Ive been fishing for catfish in the middle Potomac in the general area of the Wilson Bridge for a number of years now, but have yet to catch the 20 to 30 pounders that I have been reading about lately on these threads with the exception of a close encounter a couple weeks ago. My biggest to date is a 29 ½ 13 ½ pounder, and we regularly catch plenty of cats in the 5 to 10 lb, 20 to 25-inch range using chicken livers or shrimp. We use 4/0 to 6/0 circle hooks on 12 to 18 inch leaders, tied to a snap swivel, with a bead and a 1 to 2 ounce barrel sinker threaded above the swivel, essentially a version of a south-west Florida Gulf of Mexico offshore grouper rig. We usually go on Thursday nights (our traditional boys night out), and put our 16-foot flat back canoe with 5 hp motor in at Belle Haven Marina. Our spots are all pretty much on the Maryland side: the creek bed in Smoots Bay in about 18 feet of water, the drop off at the old bridge pilings at Fox Ferry Point in about 18 to 20 feet, the spoils just north of I-95 in about 15 feet adjacent to the piled up Jersey walls, just south of the spoils off of the point north of the bridge in about 20 feet, and south of the bridge due east of the new construction in about 25 feet of water. Earlier this summer at Belle Haven, after a night of fine fishing catching a bunch of 18 to 20 inchers and several 22 to 25 inchers, we were talking to another boat of catfishermen who had just finished catching several 18 to 20 pound and a couple 25 pound blue cats using cut up bluegills. A week later, on August 17th, we brought some live bluegills with us in a 5-gallon bucket with an aerator along with the usual chicken livers and shrimp. Fishing was a bit slow at our first spot, on the Maryland side just east of the new construction south of the bridge anchored in about 25 feet, but we did catch several 20 inchers using the bluegills and chumming livers. We then moved to the point just south of the spoils, north of the bridge, and anchored up in 18 feet of water. I decided to cut up a nearly dead bluegill, and put a chunk on my hook. I then started chumming with chicken livers. About 15 minutes later, the monster cat hit. The hookup was a textbook large fish circle hook hookup (shades of shark fishing a month previous in the backwaters of the Florida Keys). The fish took the bait and slowly began his run. Then (just as I was coached by our backwater guide in the Keys), I slowly raised the rod tip after the slack had tightened up, thus letting the hook set itself against the pressure of the fish, which was immediately followed by the rod doubling over and about 40 or 50 yards of line screaming off of the drag. I immediately knew that this fish was huge! The monster made about four or five of these line-screaming runs. A close encounter with the anchor line was quickly dispatched with by successfully turning and leading the fish towards the stern (another applied lesson learned in the keys). This fish had a mind of its own, and did not want to come in one bit. The fish finally presented itself for a full side view after the 4th or so run, revealing its massive size and length. We were only presented with a single opportunity to net the monster, right after it showed itself to the both of us. With the leader showing and easily within reach, my buddy made a single, fruitless pass at the fish with the net as the beast made one last, final thrash, breaking the knot at the swivel. The fight lasted somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes. We estimated this fish to be in excess of 30 inches and 30 pounds. I think Im starting to figure it out, but, what am I doing wrong? Im sold on the fresh cut bait thing, and just ordered a tub of the Dan King bait from Tim Hagans on-line store. Ive also read the threads here about other cut baits to try such as herring and mackerel. I think that Im going to have to learn to throw a cast net. Should we be fishing deeper? Should we drift instead of anchor? Should we use a different rig other than the 18-inch leader tied to the snap swivel with the bead and barrel sinker? Should we try different drop-offs, putting in at, say, Fort Washington? Should we mix in what weve been doing with some new tactics, spots, and rigs? When I finally get my new boat that I was asking for input on at http://www.catfish1.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26715, I will be able to cover a greater area. Thanks again to everyone on the boat feedback!! Theres a wealth of knowledge here on these boards, I value everyones opinion, and I would greatly appreciate any tips and advice that would increase my chances at these plentiful monster tidal Potomac catsfish.