Sunday, March 29, 2015

Start of the RVA Shad Run

Things were off to a slower than usual start but it is starting to get good on the James River in Richmond.  After two blanked trips, I went on a trip with Wayne Tu after work on Wednesday.  

We took the kayaks out of Ancarrow's Landing and Wayne started getting into a few Hickories on a large gold spoon.  I stuck with the 6wt. fly rod and got a few as well with the two biggest going 1lb 14oz.  Light faded quickly and we soaked a few chunks and caught a couple of blue cats (neither of which were worth measuring).  

Photo Credits:  Wayne Tu

Remember to check river levels and predictions before heading down there.  When the water is running over 10,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), line/depth control will be very difficult and paddling against that kind of current can be strenuous. 

Best of luck.  The shad are definitely here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pressure Drop Bassin' and a Perch Fishing Surprise

The weatherman's crystal ball showed warmer temps, but lots of wind and rain...
while my mind envisioned the barometer dropping 
and largemouth appetites growing.

Soft mud squished under my boots as big drops plopped on the hood of my Kokatat Goretex Full Zip. Sharing the same anticipation, Drew Camp slid into the clear dimpled water first. The smile inducing "fish on" came before I even sat down on my kayak.

Drew quickly picked up several fish on various baits but we couldn't really pin point a good pattern.  A few fish were caught a little deeper on jigs.  A few were also caught on shallow diving crank baits so we went back and forth not focusing enough on either... until we ventured into a cove where the water temps were a few degrees warmer.  They were stacked up and it was literally hook up after hook up for what felt like an hour.  My preferred lures were a Sebile Magic Swimmer (realistic sunfish pattern for clear water and no shad population) and the new Rapala Shadow Rap in olive. 

We both lost count of fish but I can definitely say that Drew outfished me by a lot.  He's got a great detailed report here (link).

In my defense, I was busy playing around with cameras all day.  Here's a short little video of some violent splashing recorded at 120fps 1080 resolution.  

The following afternoon, I was given the opportunity to go grocery fishing since my kids loved the previous week's perch so much.  Jeff and I went to the same spot as before, hoping for similar results.  Unfortunately, the perch were not there anymore.  Small catfish dominated the action until Jeff hooked into something very, very different. His tiny 4' super ultra light perch set up withstood the nerve racking dilemma of trying to land a 25" snakehead with no net and no lip grippers. 

Lip grippers borrowed from Chuck Wrenn after landing it.
Textured plates on the side of it's head.
We could have sworn it was too cold for snakehead, but then again, snakeheads don't cease to amaze those who have encountered them.  Jeff was generous enough to share a fillet off the invasive specie and my son and I can definitely say they're delicious.  Interesting note: it had roe in it.  Prints coming soon...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Perchin' After the Thaw

I went into it with little to no expectation.  
And as with many trips without the possibility of a big let down, 
it turned out to be a memorable one. 

Work, babies, and an extra hour and a half in the wrong direction made what used to be a once or twice a week thing into a rare occurrence.  The message from Justin Mayer saying that he's actually planning on fishing reminded me of some great trips we've had.  Naturally, I accepted the invite...

My more recently acquired fishing buddy, Jeff Lockhart and I met Justin at a creek northeast of Richmond hoping for yellow perch.  Their spawn migration should be in full effect in most rivers in the area.  But having heard of a lot of ice still on many of the normal spots to find them or the water being high and muddy, I didn't get my hopes up.  If it was fishable, I planned on locating schools with live minnows then switching to grubs and blade baits.

Well I definitely found them in decent numbers and sizes.  Jeff, Justin, his dad Curtis and I couldn't get them to take any artificials but we did have good luck on the minnows.  I happened to have the hot rod of the day and landed 16 with 5 over trophy sized (12") and one at 13".  Not being an avid perch fisherman, I didn't know the best live minnow rig for them so I just macguyered a small sinker, with a little dropper loop 10" above that with a little aberdeen hook.  It seemed to get the job done.

From not expect much to ending up with 5 little big fish trophies in one day definitely put a grin on my face.

Needless to say, my kids were eating good.  They even got into a discussion about how they liked it much better than the speckled trout they had last time.  Natalie went on to say she thought flounder was better.
"That's debatable, sweetie."

Fish prints to coming soon...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Nothin' But Love" - Video Compilation

Fast paced cuts of hook sets, drag rips, kayak dragging, headshakes, camera slaps, and more...
"Nothin' But Love"