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Fairtax4me

James River (VA) Smallmouth, and Does anyone here fish the Monacan park stretch?

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I got the addiction for smallmouth last year. The Rivanna River borders the property where I work and I had a blast wading down the river catching these feisty little suckers after work last summer, but all of them came on top water baits. 

 

Ive had the opportunity to fish Monacan a few times and caught some good fish there, and landed a 4.7lb smallmouth on a shaky head worm while fishing for LMB. But that I consider to be kind of a lucky catch. I don't usually catch smallmouth there even when fishing various lures that I've read/heard should be great for smallies. 

 

So I'm looking for some tips especially if any of you guys fish there. I figure that opportunity for smallmouth should be better upriver in the shallower water. But I know I've seen smallies go airborne chasing bait in the deeper lake section above the dam, and that's the area I'm more interested in. Seem like if you get anywhere within casting distance of these fish, they disappear like a fart in the wind. But then you see them jumping out of the water behind you where you just came from. Any ideas, tips, pointers, Very Much appreciated! 

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I havent fished the James yet but thats one river I would like to hit this year. Like to see how it goes for you. Keep us posted. I personally would just fan cast the area Im fishing different depths of the water column. In the Shenandoah I do good with paddle tail swimbaits. Option for various depths. Could even try a spy bait. Shenandoah is mostly pretty shallow though with some deep spots. Main river system I fish so thats what i would try my self. 

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Last year my big focus there was largemouth, and I occasionally got a smallie working smaller lures. This year I want to devote most of my time there to smallmouth fishing and see how that goes. 

I plan to fish more small swimbaits and creature baits that I can toss out into areas with current/work around rocks. Also some squarebills and spinner baits depending on water quality. 

The deeper areas I'll be using more jig heads, crankbaits, and bigger paddle tail worms or swim baits, again depending on water quality. Usually the deep section of monacan is pretty dirty. 3-5 ft vis and murky brown. The shallower river section is usually clear or slightly stained unless we've had a large rain storm. 

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