James River – Huguenot Flatwater – 5-13-2012

13 05 2012

Got out for about 2.5 hours today on Huguenot Flatwater. I’ve fished this stretch well over 20 or 30 times and haven’t had much luck. Since I only had a few hours today and needed to get on/off fairly quickly, I just hit it in hopes I’d land a couple of fish.

As I was putting in, a young guy was coming off the water. He said the current was ripping, the wind was pushing downstream as well, and fishing was tough. He said he didn’t catch anything so I wasn’t expecting much. I forgot my Hawg Trough so without hope of catching anything significant, I entered the water care free.

Got on the water and the water was high and fast. I remember a hand drawn picture I’ve seen that Jeff Little drew, a profile view of ledges and eddies and how to fish them in high and low water. That drawing showed fish holding tight upstream in the eddie, so that’s where I concentrated today. Normally there are tons of visible rocks to wedge yourself on and fish off of, today there were only a dozen or so…

First one I come to, I throw a Mann’s Baby Waker in a bass pattern to the rock and started reeling in. No more than a couple of cranks and I get a solid hit. After a nice fight I reel in a nice 17″ smallie, my new PB. Again, nothing to measure by I’m going my estimates of my body parts 🙂

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Release this fish and now I’m beaming. Hit 2 or 3 more of the visible structure, going with the same pattern but no more hits. On the 4th or so, I beach my kayak, throw out the Mann’s about 15 yards downstream, and start retrieving back to the rock. I get a hit…and it was a doozie. It’s the largest freshwater fish I’ve ever seen in person. I got to set the hook and the rod doesn’t bend…FRACK. The knot failed, friggin Rapala knot. I’ve had that knot fail on me the last 2 outings on larger fish. I know it’s the tier and not the knot…. I quickly grab my finesse rod, with a draggin’ head and a Tiki Craw loaded up with Craw Bioscent. Throw it back in the vicinity of the strike, no more than 10 seconds and my line starts moving…go to the hook and the rod doesn’t bend. SONOFA…this knot failed too. W-T-FRACK. Improved clinch, but it failed too (yes I wet before tightening). I quickly real in, grab a weighted tube hook, throw a green tube on, lather it up with Craw Bioscent and throw it back in the area. This time I let is set for what seemed like 3 to 4 mins and the line starts moving again. Set the hook…FISH ON. I can’t believe the size of this smallie. After a nice fight, I land him. HOLY CRAP, I wish I had my Hawg Trough.

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FYI, the inside of the 2012 Ride 135 is 20″. This fish reaches end to end and is also laying over the bump in the middle. I’m guessing this guy went 20.5″ to 21″. Most certainly would have been a Virginia citation. I release the fish and get on about my day.

I catch another dink over the next hour, but not much else. I’m about to wrap up for the day, there’s still 2 visible rocks I haven’t hit. I’m going to leave after these two. On the first one, no action on the Baby Waker. I throw the tube in and let is set for 3 or 4 mins and I think I see hit, but I’m not sure so I don’t set the hook. After 5 or so seconds the line is moving so I set the hook. A nice fight later and I’m estimating this fish at 19″.

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Unfortunately, that extra 5 second wait enabled this fish to inhale the tube. It was gut hooked. I’m always iffy on what to do in this situation, just take the fish home or cut the line and hope the hook frees itself. I do what I always do and cut the line and returned the fish as fast as possible (after a couple of snapshots). I hope that guy lives and reaches 20″+. I decide to call it a day on that one.

2.5 hours fished in an area that’s not rare to send me home with a skunk, 4 fish caught and 3 of them went 17″, 19″, and 20.5+”. Pretty good day for me.

All my pics:

https://plus.google.com/photos/102799211425946575386/albums/5742144187400956049

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One response

14 05 2012
scottlouisanderson@gmail.com

Hey man nice work. Do you have a copy of the sketch you mentioned in the first paragraph?

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