Jump to content
Fairtax4me

Kayaking, fishing, camping, Smallies!!

Recommended Posts

My fishing buddy and I have been itching to take the kayaks on a camping trip and fish for as long as we possibly can, and last weekend we finally got the chance. The weather and our schedules lined up, and on Saturday morning at 4:30am we rolled out for the upper James river. We hit the water shortly after 6:30 after loading the kayaks with gear and coolers, cracked a cold breakfast beer, and headed upstream. Our target was about 4 miles from where we put in, and we knew the first 3 miles, but really didn’t have a clue what we would get into in the final stretch. 

 

Most of the water we skipped over on the way except a few spots we know that have produced fish in the past. Not much happening this morning, but I managed a couple itty bitty smallies on the ultra-light, and one tiny spotted bass. 

 

Back to paddling we stopped at a few rock points and picked up a handful of 8-12” smallmouth, and I found a few small largemouth hanging out in the slack current. Not exactly what we’re after but still fun to catch on the ultra-light. And the same goes for the next few spots until we reached out first “big” spot, where the river re-joins at the base of an island. Lots of current there and a 15 foot deep hole that’s a favorite spot among locals who know what hides there. We both picked off a couple better brown fish here, but still not quite what we’re after. 

 

Heavy current on both sides of the island but one side is shallow enough to get out and pull the yaks through, while the other side is 6-8 feet deep most of the way up. We paddle on and we start getting bit more consistently in areas of current and breaks right off the current. We’re now in water that only sees jet boats on occasion, and not many people bother to paddle this far up. Once we clear the island our next big spot comes up in a few hundred yards, the outlet of a turbine house for one of the many small hydro-electric stations along this upper stretch of the river. Lots of current and big rocks scattered around for fish to hide behind. 

 

They weren’t in the rocks today. After fishing for more than an hour without a bite, I dropped anchor on a small point right on the edge of the heaviest current and tossed a 3/8pz jig into the foaming churning water coming directly out of the chutes. Swimming it back in the current and BAM! It gets hammered, I set the hook on the first good smallie of the day, about 2.5 lbs! I reset and re-tie, and a few casts later BAM, another good smallmouth! This one was probably 3.5lbs but it jumps right next to the kayak and shakes the hook. I cast in again and on the very next cast BAM, set the hook on another solid fish! I net this one and it weighs in at 3lbs on the nose! I’m onto them now, and I’ve got a pattern! 

 

We spend another 20-30 minutes there and I get one other smaller fish and have a few bites that only result in lost claws off my jig trailer, so we move on into the un-known stretch of river. Lots of big rocks and heavy current between them, and no way a boat is getting up this far. We have to get out and pull the kayaks through 4 or 5 more areas in about a half mile stretch. Along the way we’re flipping jobs and small swim baits into the current and picking off smallmouth! Everything from 10 inchers to 2.5lbers! It’s a little after 2:00 now and we’ve both started racking up numbers, probably 20 fish total between the two of us. Anywhere there’s current, there’s a fish! But you catch one, and have to move to the next current chute to find anoher one. 

 

We make it through Boulder City and round the bend and then we finally see our destination, Holcomb Rock dam. And the place is beautiful! Perfect current spilling all the way across the dam, and we can paddle right up to it to fish! We immediately found a perfect spot to set up camp, got the tent set up and took a short break to eat some snacks and have another cold brew. We fished on foot a few spots on the dam and we both caught several fish in the 2-3lb range. Then hopped back in the kayaks and fished all across the dam and down stream about 200 yards through the high current spots. We saw tons of good fish, and managed to catch a handful. The bite wasn’t stellar, but the spot sure was! 

 

Around 8pm we took a break to cook dinner and have another couple cold ones, and talk about the fun of the day so far. After dinner we paddled back over to the dam and fished by the light of the moon and our headlamps! Probably crazy AF but I caught one more 2.5lber and my buddy caught a couple good ones and lost a giant something that we figured was probably a catfish. It pulled him around for about 45 seconds but never broke the surface. 11:30 we finally hang it up and head for bed. 

 

 Next morning 6am I wake to the sound of a train horn as it approaches a crossing on the other side of the river. It’s just getting light out, and that means top-water time! I crawl out of the tent, crack a cold ice coffee, and grab a rod and a whopper plopper. Nothing doing on that so I switched up to a buzz bait, and then to a hollow frog. Caught a 2lber on the frog so I kept that on and headed up to the corner of the dam. 

 

Made a couple casts into the churning foamy water and then about halfway through my retrieve on one cast, suddenly noticed my frog was gone! No blowup, not even a little splash, just slurped under and then I felt the line start to pull just a bit. I set the hook and immediately a huge smallmouth jumps 4 feet out of the water! I have to scramble to get down off the rock I’m on and into the water, and the fish is running and jumping all over the place. Not much room to work with between rocks and a tree trunk that’s washed up in the corner, but it eventually tired out and I landed my biggest fish of the trip! 3.9lbs and 19.5”! I’ve tried for a long time for a smallmouth on a hollow body frog and have never had one strike until this trip. Made it that much more awesome to catch a freakin stud smallie on the frog! 

 

We continued to fish top waters and then switched to jigs as the sun came up. My buddy got his big fish of the trip, a 4.0lb 19.5” tank, and by about 9am as the sun was fully up our bite had pretty well shut off, or the fish had wised up to us. We broke to eat some breakfast and cracked a couple more cold brewskis. We tried a few other different tactics and had limited success through about noon. At this point we knew the fun was over, and we needed to start packing up to head back. We fished the dam one more time and then started back  downstream. Got a couple more smaller fish going through the boulder field, and I had about a 25” Muskie come up and crash a small swim bait about 10 feet from me. Way cool to watch it smash that bait, but the 8lb line stood no chance against those teeth! 

 

Driftint back downstream I couldn’t even get a dink on a micro-jig at this point, and then we rounded the next bend to find the wind coming out of the east. The wind was quite a bit stronger than the current, so if we stopped paddling for a few seconds it was turning us back up-stream. We had to fight the current getting there, and now have to fight the wind getting back. We make the boat ramp parking lot about 8pm. Load the gear and strap the yaks to the trailer and head for home. I finally make it home that night about 11:30, thoroughly pumped from the awesome catches of the weekend, and thoroughly exhausted. 

B43254B6-A823-480D-A657-FA6008810241.jpeg

C957C947-B275-444D-A654-C18956D2B746.jpeg

BC3669DF-5872-4CB1-AA0C-6B6DAAB93EC4.jpeg

25F5070D-B21A-4207-B6DE-44A1F5854882.jpeg

Trying to get photos sized down so they’ll upload... this may take a while :lol: 

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A5B21BEB-4B1D-428D-8D29-B2BEF90FDE87.jpeg

1438CB4A-09DF-433C-8062-E295E408E4B3.jpeg

9BA747FF-29CC-45EA-9049-FAD75ABCC625.jpeg

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome trip! Thank you much for taking the time to provide the detailed write up! Great fish, too

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Fairtax4me said:

A5B21BEB-4B1D-428D-8D29-B2BEF90FDE87.jpeg

1438CB4A-09DF-433C-8062-E295E408E4B3.jpeg

9BA747FF-29CC-45EA-9049-FAD75ABCC625.jpeg

WOW!

 

Margot Robbie Dancing GIF by Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More pics that wouldn’t upload before! 

 

Thanks for the comments guys! It was a great trip! 

97E05A97-C05E-4AA5-A711-BC5252E6245A.jpeg

25DCE1F8-3690-49C7-A66B-110EE573A9D7.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing poles

    fishing reels

    fishing reels

    fishing reels

    fishing

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×
×
  • Create New...