My first shad of 2019, caught on March 16

Kosar shad 03-16-2019.jpgI saw a post from uber angler Alex Binsted on Friday, April 15—he had caught a shad near Fletcher’s Cove. I contactd a fishy friend and learned that his son had been on with Binstead and also had bagged a shad. A check of the water temperature showed me the time had come—the Potomac was 50-51 degrees. That’s the temperature to start chucking for shad, and the perch who often can be found with them.

So there I was at 7:30am in the brisk morning air (mid-40s, 15mph cool wind), right after sunrise. It took half an hour, but then the hit came—a load on the big Nungesser spoon. It took maybe 30 seconds to get the fish in, who ran left and right and leapt out of the water. It was a beautiful fish, around 17 inches, and thick. I got the spoon hook out of the top of its mouth and soon it was rocketing back into the depths.

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How to Catch Trout at Lake Cook in Alexandria, Virginia

Kosar rainbow trout 03-2019Lake Cook (directions here), also called Cook Lake, is little lake in Alexandria. It’s all of four acres, but is stocked in the winter with rainbow trout and has channel catfish. (You can check the Virginia government’s stocking schedule here.)

There’s a small parking lot next to it, and Cameron Run —which is fishable— is across the street. All of which makes Cook Lake and easy-to-fish experience. I’ve hauled three young kids there without any trouble. All of them caught trout.

The lake appears to get perhaps 15 foot deep. Trout, loving cool dark waters, tend to hole up in the middle of the lake. Conveniently, there are two fishing platforms that enable long casts to the lake’s center. That said, trout can be found all over the lake (after a stocking), and you can wander anywhere about Lake Cook’s perimeter and cast with ease.

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More late November catfish from the Anacostia River


The boy has caught a lot of catfish, but for some reason he got really excited about this one. We were at one of our favorite spots on the Anacostia River in Washington, DC.

I used the usual bait (stinky chicken) and rigs (homemade Santees). We had six rods out, which meant we kept very busy, hauling in one fish after another. You can catch a glimpse of the 100-quart cooler I turned into a four-rod holder. (Quick how-to video here.) I have dropped the cooler in a garden cart, which makes it way easier to pull if I am having a heavy gear day.

Catching Catfish at Diamond Teague in Washington DC


Cool November weather means voracious catfish. I was averaging four fish per hour, with six rods out.

Five of the six had my home-made Santee rigs on them. On the other pole I simply tied a 6/0 circle hook to the end of the line, and tied a 2-ounce pyramid sinker about 2 feet up the line. (Crude, but it works, although the hook-up rate is a little lower.)

The catfish hit on my chicken stink bait and some rotten bacon. The biggest of the bunch was 15.5 pounds and more than 30 inches. (See the photo below.) I had a much bigger fish hit and draw out line. He felt like a swimming tire—and slipped the hook after about 15 seconds, unfortunately.

As the video shows, when I go catfishing it tends to be cardio vascular exercise. Spreading rods out over a wide area enables one to locate the hot spots and to get exercise dashing from one end of the dock to the other.

Kosar catfish 11-17-2018

That is a 100-quart cooler, mind you.

Fishing Louse Point in the Hamptons

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.

It is May 2, 2018, and the Shad Run is on!

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!

Hickory shad: Win some lose some

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.)

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