March 30, 2013

Grinding it out in Virginia (Day 3)

Pat was still recovering from a cold and Lia had unfortunately developed some symptoms. So Pat suggest a couple of spots for Michael and I to explore while he stayed home with Lia. Feeling bad that Michael had lost a Redbreast Sunfish at hand, Pat showed us a warm water discharge where we may find some Redbreast Sunfish.

Perhaps the water was still cold (even beside the warm water discharge) because this area was overpopulated with the non-native Bluegill Sunfish. We had to sort through dozens and dozens of Bluegills before I finally caught a Redbreast Sunfish. 

An hour had already gone by and we might just have caught all the sunfish on the upstream side of the discharge. Michael was slowly losing hope but I encourage him to have faith and persist. It would only be a matter of time. Luckily, he caught a Banded Killifish on tanago hooks to keep his spirit up.

We made a small move to fish the downstream side of the discharge. I had hung up my rod so as not to compete with Michael on his quest for a Redbreast. Dozens and dozens of Bluegills later, Michael finally hooked a sunfish that looked a little more blue and red in the water. It was a Redbreast Sunfish after all!

It was now 11:30am and we must make our way to Fletcher’s Boathouse on the DC side. Due to some old land ownership deeds, sections of the Potomac River bottom actually belongs to DC and you must have a DC fishing license even if you’re fishing from the Virginia side of the Potomac. By the time we arrived at Fletcher’s, it was already 12:15pm. We got our licenses and spent a quick 45 minutes fishing from the area for Blue Catfish unsuccessfully. We had initially planned to fish for Northern Snakehead with Pat at 2pm during the low tide period. However, Pat was out cold recovering from his cold so he was not aware we had texted and called him. Instead, we decided to fish for Blue Catfish in the afternoon.

We explored one shoreline looking for a spot to soak a few rods. However, the low tide exposed large mud flats that we simply could not fish. Instead, we fell back to a spot I had fished with Pat last summer.

Michael set up two heavier rods for Blue Catfish while I set up one heavier rod for the Blues and one light rod to fish for bait or anything else that would fancy nightcrawlers. On the Blue Catfish rods, we used 5/0 and 8/0 circle hooks on a fish finder rig. Michael put on a whole Bluegill while I use a cut Bluegill.

It took about an hour before we had the first bite. After a decent fight, Michael brought a 12.6lb Blue Catfish to hand as his first ever Blue.

Not long after, he had another bite and landed a slightly smaller model.

It took another 30 minutes before I hooked up a small Blue.

Strangely, as night approach, the bite seemed more tentative instead or more aggressive. We had 3-4 dropped baits before Michael landed the last catfish of the evening at about 3lbs. We fished until dark but the bites had completely disappeared.

Back at the parking, we found a parking ticket on the dash. Apparently, you’re not allowed to back into a parking stall in DC. Weird.

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