First Day of Fishing for 2016

Last week had three days with temperatures in the upper 70’s, which like the spawn, would make any fisherman want to get out and fish.  It was time to de-winterize the boat.  My seven-year old Carolina Skiff was ready!  New registration and fishing stamps, insurance paid, fishing rods re-strung and ready to go.


Inviting Dan and Tom, we went to Jackson Landing at Jug Bay on the Patuxent, which would allow us to fish the Mattaponi at high tide and also Western Run. I know of a few great perch holes, and I was set-up to do some drop-shotting.  At the ramp, I realized that I forgot the keys to the boat.  Although its the first time this has ever happened, I can guarantee that it will be the last time.  For what ever reason, I omitted an element or two in performing my truck-packing ritual of how I get ready for a fishing trip.

With both Dan and Tom still willing to fish, I called my wife who drove the boat keys to Greenbelt on the Beltway, which was the halfway point, for us going to Fort Washington marina, to try the fresh-tidal Potomac and Piscataway, and as I felt too embarrassed to go back to the Patuxent.


No spatterdock or SAV is up yet, so it was hard to discriminate the deeper creek channels of the Piscataway.


We flushed a red-shouldered hawk from his perch along the waters edge . . .


. . . and off he took in search of a good haunt to watch over a wet meadow for breakfast.


We motored up river to the I-95 Woodrow Wilson Bridge at Washington Harbor.  Just as we arrived, Dan Betz son, Nick was at the bridge with his friends Mike and Kenny, with Mike pulling in a blue catfish from the deep shipping channel.


Nick, Kenny and Mike were using fresh cut bait of smaller fish that they had caught earlier using worms.


Using large circle hooks, with heavy weights and fresh bait, then in combination with a falling tide after the high, is a near-perfect scenario to likely catch a few good invasive blue cats.


Tom pulls in a nice fish from the deeps of the channel . . .


. . . and so does Dan.


The entire time that we fished this location, a sharp-shinned hawk watched from up under the bridge structure.


Later in the day and heading back to the Fort Washington Marina, an osprey greeted us as we entered the No-Wake Zone.


American coots were all over the marina site.  As we docked, a MD DNR marine police officer asked us and every other incoming boat to show him all of our required safety gear.  I had everything but a fire extinguisher, which is in an orange box in my garage that I took out during my annual winterization process, and was the only thing I forgot to put in my boat’s storage compartment.  The officer gave me a warning ticket as a reminder to be safety diligent.

I’m confident that all of the first trip of the year bugs have been shaken out and the rest of the boating year will be great.  Thank you Dan Betz and Tom D’Asto for joining in on the first boating trip of 2016!