Tuesday, April 8, 2014

First Freshwater Day of the Year - Dragon's Run

With saltwater fishing still lagging behind due to a cold winter, I decided to take a good friend of mine on his first "real" freshwater excursion. After a few minutes of thinking, I told him we were going to the Dragon. Dragon's Run is the headwaters of the Piankatank River. It is a very unique eco-system and is truly one of a kind being that human impact is by and large left it in almost a native state.. There are various species of plants and animals found there that are found nowhere else in the US. The difficult part is getting in to it as there are gnarly mud flats and tons of unmarked submerged objects that are just waiting to take a bite out of a prop. I have been going there for over 8 years now and could drive it with my eyes closed but I have been a witness to many a stranded boater for one reason or another.

After a crash course on freshwater fishing techniques and how to use a variety of lures the night before over a few too many beers, my buddy Chris and I got the boat loaded up, hitched up and headed out by 6:15am.  We were armed with ultra lights, fly rods, catfishing poles, and a few bass rods each. We were going to catch something dammit.

Our launch destination was Freeport Landing which was once a very hopping riverboat port in its prime. As you drive from the saltwater landing towards the headwaters you can visually see the salinity change before your eyes. Saltmarsh fades to cattails and Bald Cypress. Its really cool especially if you have never seen that transition before.  After a 15 minute boat ride we arrive at the entrance of Dragon's Run.

The whole area is nothing but flooded cypress with fallen timber everywhere. Alot of variety allows for grab bags of fish. Our trip consisted of a mix of 2 chain pickerel, 1 bowfin,and bunch of bluegill, 10 to 12 largemouth bass and a lone migrating striped bass. I took some time to test out my Duck n Buck Spinnerflies I have been making and they worked wonders on panfish and even pulled in a 2 1/2 Chain Pick on it as well. Quite the fight on 4 lb test.

All and all a great day on the water, alot of action, and a memorable first trip for my friend as well.