Potomac River Cat Fishing

Catfishing trip in Potomac Park

Potomac Park

Every year my sister invites me to visit her but I just can’t make time to visit her. But this year she called and told me people are catching tons of Catfish in Potomac Park in DC which was about 8 minutes’ drive from her house in Alexandria, Virginia. I didn’t have much fun fishing this year so decided to go and visit her and do some fishing in DC.
I visited Washington DC before but never went fishing in DC or anywhere in Virginia. The Chesapeake bay area is one of the best fishing area for angling. There are so many species to fish for. There are few species of Bass including Stripped Bass (locally known as Rock Fish), two species of Shad, Bluefish, Croaker, eel, Perches, Tautog, Weakfish, Bullhead Catfish, Channel Catfish, White Catfish and many more . Fishing in Potomac river, especially Potomac park is fun because of the beauty of the place, its not far from city, there are a lot of trees in the fishing spots that provide shade and there are picnic tables and benches for a little picnic and fishing at the same time. Potomac park is very good for family fun and outing.

The first fishing day:

One end June Saturday with some friends we started driving to Alexandria, VA. We reached my sister’s house around 4pm.
I fish for Bass most of the times. Caught catfish before but it was the first time I was going fishing in Potomac River. I had some hot dogs for bait and was planning to grab some chicken liver on the way. But I was totally new there and it was already getting late so decided to try catfishing with the hot dogs I had with me. Me and my sister found a nice fishing spot next to a bench under some big trees for shade. I prepared the three fishing rods we had and cast them and came the rain. Scattered shower didn’t really left us drenched but was enough to spoil the fun.

Need right bait for catfish

We waited and waited for the Catfishes to show some action but nothing happened except for the petrol helicopter hovering overhead and bothering all the angler with loud noise. I started to wonder whether hot dogs were the right bait to use. My sister saw someone she knew fishing at a little distance. She walked to that angler and found that he was using shrimp and caught a Catfish. She borrowed few pieces of shrimp and I replaced the hot dog baits on two of my fishing hooks.

Finally a Cat

After about half an hour I thought one of the line seem to have come closer to the shore. Potomac River CatfishI decided to re cast towards deeper waters. As I started reeling the line in to my surprise, I found a fish was hooked on the line. I reeled it in and it was a nice medium size Catfish. To be more accurate it was a channel Catfish. As I landed the Catfish under the railing of the park my sister had a big smile on her face. She went “Finally a Catfish..” I was glad too. The next part was very disappointing. I thought it will be easier to get it over the railing and as I took the Catfish underneath the railing it got off from the hook and into the river it went. My first catch turned into my first loss. Anyway I had the fun of catching a Potomac Cat.

Catfishing or Cat Cheating

After trying for another half an hour the weather got really bad, it was raining on and off we were not staying dry anymore. Sister said “your brother in law will laugh at us if we go home without any Catfish today”. Damn, I had to catch something. But mother nature had something else in her mind. The rain got really heavy and we started to pack up, but right before we left, the other angler came to us and offered us the two Catfish he caught. My sister and I looked at each other and smiled, we both knew what to do. We took the two Catfishes home and everyone thought we caught them. That was my first fake successful fishing trip to Potomac river.

A payday of Catfishing

The next day with better weather and determination we headed to the same spot in Potomac Park. This time I was armed with some frozen un-cleaned Crappy my brother in law had caught few days ago. We went to the same fishing spot. Cut the crappies to bait and casted. For about an hour didn’t catch anything. And then got a hit. It was a good size Channel Catfish. And after that for about half an hour nothing happened. This time I started to get bored. The weather was really nice and sunny, the helicopter was really loud and noisy, I was just not catching enough fish. I noticed another angler family reeling up Catfish one after another and I am thinking “what is wrong with my hooks ?” . My sister walked to them and found that they were using chicken gizzard for bait. She bought few pieces of the bait and brought them to me. I replaced my baits with them and boom, got a hit. Another nice size Catfish. After that with the gizzards I caught five good size Catfish in that same spot in about an hour.

Catfish loves chicken

In fact, Catfish are bottom feeders, they love all meaty stuff that fall on the bottom of the water. But they love chicken. Catfish love almost everything about chicken. Chicken leaver works great for Catfishing. Chicken leaver works better because they have stronger smell of blood that attracts Catfish from a distance. Chicken gizzards work good too. Other fish work good as Catfish bait but one thing to remember when preparing these baits. Make sure you don’t wash or clean them. The smell of blood and the natural fishy smell on the fish pieces will attract Catfish a lot more than cleaned fish pieces. I had good success fishing for Catfish with pieces of un cleaned herrings. Some people do good hunting Catfish using hot dogs too, it just didn’t work for me for some reason. I guess the DC Catfishes doesn’t like processed food.
Patience is another important ingredient for Catfishing. Sometimes you won’t catch for hours, and sometimes you will catch one after another.