2-6-2011 Golf Course Lake

6 02 2011

I had a few minutes to spare today so I headed over to a nearby golf course. The weather was beautiful, 45 degrees and SUNNY. I didn’t have any hopes of catching anything as it has been cold, but I just wanted to have some of that deep soul healing fishing seems to give all of us. I loaded up my Mojo Shaky Head rod paired up with a Saros 2000F, a gammy shaky head, and a powerbait 5″ shaky head worm.

As I walked past the long riprap I normally skip past, I noted that some bass might be holding over there if the sun is heating up the rocks…I’ll hit it on the way out. I fish all the normal points I do on this lake. I throw at an island gazebo and the bridge’s pilons, I throw at some rock structure I know is submerged, I throw to points and coves, etc. I get nothing. After about 45 mins or so I decide to head back to the truck to go home.

I make my way over to the riprap hoping to at least get a bit. As soon as I come down the bank, I realize there is a drain pipe emptying into the lake amongst all the large rock. This lake normally produces really well around drain pipes after some rain, so that coupled with the sun and the rip rap, I say out loud…”well if I’m going to catch a fish today, it’ll be here”. I cast out and start shaking the rod.

After about 10 seconds, I feel a familiar tap on the rod. I haven’t felt that feeling since probably October or November, but it was definitely familiar. It was only a single tap…not the tap-tap-tap I feel like I get in the summer…I’m not even sure it was a tap from a fish. After about 10 seconds and no line movement, I reel down and the line just “feels funny”. I swing and set the hook…FISH ON! After a really short lethargic fight, I land this 18″ largemouth.


It was a super short fight and it didn’t put up much resistance. I take 3 pictures and get it back in the water as quick as possible.

I fish for another 10 more minute but no bites. I only had 1 today, but I made it count. Felt good feeling that familiar tug on the end of your rod again..



Lake Anna Warm Water 12-29-2010

29 12 2010

I hadn’t fished with my buddy Chuck from KBF for several months, so we decided to get together this week while I had some time off. Given that it’s been insanely cold this week, we knew we’d have to fish a hot water discharge somewhere if we were fishing for bass. Luckily for us, Chuck is an employee of Dominion Power so he (we) have access to the warm water side of Lake Anna. I have never fished Lake Anna before and was actually pretty excited about this trip. As I’m heading out of the door, I drop my battery power supply to my fish finder and it shatters on the floor. I try to repair it with some duct tape, but I won’t find out if the repair works until I get out on the water.

I meet Chuck at 7am at I-64 and Route 522 and follow him up to the security check-in. If you’re not a Dominion employee nor a guest of one, do not bother trying to get in. This is a high security facility and a full vehicle search is performed before entering the property. You are also given a badge that must remain visible all day as well as instructions provided of where you can and can’t fish. It takes us bout 15 or 20 mins to get through security, but we finish up and head down to the launch.

I take note of the 20F air temps and all the steam coming off the lake as I get out of my truck. I quickly unload my truck, load my kayak and get into the water. Doh! The battery repair doesn’t work so I’ll be blindly fishing a bit. Chuck informs me water temps are 60F. It actually feels good to put my hands in the water; they don’t feel so good when I pull them out. We immediately head for a cove one of the security guards pointed out and start to fish. I catch a small, 12″ LMB within my first 20 casts, caught on a chartreuse and white 3/8oz spinnerbait, in about 4 feet of water. We continue scouting and fishing this cove. I’m alternating between the spinnerbait and a 5.5″ Strike King Shadalicious swimbait. I’ve never fished a swimbait before but figured now was as good a time as ever to start. I catch another LMB on the spinnerbait, this time a 16″-er on a point with a brush pile near a steep drop off. Perfect spot for a bass…

We continue fishing several coves with not a lot of luck. The water is down quite a bit, probably 3 feet or so. When the water is up, I’m sure this place is AWESOME to fish as there are lots of shoreline structure, lay downs, and tons of undercuts. We fish some docks and while Chuck is picking blips and bait balls on his depth finder, we’re not having much luck. I see a few fish but no takers. We make a bee line across the main channel, heading to the rip rap. The water gets deep here across the channel, down to 40 feet. Chuck sees plenty of blips on the depth finder but neither of us are interested in fishing that deep.

We hit the rip rap and start fishing here. Chuck is throwing a small 3″ paddle tail on a jig head and I’m throwing a DT 6′ Rapala crank in a perch pattern. Chuck gets into a few cats and largemouth bass here. Given the steep dropoff from the rip rap and the depths here (15 to 20 feet about 10 yards off the rip rap according to Chuck), I decide to finally tie on the DT 20′ crank I’ve had in my box for the last year that I’ve never used. I’m hoping for a big pig but instead get nothing but bottom muck on my crank. We fish a good portion of the rip rap and decide to fish the mouth of the discharge one last time. A few casts here and we call it a day on the kayaks. Chuck tells me we must fish the water right in front of the discharge, so we pack load up our stuff and head up to the facility.

Now, I can’t tell you that much about this facility for fear of someone coming and snatching me out of my bed at night and throwing me in jail, but let me tell you…it’s friggin awesome. I’ve never seen so many LARGE largemouth bass in one area…that I was actually able to see from the bank. I also spot tons of large bluegill and a shad or two. The current is very swift here and is reversed near the banks, so the largemouth actually face “downstream” a lot of the time here, waiting for food to be brought back on the current conveyor belt. It was weird seeing LMBs acting like smallmouth. When we initially set out, we intended on only fishing for 30 or 45 minutes. We ended up fishing for 2 hours. It was a lot of fun sight fishing, particularly when you see very large fish. I caught 2 or 3 LMB here, none of great size, the biggest running 12″. Chuck lands several more LMB and a couple of channel cats. The blue gill here are voracious. They are attacking the paddletail I was using but the hook was just too big for their mouths. If I would have had more time I would have given them a shot with my ultralight rod.

Around 2pm, we call it quits and head home. Not as active as a day as I had hoped, but it was an interesting and fun experience none the less. I’m fairly certain when the water is up this is a fantastic place to fish. How can it not be? Water temps 60F year round and not a lot of pressure. If you don’t own land or are not a Dominion Power employee (or a guest), you can not fish these waters as there is no other way to get on the warm water side. Now I just need to get a job with Dominion…..

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.




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.



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

Lunchtime at Shields Lake 8-30-2010

30 08 2010

I needed a break from my desk so headed over to Swan Lake at lunch for some bank fishing. I’ve had absolutely NO luck at this lake, not a single fish. Not sure why I headed over there today, it’s 95 and humid.

Anyways, get there and take my worm rod with a wacky rigged watermelon yum dinger and start casting. I get a few nibbles but they’re definitely small. Take note of the small fish as I’ll be throwing my new ultralite combo at them in a few minutes. A large tree is casting some shade (quickly dwindling) in about 3 to 4 feet of water, so I decide to cast here there a few times before I go grab my ultralite. After 5 or 6 casts, I get a tap-tap and my line starts moving. Set the hook…FISH ON! Landed my first LMB (or any fish for that matter) from this lake, 12″.


I cast a few more times not expecting to catch anything and I don’t. Run back to the truck and get my ultralite. I have a 1/32 (or 1/16) jig head tied on with some 2″ PowerBait Power Grub in the “Christmas Lights” color. These little grubs sure are pretty….

Anyways, I start casting and immediately start getting tons of tugs on my hook from bluegills not quite big enough for the lure. I finally get a hit from something and it sets the hook on himself. As I fight the little guy to the bank, I see the stripes running down the side. This is no bluegill and certainly isn’t a bass. SWEET! First perch I’ve ever caught.


I go on to catch another, much smaller perch on the subsequent cast. I then spend the next 15 mins feeling my line tug by the voracious attacks of small bluegill, but none are quite big enough to take the hook. Bluegill are rather funny, if they had teeth they could be mistaken for piranha as they are vicious little fighters.

Belle Isle Lunch Excursion 8-24-2010

24 08 2010

Met up with a buddy of mine from KBF, Chuck, and decided to head out to Belle Isle to do some lunch time fishing. There is a large, clear, lake that’s at the western most section of the island.

I think Chuck stated it’s an old rock quarry, so the lake is very deep. The drop offs from the banks are severe, which made finding places to stand and fish a little difficult. There are several laydowns around the lake as well as a boardwalk/walking path on one side. I took only 2 rods and 2 baits: the SPRO Bronzeye in the new color and a 4″ watermelon Yum Dinger rigged wacky. I find a bank that I can scale down that has a laydown near, so I carefully make my way down the side and get to casting.

The first laydown is large and covers a LOT of area, and runs perpendicular to the bank. There is also about 8 feet of thick vegetation growing out from the bank, so if I manage to hook into a fish, I’ll have to navigate it around/in/out of the laydown and then pull it through the salad. I begin casting the frog first and after around 10 or so casts, I switch over to the Dinger. A few casts working the bait back to me with no bites, I decide on my next cast to dead stick it and see what happens. I cast my bait out short of most of the laydown, let out line so it’ll get to the bottom and wait. After about 30 seconds of waiting, I notice my line moving. I felt no tap but the line is definitely moving so I set the hook. FISH ON!!! I didn’t have the laydown to content with, but had to pull the fish through the salad. It came up with a bunch of vegetation, but I landed a ~12″ largemouth. I catch and release (and manage to get my work clothes dirty) and move on to the next spot.

I move to the western most point on the lake and there is a series of laydowns that look promising (I see a few bobbers in the limbs). Again, I begin with the frog but get no action. I throw the Dinger around several of the laydowns with no action. I decide to make one last cast and then move on. This time I decide to cast 20 yards beyond the laydown and let the stickbait sink and soak. After about 5 or 10 seconds of resting on the bottom, I get the familiar tap-tap on the line so I set the hook. FISH ON!!!! Unfortunately this time I have to contend with several laydowns and the fish makes a bee line for them. I’m able to maneuver it in and out of a few of the laydowns but it eventually gets wrapped around a trunk and breaks me off. This was a sizable fish so I’m a little disappointed, but it was expected given my position and the number of laydowns. I am impressed by the Yo-Zuri Hybrid 6 lb test I used as a leader. It withstood most of that battle, fighting around several laydowns before finally giving in at my snell knot. I decide to move on, but not before tying on a new finesse hook.

I climb down the bank near the pier at the eastern most point of the lake and begin casting my Dinger again. After about 5 minutes of numerous casts, I finally get another tap-tap and I set the hook and land a ~14″ LMB. Time is running short and I needed to head back to work, however, I wanted to cast a few times into the James since it’s running so low. I head over to the rocks and start making casts.

While walking the rocks, I spot a nice eddy that has the distinguishable silhouette and tail of a black bass. I immediately hit the ground hoping the fish didn’t see me. I yell over to Chuck that I see a bass. From my knees, I cast my Dinger into the eddy and within 5 seconds I get a tap-tap and I set the hook. FISH ON!!!! I yell over to Chuck, “I GOT HIM!”. I rise to my feet and get into my fighting stance, this fish has some size, probably a 16″-er!!! Unfortunately, he takes one leap and my hook is thrown. I get a look at him as he took a leap and it was definitely a largemouth. I turn around to complain to Chuck about losing the fish.

After my complaining I turn back to the eddy to see if the LMB is still there and notice 2 large gars have made their way into this tiny eddy, both about 2 foot long. I can’t believe this tiny eddy had a LMB and now 2 gars in there. I know there’s no way I’ll catch one of them, but I decide to cast my Dinger at them and see what they’ll do. Unexpectedly, one of the gars turns to my stickbait and takes a bite. I attempt to set the hook but there’s no way that hook is going to penetrate the rock hard mouth of the gar. It opens its mouth and scoots off. Funny…

I head back to work after a much needed break from coding an Android application. The Belle Island lake is awesome, I just need to figure out how to get my kayak there…

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…


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…


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.


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

Long Roddin’ for Bluegills 7-9-2010

9 07 2010

Ever since my Mossy Creek trip, I’ve been thinking about getting out all my fly fishing gear. For those of you that don’t know me, I started freshwater fishing (after growing up saltwater fishing on the Chesapeake for Spot, Croaker, Flounder, etc) when I was living in the New River Valley from 2006 – 2008. I was fly fishing for trout in small mountain streams in the fall and spring and fishing for smallmouth and bluegills in the New River in the summer. I had put up my fly fishing gear in leu of conventional tackle when I moved to Richmond and bought my kayak.

I got out my stuff last weekend and after Rachel and Sadie were in bed tonight, I set out to Robious Landing Park. There’s a dock here that crew boats use to load/unload so I picked out a spot there and got ready to cast with my TFO 3-weight. There are about 8 people on the dock and most of them start to watch me as I begin the 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock arm movement of the fly angler’s cast. I’m throwing a size 12-ish ant pattern with some crystal flash and I’m expecting big things. I immediately hook into what feels like a really small fish…so on a 3 weight I know it’s tiny. Pull him in and I immediately hear the teenager behind me say “awwwww” to the 2-inch bluegill that is now flopping on the dock. Yeah…real big fish. I continue to cast for 25 minutes or so and while the fish are slurping the surface around my fly, none of them manage to get it in its mouth. I determine I need to size down the fly and tie on a size 16 hopper.

I move over to the boat launch and start roll casting to the brush pile about 10 feet away. I immediately get a hit from a much larger bluegill this time. While its only 5 inches or so, it puts up a great battle on a 3wt. I continue roll casting to the brush pile and end up hooking into 4 more bluegill, all about 4 to 5 inches in length. These things are great fun on a 3wt!!!! It’s 8:55pm and the park closes at 9pm, however I haven’t gotten the fishing out of my system for the evening so I head to a local apartment complex pond.

I’ve fished this apartment complex pond before for bass and have caught them from 8″ to 12″. I assume there’s bluegill in here as well so I get to casting. Within the first 5 casts, I get a 4 or 5 inch bluegill on. Another fun fight on the 3wt and another fish released. I go on to catch 2 or 3 others, sometimes sight casting to surface disturbance to get my strikes. I spot some more surface disturbance and throw my hopper over into the area. As my hopper is sitting there, I notice the surface disturbance stops. Hmm…wonder what’s going on? SPLASH!!!! The line tightens up and my now instinctive reaction kicks in to raise the rod tip. This is no bluegill, this is a bass!!!!!! About the same time I get my rod to the apex of my fighting stance, the line goes slack. SHOOT! Hopper broke off. I’m using 6x tippet and while it’s rated for more than what these bass weigh, I’m sure my knot tying skills with line this light is quite rusty. I immediately get charged about catching a bass on a 3wt so I run back to my truck to get my fly box.

I then spend the next 20 mins trying to tie a size 12 black wooly bugger on a 6x tippet in the only light I could find, my interior truck light. Tying an improved clinch knot with 6x tippet on small flies is difficult as is, try doing it when there’s hardly any light!!!! I finally got it tied and ran back over to the water. I then start the typical streamer fly routine of casting out and stripping back in. Cast….strip…strip…strip…strip…pick up…and repeat. About the 6th cast into the original bass strike area, I get the familiar feel of my fly line going tight and I go to lift the rod tip up…..the fly breaks off again. Damnit I’ve really lost fishing with light fly tackle. It certainly had to be another bass. I wasn’t going to spend another 20 mins trying to tie on another fly so I head home. I know the bass in this pond probably haven’t seen flies much, if at all, so I’m going to tie on some stronger tippet and head back soon. I’ll be reporting back later.