By Steve Chaconas
Formerly pursuing bad guys, DC police officer Jeff Greene is now chasing fish on the Upper Potomac River. His squad car has been replaced by a jet drive fishing boat designed for the shallow rocky waters just outside DC. No more issuing tickets. Instead, the guide creates fishing memories.
Why would a guy leave a cushy job like being a law enforcer in the Nation’s Capital? Greene says. “I enjoy teaching people that normally wouldn’t be out there. I like to see the look on their face when they catch a big fish.” He says guiding is all about people because there are days when you can’t catch them. “I know where they are, but they might not bite. So there has to be a mutual respect and the ability and motivation to engage strangers in conversation.”
It’s more than his fish fascination that makes his trips rewarding. Greene is also an authority on the historic waterway. The Upper Potomac River, a description used by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, appeared to be the perfect waterway to connect westward from DC to the Ohio River. Finding it too shallow for larger boats, the C&O Canal was eventually constructed to provide a transportation link. Civil War forces on both sides crossed the Upper Potomac, including Confederate troops heading to the Battle of Gettysburg. Over time barges were built, with many sunk during the Battle of Balls Bluff. Other barges and ships simply ran aground or got too close, inciting impromptu battles with significant casualties.
At one point in time over 100 ferries carried travelers and goods from VA to MD. Today only one, White’s Ferry, operates every day 5am to 11pm including all holidays, connecting Whites Ferry Road in Montgomery County, Maryland with a road by the same name in Loudoun County, Virginia.
It’s Greene’s service that keeps his clients returning to Shallow Water Fishing Adventures. Supplying anglers with quality equipment is just the start. Greene serves up patience as well, perfect for every skill level. Recognizing his clients aren’t on the water much, Greene says you must have patience with the fish and clients. “Who would you rather have teaching you?…someone who is soft spoken and confident in what they are doing or someone who is impatient unprofessional and downright rude?”
Summer is a fun time. Fish of all sizes are spread out. Topwater tactics with Rapala F-7 series black and silver minnows cover water and fish mood. Greene also ties on BOOYAH 1/8 to half-ounce buzzbaits. “When I use a buzzbait I’m not looking for quantity. It’s when I believe one of my clients will hook up with a big large or small mouth bass.” Other topwater lures include the Lucky Craft twin prop Kelly J.
His tackle box includes green pumpkin, crawdad pattern and black soft plastic Wacky Worm 3-inch stickworms rigged on 1/8 ounce handmade thin wire hooked FOBA F-Heads along with River Rock Custom Baits 2.5 to 2.75 inch tubes on 1/8 ounce River Rock Custom Baits Crawler Heads. These rigs even work on finicky fish.
Fall water cools to upper 50s. Fish feel a sense of urgency to fatten up before winter moving to out of the current eddies to avoid using energy to catch their meals. “The river is like a conveyer belt bringing their food.” Tubes, small swimbaits on slider heads and suspending Lucky Craft Pointer 78 and 100 jerkbaits generate success.
In the wintertime fish move into refuge spots, remaining out of the current. Encouraging lethargic fish to bite, Greene’s go-to lure is working Andy’s Custom Bass Lures hair jigs, in ideal colors and patterns, painfully slowly along the bottom.
Lures are tied to 15 pound GAMMA Torque braid with GAMMA Edge fluorocarbon leaders in 6, 8 or as low as 4 with super clear water. Braid casts easily. Leaders allow variable lure presentations. Due to rocky conditions, the guide checks lines every 4 fish looking for nicks or frays to avoid losing fish. For topwaters, it’s GAMMA Copoly.
Greene also targets good-eating catfish, providing a chance to switch gear and use bait if bass fishing is tough.
Possessing solid fishing skills is a must for any guide, but the additional boating challenge of navigating shallow water requires a mix of local knowledge, boat handling and a lot of experience. He has the perfect boat for this. This off-season, he gave his SeaArk skimmer jet boat a cosmetic makeover. Maryland Offshore Performance painted the inside and, instead of carpet they installed Seadeck, a padded material on the deck for traction and comfort. New seats too.
About a half hour from most of the DC area, Greene takes up to two passengers for half and full day fishing trips. He offers the cure for cabin fever as he fishes year round. shallowwaterfishingadventures.net
Potomac River Bassing in January
True winter fishing. Fish are relating to drops close to shallow water in out of the current areas. Burp Silver Buddy lures on 10-pound test GAMMA Edge fluorocarbon down drops. Short movements to work drops thoroughly. Also use Mann’s Stingray grubs and Mizmo 4-inch grubs on ¼ ounce jig heads on the same line. Quantum Smoke spinning reels are perfect for light line presentations.
Dropshot with 1/0 Mustad Mega bite hooks with 5 inch Mizmo Doodle worms on Edge 10 pound test. A 3/16 or ¼ ounce Water Gremlin BullShot weight will keep this presentation in the same spot a while. Leaders about 6 inches. Soak soft plastics in garlic Jack’s Juice Bait Spray.
Crank Lucky Craft Bevy shad suspending crankbaits with frequent pauses when contacting cover or working down drops. Twitch and pause. Make long casts and target warmed water near hard surfaces like rock and docks near drops.
On warmer days when water reaches 45 degrees, slow roll Mann’s Classic spinnerbaits, gold willow/Colorado blades and shite skirts.
Author Capt. Steve Chaconas is Potomac bass fishing guide & contributing writer for BoatU.S. (BoatUS.com) Potomac River reports: nationalbass.com. Book trips/purchase gift certificates: info@NationalBass.com.