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Graham

Fishing Rivers (Specifically the James)

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Most of my bass fishing has been in ponds and lakes, and I recently have started fishing rivers more, specifically the James River. Looking for some general tips particularly bait selection, what to look for, best ways to fish stronger current...etc. In flatwater scenarios with light current I feel pretty confident, but the stronger stuff is foreign to me. Any help would be appreciated, and any James River specific knowledge would be awesome as well. Thanks in advance!

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Hit James this weekend first time (Ancarrow and I-95 bridge), current was stronger than used to since I stay in ponds/lakes. I have a power pole type anchor but next time will bring anchor as bottom in areas is rock and pole was drifting in areas.... river much shallower than I expected but could of been low tide,.

 

Getting yak back up ramp at low tide was nightmare due to silt up to knees and needing to pull it. I got skunked as my first time there so I need help also.....

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2 hours ago, 68camaro said:

Hit James this weekend first time (Ancarrow and I-95 bridge), current was stronger than used to since I stay in ponds/lakes. I have a power pole type anchor but next time will bring anchor as bottom in areas is rock and pole was drifting in areas.... river much shallower than I expected but could of been low tide,.

 

Getting yak back up ramp at low tide was nightmare due to silt up to knees and needing to pull it. I got skunked as my first time there so I need help also.....

Its a whole different beast for sure. I know we've got some river fisherman on here! Where you at?

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I grew up in central Fla fishing lakes for bass. Bass fishing was great, Waters to fish we're abundant, and fish always bit haha. 

 

Fast forward a few yrs, I moved to South ga, where 80% of the bass fishing was done in rivers. I set out to learn to river fish and catch these river bass, shoot how hard would it be? Well bass prefer different colors, different baits, the river bass are a completely different strain of bass, and most of all, the dreaded fight with constant current..

 

I've spent so many days just sitting around talking to old timers that grew up fishing the rivers, learning their techniques, and what baits. And learning to use the current as a friend and not fight it. Now I love river fishing and would bout rather catch a river bass over lake bass any day! 

 

So my advice, talk to the locals and Everytime your out always watch how they fish, the speed they fish, and techniques they use. You can learn alot like that!

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The Historic James River

 

TWO TYPES OF RIVER

Above Bosher's dam the river is not a tidal river.

Slow current most of the time and great fun fishing.

Below the Z Dam the river is a tidal river.

Between the Z Dam and Bosher's Dam is one of the best freshwater fishing areas in the state. You can float from James River Park by the Huguenot Bridge to the Pony Pasture and have a blast.

You will have to take two cars so you will have a second car at the Pony Pasture to bring you back to the bridge area.

The major tide impact is below the Z Dam towards I-95 bridge and then onto Williamsburg.

Bosher's Dam is the dam you see while crossing the Historic James on the Willie Bridge from Chippenham to Parham Road.

You can find the Z Dam at the Pony Pasture.

Above Bosher's Dam you put in at Watkins Landing off Route 711, Robious Road.

Below Bosher's Dam you can put in at the Huguenot Bridge, Ancarrows, Osborne Landing, Dutch Gap.

 

Great smallmouth fishing above the Z Dam and across Bosher's Dam up to Watkins Landing and then west towards Charlottesville.

Great largemouth fishing below the I-95 bridge area towards Williamsburg.

 

TIDAL RIVERS

Learn how to fish tidal rivers.

Always note the tide chart for high and low tides: http://www.saltwatertides.com/dynamic.dir/virginiasites.html

Learn about the last two hours of an outgoing tide and the first hour of an incoming tide.

Get paper maps of the Historic James River down to the Chickhominy River.

Get paper maps of the upper Historic James River to locate the areas that the tide charts use to set the tides.

Learn the river as best you can from the paper maps.

Go to Green Top or BPS for these maps.

Check out Woo Daves' web site for information: http://www.woodaves.com/articles_main.htm

Try to find the CD of Woo's "River Fishing with Woo Daves" If you can find it.

Get "Fishing the James" Volumes 1 and 2 from Neil Renouf, 266.1469,if Neil has any left.

 

MAGIC PILLS

There are no magic pills.

You have to experiment with tackle, baits, line and rods plus techniques.

Everything works on the Historic James.

You have to find out what it is that day.

 

DA WEATHER

Always watch the weather if you are in a light boat or a kayak.

The Historic James is usually user friendly, especially above Bosher's Dam.

The Historic James can become a dangerous body of water below the I-95 bridge when the winds kick up.

 

GAME & INLAND FISHERIES

Usually no game and inland fisheries agents at Watkins Landing.

Only a lot of people from Powhatan with jet skis and no teeth.

Will have game and inland fisheries agents on the lower Historic James looking for alcohol in the boats and checking to see if you have your safe boating certificate.

 

LEARNING VIRGINIA'S WATERS

Join a kayak club or a bass club that is taking nonboaters to learn the various Virginia lakes and rivers.

Attend the January Richmond Fishing Expo to meet guides and others who fish the Historic James.

Read, read and read about tidal rivers.

Visit YouTube for information on fishing tidal rivers.

 

Good luck and tight lines.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Sam said:

Only a lot of people from Powhatan with jet skis and no teeth.

bahahaha

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@Sam also thanks, could not ask for a more thorough response! Caught one today in the canal by the 95 bridge. That front had the fish somewhat active.

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