Fishing for Striped Bass in Montauk, New York on August 17, 2016

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Ten-year old Robert Kosar with a 40-inch striped bass. Photo credit: Kevin R. Kosar

Doh! I meant to post this entry long ago. Oh, well, better late than never.

What. A. Fishing. Trip.

We left Montauk on a charter boat at about 7am. I made the bad mistake of staying up late the night before, consuming bourbons aplenty, and then eating greasy bacon while on the pitching boat. I had never been seasick previously, or ever had any sort of motion sickness. Live and learn.

Nonetheless, the sun shined and the huge (16-inch?) fake eel lures we used scored one striper after another, along with a few bluefish, out past the famed Montauk Lighthouse. (See the video at the bottom of this post of one of our fish being brought in.)

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Note the red and yellow artificial eel lures. Photo credit: Kevin R. Kosar.

The fishing style was simple: The mate would let out 100 foot or more line while the boat trolled. Then he handed it to you, who sits in one of the two seats (see photograph below). You do not allow more line to go out, and you sit with the rod across your lap and a firm grip. Keep your hands apart, with one over and one under—like you are holding a hockeystick. Then WHAM! the rod yanks and you then have to reel in the stainless steel line smoothly while distributing it across the whole of the reel (otherwise it can bird nest). My arms felt like jelly after our 3.5 hours out there.

Captain Richard Etzel and his mate were great. Charters can be scheduled by calling 631-668-2914. The website is http://www.breakawaysportfishing.com/. If I make it to Long Island this year, you can be sure I’ll get on this boat again.

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Captain Richard Etzel’s Breakaway. Photo credit: Kevin R. Kosar.

Scoring Bluegill, Pumpkin Seeds, Small-mouth Bass, and Channel Catfish Near DuPont Circle

kevin-kosar-dupont-circle-fishing-10-2016Talk about urban fishing!

One can fish Rock Creek under the Lauzun’s Legion Bridge. There’s a slab where one can drop a line into the water about eight feet below. Pumpkinseed are plentiful, and bluegill also can be found. (Both can be used as bait for catfish.) They hit worms very hard, and can be landed with bread or dough balls too. A bobber can scare them away, so consider just dangling your bait in there and watching them come and strike.

Go here when the weather is above 50 degrees, otherwise you may not find fish here—the water is only a few feet deep. (Come winter fish move to deeper water that is less brisk.)

I have frequently seen small-mouth bass and small catfish (maybe 15 inches) in the water, but they have proven very leary to respond to the various lures and baits I have tossed their way.

Catfishing on the Potomac River Near the Watergate, January 29, 2017

catfishing-near-the-watergate-01-29-2017Metropolitan Angler, who posts videos on YouTube, fishes here. He brought in at least two blue catfish that were 24 inches or more on January 20, 2017. (The temperature that day was about 45 degrees.)

So I decided to give it a try on January 29, 2017. I am very glad I went.

It was 45 degrees and overcast, and the tide was very low. One can park at Thompson’s boathouse (there are meters) or on Virginia Ave NW. One walks on the sidewalk through the intersection of Rock Creek Parkway and Virginia Ave NW toward the Watergate and Kennedy Center—the spot is only a couple hundred feet past the intersection.

My expectations were low, but I had a good hour of fishing. I rigged four rods: 2 steel helicopter rigs that each had two 4/0 circle hooks baited with thawed cut sunfish and a 3-ounce pyramid sinker. The other two rods had my standard catfish rig with an 8/0 circle hook rig baited with Surgitube bag jammed with chicken liver and a 3-ounce flat sinker.

In short, both rigs and baits proved attractive to catfish. We were there only one hour but caught an approximately 12-pound blue catfish (on the sunfish) and had bites (on the sunfish and the chicken livers twice).

Be careful—there is no rail and the drop to the water is at least 10 feet if not more (when the tide is out). This is no place for toddlers or young kids.

And forget bringing a net, unless it has an unbelievably long handle. The water is way beneath your feet, so best to use very heavy line (25-pound or more) because hauling a thrashing catfish up through the air puts huge strain on your line.

Blue Catfish Caught in Nanjemoy Creek in October 2016

This is one of the blue catfish that I caught in Nanjemoy Creek. The catfish there sure love to hit on fresh chicken livers. (I did see one young lady score small catfish on big earth worms, but I have not tried them myself.)

This fish was 28 inches and close to 10 pounds. A nice one—but there are some beasts in the creek. Twice I have seen 30-pound test line snapped by sudden massive hits. (This is what happens if you do not leave you drag loose enough—or if the fish manages to jerk the line under a log or somesuch.)

Salmon and Bass Fishing in Traverse City, Michigan, October 24, 2016

boardman-river-traverse-cityLet me state up front: I caught no fish. This was not surprising seeing as the weather was cold (40s) and blustery, and I had no salmon lures. I also had only had a few hours as I was in Traverse for an alcoholic beverages conference. (Really.)

But, oh, most definitely there are fish to be had in Traverse City. Plenty.

Small-mouth are in the Boardman River year ’round. Trout also can be found. (That there are two fly fishing shops in downtown Traverse City is no accident.) Hannah Park is one place to score bass. There are plenty of good spots to cast from, and it is a short walk from the Park Place Hotel. Go west on E. State St, turn left on S. Union, then right on 6th. Voila!

Especially exciting is that salmon and steelheads run in the late summer and early autumn. My late October arrival came at the end of the run. I did get to hang out with two locals and watch them pull three 30- to 36-inch salmon from the Boardman, which snakes right through town. These guys were landing the salmon behind Front Street between Cass and S. Union Streets. Shiny spoons (maybe 3- or 4-inches in size) scored two of the salmon. They also were chucking various hard baits that look like thin or fat minnows. Seeing a hooked salmon leap from the water was really something.

I must get back there. The chance to score a salmon and then stroll to one of Traverse City’s pubs or eateries afterward is too appealing to be resisted.

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Fishing Nanjemoy Creek at Friendship Farm Park on November 2, 2016

friendship-farm-park-nanjemoy-creek-11-2016The Nanjemoy Creek in Maryland is known to outsiders for its bass and catfish. Twice previously I’ve fished a different part of the creek, and the catfish were many and included a 12-pounder. I also twice had 30-pound leaders snapped by BIG catfish. (Lesson learned: loosen the drag so the fish can pull line out.)

This was the first time I fished Nanjemoy from Friendship Farm Park (4715 Friendship Landing Road, Nanjemoy, MD 20662). There is a nice pier to fish from, which is next to a boat launch. You do not need a fishing license to fish here. (The farm was private property transferred to the state’s custody, and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources manages it.) There is ample parking, and when I visited on a weekday there was only one other angler, who was casting from the shore and catching perch and catfish with night crawlers.

The day I visited the temperature was about 60 degrees and rose to the low 70s. I was there from 9:30 to 12 during slack tide and then with the tide coming in.

I enjoyed my visit, but I was a little surprised that the only catfish biting chicken liver were small catfish. Real small—like a foot or so long. The other angler there caught a 24-inch blue catfish and an 18-incher around 8am. after that, she reeled in only pipsqueak catfish and white perch, which also hit the worms she was bottom-fishing.

For 2.5 hours, I had hit after hit—but they were tiny ones as you can see from this video. The rods dipped just a little and sporadically. (What you want to see is the rod bend forward and stay down, indicating the fish has taken the bait, run, and the hook has popped through its cheek.) The little catfish picked at the bait but were hard to hook on the big 8/0 circle hooks I was using.

Will I return to Friendship Farm Park again? Certainly. But I will come equipped with smaller hooks to use on at least one of the rods. These Mustad Size 4 treble hooks would do very well with chicken liver tied to them with Miracle Fishing Thread.

How to Tie a Simple Catfish Rig

Kosar Simple Catfish Rig 10-31-2016.jpgThere are various ways to tie catfish rigs. I used to use helicopter rigs because they are absurdly easy to tie and require only two things—a sinker and a hook. I first learned how to do one from this video.

But, the more I fished the Potomac River and Tidal Basin, the more I grew annoyed with helicopter rigs because they tend to get twisted—the hook portion of the line gets wrapped around the sinker line due to the water current. Don’t get me simple wrong—helicopter rigs are a fine way to start, and they can be used if you are short on gear (like if you’re in a boat and lose a nice rig and have insufficient materials to re-rig.). And helicopter rigs can work great if you buy some additional materials that keep the lines from twisting around each other. (See this photo. And, yes, some folks put the weight above the hook and others below it.)

This is sometimes called a “zero rig“—but I refer to it as a simple catfish rig because is shows  simple, clean profile—a single line with the hook at the end and a single sinker. here’s a 4-minute video I made showing how to make this rig. Below the video you will see links that will enable you to buy the various components (circle hook, flat sinkers, Lindy plastic beads, and 30- or 40-pound monofilament line).

I advise tying 3 or more of these rigs before you go to fish. Then clip them on to a swivel clip that’s attached to your reel line. This enables you to bait up quickly, and to replace a rig if one gets lost (due to a snag) or damaged. Enjoy!