. We even have nice success with the “Terminator” Ball-Buster.The outdated standby, the black and blue Terminator jig, with pork or plastic for a trailer, positioned in and round pilings, ladders on docks, and floating piers, will at all times produce good sized bass. Most anglers use the jig when fishing docks, however swap to different baits many occasions within the laydowns. This could be a mistake, as many occasions within the spring, we caught a number of bass within the 5 and 6 pound class, flipping the wooden in Turner’s Creek with this jig. Turner’s Creek is a sizzling spot always of the yr, however it’s particularly productive within the spring. An skilled angler can count on 10-15 bass on day from this creek alone. Though at occasions, different creeks can produce extra bass, this creek offers up he higher high quality bass on a constant foundation. Our largest bass from this creek was 6.four kilos, however we’ve got heard of seven pound bass being caught occasionally.
That is the most efficient spring spot on the Sassafras River, and in our opinion, on the complete Higher Chesapeake Bay. Whereas largemouth bass spawn in a number of creeks alongside the river, nearly all of them select Lloyd’s Creek. Whereas there’s a very sturdy present on the entrance to Lloyd’s Creek, the remainder of it has little or no motion.
The shoreline, for probably the most half, could be very shallow in Lloyd’s, however presents some mid depths to six ft simply off shore. The whole creek is loaded with cowl. This contains laydowns, logjams, and quite a lot of grasses, and an outdated barge. The barge, grasses, and seawalls in Lloyd’s are the most efficient areas. The bass love to carry on these items of canopy, and when mixed with the laborious sand backside and rocks, it makes for a perfect habitat for a tidal spawning floor.
Apart from the best cowl, backside composition, and solar publicity, Lloyd’s presents one thing else that makes it a perfect spawning floor for tidal bass. It has a transparent and outlined channel main into the creek, and into all factors alongside the shoreline. This gives a digital “Freeway” for the bass to observe. This makes the job of focusing on these bass underneath altering water circumstances and seasons pretty easy. I imagine that that is the rationale that not solely enormous numbers of bass within the Sassafras come right here, however I imagine they arrive from different close by rivers as nicely, and presumably even from farther away.
Within the early spring, bass will start to stack up on the entrance to Lloyd’s Creek in superb numbers. The water is quick right here, and goes from 16 ft in the primary channel, to as shallow as 1 foot on the shore. This steep drop-off runs from about 300 yards from the doorway within the fast-paced water, to about 50 yards into the creek, and stops at a big dock. The entire shore on this facet is loaded with outdated bushes, brush, and rocks. On the other facet an enormous peninsula comes throughout forming an ideal sand level 20 yards from the steep shore. That 20 yard house Is the doorway to Lloyd’s Creek. This is the reason the present rips via this space at an unbelievable tempo. Even a trolling motor of 24 volts, can barely maintain place on its highest setting on this space. The bass congregate throughout this sand level and the adjoining areas.
The perfect baits for this space are Rat-L-Traps in blue/chrome, in 3/eight and ½ ounce sizes, Terminator and Spotsticker spinner baits in ½ ounce, with Tandem, and/or willow leaf blades, and small crank baits. About 10 yards from the tip of the purpose, the present swirls to kind a big eddy. Many occasions 15-20 bass within the 1 ½ to three pound vary might be caught on successive casts to this eddy. The opposite tactic is to forged your bait proper up on the sand level, after which pull it into the fast-paced water, and the bass simply slam the bait because it enters, many occasions on each different forged for an hour or extra. On the other shore, the bass bunch up on the wooden, as it’s the solely factor blocking the present. At slack tides these bass will slam the identical response baits as on the purpose, nevertheless, when the present is swift right here; one of the best factor to do is flip heavier jigs and plastics into the wooden. The rationale we just like the “Terminator” jigs for this and different varieties of cowl, is the attention is recessed into the pinnacle, stopping the jig from changing into snagged no less than 75 % lower than different jigs. With the nasty cowl on this space it’s a necessity.
When this space begins to develop into pressured by different anglers, we’ve got switched to an “IKA” tube, with a 3/eight ounce Tungsten weight, with nice success. We flip these baits to the up present facet of canopy and let the tide wash the bait previous the thing. Most strikes come as quickly because the bait washes previous the place the bass are holding. Watching your line is a should her, as the present makes most strikes troublesome, if not not possible to detect. The one plus facet to that is that as a result of if the quantity of vitality these bass need to expend to struggle the present, they virtually by no means miss the bait as soon as they commit. Heavy line with excessive abrasion qualities is a should right here.
The following spot is the dock the place the river channel stops and makes a pointy proper flip in the direction of the again of the creek. The perfect areas of the dock are the primary Three pilings from the rocks out. Jigs, tubes, and weighted plastics take quite a few bass within the 2-5 pound vary from right here.
These three spots kind the last word staging space. Extra bass will transfer into this spot virtually as quick as you possibly can catch them at occasions. These bass are additionally extraordinarily aggressive. The perfect tip for this space is to get there early within the yr. You’ll not solely keep away from the crowds, however encounter a few of the bigger pre-spawn females.
When the Spring is in full swing, the bass will observe the creek channel to the barges, pilings, and laydowns behind the creek. That is when giant numbers of 1-Three pound males make their approach to the staging areas. There’s a 2-Three week interval when these bass will assault virtually something that hit’s the water. That is when it’s smart to hit the doorway for a fast 10 pound restrict, after which transfer again to the sunken barge for the bigger females. Weightless Senko’s, Bearpaws, and IKA tubes with a pegged weight, produce heavyweight females when pitched to the grassy edges of the barge. A rapidly retrieved spinner bait is required at occasions to choose the males off the perimeters of the barge earlier than going after the bigger females with plastics. Laydowns can even produce in addition to sections of the sand bar now. Decelerate and canopy the entire space to be rewarded with an enormous sack of bass.
When the spawns has run its course, simply observe the identical creek channel again out to the identical areas the place the fish staged in pre-spawn. Much like early within the yr, the bigger fish would be the first again out additionally. That is plastics time! The fish are pretty sluggish now, so slightly extra finesse is required. They need a straightforward meal, and comfortable plastics like these match the invoice!
Because the smaller bass make their method out to the mouth of Lloyd’s, you will note bas hitting the spinner baits and crank baits once more. Whereas the next migration routes to success might be easy, there are just a few tips that may assist you to improve your restrict. In the course of the spawn, anglers will crowd across the to spots we’ve got talked about. A few of these anglers shall be focusing on the shallow fish spawning, and others shall be pounding the pre or submit spawn bass on the present washed mouth of Lloyd’s Creek. Right now, we use our depth finder to find and observe the creek channel from the staging space again in the direction of the spawning space, on the lookout for bends, humps, and even weedlines that run on the sting of the channel. Generally we mark fish on the locator, however the construction is all we’re actually on the lookout for.
We drop the trolling motor and start dragging a Carolina rig with a Three inch “Senko” or one other sort of “Yamamoto” plastic bait or Candy Beaver.
The second trick we use on the very finish of the spawn right here. We activate the electronics and discover the primary main piece of construction giant sufficient to carry bass and baitfish which have left the creek. The important thing phrase is shut. We keep inside a ½ mile to a mile of the most important spawning space when on the lookout for these spots. The important thing spots could have grass and provide deep water escape routes close by.
The Northeast, Bohemia, and Elk Rivers
The Northeast River presents among the finest flipping bites on the bay, in addition to being a 20 minute trip from the Sassafras. One of many higher springtime spots on this space is Furnace Bay. Many giant bass are taken on buzzbaits from Furnace Bay within the early a part of the yr. The Bohemia presents common fishing for bass, however is a fast shot to each the Elk and the Sassafras, and is an effective center of the highway launch level. For the angler that has a smaller boat, who cannot stand the longer, harder trip to the Sassafras from the Havre De Grace ramp, this can be a good place to start out.
The docks situated within the Northeast and Elk are prime targets for the bass, as they’re devoid of a lot of the construction that the Sassafras presents. The bass hit plastics and black and blue Terminator jigs right here nicely, on each the outgoing and incoming tides. Placement is essential right here. The jigs should not solely be put into the smallest of holes and openings, however have to be introduced a number of occasions earlier than a strike happens. Apply your flipping and pitching methods earlier than making an attempt these waters.
The Susquehanna river by the railroad bridge above Havre De Grace is a sizzling spot for each largemouth and smallmouth bass, and Garrett Island, within the rocks additionally produces at occasions. This space is effected by the quantity of water that’s set free of the dam up river, as it may be extraordinarily muddy after they launch loads of water after heavy spring rains, and it might virtually cease the smallmouth chunk at occasions.
When this happens, looking for out the clearer water provided by Swan Creek additional south of the Havre De Grace ramp is an effective space to start out. The grassbeds and shallow wooden can maintain enormous numbers of pre-spawn and spawning bass that readily hit spinnerbaits, Senko’s, tubes, and small crankbaits, similar to a Strike Professional USA Oscar, and a Rapala DT6 within the barely deeper edges. We simply use a heavier line to scale back the depth of this bait in these areas.
Spring fishing on these rivers, and the Sassafras particularly, presents some unbelievable motion at occasions. These rivers are suited to each fashion of fishing. Should you’re a flipper, it’s there. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits will smoke them! There’s grass, docks, wooden, present, eddies, ledges, barges, and factors. And all of them maintain bass! We’ve skilled 80 fish days within the Sassafras within the spring, and 30-40 fish days on a few of the others.
Whether or not you’re a match angler, or only a one that likes to catch bass, then these are the rivers for you!