The Eastern Shore of Maryland has several fantastic rivers for bass fishing including the Pocomoke, Wicomico, Nanticoke and Choptank Rivers. Anglers fish from private boats or fish with a local guide for largemouth bass and other freshwater fish in these waterways.
The Pocomoke River is one of the most popular fishing locations in Maryland, especially on the Delmarva peninsula. Guides offer fishing and site seeing charters year round on the Pocomoke, even in the winter months. Cold water fishing begins after thanksgiving to around the second week in March and can be surprisingly very good. Largemouth bass are a cold-blooded fish so their body temperature is the same as the water temperature for the most part.
Largemouth bass of the Pocomoke River avoid heavy current and prefer backwater areas where they can suspend and conserve energy in cold conditions. They might only feed a couple of days a week due to their slow metabolism so slower presentations with your baits are critical. Targeting areas like oxbows, marinas, cuts or ponds give winter anglers access to warmer water and low current. Guides focus on local conditions for success. For example, the sun hits the north and northwest shores most on the river in winter so your guide may target these areas looking for warmer water. A water temperature gauge is also useful for winter bass fishing on the Pocomoke. Cool water lures include spin baits, crank baits, jigs and senkos.
The next phase of fishing occurs in late March through June. This period includes all phases of the spawn. Fishing guides look for spawning areas such as coves, flats and backwater areas. Bass fishermen also seek out deeper water with cover leading to spawning habitat. The pre-spawn fishing can be great around this structure. Water temperatures for pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn can vary greatly, so guides often suggest checking the spawning areas and migration routes leading to and away from them on every trip this time of year. Keep in mind bass prefer a sandy or hard bottom and must have sunlight to aid in hatching the eggs. Hard river bottoms are rare on this river but bass will make due with the best they can find. Productive lures during this period are senkos, tubes, lizards and flukes.
Summer is a favorite fishing season on the Pocomoke River as the fish are very active. The river is tidal which affects where fish congregate. A good low tide is at least three feet down. In summer this river is notorious for only dropping a foot or less and quickly filling back to high tide. Northeast winds usually back up water at the mouth of the river and it’s a good bet the next couple of days after that will be really high tides. Largemouth bass can still be caught by adapting to the conditions. Anglers can find containment areas like bulk heads, walls or high river banks the higher tides cannot get past. This holds the fish in an area you can still access. Also skipping baits like senkos and frogs on the flooded shorelines, creeks and pad fields will still produce. If you are lucky enough to get a good low tide, fish wood close to the channel drops, pad line drops and creeks with jigs, senkos, spinner baits and crank baits.
Fall is another preferred time to fish the Pocomoke River. The bass are not affected as much by cold fronts and very active in feeding up for tough days ahead. This is a great time to run way up the creeks like Nassawango and even further north above the Snow Hill Bridge. An experienced guide will cover lots of water in fall with crank baits, spin baits and buzz baits. Senkos, jigs and worms are always good for the tougher days in fall with high barometric pressures.
by J. Banks