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I guess it's officially a tradition now for me to catch some fresh fish whenever my mother-in-law visits. I wanted to go fishing for keeps, and I was hoping for some blue catfish, since that is one of my wife's preferred fish to eat. I thought about trying for them in the Occoquan, but the past 2 skunky trips I've had there didn't give me any confidence that I would be able to catch anything for the dinner table. I knew people were catching blue catfish in the Mattawoman through the winter, so I settled on going there.
|The day started with calm water|
|To give you an idea of the water clarity...|
I then proceeded to paddle around the area, carefully watching my fish finder, to see if there might be any slimy creatures around. As I approached the hole, I could see lots of marks starting from the edge of the channel on into the deeper part - they were in 8 to 13 feet of water. I went on to the other side of the channel and let down my anchor to hold my position. I had heard that catfish are real lazy, and don't like to chase around their food, so I made sure to bring an anchor with me today.
I put out two lines with nightcrawlers and immediately hooked up with a small white perch, which I kept around to use as cut bait (didn't do any good, as I didn't get any hits on it). Soon after, I caught two 23" blue catfish back-to-back. "This is going to be a great day!" I thought, as I started planning who I might give extra fillets to with the mess of fish I was going to catch. Unfortunately, that was all the action that I got for the next 3 hours. The forecasted 10-15 mph winds showed up around the time I got the last catfish, and it was COLD! I guess that's the thing about soaking baits...you aren't moving around much, and if you've got wet hands, they're going to get cold.
I eventually tried another spot further upstream where I knew there was another deep hole, but I didn't even get a nibble for about an hour that I was there. At least I was protected a bit from the wind at this location... Even though things were not looking good, I kept telling myself that I need to catch just one more fish before heading in. However, the wind and cold got the better of me, and I headed in around 11:30 AM. The paddle in was tough with the wind to my face and my fingers feeling like they were going to fall off. I had some water proof, insulated gloves - but I had left them in the car when I saw the calm conditions in the morning. I should have just taken them anyway...
|The creek looks like a totally different place without all the summer-time foliage.|
Well, even though it was a slow day, I achieved my goal of bringing home fresh fish, and we fried up the catfish for dinner. I brought them home in my cooler without any ice, and they were still alive after the 1.5 hour drive home. These are some hardy fish!
After I got home from fishing, we took my boys and mother-in-law to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space museum. That was a neat place to visit.