Monday, April 18, 2011

Jim Range National Casting Call 2011

The water levels of the Potomac are crazy this year. We get 4" of rain and the river tops off at 12' above normal. Then it drops fora month and a few storms on April 7 send it up again. Up enough that we had to cancel the fishing from boats.

Trent and I drove over Chain Bridge around 0630 and could not see the concrete platform/spillway upstream. We get down to Fletchers and see a raging torrent of trees, flotsam, and foam. The dock was inaccessible.

Trent and Dan, and I from Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders set up our station between Potomac Conservancy and
 US Fish and Wildlife 

Once the Fish and Wildlife arrived the real fun started: playing with a live snakehead.
This snakehead was shocked out of a Virginia stream the previous week and had been going in and out of a tank to a cooler of ice for display purposes. I got to pick it up, examine it, and explore its features. One thing I got a good look at this time was a closeup of its head and its pectoral fins.

The head is covered with all sorts of pits. Are they sensory? Are they where the mucousal goo comes out from when the fish is exposed to air? I don't know. More confirmation that the pectoral fins are not structurally built to allow the fish to use them for terrestrial locomotion. They are just round flaps of skin with rays bones in between.

I found out that if you knock on their skull it makes a hollow sound. Who else do we know that has a hollow sounding skull? Hint, he carries a bagel to class in his waist band.

I checked out the shad planking, the traditional way to cook and consume the shad. It was nice to hang out by the hot coals on a chilly morning.
Cooked shad smell as bad as live shad.

Check out this gravid female.

 The preferred method of securing your boat to the river bottom at Fletchers. This is known as an 'Arkansas Anchor'.

Jim Range's boat

 The guys from Family Tyes were helping to build a boat.
This is what it will look like when completed.

I will post videos and interviews about the snakehead on my youtube site. I was up fishing with some event visitors on the C&O canal during the speeches in the tent so I missed the business aspect of the event. Trent and I had lunch with the ladies from Potomac Conservancy and then had to take off to the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival. Trent was prognosticating and calling it the 'Rainsboro' Fly Fishing event. If only he had put money on that. Time for a ROAD TRIP !!

And I leave you with Brad Gentner's Fantastic Jugs



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