y Potomac River standards, a 7-pound snakehead is just a baby, but that’s what my personal best from the summer of 2016 weighed. It also didn’t come from Maryland or Virginia. My uncontrollable obsession with the most hated invasive species on the East Coast started close to home on the Delaware River in New Jersey, a waterway that many people don’t even realize holds these fish. Instead of loathing their presence, I saw a unique opportunity to figure out a new species that, in many respects, I find more challenging, powerful, and fun than the local players I’ve chased since I was a kid. My goal for the summer of ’17 was to top my personal best snakehead, not only by fishing known hotspots but also by poring over Google Maps and chopping or rowing my way into any puddle or tributary where I thought I might find one. I caught my first snakehead on June 6 and missed my last on October 15. In between, I racked up 26 total, including an 8-pounder. What I learned by devoting an entire season to these fish might break some snakehead misconceptions, perhaps encourage you to join the growing legion of devout snake hunters from Queens to Miami, or inspire you to kick off a personal snake quest of your own, because the bottom line is, they’re not going away. Under Pressure Thanks to nearly two decades of media hype, many people believe snakeheads are dumb, ravenous eating machines that destroy any food source that gets in front of their faces. Not only is that false, I’d argue that snakeheads are smarter and more selective than most other fish. All fish are susceptible to pressure, but snakeheads are even more so in my experience. Fish an easy-access spot where lots of other anglers are throwing frogs, and you’ll skunk more often than score. You may also get half-hearted follows with no commitment. Snakehead fishing is most akin to muskie fishing; you’d better not lose focus or you’ll miss that one surprise hit you get after hours of nothing. This is why it pays to hunt down unpressured fish, and not only did I do this on foot, but I also leaned on a Flycraft to get me into far corners and backwaters not accessible to many anglers.