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Paul Naj

Tough Day on Occoquan

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Started out this morning with a little less confidence than last week because of the cold front and rain last night. I decided to launch at Bull Run because it would offer me more protection from the forecasted winds and I could get on the water a little earlier.

As I feared, the water was chocolate milk. I tried some obvious structure but moved quickly trying to find a little cleaner water. I threw everything from frog, soft jerkbait, spinnerbait, poppers etc and only managed 2 fish between 1 and 2 # in the first few hours. One was on a frog and one on the soft jerkbait.

I kept heading south and the water cleaned up a bit but I still wasn't getting bites. I then came to an area where the shad were very thick and being pushed into tight pods. The bass were feeding on them pretty regularly and were blowing up in the schools. Since there was little else working for me I spent a bunch of time throwing a variety of baits at them without a hit. As I was sitting there not getting hits and daydreaming of better days, I was thinking of my buddies in New Jersey who are currently having one of the best years ever for LARGE striped bass over 30# by snagging mossbunker and dropping them below the school to the bass feeding below. The shad schools I was watching looked like a mini pod of bunker.

So the light bulb went off and I dug through the tackle bag and took out the largest treble hook I had, weighted it with some split shot and tried to snag a shad. It certainly wasn't as easy as snagging a bunker but I finally got one, took off the split shot and pitched it near a tight school. Within a minute I got a runoff but missed the fish. At this point it was time to go home but I couldn't resist trying again. It took even longer this time to snag a bait and the first two schools I fished it by didn't appear to have bass following them. One final pitch and I got another runoff and landed a nice 3.5# fish. Desperate times call for desperate measures and it felt good to take something from a completely different fishery and make it work.

Two final highlights of the day; the first was the 5 or 6 pound catfish that whacked a brush hog and got foul hooked. That sucker sure did pull some drag. The second was a beaver that was living in the back of a cove tail slapping to warn me off of his turf. He smacked the water a bunch of times and it was like a 2X4 smacked down flat on the water. Very cool.

Paul

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Occoquan can be a tough body of water to fish. You did better today on a "tough" day than i've ever done so my hat goes off to you.  

I've only been out there once this year and it was tough for me. We didn't put together a pattern till it was almost too late.  Hooked up with quite a few that related to overhangs near shore off watermelon/cream laminate senkos t-rigged.  

I also hooked into something with a lot of power at the concrete structure near the fountain head launch area.  It doubled over my rod  :o. My buddy just sat there with his jaw dropped as it jerked my rod tip down 2 more times and then broke off  :'(

I threw my lake fork swim shads into the balls of shad but that didn't seem to get any attention either.

Am i mistaken to think that you need a gas motor to get to the "good" fishing locations? I've always felt that the fishing is better up river, but perhaps thats just a case of "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence".

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the occoquan is amazing. you just have to stick with it and the patterns will start to emerge. i fish there a few times a week. when the water is like you described i usually do best fishing very tight to structure down river.

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I'd love to go out to the Occoquan someday to try out some bass fishing but since I don't know very much about it I was wondering if someone would like to go out on my boat and show me around!! send me a PM if you are interested ::)

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Hey Paul glad to hear you at least got one nice sized one.  Least your catching keepers lately lol.  I haven't been catching many.  Even using jigs I'm still catching small fish.  And these are big boo yah jigs w/ large trailers.  The Occoquan out of Bull Run can be fun.  I love fishing that bridge at the launch.  My dad and I have caught a lot there.  I'll let you know where and how we've had luck through pm.

We gotta get out again soon man.  Last time was a blast.

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