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.
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.
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!
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
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!
Many sightings and catchings here in Central Virginia of Northern Snakeheads, from Lake Anna to Kelly’s Ford in the Rhappahanock River.
These fish are making their way into the smaller waterways which was to be expected. But not to fear a balance will be struck and I believe they will NOT destroy the bass or other fish in those systems. I am seeing a drastic slow down in the number of fish being caught in the Potomac River over the last 4 years. I really noticed the slow down last year and it is still “slow” so far this year many days so far with no fish which would never have happend in 2014. There are less snakeheads being seen and caught, I disturb far fewer this year on my kayak forays than I did 2 years ago in the vast lilly pad beds of the Potomac River. Their thunderous explosivie splashes as you disturb them when you cruise by are much less frequent so far this t year in Potomac Creek. My catches are way down but then the bass fishing has been unusually slow in the river and the lakes so far this year too. Maybe all that rain and cooler April/May weather has slowed down all the fish. Not sure.
Now Snakeheads are Confirmed in Lake Anna
This phots from McCotter’s Lake Anna Guide Service from a woman who took it by her dock at Lake Anna this June said she saw another large fish and a “bunch of little ones” so they are now embedded in the lake and breeding. Lets catch some fish, I will have to start fishing Lake Anna more which is good for me(it’s closer) as I live in Gordonsville and Potomac creek is a good drive for me! High Point Marina is currently paying a bounty of $10 for every fish caught in the lake and brought to him. Not sure how long he will do this as he may find that he goes broke pretty fast as there are most likely a lot of snakeheads that will be caught!
Keep us posted on your snakehead sightings and catches. Where, what were you using and what was the weather and water like. Thanks to all!
Dr. D or “Dr. Snakehead”
Chiropractic and nutritional services offered in central Virginia, even housecalls! www. TotalChiro.net
Bass Fishing Time Since Snakeheads Seem to Hibernate
Well no snakehheads this time of year for sure but the bass fishing has been good on jigs and creature baits for me. Crankbaits and swim baits have been slow but then I have not fished as much as some of you this winter I am sure. Especially with all the warm weather I am sure many of you are killin’ it.
Catfishing is On!
I have a few catfish friends that have done great this winter hitting the James or Potomac Rivers in central Virginia. Jamie caught a 60lb channle catfish on the Potomac River at Leesylvania by the power plant bridge just before Christmas on that 72 degree sunny Saturday- way to go! (I will get that photo and post it here next week). What about that new North Carolina state record that went around Facebook, a channel cat weighing in at 105lbs. and the 94lb blue catfish another state record!
So drop a helpful winter tips bass fishing comment below and I will do my best to get it up here soon!
I am now going on 3 weeks with bascially no fish. I have only had the two little ones that you saw in my other post a little while ago. I have no idea where the snakehead fish have gone? Maybe they head into the mud but not sure. I haven’t even scared that many paddling around, it’s like they all migrated somewhere else!
If anyone is catching anything in September please leave a comment and let us know. If you don’t want to share your “spot” then at least let us know where in the water they were; along the weedlines, on top of the remaining weed beds, in the lilly pads or out in the deeper channels? What lure or bait were you using?
This is Dr D heading into the woods this week not on the water. I will be scouting a good tree for my deer stand for bow season that is coming up soon here in Virginia.
Wow hit the water on a warm but windy day! Made kayaking hard work, it was low tide when I put in and I paddled till most of high tide came in but no luck on Potomac Creek in Stafford area. I saw some nice snakeheads jumping up river in the shallow flats but no takers on my rattle traps, 6″ white frog with a red head or my orange buzz bait! They seemed to be cruising and not staying in one area since no weeds were growing yet. The protected little cutouts with less wind were where I saw the few jumpers of the day as opposed to the windy side of the river which makes sense. Scared a lot of carp and a few big catfish as I paddled around these low areas but not many snakeheads yet.
Nothing fights better in freshwater than a Snakehead!