James River Blue Cats from a Kayak 11-21-2010

21 11 2010

You all may have noticed a lack of activity since the Redfishville Shootout back in early October. There’s good reason: I’ve been getting skunked every time I’ve gone out. I’ve been out 3 or so times and haven’t had any luck, however the last time I went out I saw cats. Everywhere. Cats. Big blue catfish. I took note as I had just purchased a new combo specifically for cow striped bass at Kiptopeke and big blue catfish on the James. If you don’t know, the tidal James has become one of the biggest trophy blue catfisheries on the east coast. I got some time to head out today for a couple of hours so I bought some frozen alewife and headed out.

Visibility was not nearly as good as it was last week as I could see down to 10+ feet. Today not so much, maybe 3 feet tops. Water temps were about 51F all day. I got on the water and started cutting my bait. I was targeting big cats so I was using big tackle:

  • Ugly Stik Catfish Rod
  • Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 6600 Reel
  • 50lb Power Pro
  • 40lb mono leader
  • 2oz egg weight
  • 8/0 Gamakatsu Circle Octopus hooks
  • Gigantic baits

DSCF0467-2010-11-21-21-47.JPG

I anchor down along a trench ledge, where the water goes from about 4 feet to about 12 feet. I saw the cats cruising in this area last weekend around 8 to 10 feet along side these ledges, so I figure this is a good place to start. I put on a big bloody hunk of the alewife onto my hook, the head to be exact. I’ve read the head is a favorite of blue cats so I’m anticipating something to hit soon. I cast my bait out about 40 yards, disengage the reel, and turn on the clicker. I’ve heard adrenaline pumping stories about the clicker going off as well as countless hours of watching River Monsters. I sat in anticipation. I didn’t have to wait long…

Within 5 minutes I get my alert from the clicker. click-click-click-click-click My typing doesn’t do it justice. It was more zinging off the reel.

If you catch the quick glimpse at my rod tip, you know I was in trouble and thus the immediate end to my video recording. I quickly stowed my camera and picked up the rod and started cranking. No more did I get a few turns in when line started pulling off my reel, drag screaming…this is a good fish. I quickly untie my anchor, throw the line over the side and get to the fight. A fight with a big fish is a funny thing, the entire time I’m winding in line only to lose twice of that when he makes a run. I’m constantly tightening or loosening the drag, trying to find the sweet spot. The cat makes several turns and a couple of times runs right under my kayak, requiring me to manage my rod around the bow of the kayak to prevent snapping it. I finally get a glimpse of the fish and it’s a monster. It’s easily the biggest freshwater fish I’ve ever seen in person. After several boatside slaps of his tail spraying water all over me, I finally have the monster subdued. I put on my glove, grab the leader with one hand and pull the mammoth up into the boat with the other. (I thank Kayak Kevin on tips for landing really large fish in a kayak). HOLY CRAP this thing is big.

DSCF0462-2010-11-21-21-47.JPG

DSCF0463-2010-11-21-21-47.JPG

DSCF0464-2010-11-21-21-47.JPG

I’ll have you know, my inseam is 30 inches. The cat was bent and was still about 6 inches up from my inseam and you can see the last picture, his tail runs the length of my foot and still extends beyond it. I’m estimating this big fella (or lady) at around 40 inches. I snap a few pictures and slide it off my kayak and back into the water. After coming home, I looked up on VDGIF’s site for trophy blue cats and citation size is 38 inches or 30 pounds. I most likely had a citation blue cat sitting in my lap and I had no idea!

Iv’e now got a grin that goes from ear to ear and start paddling back upstream to get my anchor. My arms are sore as well from the long battle. I don’t get that kind of workout sitting behind a computer all day. Between the current and the catfish, I’m now about 400 yards from where I released my anchor. I retrieve my anchor, reset my position, re-bait my hook, cast the bait, and engage the clicker. I didn’t have to wait long….again. Another 10 minute fight or so and I land another big blue catfish. This one isn’t as big as the first, but I’m estimating it at maybe 35 inches or so.

DSCF0471-2010-11-21-21-47.JPG

At this point I’m beaming. Within the first 40 minutes I’ve fought and landed two giant blue catfish. I’m thinking this going to be a phenomenal day and again, begin the long paddle back to retrieve my anchor. I think I’ve probably caught all the big fish out of the spot I was in so I move a little further upstream and anchor down on the upstream ledge of the trench. I cast out and engage the clicker. The wait was a little longer this time, but maybe only 15 minutes or so. I engage the the reel.

As I’m winding line I can tell this fish is a little different than the first two, much smaller. Within 15 seconds of the fight the cat leaps out of the water, about a foot in the air and lands with a splash. This was still a decent sized cat so it’s rather funny seeing it launch itself out of the water. A short fight later and I land my third cat of the day, much smaller than the first two.

DSCF0475-2010-11-21-21-47.JPG

At that point the bit turned completely off. I then spent the next hour and a half constantly changing positions, rebaiting with fresh cut, or simply praying to the fish gods for a bite. That didn’t help much and time inched closer to pack up and leave. I had planned on packing up at 2:30pm and as 2 approached I told myself with the next catch (if there was one) I’d head back home. At 2:20 my clicker starts going off again. A short fight later and I landed the smallest of the 4 cats on the day.

DSCF0478-2010-11-21-21-47.JPG

All in all, a very successful trip. I caught and landed my first blue cat and it was a monster. Now that bass season has come to a crawl, I know I’ll find myself heading out to catch some big James River blue catfish while waiting for spring to return.

All pics from my day

Advertisements




Redfishville Shootout 10-9-2010

9 10 2010

You’ll have to excuse me if I can’t remember everything about this tournament. It happened nearly 2 months ago. I should have blogged about it when I first came back, but after the scouting blog, things got busy with work and school.

So after the extremely long day of scouting, Justin and I headed over to the Captain’s Meeting at Charleston Angler. We found out there were about 30 entrants into the tourney. After finding this out, we discussed strategy and thought the flat we fished for most of the day today would probably be crowded. We decided we would try and fish a flat to the north of the landing, a place Justin had waded a few times in the past with success. Before I came down, Justin sent me a Google map with a few points on them to put into my handheld GPS, the location of this flat was one of them so we shouldn’t have any difficulty finding it.

That morning we get to the launch much later than everyone else as launch site is packed. Kayaks are lined up and ready to go and our stuff is still all packed up. Water is still coming in and fishing time isn’t prime yet so, we’re not too worried. Since our strategy was to go in the opposite direction from everyone else, we were in no hurry to stake out a spot on the flat. We immediately make the northward turn and start paddling up the creek. Since we’re paddling with the tide, paddling isn’t too difficult. I’m following a track to one of the points in my GPS, so it’s not too difficult to get lost…or so we thought. We get into some thick grass and seem to be turned around. I keep telling Justin we’re heading straight for the point and a road is to the east of us, but he informs me there is no road in front of the flat we’re heading to. We get to the flat that I think we’re supposed to head to when Justin takes a look at the GPS…it seems as though we’ve been heading towards the wrong flat. He had several marked and I misunderstood where we were supposed to go. We still have plenty of time before the flat is completely flooded, so we start walk/dragging our kayaks to the appropriate flat.

Just and I had also determined we were going to fly fish the flats on this day. We were both determined to catch a Red on the fly and this would be a perfect opportunity. We get our fly rods ready and start stalking the flat. The fog was thick so it made fishing interesting at first.

DSCF0453-2010-10-9-14-27.JPG

This is where my memory will fail me, but I can tell you I did a lot of stalking, a little bit of casting, not a lot of seeing/catching of fish. I didn’t see anything..nada..nothing. Justin claims he saw several and even cast to one several times but couldn’t get it to nibble. The tide peaks and the flat becomes impossible to fish, so we jump back in our kayaks and attempt to fish, but we’re fairly certain we won’t catch anything. We ready for the outgoing tide.

As the tide starts to leave the flat we get back out of the kayaks and start to stalk again, with fly rods in hand. Again, probably an hour and a half dedicated to talking, I didn’t see anything. I don’t think Justin saw anything either. We decide to head south to the main flat, where we knew most of everyone was going to fish. Taking the water out with the tide was just as easy as paddling with it in. We get to our destination in 20 mins. We start to pass fellow anglers fishing the tournament so we ask how others are doing. “So and so caught 6 or 8 fish, largest being 29. Such and such caught 5. So and so’s dad caught a 31-incher.” Well, so much for competing in the tourney, but we knew we wouldn’t do well fishing fly rods and artificials.

Fish are exiting the flat at this point so there is a line of anglers staked out in the Sound, trying to snag Reds as they leave the grass. Justin and start throwing to the grass hoping to catch something. After 15 or 30 minutes, Justin paddles off the line to go look at a few other creeks that exit into the Sound. I continue moving down the line, hoping to nail something. I see a fellow angler snag a stingray and over hear that’s his 3rd or 4th one of the day. I find a small creek existing the flats so I start to concentrate my casts here. The increasing volume of the sound of Redfish crashing bait is intoxicating. I HAVE to catch something.

After what feels like 100 casts, I finally get a tap-tap on my rod, as I’m retrieving my jig head with gulp shrimp, about 15 yards from the line of grass. I swing to set the hook and line starts TEARING off back to the flat. FISH ON!!!!! Within 3 seconds I have probably 50 yards of line off my reel, 30 of it now vanished into the tall, thick grass. My drag is still screaming, the Red is trying to lose me in the grass. I’m only fishing 15lb test, so I don’t have a lot of confidence in landing this fish. I can tell that the fish is definitely larger than the small slottie I caught the day before, but considering I’m fighting it and the grass and I can’t tell how big. I try pulling on the fish but not fighting too hard as I don’t want to break him off. At this point I’ve been pulled back into the grass, which helps stabilize me during the fight. After 7 or 8 minutes of gaining and losing ground, I finally get the fish boat side. I get a quick glimpse of it and it makes a mad dash back into the thick grass. Another 4 or 5 minutes and I have managed to not only not break my line, but get the Red boat side to land. I get my lippers and pull it out of the water.

PastedGraphic-2010-10-9-14-27.jpg

What a beautiful fish. He measures between 26″ and 27″, easily the biggest Red I’ve ever caught. I’m hoping that maybe I’ll place with this fish (I found out later that 4 other guys caught fish that were 27″, so fat chance). I give out a quick “WOO HOO”, put him on the Hawg Trough, take a couple of pics, and release the fish. I’m normally taking pictures of 18″ LMBs so attempting to get get all 27″ of this fish into a picture proved rather difficult.

PastedGraphic1-2010-10-9-14-27.jpg

I fish for another hour or so with not so much as a nibble and call it a day. Justin and I head home to clean up before the weigh in and come back to the landing for the results. The winner caught a 29″ Red (I think) with 2nd and 3rd places having 28″-ish fish. The one 31″ was disqualified due to lack of a good picture. At least I boated a nice fish, it made my day.

The tournament was a blast and I’ll be heading back next year. I think next time I’ll try fishing with bait to increase my chances of landing a few fish.

All my pics





Pre-Tourney Scouting Redfishville Shootout 10-8-2010

8 10 2010

A post had been made back in January on Kayak Bass Fishing about a Redfish tournament put on by the South Carolina chapter of Heroes on the Water, called the Annual Redfishville Shoot-Out. Read a blog post by the chapter president Ken Bergmann, it’s a fantastic organization and describes what Heroes on the Water does. I decided back in February that I was going to attend the tournament as it was in my brother in-law’s backyard and I’d have free lodging (thanks Justin and Jenny!). I knew I could talk Justin into fishing this tournament even if it was out of a kayak…it didn’t take much talking into. He agreed as soon as I sent the email.

The tournament was on Saturday so I decided to drive down Thursday night so we could scout/fish all day Friday. Justin and I went out fishing his neighborhood ponds on Thursday night at 11pm. As has become customary when we fish his ponds, he caught a very nice 18″-ish LMB and I caught nothing. That’s ok, I’ll get him on the water this weekend….Plenty of pre-scouting was done on Google Earth before hand, so we had an idea of what we wanted to do, but Friday was going to be used to solidify that game plan.

We get up and get over to the launch at Copahee Sound and get on the water around 6:50am. There’s a very high flood tide which peaks at 9:05am, so water is rushing in at this point and paddling out of the creek is tiring. We finally get into the Sound and take a look around. As soon as we get out, we hear crashing sounds coming from the barrier of longer grass, protecting the grass flats from the Sound. The crashing sound are numerous Reds hitting bait and it gets our adrenaline pumping. Justin also determines the water is already on the flats and that we should go ahead and get on them. While I swap out baits, Justin goes paddling through the longer grass, making his way to the flat. I follow in behind him.

DSCF0439-2010-10-10-19-07.JPG

While we try to follow the sounds of Reds crashing baitfish, we can’t seem to get to them so once on the flat, we just find a couple of good spots. Neither of us has our wading shoes on, so we get to work getting our gear on. I put my newly acquired Stick It In Anchor Pin into the soft but firm ground of the flat and pull on my wading boots. While putting on my shoes, I hear several surface splashes and see my first tailing Red. What an awesome site to see the beautiful silver tail with spot, poking out of the water feasting on crabs and shrimp. Justin signals for me to head over his way, but between the tailing Red and the 2 other crashes I heard, I’m sticking to my spot. I slide out of my kayak and start sneaking across the flat to where I saw the tailer.

DSCF0442-2010-10-10-19-07.JPG

I make several casts beyond where the tailer is and retrieve my Gulp Shrimp back through the area. I do this about 20 times, probably 17 more times than necessary but it was the first tailer I’ve ever seen and I was determined to catch something. I chase after a few more crashers and after another 50 or so fruitless casts, I decide to go back to my kayak and try a new area. Justin had already moved so I paddle off to find him and check his luck.

While he’s seen several tailers and heard lots of crashing as well, he hasn’t had any luck either. We fish the flats a little bit more as the tide begins to peak. Nearly all the activity we had heard early has now come to a complete stop; the water is too high to effectively fish so we move off the flat into the Sound and target the grass line some. This proves fruitless as well and head back into the flat to hit the last few tailers as as they finish up their last little morsels of crab before leaving the flat during low tide.

The water seemed to leave the flat much quicker than it came in so our window of opportunity was very short. After some time on the flat, we still aren’t seeing much activity so we decide to move off the flat and try to hit them as they leave the grass and head back into the Sound. We head north and hit a large creek that’s pouring out a lot of water at an incredible pace. I stake off to the side and behind an oyster bar, giving me a break from the massive rush of water and make dozens of casts….nada! Starting to get a bit frustrated, we move back to the main flat and decide to finish up the outgoing tide here by fishing the grass line, or “the highway” as other anglers refer to it, and following the water out to the main part of the Sound.

By this time, there is a fury of activity coming out of the grass. I’ve never seen so much activity in the water before, most look like small Redfish attacking bait, but I can’t get good looks at them. Justin swears it can’t be Redfish, there’s too many of them. Throwing my shrimp at the grass line and retrieving, I finally get a hit. I set the hook…FISH ON!!!!! I can immediately tell what I have is a Red, but it doesn’t have much size. After a short 90 second or so fight with several medium sized runs, I land my first Red of the weekend, a smaller than slot sized Red with a beautiful spot pattern.

10082010041-2010-10-10-19-07.JPG

The water seems to be leaving at a frantic pace and I start digging into the Sound bottom with each paddle stroke. 2 other kayak anglers pass by heading back in to the launch. “Time to get out, things get a bit hairy in here at low tide. It’s almost bone dry”. I begin to get a bit worried, but we continue to fish. The activity in the water is tantalizing, we have to get into some Reds now! There are too many fish to NOT take any of my lures!

Trying to paddle between 2 oyster bars and manage the outgoing tide, I decide to make a one-handed, half-hearted cast into the north side of an oyster bar. I try to maneuver my kayak by paddling with one hand and my rod in the other, when I realize my line is moving back towards me. I reel in the slack line and swing for a hookset. PING-ZING-ZING-ZING-ZING The sound of your reel’s drag is a wonderful thing when a Redfish with at least a little size is ripping line off….FISH ON!!! The Red makes a few long runs, pulling line off my reel and pulling my kayak away from it’s original direction. MY FIRST REDNECK SLEIGH RIDE!!!! It immediately changes direction and heads back towards me and under my kayak. I deftly maneuver the rod tip around the front of my yak and avoid my rod from being snapped, only to have the Red take an immediate left turn and head towards the stern. Another long run and now my rod is over my head, pointed directly behind me, and snagged up between my vertically stationed rods. UTTER CHAOS. At this point, the current has slammed me into an oyster bed that has emerged from the bottom of the sound…no more sleigh ride but now I can concentrate on landing the Redfish. After what seems like a 4 or 5 minute fight, I finally get the Red to the side of the kayak and pull him in. A slot sized Red, probably in the lower 20s.

10082010042-2010-10-10-19-07.JPG

We stay out through low tide and don’t have any more luck. While we see tons of fish, none are interested in the artificials we’re tossing. A seagull did try to dive bomb my Zara Spook I was walking…I gave a quick yell and reeled in super fast. I think that was just enough to save my lure. The water is low in the Sound at low tide, but we could stay out. Some spots were non-navigable, but in the middle of the Sound there was around 4 to 6 inches of water, just enough for a kayak to draft. As the day starts to end, we head back in hoping to get back into the creek at the launch.

DSCF0450-2010-10-10-19-07.JPG

Woops, no water! We sit around for 30 minutes or so, taking in the sights and sounds of Copahee Sound while we wait on enough water to make its way back in, so we can get to the launch site. After 10.5 hours of fishing, we’re both tired and ready to start planning for the day of the tourney. The next entry will be on the tourney itself.

More pictures in my Picasa album

GPX Track

Note on GPX Track: I somehow managed to turn OFF my handheld at 2:24pm, with nearly 2 more hours of fishing left! Sorry for the shortened track.

Note on the Redneck Sleigh Ride video: That’s by Tommy “Too Busy” Samuels, a KBF and Wilderness Systems Pro-Staffer who fished in the tourney as well. Tommy guides in the Charleston area, I recommend giving him a lookup if you’re interested in fishing for Reds out of a kayak.





Briery Creek 9-5-2010

5 09 2010

I accidentally set the alarm for PM instead of AM but managed to wake myself up at 5:30. Rushed out the door and was on the water by 7:15 at the 701 ramp. There was lots of steam coming off the water as the air temps were about 53 and the water temps about 80 degrees.

DSCF0423-2010-09-5-21-36.jpg

DSCF0424-2010-09-5-21-36.jpg

DSCF0425-2010-09-5-21-36.jpg

DSCF0426-2010-09-5-21-36.jpg
As soon as I hit the water, I see baitfish hitting the surface EVERYWHERE. They are in very large schools. I assume something is chasing them so I start casting anything and everything around the fish. Chase them around for about an hour and manage to land 1 skinny 12″ LMB. I finally realize that the bait fish are hitting dead mosquitos that are literally covering the entire surface of the lake.

DSCF0429-2010-09-5-21-36.jpg

DSCF0430-2010-09-5-21-36.jpg

It was a tough day after that. I called it quits at 1pm. I fished all the lilies I could find, significant structure, etc but it was just a slow day. I only managed 5 strikes, 2 of which were landed. 2 strikes were on the frog, one I just plain missed and one I turned my head to look the other way for just a second. The largest fish of the day never had the hook set well, so it popped right out the second he got a little slack line. I did get a good look at it and it was a 15″ or so, but SKINNY just like the first one.

I’d love to go back and try Briery again, but probably would like someone who’s more familiar with it to provide some guidance. I’m not proficient at fishing deep and I’m assuming this is where they were holding.

GPX Track





James River Wetlands 9-3-2010

3 09 2010

I assumed with the slightly overcast, cooler morning that I’d have some luck fishing. I also fished this stretch of the James 2 weeks ago and had success.

Launched from the James River Wetlands and fished predominantly between that point and downstream to where there small set of rapids begin at Powhite. I started off throwing a craw patterned Mann’s 1-Minus, Culprit brown 3″ beetle, and a spinnerbait. Within the first 20 minutes, I get a large short strike on the 1-, as I’m lifting it out of the water for another cast. I threw a bunch of stuff back into the same hole, but couldn’t coax the guy to hit again.

Continued to fish for the next 3 hours, saw lots of cats and carp, no SMB. I didn’t get a single nibble…nada. I switched over to the bait that was on fire last time I fished this stretch, a bleeding shad 1/2oz Rat-L-Trap, thinking that would turn the bite on. Continued to fish and still got nothing.

Starting to get frustrated and time is running out on me, so I head back towards the put in. There’s a deep trench that I decide I would troll the Trap along one of the edges as I paddle back. As I turn the kayak along one of the edges, I notice the line go slack. Pick up the line and start reeling in. Fish ON! Well, not for long. One jump and my Trap is thrown. Damnit.

Continue to fish a bunch of more rock formations with no action, I hit my last hole for the day. First cast of the Trap and a SMB explodes on the surface as soon as the Trap hits. I start reeling and he hits…FISH ON! It’s not a big fish, but sizable enough it would salvage the day. After about 15 seconds of fight, he launches into the air and throws my Trap. Double DAMNIT.

Paddle back to the put in dejected and skunked.

GPX Link





James River Smallies 8-14-2010

14 08 2010

Wife woke me up at 6:30am giving the me the kitchen pass (starting at 8am) to go out and fish this morning. Spent a good bit of time getting my tackle ready as it was all loaded up for largemouth fishing, but was on the water by about 9. I parked in the Pony Pasture parking lot and used my wheels to portage .2 miles down to a decent place to launch. Water temps were 83F and there was an intermittent (but sometimes strong) breeze blowing from the SE. Water was slow and low today and made fishing easy. Air temps maxed out at 90F and was humid as hell.

DSCF0404-2010-08-14-20-13.jpg

The water is really low right now, the lowest it’s been in quite some time. Take a look at this picture of a large boulder, you can see the stain of the water.

DSCF0402-2010-08-14-20-13.jpg

I had 4 combos setup for the day: wacky rigged 4″ watermelon w/red flake Yum Dinger (eventually switched over to a Wave Tiki Craw 3″), Pearl White Super Fluke, Rebel Pop-R, and a 1/2oz White Bleeding Shad Rat-L-Trap. The morning started slow. After reading a lot of Jeff Little’s posts on KayakBassFishing.com (and I just finished up his book), I saw a collection of foam in an eddy after a set of rapids and remembered some of his suggestions on these.

DSCF0406-2010-08-14-20-13.jpg

I fully expected to catch something here, but I didn’t even get a nibble here and I cast everything I had into it. I finally got a small nibble from a small fish and tried to chase him down for 10 minutes. He ended up stealing my yum dinger so I switched over to a tailhooked Tiki Craw.

Finally hooked into what would be the smallest fish of the day, about a 10″-er on the Trap banging across some rocks. It’s a dink but the skunk is off!

DSCF0407-2010-08-14-20-13.jpg

Right next to where I catch the dink, I spot a nice deep hole in between 2 sets of rapids. The water is calm here so I’m hoping to get into something. I throw my Trap to the far side of the hole and start bringing it back to me. I get a nice hit and the fight is on. It’s a sizable fish! After a solid, long fight (felt like 5 minutes, was probably more like 90 seconds) I put a 16″ fish into the boat. The fish had a battle wound or a sore on the top of its head, I took a picture of it, you can find it linked at the bottom of the page.

DSCF0409-2010-08-14-20-13.jpg

I fish all the structure I can at the furthest most downstream section of Pony Pasture, so I start to make my way to a set of rapids just on the upstream side of where Powhite Parkway crosses the James. My first 5 casts here and I hook into 2 more ~14″ smallies. I think I’ve found a hot spot but then spend the rest of the next hour not catching a thing. I decide to call it a day and paddle back to the launch.

DSCF0413-2010-08-14-20-13.jpg

In all, I land 6 Smallies, with most being between 13″ and 15″. No real big ones, but decent sized. I sure do love Smallie fishing, they put up a great fight. All caught on the Trap, either banging rocks or pulling the crank over a deep hole from shallow water. Didn’t get any action on any of the other lures. Here’s a vid of one of the releases:

The entire album of the day

GPX Track





Froggin on Sandy River Reservoir 8-1-2010

1 08 2010

While driving to Briery, I made a spur of the moment change of plans and landed at Sandy. Sunrise was at 6:17 and I was on the water at 6:21. There were only 4 trucks/trailers in the lot, so I was going to have some water to myself this morning. Air temps were 70-78 the entire day and water temps 82. It was overcast for most of the day. Sounds like perfect fishing weather. The reservoir is noticeably lower than what it was 6 weeks ago, somewhere between 1 and 2 feet lower. The odd mixture of cold air temps and warm water made for interesting conditions when I first started out…

DSCF0386-2010-08-1-00-38.jpg

I began fishing the riprap throwing (mostly) a frog patterned Skitter Pop and a Mann’s 1-Minus. I got into a dink and an overly aggressive bluegill (lure was much bigger than it was) and missed a strike when I had turned my head to see what had caused some wake. All were caught on the Skitter Pop. I made it all the way to the end (literally my last cast of the riprap) when I got a blowup on my Skitter Pop. A short fight and I had landed my largest fish of the day, a 16.25″ LMB.

From there I fished the drainage ditch, the bridge riprap, and all my usual laydowns, coves, points, etc without a single nibble. I did manage to spook what would have been the fish of the day when I cast my stickbait into its head. I was throwing a white/chart buzzbait, watermelon red flake 5″ yum dinger rigged wacky, watermelon Zoom trick worm t-rigged, and a 1/2oz rat-l-trap in bleeding shad. I’m getting hung up left and right but no action from the fish. At this point, it’s approaching 9:30ish and I’m getting a little frustrated. I usually don’t have luck in the timber but figured I needed a change of pace so I make a bee line to the thick stuff.

I head straight for a spot my brother in-law found when he was in town that he pulled in 12 or so LMB. My first cast….hung up. I wasn’t interested in losing any tackle so I crashed the area…guess I won’t be catching anything here. I notice the vegetation is much thicker along the banks than it ever has been, so I decide to throw my frog. I’ve thrown frogs in here before without any luck but we’ll give it a shot.

I’m throwing a SPRO Bronzeye in a new color (can’t even find it on their website) but it’s a blaze orange/red/black combo. Within my first 2 or 3 casts, I get a blowup. I set the hook and land a 15″ LMB. Sweet, I love frog bass. I release it and make another cast…BAM…another blowup….another hookset and I land another LMB, this one about 14″. Hmmmm, think I’ve got the pattern here. I go on to fish the outer edge of the timber, strictly fishing vegetation with my frog. I catch about 15 LMB all between 13″ and 15″, they could be clones of each other. I’m getting pretty good with my frog, I only missed 1 hookset today and had 2 short strikes, but the rest were put in the boat. I had a fairly large blowup from a bigger fish, but when I threw back with my stickbait, I overshot the area and ended up catching a much smaller fish.

There’s very little vegetation on the southern shore of the timber area and thus, I only caught 1 LMB once I made the turn. And once I got out of the timber…the pattern was off. Time was running short so I made a bee line to the “trench” and threw my trap about 10 times. I managed to land one last dink before calling it a day. A sample of what I was catching and what I was using…

DSCF0397-2010-08-1-00-38.jpg

Final totals, close to 20 fish, none with any real size but LOTS of frog action which is always a blast. I also managed to paddle up on a school of carp (I think) in about 1 foot of water right outside the trench. The water was so low, they were “tailing”. It was pretty cool. The funny thing was, one got spooked and they ALL got spooked, probably 10 or so fish.

DSCF0401-2010-08-1-00-38.jpg

Some other interesting notes, I didn’t see a single angler on the eastern side of the bridge the entire day. I had the timber area to myself the entire morning, which I thought was really odd for Sandy. There were 20 or so trucks in the lot when I got back so I guess they all just decided to fish South of the ramp. After fishing in SC for a week, it was nice to be able to fish without looking over your shoulders for gators. I also did not attempt to stand up in my kayak today after turtling the last time. I’ve never gotten hung up so much from t-rigged or wacky rigged worms in my life. I battled that the entire day.

Link to external pictures.

GPX Track