Several weeks back, in the height of summer, I fished River Bend Park in Virginia. This park borders the Potomac River upstream from Great Falls, and has a walking path that winds along the river. I brought along the 5 wt, my dog, and girlfriend, and after being turned down for a canoe (they don’t allow dogs in them) we headed north along the path. I stopped a few places along the way, and easily caught pumpkinseed sunfish on a yellow sneaky pete on top. I wanted to find some smallmouth, and further north I found some nice looking boulders and deeper pools. I was able to find a few bigger sunfish here, but no smallmouth in the two hours I fished. Before leaving, a couple young guys fishing nearby said hi, and mentioned that they had pulled a good 1.5 lb smallmouth out of the pool I had been fishing an hour before. They were using ultralight spinning gear and throwing soft plastics.
Not sure if I’ll make it back again this fall, but if I do, I think the way to fish this location is by canoe (and dog-less). Looks like the trick is to fish the pockets behind river rock and boulders, at least in the summer time. With October here, I’d expect to return with my 8wt, an intermediate line, and some Clouser minnows to swing in the same pools.
The one upside from my trip, beyond the recon and handful of sunfish: I did manage to harvest a few pawpaws. They were delicious – perfectly ripe, sweet, and a little tangy. Real fruit, direct delivered from nature.