View Full Version : Colonial Beach, 9/1 & 9/2

09-03-2012, 08:44 PM
Several of my friends from college and high school get together and rent a house every Labor Day weekend. This year, we rented a place on the Potomac in Colonial Beach (on the Potomac just south of the 301 bridge). My buddies, Dan and Tom, wanted to get out and do some fishing. We were limited on time each day, so we just wheeled our yaks down to the public beach and fished out front. I borrowed my Dad's Outback so all three of us could go together.

On Saturday, Tom, Dan, and I headed out around 2 and fished until about 5, which was a bit before high tide and a bit after. I was determined to put these guys on fish. I don't know my way around that area, but I saw Kettle Bottom Shoals on the chart, which looked like a fishy area. I thought it would be easy to find with my fish finder, but that turn out not to be the case. We worked our way out to about 18ft of water, then worked our way back in. Tom and I were using cooked shrimp on bottom rigs for croaker while Dan was using Fishbites on a bottom rig with smaller hooks for spot. I picked up a couple 14" croaker and a similarly-sized white cat. Dan was slaying micro croaker and mini spot. Tom caught a skunk despite fishing right next to me with the same exact rig and bait.

My white cat:

Tom waiting for a bite (that would never come):

Dan waiting for a bite:

I jigged a Stingsilver and cast various lures around while waiting for hits, but I never had a nibble on anything that wasn't bait. There was lots of structure around the shoreline that looked like it would hold reds and specks, but I couldn't even find a perch in those areas. I guess the Potomac didn't get the same big year class that has produced the 11-12" perch elsewhere in the Bay. :confused: There was tons of menhaden there, too, but nothing bigger. At least, I caught a couple croaker for everyone to try.

Dan and I headed out again slightly earlier on Sunday while Tom when site-seeing with one of our other friends. The skies were looking ominous this time, and I thought the fish might like the overcast weather. This time I grabbed the coordinates for the rock piles, and we headed out there first thing. I recorded waypoints along the way where ever I saw good marks. Out at the rock piles, we both baited up with shrimp. I started catching 6-8" perch right away and also caught another white cat:

Dan wasn't having luck, and I was only having a slow pick, so we worked our way back to shore. I kept picking up small perch, and Dan was getting small spot and perch. He eventually got a 9.5" perch, which we kept so we could compare it to the croaker we caught on Saturday. Back near the shoreline structure, there was tons of bait again, but nothing bigger was attacking the schools. This time, I picked up more small perch around the docks and pilings. Suddenly, I hear Dan yelling, and I see his rod is really bent. I figured he had hooked into a redfish based on the runs, and I was right:

:D:D The 14" red was the second one Dan has ever caught, and it was much bigger than the first. He was really stoked after that fight. He hooked another one right away, but it came unbuttoned at the boat. He lost a third as well. We continued working the area, but all I could find was perch.

It was getting time to head back, and the skies were looking even more ominous. I introduced Dan to trolling, and he trolled a Rattletrap while I trolled an X-Rap. Menhaden were jumping everywhere as we headed back, and then I saw the telltale zigzag splash of a bluefish ripping through the schools. I hollered at Dan, and we started casting Rattletraps at the splashes. I landed this guy, which was my first decent blue of the year:

Boaters kept blowing through the schools, and it was getting late, so we had to keep moving. However, Dan managed to scare up a 15" striper, which was his first ever:

That was a good way to end the evening. I was reluctant to quit at that point, but heavy rain was on the way, and the striper was a good note on which to end the evening. Not long after we got back to the house, the skies absolutely opened up. I later found out that my house in St. Mary's got over 5" of rain. Anyway, we had 3 species for everybody to try, and Dan had two good fights with new species. Dan, Tom, and I were going to head out this morning, but the waves crashing on the beach made going back for breakfast seem like a better idea.

I would've thought the fishing in that area would've been better, especially out by the rock piles. I never got to fish during the magic hour, but all the structure and bait close to shore makes me think it might not be bad. Current is kind of lacking, though. Colonial Beach itself is kind of cool, and it was nice to be able to walk to restaurants and to launch the yaks without having to load up the truck. There was a lot of boat traffic, especially close to shore. Kayakers must be a novelty because we had tons of curious fly-bys, which are unnerving. There are several other areas nearby that I'd like to fish, but haven't had a chance. I'll have to hit those next time, I guess.

CB kayak 02
09-03-2012, 09:14 PM
Nice Bill!! REdfish are such pretty fish, I want one so bad on the yak. I've only ever caught one bull over 40 inches trolling in the bay.

I got a redfish painting in my house by a local artist it is super cool and abstract, I think they are my favorite local fish.

09-03-2012, 10:07 PM
Still hangin' with high school buddies, cool. I like catching those blues, but have only caught small ones this year. That one looks like about 18" - good size. Thanks for the nice report.

09-04-2012, 08:15 AM
fishing with old friends....great
outfishing old friends......priceless

09-04-2012, 09:15 AM
Nicely done Bill!

09-04-2012, 12:11 PM
Great report Bill. I was hoping you would post a report about your experience from that area.

I've never heard of a white catfish before. How different are they than channel cats or bullheads?

09-04-2012, 12:54 PM
Not bad for a day's work. Nice bluefish too! It's always good to get some fish when taking friends out.

I agree with Matt that redfish are probably the prettiest fish in the area. Good fighters too.

09-04-2012, 01:36 PM
If any of you remember a report I wrote on Tidalfish a few years ago, Dan is the guy that managed to flip my old Outback. :eek: To this day, I still can't figure out how that happened. :confused: Fortunately, all of our trips have been incident free since then.

Yeah, redfish are one of my favorite species to catch, too, and I'm really hoping the numbers we have this year will be more common in the future. Dan couldn't get over how pretty it was and how hard it fought. He thought he hooked a much larger fish.

As for white cats, they are a type of bullhead and they don't get as big as blues or channels. They can handle higher salinity water, too. They are supposed to taste really good, but they tend to be mostly head and ribs, much like an oyster toad. I've eaten a couple, and it really wasn't worth the effort. I didn't keep the ones I caught because I left my fillet knife at home. I filleted everything else with a paring knife that was in the kitchen of the house we rented (couldn't find a fillet knife at the local stores), and I knew I wouldn't be able to fillet it with that knife.