March 28, 2013

Grinding it out in Virginia (Day 1)

Easter is often associated with the arrival of spring. In the Washington DC area, the warm weather bring about a transformation from bare branches to puffy pink trees adorned with cherry blossoms. It is also believed that the cherry blossom heralds the arrival of shads into the Potomac River – an annual event much anticipated by anglers to target these game fish.

Following the last summer visit to Virginia, Pat had planted little seeds of ideas in my fish obsessed head. These thoughts laid dormant through much of fall and early winter, until the approach of March when the dreams began to germinate and finally sprouting into a concrete plan. The plan was then set to visit the Potomac River on the Easter Weekend to experience the shad run. The early spring timing is also prime to coincide with good Chain Pickerel and Flier Sunfish fishing.

It was Thursday morning that Michael and I left Toronto at 7am. After a very scenic drive through upstate New York, between the peaks of the Appalachians in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and dropping over the Fall Line in Virginia, we finally arrived to the shores of the Potomac.

There were still a few hours of day light to fish in the late afternoon, so Michael and I worked a Chatterbait around the shorelines for a shot at the invasive Northern Snakehead. Unfortunately, 3pm was low tide and much of the usual snakehead haunts were left high and muddy. After a few hours of exploring, our effort was all for naught. Maybe we should have spent the time fishing for Blue Catfish instead.

During our time in Virginia, we were hosted by Pat and his wife Lia. We can’t thank them enough for making us feel at home and taking very good care for all our needs. There is a debt to be paid! That evening, Pat, Michael and I strategized the battle plans for the next few days over a couple of beer. I’m not sure I was able to think critically after two beers, but somehow, through my intoxicated mind seemed to remember Pat saying “…water is still cold…” or “…we need some rain…” and “…try to hold off the shad fishing until the end…” I think it was something to that effect. Thus, we would instead explore a set of blackwater ponds on Friday, look for whiskered felines and camouflaged reptilian fish on Saturday, and give it all on a raging river on Sunday.

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