Dr Snakehead on the water but most of you may know him as Dr D, the "Natural Health Talk Radio DJ" on WCHV, 107.5 FM in Charlottesville, Virginia. And he practices full time still in Ruckersville, Virginia as a Chiropractic Nutritionist. But here we just call him Dr Snakehead! Loves to fish all over the world but mostly right here on the East Coast.
Now the the heat wave is gone for a while kayaking is the best way to get into the weeds and the back creeks that boats just can’t get to. Taking some snakeheads this month 4-6 fish for day which is better than it was during the heat wave! Darker color frogs are working better than white. Greens and also working but I have had more on my Red Devil Flipper Frog that I pour (see the “For Sale”) page link for details. I show them in some of my videos too.
Early morning to noon and 5 to dark seem to be the hottest times on the water for me. The mid day heat slows things down. The bass are biting too, nice 3-5 pounders before 10 am and 6-8pm. Chatterbaits and frogs are working for them nicely.
Due to their diet of small killifish and bluegills snakeheads, according to Virginia biologists are one of the least toxic or polluted freshwater fish to eat. Toxins move up the food chain and build up, so small fish not so polluted, big fish and large gamefish very polluted and toxic to humans. I don’t eat anything except for the occasional snakehead which tastes great!
Blue catfish, especially the large ones very toxic as they eat larger fish.
Small catfish under 24″ moderately toxic.
Stripers or Rockfish, big ones also very full of PcBs, mercury and cadmium and other pollutants.
Largemouth and smallmouth moderately polluted.
Bluegills and Crappie mildly toxic
Snakeheads,”cleanest fishin the Potomac”. Large ones over 30″ mildly polluted.
Not far from where the new world record was set 2 weeks ago by a fishing friend of mine some big snakeheads are cruising. I was able to hit the water in my Kayak last Tuesday after doing housecalls in Fredericksburg, VA. (I am a chiropractic nutritionist). I was able to get my Wilderness Ride 135 sit-on-top kayak in the river. I had both Ion Air Pro 2 and 3 cameras rolling and the action started quickly!
I cruised the entire pad bed and headed up river to my usual “hot spot” but unfortunately the rest of the day was slow and then the storm clouds returned. But all-in-all I had a great 4 hours on the water.
I now pour my own scented frogs and that is what I caught this guy on. A 4″ flipper foot, red/black with sparkles and crawfish scent. Let me tell you he was not letting go. That frog must have tasted real good! He put up on hell of a fight.
19 lbs. 5oz Northern SnakeheadNEW WORLD RECORD caught May 15, 2018
As I was texting with Emanuel Tankersley congratulating him on his world record and explaining why I haven’t texted him any new photos of my own this season (wine wine wine..) So far I have only hit the water 3 afternoons as of writing this and been skunked each time! I know life gets in the way but I’m really getting itchy for fishin’. I haven’t landed anything yet just some misses from nice but average snakeheads and a few bass. Wind, timing and bad luck for me good luck for the snakeheads though (LOL), have all put me behind this year. In addition to Emanuel I have run into a few other hardcore snakehead hunters on the water who have put 20-30 fish in the boat or kayak since April 20th (it was too cold for me back then). So far this season some nice fish have been landed around 12 lbs. but mostly 4-8 lb. fish seem to be being caught so far according to most reports. Well a I guess the “big” fish have come out to play as of this last week!
What a great story to start my snakehead fishing, seasonal blog off with. You read correctly, Emanuel who you seen on my blog in photos from last year where he had over 20 BIG snakeheads all 34+” and 15 lbs.! Here he is last summer (2017) with one of those 20 fish, a 16 pounder measuring in at 37″. We weighed it on my hand scale at 9:30 PM on the shore in the dark with no flashlight. Cellphone light.
Now he has the NEW WORLD RECORD FOR THE LARGEST NORTHERN SNAKEHEAD caught on rod and reel. His fish even beats the Maryland bowfisherman, Emory Baldwin, III that stuck an 18.42 lbs. snakehead last year.
Now IFGA does not consider bow fishing, fishing they are strictly rod and reel catches so on “world record” for him. He was cruising the Maryland side of the Potomac River by Mattawoman Creek. He was sailing up the river on the Maryland side by what is called the “Flats”just a few hundred yards north of where Mattawoman Creek starts. He does hold the Maryland snakehead record as they count bow fishing and rod & reel fishing equally. Not my idea of fishing but that’s how they do it in Maryland. Don’t get me wrong I love bow “fishing” I just don’t consider it “fishing”, it’s more like “fish hunting” and shooting. But back to topic, sorry to digress.
But Emanuel has turned in his paperwork last week to the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) and is waiting to be recognized and receive his place in the record books and the official certificate.
Emanuel and I fish together in kayaks on the the lower creeks off the Potomac where he caught this monster. We don’t hang out and plan to fish together we just paddle into each other on the water since we are there so much. So I was honored when he texted me the photo and the news. Like I said we don’t arrange to meet and hang out we just both happen to paddle the same creeks and have become casual fishing friends always talking when we see each other. I wrote about him last year as he had a great year with some big fish. So when he landed this monster snakehead last week he texted the photo to me right away! Bragging rights and all. I am very grateful for him sharing this with me as one of the first ones to announce his success to the world, blogging about it here with his blessings.
So down to the meat and potatoes of the situation
He fishes from a sit-inside, 12′ Pungo kayak not a sit on- top model. The water is 1′-3′ deep, mud bottom as most of the wide creeks that feed the Potomac are. He works the lilies just off the bank out 200 yards in this shallow water creek which is about 1/2 mile across! Soon it like all the creeks that feed the Potomac River will be choked with hydrilla (no hydrilla yet of course) and the snakehead fishing really heats up then!
He uses a 6’6″ – 7′ medium heavy baitcasting set up with an upper end reel, sorry forgot the brand. Your basic heavy cover bass rig with 50lb braid.
Lure of choice is a Top Water 4″ Scum Frog, black/dark green twitched through the lilies or a Ribbits 4″ soft plastic frog. Reeled slowly between the weeks with the occasional twitch…then hold when the water explodes! I can only imagine what it looked like when that Moby Dick of a snakehead nailed his frog!
Snakehead Fishing is Definitely Slower This Year Than Last Year
I’ve been out on the Potomac River backwaters for two months now and the bites are there but not near as many as last year and you have to go deeper into the pads to find them. Landing them seems tougher too, I’ve pulled back to set the hook on my top-water frogs, I feel the “bite”, the line goes tight, I count to “2” and then the next yank and he’s gone! No snakehead. Then the classic snakehead move, dive, dive, dives into the weeds and wraps your line on plant roots and he shakes free. I have seen then as I kayak or cruise in my Grizzly flat bottom. “Damm that was a nice one wish I thrown my lure before I came this way in the boat!” But many days so far seeing them is all I got to do. Some days missing a few nice ones was all I got to do. But finally on a Tuesday mid July I got two into the boat. But my question is, “Have they gotten smarter as time has gone by?” I see big ones 3 footers cruising when I’m on the water but no biters….who knows.
Bow Fishing is Hurting the Rod and Reel Fisherman
I have friends that live on the water in Potomac Creek and see fishing boats almost every night since May! At least 5 nights a week the “UFO’s”, the over lighted bow fishing boats are scanning the banks till midnight or later some nights. They are definitely taking out a lot of fish and it is finally taking it’s toll, you just don’t see them basking as often when you kayak and finding fish to bite is much tougher this year. I have noticed a steady decline in their numbers for 4 years now. The Wildlife studies also showed no increase in snakehead population on the Potomac last year for the first time in 10 years. Good for those that don’t like snakeheads but bad for those of us that chase them with rod and reel. The days of landing 10 or more fish in a day and missing another 20 are gone for now as far as I can see. I have spoken with a few other snakehead addicts
like me and they all say the same thing. Lower bites, and landed fish on the Rhappahanock, Potomac and Maryland waterways too. Is it all the bow fishing pressure or a natural thing- who knows? But Bass fishing is the same catching nice largemouth in the mornings usually and now in the hot summer they have slowed up . But of course they are not a legal bow fishing species so bow and arrow guys are not impacting them.
Of course the camera was on the blink and my cell phone died so no stills when I caught my first snakehead and some small largemouth bass on my first Spring fishing trip to the Potomac River two weeks ago. I wore out the screw on mount on my Ion AirPro 3 it kept falling off the camera pole that I have installed on my kayak. When I got home that night I filled it with gorilla glue and it seems to work now and not fall off the camera pole on my kayak, LOL! Always have your outdoor cameras secured with an snapable safty line as even the best mount will come loose. I know dropped my new Ion Airpro 3 in the river two years ago! Expensive lesson. But now I am ready so the next time I blog here I should be able to have some good footage for you. It will be posted here and on my Youtube channel soon! I’ve been very busy with work and have limited time on the water but am clearing my schedule for the warm weather Potomac River season so you will be hearing a lot from me.
So in summary the water is still cool, the weed beds are growing but still not that big so the snakeheads are roaming more this time of year. I had to cover a bit of water in my kayak to find a few nice ones. The bass were holding on the drop offs too early for bedding in early April but by now that should be changing. You bass specialists can keep me updated on that. I found some nice snakeheads hunting the “soon to be weed beds” which that day were still just barren mud flats. I caught my snakeheads on this trip about 30 feet off the shoreline in two feet of water at a very high tide. They were just randomly cruising (at least randomly to me since I am sure the fish had a plan, lol). Snakeheads do not school so to speak although at times in the hot summers they seem to be a lot in certain areas. They are solitary fish for the most part.
If someone has information on some scientific research that is contrary to this please let me know. I am not a fish biologist just and observant fisherman.
I came across this video on youtube and wanted to share it with you all. This guy catches some nice snakeheads and then clean/filets them and has a really good looking fried fish batter! A real tasty recipe! Bon apitite!
Well they were hitting pretty good till the cold October nights started. Granted the number of bites was down but if you fished the lilly pads long enough you got a few. Even my friend Emanuel saw a slow down but we both were able to land some nice fish on those hot September days. Now as the leaves change color and the weed beds die off a few snakeheads can be found if you are out there. I will give it a try again unless it gets downright cold but you will find me now in the woods looking for deer or on my boat striper fishing!
As I have seen every year so far the snakehead bite slows as September rolls around and is basically done by the end of the month. Sure a few here and there may show up on some lucky fisherman’s hook but for us ‘addicts’ they just seem to hide in the mud till April or May. Now it has been very warm this month so they may bite a little longer this year but I am seeing hit or miss days now.
To wrap up the season here are some pics of some real nice fish my friend and fellow Snakehead addict, Emanuel Tankersley caught. He had a lot of fish this season and about 8 over 35″ and 15 lbs plus! Way to go Emanuel… he also is one hell of of kitchen cabinet maker/carpenter.
A friend of mine who knows my passion for catching these fish forwarded me this picture of his buddy’s snakehead but forgot to tell me his name! He caught back in July, a very nice fish caught over by Aquia. It looks to be around 8-10 lbs.
Send me your snakehead pics and some info like where caught what lure did you use what were the water, weather conditions and I will post them here! DrD@snakeheadfishing.net
For me this year’s snakehead fishing has been slow but many of my fellow anglers have had really good snakehead catches, 13 and 16 lb fish. Huge! When I have of their photos I will post them for you all. Most days I manage to catch 3 or 4 average fish 20″ to 28″ weighing between 2 and 8 lbs. The video below has some nice footage of a 2 and 4 pounder, explosive bites. The bass have been biting in the early mornings and just before dark when it cools down. I have not been out in the “big” river so I can’t say what they are doing there. I just love the snakehead fishing action and am addicted! They fight lke a fish twice as big as they are (like bluefish in the surf) so I almost always go for them.
Enjoy the latest videos and post yoru comments here and on my Youtube channel page (click the link here to go to my Youtube channel) While checking out my videos on Youtube make sure to give them all a complete watch and then a “thumbs up”. Subscribe if you can as Youtube rates the channels by the number of likes and subscribers. I am trying to get a simple channel name but need more “likes” and subscribers. Thanks in advance!
Keep the line wet!
Dr Demetrios Kydonieus, Chiropractor and outdoor enthusiast!
Nothing fights better in freshwater than a Snakehead!