Louse Point is a little spit of land in the Springs section of East Hampton. It is a fine place to fish for young bluefish (AKA snappers), porgy, and more. At times it can be a bit buggy, what with teeny buggers landing on one’s hands (which is annoying) or greenhead flies and deer flies. So consider wearing long pants and long sleeves, despite the heat. And bring bug spray, which helps. To get the gear you need to catch snappers and porgies, try the Tackle Shop in Amagansett.
Lake Medina is a sizable, beautiful lake where you do not need a fishing license to enjoy it waters. The water is clear, the shored are rocky, and there’s a huge amount of space to shore fish. Kayaks can be put in on the northern side of the lake — although it is about a 500-foot haul from the parking lot just off Granger Road. (I have not clue what the southern side of the lake looks like. I never made it there.)
When we arrived around 9am, my eyes popped—a couple of largemouth bass a short distance from the shore! And bluegill and other panfish immediately began hitting worm on bobber.
This downtown Akron spot is in for the performance space, Children’s Museum, and bars. But Lock 3 has a canal (hence the name) and its still spots have fish: bass, bluegill, catfish, and more.
A bobber and worm works, as does a 2.5″ Gulp minnow on a small jig head. I caught this fish on my daughter’s pink-purple Zebco rod. No need for heavy line or tackle here. The water is no deeper than 4 feet. 8-pound line is a happy medium. (Yes, you could use 10-pound or 12-pound, or 4-pound or 6-pound, although the latter two might bust if a big bass hits it. You do have to pull the fish up 12-feet or so to get it out of the canal.)
The longnose gar looks like a dinosaur. Or a gator crossed with a barracuda or somesuch lean, torpedo-shaped fish.
Fossils of gar-like fish date back 100 million years, and I cannot but help feel a bit of awe each time I see a gar cruising slowly a foot or two below the surface.
There are different types of gar in U.S. freshwaters, but here in DC it is the longnose gar that is most often found. This fish can grow to six feet in length, and their long mouths are filled with dozens of small teeth that remind me of carpet tacks.
Many folks catch gar on homemade lures made from nylon rope. I’ve not tried that technique, mostly because I am a little concerned about getting nylon fibers stuck in a gar’s mouth. But, if one is planning to take the gar home to cook, and they are apparently tasty, well, this is no matter. This approach also requires one to cast and retrieve, cast and retrieve, cast and retrieve….
And, to be entirely honest, I’ve learned another way that works and is easier.
Midway through this season I took a tip from two old pro’s and switched my preferred shad rig to a shad spoon with a little split-shot a couple feet above it. Wow, whereas my darts got a little attention, the crazy fluttering spoon was hammered relentlessly. Both gold and nickel ones got equal love from the lust-crazed shad.
The first spoon I used was a Nungesser 20 (the one at the bottom of the photo above. The 20G-1 is gold and the 20N-1 is nickel. Click the links to buy them.) It worked great for a couple of weeks. Then it didn’t. I was baffled—donde est shad?
Frustrated, I swapped to a wee little spoon. (The one at the top of the photo.) WHAM! Suddenly the fish were hitting again. And these shad were much smaller than the hogs that had been hitting previously. So I learned something—the size of shad running can change, and one needs to adjust hook size accordingly. I also was delighted to find blueback herring hopping on these trim little shad spoons.
The frequently rainy spring bedeviled shad fishermen. Heavy rains fall, then the shad are un-catchable for four or five days.
My previous trips inevitably brought shad, but it was hit or miss. This morn began the same way: three shad in the first 10 casts (7:45am) followed by 30 minutes of futility, one shad, then 20 minutes of futility. Come 10am, I had all of 10 shad in 2+ hours.
Then the tide really started to flow out, and the run was on. I bagged 40 or so fish in the next two hours, most of which were caught on the simplest rig: a silver or brass spoon at the end and a couple of big splitshot sinkers a couple feet up the line. Cast long, count to two as it falls, and reel back and medium speed. Neither the color nor the size of the spoon made a difference—the shad pounced. My rod hand actually got a blister from the friction as I hauled out one fighting shad after another. And my left hand is all scraped up from grabbing shad so that I could remove the hook. Beat-up paws and sore forearm muscles—these are signs of a very good day of shad fishing!
Spring has come, and the shad are running up the rivers and waterways of the east coast. Here in Washington, DC, shad come in from the ocean, through the Chesapeake Bay, and up the Potomac River. (Map here.) They make the journey from salty to fresh water to spawn.
Conveniently, the Potomac narrows in northwest DC, and angler flock to Fletcher’s Cove in mid-March and April to catch some of the bazillions of shad that stack up.
This spring has been rainy, which swells the river and makes it cloudy. It is tough to catch shad when they cannot see the darts and spoons, and a swollen river is a dangerous river. (See the rig below.)