Cheerful weather for river fishing is all but gone
SHEPHERDSTOWN — The level of the Potomac River is low, and the siren-song days of late fall are dwindling down to be a near-extinction number now.
Fishing on the slow-moving,but still hypnotizing river, is all but finished for 2019. November usually brings with it a string of slate gray skies and the winds that numb the zest a novice fisherman has with him. It’s generally too cool to handle.
But every so often comes a day with generous sun light but variable winds and a river whose level has risen, because the rains are back after all but disappearing in September and October.
Waiting drowsily in the welcomed sun . . . waiting for a smallmouth bass, catfish or bluegill to attack your bait . . . and being outdoors before the heart of winter captures the river for another season can still happen.
There’s no need to make infinite preparations. No need to pack every rod known to man, or every bait or lure found in a dealer’s catalog. But do dress warm enough, because staying comfortable is part of having fun. If you err in any way on your outing on the river, it should be on the side of warmth and creature comforts.
There is no reason to drive to a destination that has no more to offer than does the river at the Princess Street boat ramp, just north of the Blue Moon eatery and the age-old tobacco barn located on the rock-encased banks of the Town Run.
Put in your canoe or johnboat at that boat ramp. Get out into the river and find one of the “holes” where the fish are gathering and your bait needs no introduction and is greeted with the same enthusiasm that Halloween candy is by a costumed six-year-old.
Exotic baits aren’t necessary. Small plastic worms . . . maybe a minnow plug or spinnerbait should make the bass take notice.
There should be plenty of action between the James Rumsey Bridge and the homely, pillared railroad crossing just down-river.
With the coming of Eastern Standard Time, the days will become noticeably shorter and the evenings at 4:45 p.m. will be cooler and less inviting.
But the fishing and the outdoors will remain baubles dangling before anybody’s eyes.
When the early dusk comes, the boat ramp is just a casual distance away and getting packed and ready to leave the enticing river won’t take the same energy it takes in preparing to go off leaf-peeping in the mountains.
The proper-weather days are all but extinct. And no hand wringing or “shoulda,” “coulda” or “woulda” worrying will bring them back.