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Thread: Launch Site Review – Bodkin Creek from Downs Park in Pasadena

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Pasadena, MD
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    Default Launch Site Review – Bodkin Creek from Downs Park in Pasadena

    I live only a few miles from Downs Park, yet I rarely fish there. Those of you who have been to Downs know it’s a spacious park that borders the Chesapeake Bay between the Magothy and Patapsco Rivers. It has athletic fields, a fishing pier, a dog beach, areas of dense tree growth, picnic pavilions, hiking and biking trails, a playground and two car-top boat launches.

    http://www.aacounty.org/departments/...s/parks/downs/

    The launch from the south side of Downs into the Bay is directly from the beach. Frankly, I do not like the bayside launch. The Bay is ten miles wide in front of the park. Waves and wind can be problematic and there is absolutely no place to go for protection. Nevertheless, I have caught white perch and stripers immediately in front of the park in calm water conditions.

    Some may not know that there is second car-top launch site at Downs Park. On the north side of the park there is access to Bodkin Creek, a tributary of the Patapsco River. That is the launch I am going to discuss in this post.

    Below is a Google Earth view of the Bodkin. I’ve circled the launch site from Downs Park in red.

    Capture.jpg

    You can see that the Bodkin has numerous cuts and inlets to explore. It is heavily populated with lots of piers, bulkheads and riprap to target with your casts. Also, there are areas of natural shorelines and unobstructed open waters for those who like to troll.

    If you’re really ambitious you can head to the Patapsco River which is approximately one and half miles from the launch. As a point of orientation, it would be a three-mile trip from the mouth of the Bodkin to Fort Smallwood Park on the Patapsco. You would turn left from the Bodkin into the Patapsco to head toward Fort Smallwood.

    This morning I launched into the Bodkin from Downs for the first time.

    Here is the parking area:

    P1020816.jpg

    I like to drop my boat onto a soft surface whenever possible to avoid unnecessary abrasion to my hull. There is plenty of grass surrounding the parking lot to do that.

    The path to the water from the parking lot is perhaps 75 yards. It is flat and paved most of the way. An easy walk, but a cart is a must.

    P1020819.jpg

    Below you can see that the launch site itself is a heavily shaded area. Actually, it would be helpful if park officials cut the overhanging branches at the point of entry.

    P1020820.jpg

    Also, it’s a soft launch area…no ramp, just mud and sand. It was high tide when I launched this morning. It was thick black mud when I returned a couple of hours later.

    The area near the launch has natural shorelines with lots of downed wood. Not far from the launch I immediately hooked something large on my jig spinner next to one of the downed trees. I believe it was a substantial pickerel but I only saw its green back. It tossed my hook after a short fight.

    I continued through a heavily populated area until I reached open water.

    P1020825.jpg P1020827.jpg

    The Patapsco is straight ahead in this photo below between the two points of land:

    P1020829.jpg

    As to fishing, I hugged the shorelines casting to natural and manmade structures. I caught a fair number of white perch on the two lures pictured below – one of my 1/8 oz. jig spinners tied with bucktail and a Mister Twister on a 1/8 oz. jighead:

    P1020841.jpg P1020842.jpg

    On my way back to the launch, I had company. A group of recreational kayakers passed me and beached their boats at the launch site. I didn’t mind, even though I had to move one of their boats out of my way to get my kayak to land. I was glad to see the site being used.

    P1020845.jpg

    I spoke to one of the kayakers and we agreed that the launch could use significant improvement. In particular the mud was difficult to negotiate as I removed my kayak from the water. The tide had fallen significantly since I departed exposing the soft bottom. My feet deeply penetrated the thick black muck and the mud actually pulled my shoes from my feet! What’s needed is a gravel ramp similar to the one at Weems Creek.

    So, that was my first trip to the Bodkin using the access point from Downs Park. Aside from the need for improvements at the launch site, the actual launch is convenient to sheltered water and provides ready access to open waters in the Bodkin suitable for trolling. It definitely holds promise for a return trip to target stripers.

    Lastly, there is a $6 entry fee to the park. You can buy an annual pass for $30 to all AA County Parks and if you’re an old guy like me, you can buy a lifetime pass for $40.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Annapolis, MD.
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    Glad you got out, have to visit there soon. Always nice to add another launch site to the list.
    John
    Annapolis
    Native Slayer Propel 10, Native Ultimate 12

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Wow... great review Mark. Thanks for the info.
    2015 Hobie Revolution 11

  4. #4
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    Sep 2015
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    Burke, VA
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    Thanks Mark. Great review!

    Q: Since the shoreline is heavily populated, did you have to contend with lots of boat traffic?
    -manny

    Hobie Outback
    Wilderness Systems 130T

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Cape St Claire
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    Great report Mark! I appreciate your checking it out. The mud could be an issue, but it seems like a place worth checking out.

    Did you get a sense of the bottom contours as you were moving about?
    Last edited by EMSer; 06-11-2017 at 10:18 AM.
    Bruce

    Wilderness System, Thresher 155

  6. #6
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    Feb 2011
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    Southern Maryland- Charles County
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    According to Yak67 and Big Mike the new Kayak site on St. George's Island is pretty nice- hard, crushed oyster shell bottom (wear foot protection!) and instant access to the mouth of the St. Mary's River are pretty nice- suggested tip for the tip jar is $5.00...parking is nice, too...
    "Lady Luck" 2016 Red Hibiscus Outback
    "Wet Dream" 2011 yellow Ocean Prowler 13

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    I understand from second hand knowledge that there are plans to improve the launch. The problem may be hold ups on permits as well as money given the location is so environmentally precarious -- i.e. It's already heavily populated with humans, yet I saw bald eagles, water turtles and a larger population of ospreys than is present on the Severn in my opinion.

    Bruce -- as to bottom contours, I have no electronics on my Ultimate. But when you get to larger open areas of the creek, there are channel markers for the bigger boats to follow. It's wider than the Severn between the bridges in places. There is plenty of water to stay out of their way. I'm sure stripers would be attracted to that channel. Also, the mouth of the Bodkin at the Patapsco should be a very good area.

    Manny -- Yesterday morning boat traffic was minimal. I was on it from 0900 to 1200. It's also posted as "no wake" until you get to the larger open area of the creek. The heaviest population is on the western side of the creek. The launch puts you on the eastern side which is where I concentrated. That's Bodkin Point with million dollar plus houses on large lots. Density is not an issue there. Boats on docks were few and far between on that side. Instead there were long stretches of riprap or natural shorelines.

    I do hope officials can improve the site. It holds great possibility for both small and large water kayak fishing.

    Here are a few more photos from yesterday:

    P1020822.jpg P1020823.jpgP1020830.jpg P1020832.jpg P1020834.jpg
    Last edited by Mark; 06-11-2017 at 10:59 AM.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  8. #8
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    Sep 2015
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    Burke, VA
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    Sounds very promising Mark. Thanks for passing along the info.
    -manny

    Hobie Outback
    Wilderness Systems 130T

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Thanks, Mark, for the thorough review. Right now the mud is a challenge. This site has such potential and I believe improvement money is in the budget that was just passed.

    If you look at the Anne Arundel County Water Trail website: http://www.aacwt.org under "Got To Index Map" you'll get a county index map. The Bodkin launch is on Map 4. This launch opens up so much relatively sheltered water for paddlers.

    If you go out into the Bay, beware the Spit Neck peninsula optical illusion coming back. That little crook at the end of the peninsula blocks the sight line to Main Creek to the left and people end up going up Back Creek on the right.

    Lisa

  10. #10
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    Lisa,

    Thank you for the water trail link.

    The Locust Cove Launch from Downs Park into the Bodkin does indeed have a lot of potential. I like that it offers immediate access to protected water with bigger water nearby.

    I'm glad to hear the site is going to be improved. Its needs are not extravagant. I think a simple gravel landing held in place with plastic mesh like the city of Annapolis has done at Weems Creek would be perfect. But of course, anything the county does to address the extremely soft-bottomed launch on a low tide would be welcome.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

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