In June, the Basswife and I did not have much time, so I elected to try a more local spot. Pohick Bay Regional Park is a very nice local park that is just south of Fort Belvoir. I was excited to give it a try as I had had a conversation in the local WaWa at 0500 one morning with another fishing guy. We were both gassing up to head out - me to the North Branch; he to Pohick. He indicated that he always had good luck up there and recommended it.
Bad recommendation for a canoe guy. Pohick is BIG WATER. Heck, it's a bay. I was a little nervous as I unloaded the canoe and we geared up. The distance to the far shore looked pretty scary to an Army guy who is used to being pretty close to land. But, we were here and, not wanting to show fear in front of the Basswife, we loaded up and pushed off.
I decided to move up the shoreline and immediately came under attack. There were a lot of skidoo guys and big boats doing what they naturally do - and kicking up huge wakes in the process. Everytime a series of wake waves would come on us, I would have to turn the canoe into the waves to take them head on. I would really be in trouble with the Basswife if we dumped!
Looking to the west, it appeared that there were some grassy areas and since there were no big boats up there, we moved as quickly as we could in that direction. Bad choice. This is really, really shallow at the west end of the inlet. The water was only about a foot deep to either side of the main channel and even the small trolling motor hung off the back of the basscanoe struggled to chop through the submerged vegetation. A loser.
We turned north in an attempt to find better water and finally made our way to the northern shore. This was a lot better. It's deeper there and we started to work the banks with plastic worms and frogs. I was using a big grasshopper pattern with my 6 wt.
As we rounded the corner on the first inlet, I started to really lay into the bluegills. Every cast produced some action. The farther we moved up into the cove (the one above the "P"), the hotter it got. At the top of the cove, there was dense underwater vegetation which put me off until I realized that the water was still pretty deep and there were plenty of small open spots that we could cast to. There had to be a big bass laying in wait!
I threw the hopper into an open spot next to the shore and was rewarded with a huge swirl as a massive bass sucked my bug into his bucket mouth! Aagh. A quick, untimely jerk to set the hook sent the hopper flying and the bass diving back for cover. I continued to throw at this spot - no luck. The Basswife started working the next hole over with her frog and was almost jerked from the boat as that same bass slammed into her lure. It was a quick fight - the 12 pound line she was using snapped off. He must have pulled it against a sharp rock or something.
Well... the big boys are there. We continued to work that area for the next hour as we carefully moved from opening to opening. Beyond the dutiful bluegills that threw themselves at my hopper, ant, or beetle - no action.
Remember to refer to my rating explanations - these are based on what I look for - so RED for Physical Fitness translates to easy physically - you do not need to be in shape to fish this section. I prefer terrain that is tough to get into and out of.
We moved around the next point and started to work up that cove, but the waves from the passing traffic just got to bad to deal with and we called it a day.
Pressure: The parking lot was full of boats and trailers and we saw at least 10 other boats working the same area. Most of them were centered on the main channel where the water gets to a respectable depth. With the waves, we could not risk riding in that same channel.
Bottom Line: Not good for a canoe. You need a real bass boat to work this water. But... even with that, this is not really a scenic place. If you are going to go someplace with this amount of pressure, go to Burke Lake because at least it is intensively managed to have a high population of bass of a decent size. I will not return to this spot. Besides, there is a fee you have to pay to get into the lake and use the boat launch. Heck with that - plenty of other spots that you can use for free.
Getting there: The park website has good directions:
"To reach Pohick Bay, take I-95 south of the Beltway, exit at Lorton. Turn left on Lorton Rd. At the 3rd traffic light, turn right onto Lorton Market Street. Follow Lorton Market Street to the first light which will be Rt. 1. Cross over Rt. 1, onto Gunston Rd. Continue 1.5 miles to golf course on the left; 3.5 miles to the main park on the left."