Sunday, January 9, 2011

Very Informative Fletcher's Cove x Potomac Information

This is the epitome of sharing knowledge on the TPFR forum. Here is a guy who is sharing all sorts of knowledge he has recorded over several years. He is sharing it out in the open for everyone to read. I am posting the text of his e-mail below. Here is the direct link: http://groups.google.com/group/tidal-potomac-fly-rodders/browse_thread/thread/1456863df8c9a177

Watch the temp gauge at Little Falls when the water is 45 degrees and
or usually on the back side of a freshet. That’s when the  walleye
will hit most anything white at Big Eddy.  They are usually in the big
range and spawning. Like snagging a big stick with fins.  Very tasty.

Gizzard shad are next along with the ever present catfish.  Double
yuck. 

Next up are the Hickory Shad.  What has been said about water
temperature is accurate within 2 or 3 degrees depending on the flow.
Hicks have been caught with the water temp in the 40’s during snow
storms.  The pilot shad are scattered and usually precede the main
part of the run by one or two weeks. The key when the water is cold is
a slow retrieve. VERY SLOW The first fish are cold and do not move as
fast as the main body.  The main spawning schools are usually the
largest of the hicks with prime time starting towards the end of
March. Big row hicks are often confused for A shad as are gizzard.

As the days grow longer next up are the herring with the striped bass.
The latter of which are good sized but low in numbers.  If you want to
target these from shore your best bet is north of Chain Bridge.

Bank fishing for shad is as or is more productive than out of a boat
during the start of the run. This has been consistent each year since
I’ve been fishing. That’s over 30 years.  Gordon’s Rock, The Point and
The Chute are accessible spots that produce from shore.  I bet Dan can
vouch for that as he can reach across the river with that spay rod. .
Of course most anywhere on the DC side of Chain Bridge is good. While
it may be crowded it is well worth the wait either side of high tide.
Low tide is a good time for something hot to drink.

The American Shad usually start to filter in the first week of April.
Again the rule is slow. No matter what you are casting.  They are
almost always deeper and move slower than the hicks.  I’ve seen more
hook up on a set line than casting to retrieve or strip and on more
than one occasion.  The Ashad seem to like the smaller fly or dart.
Very small. Fly rodders try stripping with the wrist instead of your
elbow.  SLOW! 

The key to ASHAD success is presenting your lure in the correct spot
for an extended period of time. That time does not include reeling ,
casting, tying, driving, walking ETC. If its not in the water it’s not
catching. The old timers (yes older than me) fish set lines.  At least
three rods lying in the boat with lines out and darts near the bottom
occasionally flicking or jerking the line.  No retrieve at all. Just a
dart or fly within a foot of the bottom. The rod, reel, line and so on
don’t matter to the shad.  You can catch them with a stick if you keep
your presentation in the zone. 

If you are unaware boats are not rented at Fletcher’s when the gauge
at Little Falls is 4.9 or higher unless the river is falling.  Call
ahead. 

Ray Fletcher (5th generation) opens each weekday morning and does so
earlier than the posted hours during  the week and at the peak of the
run.  Danny Ward (Shad expert) usually follow ups midday and closes
during the week.  Alex Binsted closes some during the week and opens
on the weekend. (Alex knows his flies!)  This bunch also knows why you
are there.  If you get there early set your stuff in a boat and wait.
Early is good. Don’t be shy.  Ask questions. 

All of you know Paula the dock lady.  If you don’t I’m sure you’ve at
least heard her as her voice travels well over the water. She gets
there early on Friday and the weekends to open the dock. Listening to
her and nodding will score points.  Asking her for advice will score
more.  Something in her tip bucket will imprint like a returning shad
and offer the donor certain privileges.  Don’t be shy.  Tell her you
expect something in return.  It’s like paying dues. Otherwise get in
line and make sure your anchor is big enough before you leave the
dock. 

If you rent a boat in the morning and then leave to go to work keep
your rental ticket.  You have the right to return later and finish the
day rental. 

As for big stripers on a fly. Whew!  You’ll  spend a great deal of
time just getting the opportunity.  If you must your best bet would be
to get upstream of someone using bait in a boat and in the early
morning. Cloudy sky is better.  The VA side is best.  Quite frankly
your wasting time.  No fly can replace the action or smell of a
swimming,, dying, dead, stinking piece of bait in a bait rich
environment with fewer predators.  And all along some big Ashad are
swimming right by. Oh!  Watch the cormorants. They eat  the same fish
the striper's  do. 

Every spot fished there has a name that goes back several
generations.  We tried to list them on shadfishing.com  Zoom down to
the Potomac of course. Mouse over and wait for the pop ups.  Any
questions don’t be shy.  I’ve got no secret worth keeping and enjoy
hearing folks giggle when they hook up. Is that enough Brad?

1 comments:

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