Sunday, October 9, 2016

It was a slow summer...

Well it was a slow summer for me in the fishing department. Since the posts you saw over Memorial Day, I only got on the water three total times. Once on a trip to Beaver Island for carp (I know, I owe you a write up), once on a smallmouth float on the James River, and once a couple weekends ago on the C&O Canal.

The canal wasn't much to write about. I hooked a couple fish, but broke them both off trying to land them. The space canal between 7 and 8 was almost completely empty of water. Between 6 and 7 was fish-able, but low and dirty. I would rate the area as "fish somewhere else" based on what I saw. Plus, with the de-watering of the canal coming up soon, it's probably only going to get worse.

That being said, I did see two monstrous grass carp in the main stem of the Potomac. It was a little surprising to see them there since they aren't native (and generally can't reproduce around here) and I hadn't ever heard of a stocking program in the past. Regardless, I couldn't even get them to glance at my flies.

Hopefully soon I should have some video for you from the past few months...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The canal is rewatered!

My friend has reported that there is water back in the Canal in the Georgetown stretch along with sightings of carp. Maybe the mulberry season isn't over yet after all! The trees likely won't be dropping for too long, but the good thing is that the draining and refilling likely brought in a new batch of carp which means they haven't learned all our flies yet!

Monday, June 13, 2016

A drained Canal

Unfortunately, it appears the mulberry season is cut short this year. The canal between Fletcher's Cove and Georgetown has apparently been drained for some maintenance. I assume this is in preparation for the upcoming 18 months of the C&O canal being drained. Very unfortunate.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Memorial Day Mulberries

I meant to post this earlier, but life got in the way. Better late than never.

The mulberry hatch is in full swing. I got out all three days over Memorial Day weekend. The fish seemed to get more aggressive as the weekend rolled on. My last fish of the weekend was the biggest, pushing 15 lbs. and caught right in front of the Sea Catch restaurant. It put up one heck of a fight, and I had quite the crowd cheering me on by the end.

The big boy

Even the turtles are looking for the berries

Friday, May 27, 2016

Mulberry Rumors

If you remember in my last post, I suggested mulberries would be dropping by Memorial Day. Yesterday, I got a picture from a friend about ripe berries hanging from the trees, and today, another friend mentioned he saw the berries dropping. I'll be out this afternoon and much of this weekend to confirm and will report back.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mulberry Watch, Part 2

I got out this past Saturday in the few hours to fish the stretch between Fletchers and Georgetown again. Some of the mulberry fruits are beginning to show light shades of red, but we still have some time to go. Strangely, or maybe not, some of the trees were a little deeper red than the picture, but others weren't even showing any red at all. With warmer weather coming up, we might see the fruit starting to drop next weekend, but certainly by Memorial Day at the latest. The other cue is there's lots of baby geese around now. They're cute, but their parents get a bit angry when you walk past.

Now as far as the fishing. There was some good and some bad.

The Good

  • Very clear water - at least for the canal - with about 3 feet of visibility
  • Very active fish - lots of fish were poking around, feeding, and cruising
  • Very big fish - I'm fairly certain one fish (that wouldn't eat) was easily pushing 30 pounds
The Bad
  • The water was extremely high - about 2 or 3 feet above normal. It was actually spilling over the overflow point that's a bit north of Key Bridge.
  • A storm rolled in and ruined everything
I was quite surprised when I got to the canal and saw how much water was there. I wasn't sure if it would mean a ruined day or a good day. Turned out to be a little bit of both. It was very easy to find cruising fish. The bad thing was feeding fish were extremely hard to target. It was easy to spot the large plumes of silt, but because the water was so high, the feeding was happening too deep to actually see far enough through the silt to figure out where the fish were. To make it even worse, the silt clouds simply were not dispersing. 

Nonetheless, I still managed to stick two fish, Unfortunately, one escaped my net on my first landing attempt then popped the hook out, and the second fish broke me off while I was trying to scoop him. I pulled the hook out of countless other fish's mouths too.

I went with the Bonefish Gotcha again today after having success last week. I can't quite figure out this fly. Some feeding fish would ignore it, others would attack it very aggressively. I even got a few fish to eat that I never would have expected to pay attention to food with my old techniques. I also have a zero percent success rate in setting the hook if the fish is swimming towards me with this fly. That's the hardest way to set a hook on a carp, but I'd usually at least make contact on a few fish. Maybe it's just a coincidence. 

Keep your eyes out for the next report. I'm going to try to get a mulberry fly tying tutorial up soon too!

Monday, May 9, 2016

It's almost mulberry season!

I was supposed to go musky fishing on Saturday with one of my favorite Virginia guides, Matt Miles, but the river was unfishable for the third time this year. With that trip off the books, I figured it would be a great time to head over to the C&O Canal to check out how close we are to the mulberry hatch, which if you have been reading this blog for a while, you'll know is my favorite time of the year. The berries are there - pretty small and green. A "ripe" mulberry is around an inch long, but these are closer to a quarter inch right now. My guess is that we're maybe two weeks away.

Despite no mulberries, I still had to check out the fishing. I walked from Fletcher's Cove to Georgetown and back. The majority of fish I saw were at either end of my trek. I thought it was going to be a long day because most of the fish I saw were out of true sight fishing range with my normal nymphs since the water was so muddy. I finally stumbled upon a fish hugging the bank, but pulled the fly away from him when he went to eat. I guess some off-season rust. A few more fish ignored the fly. Frustrated, I tried my strategy of the makeshift strike indicator, but that didn't work either. Finally, out of desperation, I tied on a Bonefish Gotcha and dropped a cast out. To my surprise, a fish ate it almost immediately, but I didn't get a good hook set. A few more casts later, and I actually came tight! It was actually a pretty hefty fish, and the good news is most fish I saw were pretty good size this year.

I even saw this little guy hanging out in a tree.