Sandy River Reservoir 4-3-2010

3 04 2010

Rachel and Sadie went to visit her sisters in Charleston, SC so I had a few days to myself. I had planned on fishing every minute possible during a 3 day stretch. The first leg (Friday afternoon) was nothing to discuss. I fished 3 hours at Fluvanna Ruritan Lake without a single bite. I didn’t even see a fish which was really discouraging after reading the VDGIF fishing opportunities writeup. No matter…my big day was going to be Saturday at Sandy River Reservoir where I was going to meet up with several fellow KayakBassFishing.com members.

I haven’t fished Sandy River Reservoir before, but I’ve read good things. The VDGIF write-up is glowing…needless to say I was excited for Saturday. I’m meeting KBFers at Sandy at 7:30am, so I’ll need to get up 6:30am to make it there on time as it is a 75min drive. I wake up at 6:30am realizing my alarm’s volume wasn’t set loud enough. I hop out of bed and head on my way. I get to Sandy and the KBFers are still gathering by the launch, so I haven’t missed anything yet. I haven’t met up with any of these folks yet so I had to go through some introductions: Aaron, Dave, Carl, a couple of Jims, and the Queen of Spring — Tina.

Everyone launches a couple at a time and I head out close to last. By this time, one of the Jims (we’ll call him JimW) has a fish on. I find myself next to the other Jim, a retired Marine (Tina’s husband), who I think prefers fly fishing to conventional tackle. There was talk of fishing “rip-rap” which confused me…what the hell is rip-rap? Feeling like a fishing moron, I quietly mumble to Jim, “what’s a rip-rap?”. Jim explained to me it was a wall of large rock put up to help the bank from eroding and the boulders tend to hold heat and thus, attract fish in the early spring. Awesome…let’s head to the rip-rap. I have a new rod & reel combo (Mojo Bass Crankbait + Shimano Curado E) and I want to try a few casts so a couple of the KBF guys make their way around me to the rip rap first. Aaron paddles up beside me and we chit chat a bit…he’s got a few Mojos and Curados as well. We both agree they are SWEET. About this time I hear a “WOO HOO!!!!”. JimW has boated a 19.5″+ largemouth off a laydown. Someone’s on fire! Of course we all check what lure he was fishing, how he was fishing it, etc. Everyone parts their way and fish their way up the rip-rap.

I make a few casts about 20 yards from the laydown where JimW caught his bass and I get a tap-tap on my line. I start reeling in, all excited…I got something! It feels a little funny and I think the guy is foul hooked. I get the 8″ LMB to the yak and realize he is foul hooked pretty bad, probably won’t live through it. Sorry little buddy. I throw him back and fish the rip-rap. I get my jig-n-pig hung up in the rip-rap about every other cast on the first 20 yards or so, so I completely skip the rest of the 200 or 300 yards of it. Not to mention all the other KBFers were hitting it pretty hard, I didn’t have a lot of faith I’d get anything.

I paddle across the the large part of the lake and start banging the bank with the jig-n-pig and a shaky head worm, I get a few nibbles but they feel small. About 40 yards from my yak, I see a hawk swoop in and pick up a bass. I yell to the bass boat angler bout 20 yards off “that bird has caught more fish than I have today!”. He chuckles and we both continue to fish. A few minutes later, I see that guy pull in a 22″ largemouth. That’s citation sized folks and a very large fish. There’s definitely fish in here, I’ve now seen several big ones pulled in. I keep fishing the area I’m currently in for another 15 or 20 minutes, no luck so I start to move out. About that time another bass boat moves and starts fishing where I just left. I hear a young boy on the boat yell “fish on!” so I stay to watch the fight. He’s got something big on. When he finally boats it, it’s a 22″, 7.7lb largemouth. Holy crap…I was just fishing there. Figures doesn’t it? I need to change my luck so I decide to pick up and paddle a good distance away, throw under a bridge that crosses the lake.

I make my way over and along the way manage to catch my shirt on one of my lures, a Rat-L-Trap. I love that lure but the treble hooks are a bitch to get out of clothing, so I have to perform surgery. I spend close to 10 minutes trying to cut my shirt out of the lure! I finally get to the bridge and throw the jig-n-pig a few times and I get nothing. On the other side of the bridge is more rip-rap, so I throw the Rat-L-Trap parallel to the structure. After a few casts…fish on! This time I boat the guy and while it’s only a 10″ largemouth, the skunk has been removed! I throw a few more times and get another largemouth, a 12″-er. Very sweet, I’m getting excited. JimW was in this little cove and we get to chatting. He says that across this little bay he has had some good success so we make a bee line over there.

There are several good looking laydowns here, so JimW and I start to hit them pretty hard. My first cast, I get hung up and lose my jig. About the same time I’m losing my jig, JimW is yelling “fish on!”. After a short fight, Jim lands a beautiful 20.5″ largemouth bass. I paddle over to take a few pictures for him.

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JimW is on FIRE today. I go back over to the sweet laydown I lost my jig on and go to cast again. My first cast I get a big hit as soon as the jig hits the water. Yes, this fish has a little bit of size. When I finally land the largemouth, he’s only about 15″ but that’s a respectable size.

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Now I’m really motivated, 3 fish in the last 30 mins or so and it’s just mid-morning. I keep paddling along this bank and am just banging the bank…alternating between my jig-n-pig and shaky head. Several different laydowns later and I’ve landed another 5 or 6 fish. None of them went bigger than 12″, but it’s a lot of fun when you’re landing fish.

The entire time, we’re making our way towards a GIANT submerged timber field. Bass anglers are always looking for structure and this sort of location is the epitome of structure. I can’t wait to fish it as I’m expecting to catch monster bass on every catch. I paddle up to the area and see all these giant, daunting tree trunks jutting up out the water.

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Another picture:
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I wish there was more to say about this place. We fished here for nearly an hour and not a single bite between JimW and myself. I was a little disappointed as I was really expecting to pull a few in from here.

The wind was really starting to pick up, gusting well over 20 mph and creating some whitecaps on the lake. Fishing was damn near impossible so after 30 or so more mins of fishing with no action, we picked up and headed home.

What a great Saturday. Wish I could have been on some bigger fish, but I had a blast and met some new friends.

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