AS THE FISHING season nears, I know all you warriors of the waterways are shaking off the rust of winter, looking eagerly to the day when you can wet a line once more.
Well, fishing buddies, I hate to break the news to you, but I've been fishing in Washington for the past two months.
And now -- hold on to your bait -- I'm about to tell you where: I can no longer fight the guilt of keeping this sacred information to myself.
In the early days of my youth, my friend Jim and I would forsake the basketball courts and baseball diamonds in pursuit of anything that would grab hold of bait in and around Washington.
We began our fishing expeditions in the neighboring Anacostia River, always catching a few catfish and a few tire rims. Soon we were exploring the Potomac River around Fletcher's Boat House. There, the old-timers offered friendly advice and a few swigs of cheap rum.
As the years passed, we fished the Patuxent River, Chesapeake Bay, Fort Washington, under the 14th Street Bridge in the District, and in every creek and stream imaginable.
Then in the summer of 1976, we made a discovery that would change our fishing locale for years to come. Jim had just purchased a second-hand, 14-foot dinghy, and, eager to test out the boat, we decided to fish in the Anacostia since it was close to our homes.
Floating peacefully downstream, we were talking about going to college and leaving home for the first time, when suddenly my pole bent as if it would break. After five minutes of pure excitement, I pulled in a large rock fish.
We were just upstream of Pepco's Benning Road power plant, drifting toward it and RFK Stadium beyond. As we continued to float toward them, we caught rock, smallmouth bass, carp and catfish. We had stumbled across a haven.
At the close of the summer, we both began our college careers. Six months later, while home for the weekend, we returned to our fishing hole, and it was still jumping with excitement. We figured that the plant kept the surrounding waters warm, and thus increased the fish activity.
Now, 10 years later, we're both pushing 30, settled with families and kids, and we agree that we can share the wealth with our fishing brothers: They're still jumping at the best fishing hole in Washington.
FISH APLENTY -- To get to this Anacostia fishing hole, simply park in the south lot at RFK Stadium as close as you can get to the river. You can walk and fish the shoreline or slide in a canoe or dinghy along one of the shallow grades. The best bait: night crawlers, shrimp, blood worms, corn, cheese.