Bodkin Creek

It was a beautiful morning for fishing, and Steve and I headed out on Route 100 to launch from Fort Smallwood in Pasadena, Anne Arundel County, which is new water for me, having never launched from this location.  Dave was planning on joining us, but he did not feel well, and bowed-out.

We were really hoping that Dave would have been available, as we were planning on fishing a few of his favorite fishing holes, from when he was a teenager, and we are talking many years ago!


Fort Smallwood is situated on the south side of the Patapsco River, opposite Sparrows Point.  The park is named after William Smallwood, revolutionary war major general, commander of the “Maryland Line” regiment of the continental army, and fourth governor of Maryland (and not to be confused with Smallwood State Park in Charles County, on the Mattawoman).


Anne Arundel County recently completed a five-million dollar boat launch facility, which opened in April of 2016, and has 46 boat trailer parking spaces, separated from the difference of the park.  The launch proper, is on Rock Creek, north and west of the Fort Smallwood Point.


The boat ramp costs $10 and is open every day of the week from 5:30 AM till 10:00 PM.  On weekends, the park has a ramp assistant to help boats get on and off the water.


The park includes a newly constructed, 380-foot pier on Rock Creek, which looks out onto Riviera Beach and the Constellation Power, Brandon Shores Electric Generation Station.


Just as we were launching, a Carnival Cruise ship was coming up river to visit the Baltimore inner-harbor.


“White Rocks” is located on the Patapsco, south of the Key Bridge (I-695).  When Dave and Steve were children, many, many years ago, Dave’s father would motor-out to the rocks, drop off Dave and Steve to fish, and return an hour or so later.  Now I understand why they have fishing issues and idiosyncrasies.

“. . when John Smith sailed the Chesapeake Bay in 1608, those islands of stone were lodged firmly in the navigable channel that Smith chronicled so carefully in his captain’s log.  In fact, the Indian name Patapsco, (or “pota-psk-ut” in Algonquian dialect) means white rocks.  Therefore, both Rock Creek and the Patapsco River owe their names to this puzzling geological formation.  Stony Creek, a short distance to the west, is named for a smaller heap of brown rocks at its mouth believed to be of the same geological stratum as those of  White Rocks.”

Article on White Rocks:

Article on Fort Smallwood:


Enough for orientation and touring, it’s time for fishing.  We motored south on the Patapsco to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and into Bodkin Creek.


Working ourselves well back into the headwaters of the creek, we were looking for the Cheshire Crab House, which was a former launch of Dave and Steve’s youth, and which now includes the Pleasure Cove Marina.  With this point of orientation reference, Steve was able to remember the fishing holes that yielded reliable bounties of fish.  Now to find the stone wall downstream from twenty plus years ago!


Stone wall found!  The houses are different, but the shoreline remains the same.  Time to exploit the waters edge.


It was a bounty of white perch, and we caught fish on nearly every cast, catching over 30 perch total in an hour and a half.  I used a small white jig head and white curly-tail grub, sometimes tipped with a small piece of blood worm.


Steve used white feathered marabou jigs, the same lures he used 20 plus years ago, which again worked for him.


With a light action rod and four-pound test line, Steve wrangled this carp into the boat for a photograph.  Yes, the fish pulled out line, bent the rod to the max, but ultimately succumbed to the relentless angler.  Not knowing what Steve had on the line, but knowing that it was big, he pleaded that I work the net, rather than take pictures of the tussle.  Therefore we have no action shots, but do have the end results . . .


. . . Carpe Diem!


The blue heron, and fellow angler, looked on with amazement.


We also went on to catch spot, yellow-breasted sunfish and yellow perch.  Beautiful day on the water.  We’ll have to go back another time with Dave, so that he can relive his teenage-hood, jon-boat memories, with 80’s mullet haircut.