The Susquehanna River is a fickle mistress…always changing her complexion and attitude. Releases from Conowingo Dam and moving tides put this fishery in a constant state of change. Learning to adapt to the changes will add to your success rates on the flats. For example, this week while fishing at slack tide we had no moving current and everything was quiet and very still. The bite was off and the water was dirty. This was around 2:30 pm. I called the Conowingo Dam release number (888-457-4076) and found that they would be releasing major water flows of 70,000 CFS at 3 pm. Armed with this knowledge and knowing that the tide would soon start running out I chose to stay and wait out the bite. By 3:30 some flow was witnessed coming down from the dam and mixed with the outgoing tide flow made for great conditions. Soon we had a great drift going with drift speeds almost 2 mph. With the increased current the bait fish began to school and the Rockfish started to bite. Between 5:30 and 7:30 we had a very fast bite on school size fish up to 30″. We found these fish in a mile long stretch of green cool water (63 degrees) and they wanted the “Snap Jigging” technique, but not the normal lift and drop technique we normally use. They wanted a peculiar action applied to the lure. I was using the Pop, Pop, Pop, retrieve. After the third pop, I would lift the rod slightly and restrict the jig from falling, too fast. These fish wanted that painfully slow “dead fall” to the jig. My partner that evening was getting frustrated watching me catch nice fish after nice fish. Soon, I stopped fishing and showed him exactly what I was doing. He immediately started catching and the rest of the night we both caught fast, almost every cast!
Erick Roderick above with a few nice Rockfish caught that evening.
That night every thing mattered. It started with the current flow, finding clean cool water, noticing bait movements in the area and of course the jig set up itself. The 1 0z. BKD jighead paired with a white/ chartreuse skirt and a 6″ silk/chartreuse BKD was the perfect lure! The skirt helps slow the fall of the jig and addition of SPIKE-IT Garlic dip provided some scent to help entice the bite. Using the knowledge from past trips, searching the area for better water, and not giving up all combined to make for a great evening of catching a nice grade of fish. I hope this helps you find and catch more fish on your next trip!
I hope to see you all on the water or in the shop!