They’re biting just a stone’s throw away
Stone piers stand like ghostly sentries. Those piers have withstood the floods that came past Shepherdstown. The surface those sentries held in place didn’t fare as well. It went out when its limited defense wasn’t enough to keep the water’s force from bringing it down.
But the piers remain in place. All matter of debris lies piled against the sentries. Vegetation has taken root in the crevices of the piers. The combination of the gray-brown logs, branches and brush with the holding-on-for-life trees is not a sight the Chamber of Commerce sells to the tourists coming to historic Shepherdstown.
But those piers – resting just a stone’s throw away from the boat landing on Princess Street – have deep pools surrounding them. Those pools are often shaded by the piers … and that shade can be a haven for game fish. And those fish can be a magnet for anyone wanting to “get away” for a day of fishing when not really getting away at all.
Waiting in those pools are bass, yellow-bellied “sunnies,” several varieties of catfish and even a voracious muskie or hungry eel.
By bringing a canoe, flat-bottomed john boat or more comfortable fiberglass vessel with seats that have back rests the fisherman can be in place in a matter of minutes. Deposit the boat in the shallows at the end of Princess Street … park nearby … steer the craft out to one of the if-they-could-only-talk piers … and drop anchor.
Begin fishing. Find out what bait the bass or cats want that particular day.
The holes near the piers are deeper than most of the ones found just upstream alongside the limestone strips that form angled ribbons across the Potomac.
The Town Run reaches the river snug to Princess Street. Water from Town Run is cooler than that in the slowly moving Potomac. Finding a suitable fishing spot just below the Town Run is often a problem, but since its water is cooler there might be cooperative fish wanting to take your bait and then join you in the boat.
If its a little too humid or hot for your liking, use the shade provided by the piers or the thicket of trees standing almost to the river at the bottom of Princess Street.
Should the action wane at any time, look around. There’s history everywhere. On the West Virginia side of the Potomac, find the landing for the piers you are stationed near. On the Maryland side, there is another landing that supported the last bridge that led the road uphill toward the Ferry Hill Plantation.
Blackford’s Ferry also crossed the river at this spot. The ferry was in place because some other flood waters won the day in the long ago. A wooden bridge couldn’t defend itself against the fires set to destroy it in the time of the Civil War. Troops were leaving Shepherdstown, Virginia (yes, Virginia) and going toward Sharpsburg.
But knowing a little history won’t catch you any fish.
The right bait will.
The right spot near the now ageless piers will.
“Get away” in a matter of minutes. Have fun without trekking to some distant locale.
Say “hello” to the bass.