Monday, October 3, 2011

Fishing With The Guys From GoFishN

I had the opportunity to take Ned and Brian from GoFISHn out for a late season snakehead trip last week. We met up on the one sunny day in a long time, the location was Pohick Bay. I chose this spot as is a known favorite location for the snakeheads. It is just downstream from the epicenter of their introduction, Dogue Creek. The water is calm and has plenty of weeds and structure for them to hide.

I set up early in the parking lot and talked to a group from Lake Anna that was putting in pontoon boats to take up to the National Harbor. They asked what we were fishing for and I stated snakeheads. One of the gentlemen replied with 'there are no snakeheads in this lake." I wasn't sure on what part to correct him, the fact that there are snakeheads in the Potomac, and that the Potomac is actually a river, not a lake.

The tide was up when we shoved off. The first thing I noticed as we moved along the shore was the color of the water. Not a brown or mud color but a turquoise color. Sort of like this text. The entire shoreline for the first half hour or so was that color. The kind you dye you would put in a backyard pond. Before long the tide started to move out.

We moved along the edges throwing top water dries and streamers. No luck. Some of the spots were super fishy looking. We moved along walls, docks, and submerged trees. Nada. Soon we came up to the spatterdock. As the tide was still up we were able to paddle through the plants. The thing about spatterdock is that its a favorite hang out for snakeheads. It provides cover and shelter. The drawback is its super fibrous and will snag the best of flies, even weedless ones. We moved over the lilly pads and saw a few fish moving below the surface, their bodies pushing the lilly pads to the left and right. We cast bass bugs, Clousers, and mice patterns to them. No luck.

As we moved upstream, the water had a distinct change from the green dye to the mud brown.

Hilarity ensured when Ned hooked a branch way up in the air. I backed the boat into it and he used the anchor line to toss over the branch and pull it off the tree. The branch was huge. He go the fly back. I had never seen that method used before.

We paddled up to the headwaters of Pohick Creek. The water became more narrow with a sandy bottom. Big fish were busting bait all over. The guys were throwing super Clousers made of a pale blue over chartreuse material with eye balz as weight. Brian had a hit near a log. The fish were busting bait in front of us, to the side, and behind us. They wouldn't eat.

As the tide was dropping the water level went with it. As we got higher into the watershed, the water was more stained by mud. The lads had a quick bite to eat and we started to drift back to cover the spots we had earlier fished.

We  came to a spot where a random staircase came down to the water. I noted the large amount of litter on the shore. The companies that make the nightcrawler packages need to make them out of a quickly decomposing material. Have you ever seen a worm package in the trash by the fishing spot? I didn't think so. They are always left behind on the spot. Its as if they are made to just be discarded by the angler when they are done.

So we are looking at the litter and then see a disturbance. Bait is moving out of the way. We see a large, blackish and round tail exit the water. A snakehead is feeding! I'm not sure who's heart was beating faster, mine, Ned's, or Brian's. We dropped anchor and moved the flies over that spot. The fish was then downstream so they threw their flies down. It was all quiet for a few minutes until Brian hooked up. His 10' 8wt Reddington rod was bent.

I purposely did not bring the net, sort of a superstitious thing. I grabbed the fish lip gripper and watched the fight. Brian was putting some muscle to the rod and was gaining line, cranking and cranking the reel. We had no idea what was on the other end. Was Brian going to win the 2011 Snakehead Challenge?

Before long the fish showed itself. It was not the snakehead we had hoped for, but a huge channel catfish. I leaned over the boat and lipped the fish. It weighed in at 1.5lbs. Brian was stoked. We did a photo session and he did the grip and grin. Some people look down on the catfish. I'm not sure why. They take flies, and do so not that often. They put up a good fight and are a beautiful specimen to examine before returning to the water.

We released the fish and shook hands. It was time to start paddling back to the ramp. The lads kept banging the shoreline with their flies but the fish wouldn't cooperate. Eventually we ran aground, the tide had gone out that much. We neared the ramp and pulled the boat on to dry earth.

We didn't get the elusive snakehead. Afterall, they are elusive. We had several shots at one that was feeding and that was a first for my clients. We came that close and that was awesome. The weather was beautiful. Its been cold and rainy ever since. I think I'm getting a case of the rickets.

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