April 8, 2014
March was a cruel month for Washington area fishermen. Every time it seemed that spring had sprung, along came another right-hook from winter. Not until the final weekend of the month did our customers get a chance to row out to the eddies and swirls, where fish fresh from the ocean pause on a journey of renewal. That last Saturday in March was good to those early-bird anglers. Shad had arrived at Fletcher's Landing. Catches were modest but encouraging after such a long and painful wait. A cool rain fell as the tugs and leaps of hickories brought smiles to faces. Unfortunately, just as angling possibilities looked to be shaping up, the notoriously fickle climate of D.C. threw another pinch of salt into our over-seasoned stew of 2014 weather. The showers of that Saturday turned into a cold steady rain on Sunday and the Potomac grew into a brown, flotsam-filled torrent. Another week of waiting for better conditions was the result.
Now, the grace that is spring in Washington appears finally to have arrived. Please enjoy it while it lasts. Natives know that a hot, humid summer is just around the corner. With a little luck, what we lost on the front-end of the season will be made up on the other end. But please remember my annual advice: fish when you can and as often as you can. Waiting until you hear about great fishing means YOU MISSED IT! There is no best tide, perfect river level or fabulous spot that never fails to produce. The Internet links and blogs available (from this site and others) are just fine in a general sense. But they don't replace feet on the ground, butt in the boat or an angler's natural instinct. Trust yourself and you will learn more from experience than anything you read or hear; information overload can just as easily lead one astray in the world of angling as anywhere else. Us old river rats smile and shake our heads at the "instant experts" we so often see in these times. Consistent results come with consistent effort.
While hickories will be the main course for the first serving of the annual shad run, American shad, locally known as "whites," will gradually increase in numbers as the weeks pass. Sam Saphiro, a boathouse regular, friend and consistently patient angler, caught the first two photographed and positively identified whites on Saturday, April 5th. Congratulations to Sam, who fishes all over the area, from the ocean to the trout streams.
On Sunday the 6th, all our rowboats were in use by anglers working the calmer waters of the cove and the seams just a bit further out towards the current. Generally it is not a good idea to set anchor and fish in the more powerful current. Fish naturally don't hold up in the fast water and fishing there most likely will be an exercise in frustration. Your anchor often becomes lodged in the rocks, you will lose more tackle and may indeed get stranded down the river without the ability to row back. (Reality check: most people think they can row much better than they can and getting in the swift water is a bad way to find out you are wrong about that!)
White perch, crappies, stripers and some hefty blue cats were hauled in over the past weekend as well. If you call yourself an angler, it's time to fish...
We hope to see you at Fletcher's Cove.