Report from Fletcher’s Cove, August 15, 2017

Alex Binsted frying snakehead filets to perfection (photo by Dan Ward)

The sweltering heat of July and August in Washington slows the pace of both anglers and fish. With Potomac water temperatures sometimes flirting with 90 degrees, one cannot expect easy catches of the resident species; even our finned friends need a siesta in the watery warmth.

However, some fish remain fairly active during the summer. During much of July, gar could be seen skimming along the surface of the water even at midday. Anglers using “rope flies” had some success luring these prehistoric-looking fish to strike. Catfish bite year-round and can be counted on to provide some excitement even during seasonal extremes. Fletcher’s Cove seems to have quite a reputation among the anglers of southeast Pennsylvania who come in search of large catfish. One morning last month a van arrived at the cove carrying the entire Amish crew of a sawmill in the keystone state. They spent the whole day out on the water in five rowboats seeking catfish and snakeheads. The outing was a reward from the mill supervisor for his skilled craftsmen.

Justin Centeio, Meg and Laurie Ward enjoy summer at Fletcher’s Cove (selfie by Meg Ward)

When consistently cooler temperatures arrive in early fall the other types of fish which populate the Potomac will be more active and easier to lure onto your line. Up-to-the-minute information on fishing conditions and what’s been happening at the Cove can be had by calling Fletcher’s at 202-244-0461.

For many years the boathouse held an annual white perch fry every spring. The event became quite a big deal, with friends, family members and even a few celebrities joining the staff for a good time and some of the tastiest fish fillets anywhere. With fewer perch available in recent years, a new species offered itself up for a switcheroo, and thus was born an early summer snakehead fry! This year’s event featured snakehead fillets caught by Alex Binsted and Rob (the snakehead king). Thrown into the mix were walleye fillets generously provided by veteran ace angler Mike Alper. An informal poll showed mixed results as to which fish was favored; both were excellent!

An out-of-service “old warhorse” caressed in the marsh (photo by Dan Ward)

Having been in existence since the 18th century, Fletcher’s is truly a Washington institution. Events mundane and mysterious, visitors powerful and meek, interactions wild and mild from humans and animals alike are regular at the place. I’ve seen some stuff, if you get my drift. So it did not surprise me when a cousin recommended a new mystery novel that she said had quite a mention of Fletcher’s Cove. A copy was lent as a good summer “beach read” and sure enough, in several chapters the place I know so well came to life on the pages. The book is “Curious Minds” by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton. Pulitzer Prize fiction it’s not, but a fun read in any case, especially for anyone who has spent some time at Fletcher’s.

Fletcher’s marsh; a botanist’s dream (photo by Dan Ward)

It’s that time of year when Fletcher’s Cove has morphed into “Fletcher’s Marsh.” The shallow water is a problem for us but I try to look on the bright side of a bad situation (Google “Friends of Fletcher’s Cove” to understand). It is a beautiful micro environment with plants and flowers exploding out of the muck in vibrant color…nature doing its thing to exploit what man has altered after eons of balance. Come take a look for yourself and maybe rent a kayak or an old flat-bottom rowboat. You might enjoy the show!
That’s all for now… thanks for reading. Enjoy the dog days of August and see you at the Cove.
Dan

POSTED IN: Fishing Report