Monday, August 6, 2012
Paddling and stalking unwanted species
The primary target was still the snakeheads, so when we made the turn and flowed with the outgoing tide, we focused primarily on looking for the tell tale signs of bait fish frantically fleeing, otherwise commonly known as "nervous water". This is an excellent indicator that a predator of some form is nearby, for snakeheads, it is fairly easy to tell. To me, it looked like the surface waking in front of a school of upper slot redfish. You could see the waking on the surface from as far away as 50 yards in some cases.
Pretty soon, we moved out into the bay area and started watching the shallow grass covered flats for the waking action of a irritated snakehead, and it wasn't long before Mike sighted them first. He found a cut in the grass beds that basically acted like a freeway providing a direct line deep into the grass beds from the main channel. As he sat amongst the outer edges of the grass beds on one side watching the cut, I positioned myself on the other side about 30 yards away. After five minutes of watching and waiting with little action to speak of, I decided to target the thicker grass mats that had small visible pockets. I had missed a nice one a short while earlier using the same pattern, so I figured I would try it again. Glad I did. A massive blow up was my reward and the end result was a nice 17" "Potomac Special" - the largest one of the day.
I started casting parallel to Mike's line but opposite of his direction. My very first cast was immediately followed. As I slowed the Ribbit to a painful crawl, the feet kept churning along with a rhythmic "blub blub blub blub" noise that apparently infuriated the snakehead. He exploded on my frog and spat it before I could even blink. It was a violent strike and one I will not soon forget. The water's surface erupted like a volcanic explosion, and I caught a glimpse of the head and knew I had just missed a quality snakehead.
After 30 minutes more of trying, I abandoned my snakehead hunt for that area and joined Seth further along the bay and started working the same pattern again. Seth had switched over to a senko and was working the deeper holes and pockets and quickly caught his first of the day, quickly followed by another from the same hole
Seth and I continued to work our way around the tidal bay and spotted several more measurable fish but none were caught. By this time, Mike had moved on from the initial target area decided to try a couple of different holes that had produced in the past. Although Mike ended up with a couple smaller "specials", fish are fish and any fish caught is better than none.\ Although we did not have an exceptional day from a numbers perspective. All three of us caught fish, and we even were privileged to see Mother Nature on full display.
All in all it was a successful day. I learned that the snakehead is an awesome predator, no matter how unwanted the species is. You have to appreciate the shear size and speed of these creatures and how protective/territorial they can be. I also realized that I was unprepared for the other species that inhabit these waters. I will remember next time to bring a couple spinning outfits - one for small soft plastics and the other for a panfish style presentation. I am already anxious to get back and try again. Now that I understand how Territorial these creatures can be, I know a couple spots that I will be targeting when I return in the near future.
Thanks again to Mike for the suggestion of the location, and to Seth for spending time with a couple of Hobie nuts. On a side note, the grass was so think that Mike and I paddled our Hobie Revolutions all day and didn't have any issues of note except for the cross winds blowing all day which made holding a track interesting to say the least.
Until next time, be safe, tight lines and always remember to leave the water a little bit cleaner than when you arrived!