Wednesday, June 23, 2010

UFOs On The Potomac

Fished with fellow TPFR member Paul Brooks yesterday. We met at the Fletchers parking lot around 0930 and geared up for carp and snakeheads. We walked upstream on the C&O Canal toward Chain Bridge in the hopes of sight casting to carp. We walked the 1+ mile and did not see any carp until we passed the bridge. There were distinct cloudy spots and bubbles coming up. The canal was ovaltine brown and it was hard to see anything in there, let alone try to cast to fish. We had no idea of water depth, number of fish, or how they were feeding.

We took the trail down to the spillway and started fishing. The temps were now in the upper 80's. The walking is extremely treacherous during low tide. I would compare it to the asteroid surface from Armageddon. The smell was awful and I used my buff to cover my nose. Mix rotting shore fish, anoxic mud, and what ever else was out there.

Paul and I worked the pools and eddys with a variety of flies and lines. No luck. Several fish jumped out of the water, broke the surface, and otherwise mocked us. Several fish were breaking along the seam out in the main channel. This of course, was out of casting range.

I climbed some of the larger rock outcrops to get my fly closer to that seam. I'm glad I wore my Patagonia stove pipe pants. I lost my footing and slid down one side of the rocks and would have gotten torn up if not for the tough fabric protecting my legs and arse. I caught a gross channel catfish. The fish took the damsel nymph dropper (behind a clouser). I took some pics and threw it back. People actually eat these gross fish.  It had lesions on its barbels, back, and was missing a chunk of a fin. Gross.

Paul was headed closer to the bridge and I was content to stay put. My camelback was now about 1/4 full and I was draining it fast. I continued to throw my line out into the current with no luck. Then I spotted this UFO, unidentified fish object. I'm not sure if it was a single fish or more than one in some sort of mating event. Whatever it or they were, was huge. If I was fishing in Florida, I would have said it was a manatee.

As soon as I got the camera out and snapped a few shots, it was over. I packed up my gear and headed down to Paul. I did not enjoy the 100 yards or so over sharp rocks and loose ones that shifted upon my weight. Paul said something to the effect that he'd rather be in a pool than on the river in that heat and I agreed. We packed up and took the 'trail' under the bridge.

No carp were spotted on the way back to Fletchers. We talked fishing and family stuff and Paul told stories about striper fishing in New England. There were plenty of raspberries on the wood's edge and I nibbled one.  Before long we were back at the lot and I went straight to the ice water in the trunk.

It was good to be out in the heat and try for carp and snakeheads. One of the goals of TPFR is to get others out fishing together and today we met one of those goals.

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