The springtime is here, my favorite part of the year. This year, spring came early, so I started doing what I love to do. This time of year, I start fishing. All the fish are having babies, so some of the biggest fish are in the Potomac River this time of the year. For the last three weeks, I have not sold one Street Sense
newspaper. Instead I have been fishing every day. This year has been very slow for some reason. I have only caught three rockfish and at least 50 catfish. For the last three weeks I have left my house at 2 p.m. to get on the train. When I get off at Dupont station I walk down to Rock Creek Park. There I catch bait fish. Some days it is very easy to catch the bait, but it’s not always easy for me. Other times I have been down at the creek for three to five hours just trying to catch the bait. Once I finally get enough bait, I ride my bike down to Georgetown to a place called Fletcher’s Boat House. I have been fishing there since I was 8 years old, so I know all the spots. I always get there an hour before dark so I can set up my fishing stuff. I gather wood and make a camp- fire so I can stay warm while fishing. It is a waiting game after that. Recently, I have been fishing from seven in the evening to one in the morning. Last night I was the best so far. I caught a 35’’ rock- fish after fishing 11 days straight and only catching catfish. It’s a good
feeling when you have a big rockfish on the line, and you have to fight with the fish.
In the spring, the big female rockfish swim away from the ocean and up the rivers to lay eggs. Since the Woodrow Wilson Bridge has been under construction, fishing has been slow and the fish don’t come up the river like they used to. Five or six years ago, there were so many fish that we could catch two to five big rockfish every night in late March to early April. But times have changed. I have never had to work this hard to catch rockfish. I got laid off at University of Maryland back in 2008 after working there for 10 years. Afterwards, I went fishing every day so I could pay my rent. I used to catch many different kinds of fish there: croakers, rockfish, trout, and largemouth bass, to name a few. I would catch fish and then fillet them, making $10, $15, and $20 bags of fish. I built up customers by ask- ing taxi drivers, bus drivers and other people I met while I was out. I would tell people that my fish are never more than 24 hours old, and you can’t get fish any fresher. A lot of people loved my fresh fish. I paid my rent for three months with the money until winter came and ended fishing season.