- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Be honest now. In your circle of fishing and hunting companions, isn't there one person whose ability to deliver the goods when it counts makes him or her practically indispensable?
If your income depends on writing about hunting and angling experiences, you had better have an entire list of people on whom you can count when your own abilities let you down. I have such a list.
For example, some years ago, when local fishing guide Bob Denyer was still very active on the tidal Potomac River and its tributaries, I could count on him to do exactly as he promised. If I told him I wanted to do a story on the wheres and hows of catfishing, Denyer would simply say, "I'll find some frozen herring in somebody's freezer, then meet me at the Smallwood State Park boat ramp. We'll catch ourselves a bunch of big channel catfish."
Hours later, we would be up to our armpits in catfish. Time and time again, Denyer delivered, whether it was catfish, bass or stripers.
For fishing reports and column material, Denyer, who nowadays prefers to take his grandchildren saltwater fishing, has been replaced by pro fishing guides Andy Andrzejewski and Dale Knupp. Both men display uncanny fish-finding talents, and if I were to choose a partner in a "buddy" fishing tournament, it would be one of three people: Andy, Dale or a Front Royal, Va., angling fanatic named Dick Fox.
Here you have the peaceful, likeable New England Yankee, Fox (who paahks his caahr in the yaahd), living in what used to be a hotbed of the Confederacy, and he's teaching the locals a thing or two about hooking bass big bass.
For a number of months now Fox has been telling me about the big bass in a local reservoir near his home, Lake Frederick. "I go up there and launch my aluminum boat, and I always ask about bass catches when I see other fishermen. More often than not I get a negative response. Some people say this lake is like the Dead Sea. There are no bass in it."
So what does Dick do? He electric-motors out onto Lake Frederick sometimes in the company of his wife, Joyce and by the time the sun lowers itself over the oak trees on the shore he will have hooked a couple of bass that we fishing freaks refer to as "picture takers." That means big bass, and we don't mean the kind that show up in a photo looking like 10-pounders that are posed with 30-pound fingers. You've seen them. A fisherman holds the bass way out in front of him while a picture is snapped with a wide-angle lens, and when you see the finished product, the fish resembles Capt. Ahab's whale, and the fingers grasping the fish look like race car tires. Everything is out of whack.
Not with Dick Fox, who is a large man. Take a look at the photo accompanying this column and see how honest it is. Not only that, Fox even downplayed the bass, saying it weighed only 8 pounds, 9 ounces. We showed the picture to a half-dozen good bass anglers, and all of them agree that it's a 10-pounder easily.
Fox used a drop-shot rig with a 4-inch-long plastic worm in 15 feet of water when the beautiful bass inhaled the fake food.
Fox has done this so many times it's becoming a little eerie. He clearly has finely honed senses as concerns a fish picking up a bait, plus he possesses good sense. You won't catch him fishing in the wrong places very often. Fox studies contour maps of lakes, watches the screen of a liquid-crystal-display (LCD) depth sounder and picks the spots he believes the bass to be in carefully. Little is left to chance, except perhaps the size of the fish he hooks. "I have no control over that," he said recently.
On several occasions when I joined him in his boat or he in mine, we clearly had a great time going after channel catfish, but I must be truthful. He nearly always outfishes me.
Free archery clinic
Dawson's Small Arms of the World, on Jefferson Davis Highway in Woodbridge, will conduct a free archery clinic Sept.14 from 10a.m. to 3p.m. The Hoyt Company, makers of fine hunting bows and other archery equipment, will assist with the clinic. One of the factory's staff shooters, Ron Neville, will be on hand to answer questions about any type of archery equipment. He also will assist you with proper bow selection. Bring in your own bow and have it tuned. Information: 703/490-3308.

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