Pocomoke River Bass Fishing 101
By Brian Barnes

The Pocomoke River has more natural habitat then any river I know of.

If you know me or have ever heard one of my seminars, you can tell that the Pocomoke River is special to me. I was born and raised in Snow Hill, Maryland, and have fished this river for more than 25 years. I would like to present here a glimpse of the opportunities this river presents and possibly to encourage you to try it yourself.

The Pocomoke River starts as a small ditch just outside of Willards, Maryland and runs south through Wicomico, then into Worcester County before finally entering the Eastern Shore of Virginia into the Chesapeake Bay, a total distance of about 66 miles. The river has strong flowing water with current and tides that drop three feet or more.

The Pocomoke has four main access points for boaters. The first of those is Byrd Park in Snow Hill, Maryland, which has two ramps, the northern one being the better of the two. The second access point is at Shad Landing State Park with nice ramps and camping facilities. The third access point is in Pocomoke City, Maryland, at Laurel Street where the tide can affect loading and unloading. The final and least-used Pocomoke access is Milburn Landing, although loading or unloading can be treacherous at this site during low tide.

When it comes to bass fishing, about 25 miles of the Pocomoke River are the most productive, starting approximately five miles above the Snow Hill drawbridge (Rt. 12) and continuing downriver (south) to eight miles below the Rt. 113 bridge in Pocomoke. You can expect to catch several 10- to 13-inch largemouth bass and a few larger 2- to 4-pound bass on a good day. Using a tide chart to plan trips on the best tide will increase your catch. I'll break down the fishing opportunities into three areas for this section of the river.

Snow Hill Bridge and above: This area is most productive in the summer and fall months. I caution you to idle or ride with someone who knows the area due to the very winding waterway and many stump fields that enter the channel. The prime fishing spots are pad fields on higher water and overhanging trees on the back edges of pad fields. For this type of fishing, I recommend floating frogs, Case Magic Stiks, or some type of weightless worm. Suffix braided line in 30- to 50-pound test is ideal for the aggressive strikes and structure you will have to clear to land the bass.

As the tide leaves the pads, throwing a spinnerbait (Penrod Special or Black) or a Rapala DT6 crankbait (Hot Mustard or Helsinki Shad) along the outside edges, paying particular attention to bends and points, will attract the feeding bass. On days when these baits are not bringing the desired results, an old standby for Pocomoke River largemouths is a Texas-rigged blue-fleck worm.

Nassawango Creek: This is a main tributary that winds to the west, starting about one mile south of Snow Hill. Nassawango is a relatively small creek that is enjoyable to fish because it contains plenty of structure such as fallen trees, pad fields, and stumps. Just like the Pocomoke River itself, the creek fishes better on the outgoing tide. Baits of choice for Nassawango are toads/buzz frogs, Big Mouth buzzbaits (black), and wacky-rigged soft-plastic stick baits (Case Magic Stik, Wacko). Use buzz frogs and buzzbaits over the pad fields at the beginning of an outgoing tide for best results. As the tide continues to drop, fish the pad edges. Be aware that the bridge in Nassawango Creek is fixed, so pay attention to tide situation or you could be trapped there on high tide.

Main River, Snow Hill to Pocomoke: The current runs strongly on the main river, therefore, structure is key. The high-water baits and presentation to use are the same as recommended for above Snow Hill. Casting and skipping accuracy on the main river is important due to the overhanging trees that sometimes obstruct the targets you are trying to reach. Targeting the base of trees, stumps, and other current breaks is necessary as the bass hide from the strong current and will rarely leave their homes to chase baits.

Once the tide starts to fall, target the several small creeks that empty into the main river and the adjacent pad fields and trees. These areas have numerous, old stumps along channel drops of three to seven feet. A slow-rolled spinnerbait or a Rapala DT6 at beginning of an outgoing tide and Rapala DT4 as the tide reaches its low point are my personal choices. Allowing your bait to come in contact with the stumps will help produce strikes.

This brief overview offers some general guidelines to use when fishing the Pocomoke River. Regardless of the fishing, you will thoroughly enjoy this scenic river. I believe it is the prettiest river I fish routinely. I often see deer, eagles, otters, and other wildlife that make for a great outing any day.