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Thread: James River, E70, 23 APR 2016

  1. #1
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    Default James River, E70, 23 APR 2016

    The 2nd of this year's E70 events went out of Hopewell City Marina. Steve had been down on the Chick the week previous so practice day for this event was focused on the upper James. Our plan was to make the decision on where to go based on practice results. As it turned out weather also played into the decision making process.

    Practice day: We focused our practice on the pits. We'd marked a bunch of stuff in years past that we thought might have a play in things. We also wanted to spend some time charting and marking. Nothing doing on moving baits for us during practice. Also, and oddly, nothing doing on the jig. All of our bites came on plastics (flukes and creature baits). Bites were a little off - very lite, almost lethargic. The fish we caught were all healthy but they were in a definite funk. Most of the day was spent charting and during that process must've logged 50+ way points. The resolution in the side- and downscan allowed us to see an amazing amount of detail in each spot. No shortage of planted cover in the pits and a lot of it was off shore. This would prove to be most helpful since there'd be no shortage of people tearing up the banks.

    TX day: A hard cold front came thru FRI nite late and with it a hard shift in the winds. Forecast for SAT was NNW winds at 10-15. Translated into on-the-water speed (15-20) blowing against an incoming tide we opted to stay up and fish the pits. We started off where we finished practice, using flukes and creature baits. Tide was still ~high when we arrived so lots of good stuff was available to hold fish. We bag our first keeper on a fluke about 15 mins in. He was holding on wood right up on the bank. Keeper #2 came on a creature bait. This one was holding on a log right at the first break (maybe 5-6'). These two clues shaped our fishing for the rest of the day. We skipped flukes up tight to wood and rock, then we worked the breaks and deep cover w/ t-rigs and c-rigs. We had our limit by 1100 with 2 solid fish in the mix. The lite bite stayed with us until about noon. After that things got a little more aggressive. I was using a very slow twitch and pause on my fluke while Steve worked his fairly aggressively. This adjustment was the ticket as Steve culled three of our smaller fish, including a nice upgrade about 5 mins before we had to head in for weigh-in. We finished w/ 11.42. Not a huge bag but a significant event for us - this was our first limit on the James. We've been able to find fish in previous outings but we could never quite close the deal. SAT we put it together and while we finished safely in the middle of the pack, we now have a better idea of how to catch fish at all times and tide conditions on this river. This was a huge win for us.

    Observations: 1) River was heavily stained -maybe 18" of viz in the main channel. Water cleared up significantly in the pits - 2-3' of viz. Temps were all over the map. We saw 74+ on FRI. Never got above 68 on SAT. 2) Bait was all over in the pits. Small balls of baitfish were scattered, hanging over the deeper water for the most part. No feeding activity associated with this. 3) The first couple hours of the incoming tide were best for us. 4) You had to watch your line carefully during the lite bite periods. There were times when I could not detect any kind of strike. The line just loaded up. 5) Shade and mud lines were important. Many of our bites came the dark side of the water. 6) There is no way for me to adequately describe how powerful the incoming and outgoing tides are on this river system, esp in the Appomattox. You must pay attention all the time. There are no sudden movements when the tide is ripping thru. Things we take for granted like TM speeds and turning radius are all completely rewritten in moving tide conditions on this system. Stay alert, stay alive.

    Had a great time visiting w/ Team Cash, Junior (Onefishaway), and Dodie. Always good seeing the VAO doods around. The Residence Inn in Chester was super. They rolled out the red carpet for us. If you're ever looking for lodging for a James River trip please consider this place. As always, Steve Camp put on a great show. The folks at Hopewell City Marina were super. It's a smaller facility but they had staff out there to protect parking and direct traffic so we could make the most of it safely and efficiently. Next stop: Kerr.

    peace,
    B

  2. #2
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    Great report and good call staying in the pits. Nice job fellas.
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



  3. #3
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    Nice report as always.
    Thank God For Rednecks

  4. #4
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    Great report and good job guys! Sorry I missed yall this time but I was stuck working the Nascar races all weekend. I get to fish it this coming Saturday so we'll see if the bite gets any better.
    Eric

    2004 Fishers of Men VA-East Division Champions


  5. #5
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    I'll add my .02 to this. As a team, we never had a doubt we would catch 5. We had a both an incoming and an outgoing bite in practice and had established the dshad and the light weight critter bait (baby crig) as the go too baits. I never got a moving bait bite going with bass (caught striper, catfish and missed something big on a rattlebait). With this, we stuck with our preferred way of fishing and that is believe the fish are there and pick the area's apart. We did alot of scanning on friday in the new to us Dupont pit (I hope the name is right, its the one with a narrow rocky opening right across from the JD house (Jimmy Dean)) as well as Meades pit, which we already knew well. That is our plan for each Tx. Establish what is going on in our "known" areas and try to add some new stuff each time out to learn and expand. Mission Accomplished. I wish we had time to find areas with bigger fish, but with the location and the prefishing limit of one day (I really would like to see it expanded to 2 days so its more like a mini vacation and more time to fine tune to become more competitive) made us decide to commit to something we knew would get us 5. The bluefleck powerbait worm got some bites as well on a shakeyhead that resulted in swings and misses, which is what lead to the fluke bait worked as a twitch bait (it glides very nicely left and right, etc). For those of you reading to learn, a couple things I figured out. My spinny pole is a g loomis and its a medium rod with a fast tip. Not much backbone to drive a hook thru some plastic. So, I used light wire j-hooks (flipping hooks with plastic necks to hold the bait) and when I got bit, I would just reel hard and pull, not snap, the rod horizonally and this worked great. I forget some times to remember the hooksets on the different baits is different. I get in to my jig mode so much, I had let that be my default. Not good with crigged or fluke baits, or so my experience was. Last note on the post. The fish were there in the pits, If you were not getting bit, slow down or speed up until you find the one that produces the best. I found the best bites occured on shoreline that had dark areas, where you get either black soil/sand and you can see it on low tide. I have found that during spawn, they like those area's for some reason, be it the heat, or the hide factor.
    cheers,
    Steve

    2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
    Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.


  6. #6
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    Nice reports fellas

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the report fellas, always a good read from both of you!
    </div>

  8. #8
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    Good job guys I need to get down and learn some James river stuff one day have never fished it. I have never been to Kerr or Gaston either. thanks for the report will give me some insight
    </div>

  9. #9
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    Nice job and nice report guys!
    I'm about to play my Ace

  10. #10
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    Good report, pits was a good call. From what I was hearing it was holding solid fish and was expected to win tx from there.
    2017 Ironman winner

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