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James River

Freshwater Reports from near and far
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James River

Postby Siessmack » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:26 pm

After being a resident of the dirty RIC I finally a caught a fish in the James. This being the 7th trip out to fish it, mainly around Belle Isle which is a five minute walk from my house, I was getting pretty darn frustrated. (I've also fished further up around Scottsville with no love) I'd had numerous strikes and seen a lot of small largemouths, smallies, sunfish, a few cats and one big gar. No love. Missed several hookups a few weeks back and that was about it. I have tried everything, woolly buggers, poppers, crayfish, hellegrammites, clousers and I couldn't buy a strike on anything other than my conehead gurgler fly and couldn't keep them hooked up, until today.

Put on an M4 (Mad Mike's Mud Minnow) a rabbit strip fly from Charleston SC, and proceeded to have numerous hits on it in a great looking hole I found last evenin. Caught one gorgeous 10 inch smallie, than lost one that was easily over 12"on a spectacular jump. Continued working up the run and saw numerous small catfish around 20" I'd guess milling around on the bottom. I tried sight nymphing with the fly to them to see if I could get one to bite and had no love. Changed several flies and 30 minutes later I had put on a bigger, darker and heavier M4 trying to entice one of those kitties to bite. There were plenty of bluegills teasing me with nipping at the tail in the meantime. Last cast, getting dark and I've got to wade back to shore asap. Cast out, start stripping back and WHAM. A few minutes later I pull up a 21", give or take 5 pound largemouth! :D She had been sitting in the slack water next to the run and hammered the fly as I stripped it out of the current into the slower water. Of course my camera battery was dead. :x Oh well, guess this means I'll be heading back to James River location X to catch it again, and hopefully some of those catfish!

I continue to hear reports of guys catching monster cats on flies down around the Belle Isle area. One guy working at Greentop said he owns 4 records on fly for them, all over 30 pounds. A friend of mine showed me a picture of his kayaking buddy holding up an absolute monster of a cat that they had noodled, they estimated it over 40! Tying up some more big rabbit strip flies and will be out sight fishing for them after work and this weekend. Sunday heading to Urbanna to get some salt in my veins and prep for the next weekend trip down to the OBX!

I'll post a pic of an M4 if anyone is interested.

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Re: James River

Postby kendalloz » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:04 am

yes interested

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Re: James River

Postby toddkfly » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:51 am

Good stuff! When the water levels drop, you can sight fish those big cats. I know Billy reall well and he does like to chase IGFA records for flatty's. MB82 used to have it dialed in pretty well.

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Finally a bit of PA fishing

Postby Emerson » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:34 pm

The streams around here are very low. Spring Creeks are your only answer and we must be careful as to not stress the fish....more so than they stress us!
Went to Valley Creek in historical Valley Forge Park....

There are no hatches on this stream this time of terrestrials are the answer. There are always small nymphs around so fish will eat them.
These are the #1 quarry. This guy ate a #16 black ant.

Since they were born here, when caught they can be anywhere from 5" to 16". A 'nice' fish is 14"

The tails are really pretty...

I took a friend the other day and told him that I had only caught brown trout....I lied..

T-RASH for me happened again!

This is a crummy picture and I do not know the species. This lil guy ate my #20 pheasant tail..

Since it is hot, the fish hang out in deep deep as a small stream can be and come out into the upstream riffles as far as they can go. I used a dropper with the nymph 18" below and he just barely sucked it in. There is hardly any movement. You miss lots but once in a while, ya get a one.
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Re: James River

Postby mb82 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:59 pm

Cats are not that difficult, you have to be in the right area with a big fly and not hang bottom every cast( normally the last one is the toughest). Michael from my shop landed one that length and girth was 62lbs my biggest was about 35. People have been surprisingly having a lot of luck around Pony Pasture for smallies so check that area out.
But this time of year the smallies can be tough because we have no conditions they like. They like cool water, HA, they like good flow which we don't have. They like clean water... ok we have that but thats because of a lack of flow. My best small mouth time around Bell Island was Fall and Spring, caught 4 of my largest smallies of my life there at those times of the year.
Jeff G
Generally found under a bridge somewhere.

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Re: James River

Postby Siessmack » Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:09 pm

I ended up going back out on the James downtown and fished for 5 hours on Saturday morning. Dead drifted some more rabbit strip flies through deep holes and ended up nailing two cats, 5 and 3.5 pounds! Great to finally have some success on them. The smaller fish fought much better than the big one, I was using a six weight. Sorry no pics, the camera is not being cooperative, but I can assure you they were damn ugly and pretty slimy too. Next up, hooking a big one.

Bonus Saltwater report: Sunday I ended up fishing the Piankatank River down in Hardysville out of my kayak, the USS Beamerball. 3-4 hours fishing a dropping tide around old docks produced absolutely zip. Did see some bunker flopping around on the surface here and there. Still a gorgeous day to be out on the water exploring.

Afterwards I stopped by and saw my English teacher, TLT, from middle school. First time we have seen each other in probably 5 or 6 years. Not much has changed except now we can legally drink beer together haha. We're both still absurdly addicted to fishing and fly tying probably even worse. Good to see you Tom, will be down soon again to get out on the boat

Here's a pic of the M4 fly that I'm having some success on for the catfish, and it works on just about everything else. I tie them in various sizes and colors, here is the original copper version, albeit a freshwater one. It was originally created for reds in Chucktown, South Cackalacki.


Hook: Mustad 3366 2/0. 34007 When I tie them for saltwater
Tail: Small clump of short bucktail (I prefer the hair from the front side of the tail) to help keep the rabbit from fouling
Undertail: 8 sili legs
Flash: Copper flashabou on either side of the tail
Body: Copper ice chenille with a hackle palmered through it
Wing: Rabbit strip in natural variant color, I prefer the magnum size over regular.
Eyes: Various sizes of lead, brass or bead chain depending on the action you want

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Re: James River

Postby jsaunders » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:10 pm

Thanks for the pic... looks like a cool multi species fly.

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