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The Nanticoke River – A Popular Largemouth Bass Fishing Destination
The Nanticoke River is definitely one of the best rivers on the east coast for bass fishing. On weekends, you’ll see tournament anglers from multiple states as the river fishes “big enough” to accommodate 50-150 boat events. I have found that dividing the river into three basic sections helps new anglers here avoid being overwhelmed by the size of the river. These are Main River/Seaford, Broad Creek and finally Marshyhope Creek. Each of these areas has advantages and disadvantages for tournament anglers and weekend anglers.
This cove is very popular but has too many “no wake” areas between Phillips Landing and Laurel making it difficult to “run and shoot” in tournaments. Broad Creek is more sheltered from high winds and generally has clearer water the closer you get to Laurel.
Some of the best fishing can be found by markers #4 – 5 and 7 as the creek makes wide bends to Bethel. Just past the Bethel Bridge is a small pond on the right easily accessible from the river. It’s a real hot spot at times and a guaranteed fish spot during spawning. Further up the creek you will see tons of fallen trees and finally some bridges and a weir at Laurel. This area is good but slow due to boat traffic and obstructions in the narrow channel.
Seaford and above
The main river and Seaford area makes jumping from place to place very easy as the river is wider with very few restrictions. You’ll have barge traffic and plenty of boaters and the dreaded jet skis to contend with, but the fishing is excellent. My favorite places are the boat docks; ferry crossing through the woods, protection lines and all the great little feeder creeks. The Seaford area has heavy industry with all pile groups for barges, bulkheads, a railway bridge and several good backwater areas. Between the railway bridge and the Blades drawbridge there is a large marina with great fishing in winter and during spawning. Above the Blades drawbridge to the left is another backwater area leading to a dam with excellent fishing at times. Going up the river after the Route 13 bridge, the river splits into two branches. Both are fantastic in summer and fall, but take time and caution when exploring them. Look closely and you will notice many new areas with grass. When fishing the Nanticoke, remember that the tide changes much earlier at Sharptown and Vienna than at Seaford, so take full advantage of that “golden hour” when the bite is strong.
The Marshyhope fishes like a full river and is easy to navigate when the pads are in place. In winter or early in the season, several bass boats touched the mudflats thinking they were in the channel. This cove has always been the best for me at low tide with the last two hours being fantastic. Tournament anglers planted piles of brushwood, weighted wooden pallets and even piles of rocks to spruce up certain areas. These are all easy to find by looking at your sonar and slowly navigating pad line drops and creek mouths. There are several old wooden boat wrecks on this cove that contain fish and some are visible at low tide, so mark them with your GPS. Fish every creek mouth you can find at low tide. The beaver lodges are truly bass magnets on this cove and any wood you notice from the pad line at low tide will hold bass steadily. Also fish for shallow bridge pilings, docks, and any riprap you see that helps break the current. As you climb up the narrow wooded section, look carefully to your left and you will see a small pond called “Peggy’s Hole”. It’s such a good place during spawning that it’s often put “out of bounds” in tournaments to prevent a boat race from getting there. Bass spawn much earlier than most people think in this pond. Continuing towards Federalsburg you will notice a sandpit on your left which is also a spawning area which can be very good. In Federalsburg at the new boat ramp there is a small marina that never has boats docked but is a good fishing spot. All the rip rap nearby is good too. In the fall, always keep fishing all the way past Federalsburg as the fish are there when the water cools. Now for the downside, the Marshyhope has a very strong current, gets muddy easily after rains or boat traffic, and is quite a long ride from the ramps at Phillip’s Landing or Seaford.
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#Nanticoke #River #Popular #Largemouth #Bass #Fishing #Destination