I’ve spent a lot of my time on the water over the last month helping out-of-town friends chase snakeheads, so when I had a free day to fish on Friday I was determined to chase bass only. Nevermind the fact that the mercury was expected to tickle the hundred degree mark, without a lick of wind, I was going all in on Micropterus – at least until I ran out of Gatorade and water.
I am now four days deep into my snakeheading “guide” career, as friends from out of town have sought me out to help them fill their snakey jones on the Potomac. In fact, I have my first repeat visitor coming from Texas (via ICAST) on Friday night for a chance to repeat last year’s ultimately victorious struggle over the prehistoric invasives.
The last gas station that you pass on the way to Leesylvania State Park, the Potomac River boat ramp that I use most often, is called Wawa. I stop there probably 90% of the times that I fish the river, either to get gas (lowest price in the area), ice, one of their excellent sandwiches, or sometimes all three.
When the Bassmaster Tour visited the Potomac River 30 years ago, everyone knew that Jay Yelas was likely going to spend some time on an abandoned wharf called Fox’s Ferry. Why wouldn’t he? It contributed to a win in 1993 along with several other top five and top ten finishes. I’m sure that other anglers fished it during practice and competition, but on some level everyone knew it as “Jay’s spot.”
When I leave my house to head out to fish the Potomac River, I make a right turn out of the driveway, a left turn at the first intersection, and about a quarter mile down the road there is a flagpole with a massive American flag. That’s my first sign of how the day will go. If it’s standing perpendicular to the pole, straightened by a brisk wind, I know that I am about to get my 48-year-old back pounded into submission.
I have a friend from Texas coming here Friday night with the goal of catching a Potomac River snakehead. He’s someone who has helped me tremendously since the earliest stages of my outdoor writing career, when he was the pro-staff manager of a major rod company, and I was some guy just struggling to get published.
In 25 years of riding around in bass boats, I’ve seen all sorts of meals brought on board. Of course, there have been thousands of packs of Nabs and hundreds of cans of properly-aged Vienna Sausages. There’s been at least three Herefords worth of beef jerky and a gross of Pop Tarts. I’ve seen a partner eat Chinese food (with a spork) out of one of those little folding takeout containers, and I’ve witnessed another place a half rack of ribs on his butt seat for easy access.
I had just about given up hope on buzzbaits. They’d been my bread and butter in the late 90s and for a few years thereafter. Back then I probably threw them a little bit more than I should have, but the results were encouraging enough that I didn’t mind the occasional dry spell. About seven or eight years ago, though, the dry spells started getting longer and longer and longer.