Fishing the Fresh Tidal Pocomoke River

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Dave, Jeff and I took the day off to go fishing. We launched out of Shad Landing at Pocomoke River State Park, near Snow Hill, Maryland, which is 20-miles from Ocean City, MD

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The claim to fame of the Pocomoke River watershed is that it occurs within the Bald Cypress Forest Association and may be one of Maryland’s most pristine and wild rivers within the state. The tannic waters remind you of the great cypress swamps of South Carolina.

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Calling SHA for a “raising-of-the-bridge” appointment, we motored north to Snow Hill and into new waters. How cool!

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It was a fishing bonanza and we all caught many fish each, and a total of ten species including, largemouth bass, black crappie, golden shiner, white perch as shown in this photo, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, blueback herring, blue catfish and chain pickerel.

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Emergent spatterdock was beginning to flower and this week’s flowering species included fringetree (photo), swamp azalea, fetterbush and highbush blueberry lining the banks of the river.

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Black crappie are tightly associated with downed woody debris, if you catch one, you will likely catch others, as they are always in groups. Pitching into woody vegetation however, will lead to the loss of a few lures in the stick-up’s.

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This pumkinseed was caught on a Cubbie Mini-Mite http://www.panfishpro.com/, and jigs were the go-to bait for the day.

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A prothonotary warbler flits through the trees in search of both food and nesting materials. The prothonotary is forest-interior dwelling native species that are found in wooded swamps of the southeast. They nest in standing dead snags (cavity nesters) and winter in Central America.

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Low tide was at 7:00 AM, high tide was at 1:00 PM and low tide again was at 7:30 PM. We fished on a rising tide, through high tide and then on a falling tide. The Pocomoke and it’s tributaries, the Nassawango and Corkers Creek are deep, narrow and heavily forested swamp. Absolutely wonderful.

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This is a golden shiner, a native minnow species of the eastern Untied States.

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Now here is something interesting, Jeff caught two blueback herring, which can grow to 15-inches. They are currently a federal “species of concern,” as their numbers have recently been decimated. Maryland established a moratorium on harvest in 2011. Catch and release is legal, but you can not be in possession of the fish. They are a major forage fish for striped bass and bluefish. Because bluebacks swim in schools and like to swim near the surface they are a mainstay for both bald eagle and osprey. Dave, Jeff and I all commented that none of us have ever caught a blueback before.

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The blue catfish is a native of the central United States and is not endemic to the east. They can grow in excess of 80-pounds plus, and are known to be problematic in the Potomac. They are a sport fish none the less, and until I landed this fish and saw it in the net, I was wildly optimistic that I might have caught a monster largemouth or possibly a migrating striped bass.

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Dave however, landed a great 3-pound largemouth bass on this retrieve.

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All three of us were fishing an outside meander of Corkers Creek, and wham, my line went heavy and snapped, so did Dave’s and then immediately thereafter Jeff catches this chain pickerel. He obviously swam into the commotion and had a field day with our lines.

So what’s so great about the Pocomoke? It’s worth the drive for a day trip because this watershed is rural, and the river is ablaze with interesting flora and fauna. It really feels like you are much further south, like in the grand cypress swamps of South Carolina (Congaree National Park). I’ve never not had a good day of fishing on the Pocomoke.

Thank you Dave and Jeff.

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