I was scouting for a Bass Fishing Tournament this Sunday and headed to Aquia out of Hope Springs Marina. It was a sunny day started at 3 pm and fished until dark. There was a slight northeasterly wind but a great day to kayak fish. I headed around the entire bay area across from the marina fishing the shores and got a few nice 2-3 lb. largemouths on chatterbaits and crawfish jigs (that short video is coming). No snakeheads in in the clear water.
So then I headed to the lillies… Worked the inner channles between the large lillies that went out into the main water and the tall grass swampy banks that go back for 100 yards or more and are unfishable even in a kayak. These shallow sideline channels are where I have been finding snakeheads this year. No action in the open water or even the edges of the big lilly patches that border the “big water” which were good last year. The smaller channels and little lilly lined “smaller” rivers is where I am getting bit. This 9.52 pounder (thought it was closer to 15 lbs. but the scale said different) faught hard and pulled my kayak as I reeled him in.
Sight fishing for snakeheads is one of the best ways to catch them as their numbers are way down now compared to years past. Seeing the serpentine ripples that slowly ungelate through the back channels can get you a nice one. It is hard to see the ripple in this video as there is no zoom on my Ion Air Pro 3 which takes these nice HD videos so you have to squint a bit. But if you look hard right as it starts before I cast you can you see what I saw just before I through the Stanley top water frog at him.
On an ecological note, the bass population seems fine I am catching nice ones and some days I catch bass and no snakeheads! I definately see a drastic decline in the Potomac River snakehead population compared to previous years. At Pohick Creek up by Mason Neck(I hate the I-95 traffic to get there but try it once or twice a season) I got one small one just as I was paddlng back to the ramp on July 1, 2016 and it looked like perfect snakehead territory. I spoke with a local bass/snakehead kayaker that I ran into who said the bow fisherman are out in numbers every weekend shooting everything they see, 10-20 boats! Ah Northern Virginia so calm and “not crowded”, that is why I live down here by Charlottesville and head southwest or up a mountain whenever I can! But I digress…. So us rod and reel guys are not seeing big snakehead catches like years past because the bow guys are killing ’em fast and the years past of catching 10 and 20 fish in one day and keeping them is showing up now. Many days this summer I have not caught any snakeheads which is unusual compared to years past. So I have released all my snakeheads this year and most of the ones I caught last year. I want to see and hook more of them when I go and big ones like this one. Now I know Virginia/Maryland Wildlife said, “They’ll mess up the enviornment and eat all the local fish…” just not true. Have snakeheads had an impact on the ecosystem, sure but the bass, perch and crappie seem to be balancing out just fine. I am catching more big bass this year than last so things are working out. I just want to catch more snakeheads though. Nothing fights as hard or does so much acrobatic leaps in fresh water as a snakehead. So keep one or two big ones for the frying pan as they are the best eating fish out there but release the rest for someone else to catch and enjoy.
Dr. D, Chiropractic Nutritionist and Snakehead Enthusiast!