Monday, May 22, 2017
It is not every day that you get the opportunity to fish and hang out with one of the founding fathers of modern kayak bass fishing. Back at the KBF National Championship last month I got to meet Drew Gregory. While talking to him Jared and I pitched the idea of doing and episode of his show Hooked on Wild Waters on the New River in Hinton. Well here he is in town to do the show. I had been talking back and forth with him over the last few weeks getting his lodging and boats for the camera men taken care of. Drew was the designer of the Jackson Coosa the first kayak specifically built for river angling. Drew is a celebrity in the kayak community. Many have imitated his design since it' s inception in 2011. My first Jackson was a Coosa from the first year they were made. It was sky blue cloud pattern. I bought from elevation it was a demo. That boat has lead to me buying two more and many of my friends buying Jacksons. Drew also designed the Coosa HD and continues to work for Jackson promoting and designing fishing kayaks. Drew and his crew fished the Sandstone to Meadow Creek section Sunday. I had to work Sunday but was able to catch dinner in town with him and his production crew and was able to fish today on the New river to film the back half of the segment. The water as usual did not cooperate. The Corps were running 6 gates and the water was heavily stained. On Monday morning the only thing we could fish was from the dam to the first bridge. Robert Lane of Twin Rivers Guide Service was nice enough to ferry Drew's producer and camera man around. We fished the from the dam to the first bridge stopping at any spot we could find that had semi slack water. We would lock down on a spot with power pole/river stick and work the area. The bass were feeding good but it was hard to find size. I was through a hula grub and getting bit a lot. I ended up catching 35 but sadly the biggest was only 14.5". Drew worked a spinner bait between around the island between the two rivers catching a 17.5" and two 16" fish. We finished around 1pm. Drew as satisfied we had done enough to make a good episode. It will air in February on the Hooked on Wild Waters Youtube channel. It was a fun day but it takes a lot of time to film a show and changes dramatically the way you have to fish in a premeditated manner. It was a memorable experience to get to fish andt talk to Drew who is a great guy and even better angler.
Total fish caught = 35
Time on the water = 6 hours
Miles floated = 2.0
Minutes per fish = 10.2"
Biggest five fish = 62.5"
I floated the Greenbrier at the Big Rock hole after work for a couple hours. The fish did not want to chase in light of falling water conditions. I caught one a fluke. Then I switched over to a hula grub and started getting bit quick. I landed 10 fish in about an hour and missed and or lost several more. None of my fish were of any size. 14 inches was the biggest. They were really liking a the green pumpkin with chart tipped up legs.
Total Distance Floated = 0.3 mile
Total fish Caught = 10
Minutes per Fish = 12.1
Biggest five fish = 54 inches
Monday, May 15, 2017
I had a day off today but nobody to fish with. Pipestem's Long Branch Lake was the only remaining fishable water left in the county in light of our recent longstanding rainfall and flood waters. The fish were in a negavive mood thanks to a high pressure front. I have not fished here in years but had done well a time or two in the past. I fished shakey head and senko to no avail. I did manage to catch one on a fluke with no other hits. I worked my way all the way around the lake and then called it a day as the wind started picking up.
It happens to all anglers and today was mine. The old zero. Brad, Nahodil and myself drove over to Moncove lake today because the water in all of our rivers was at flood stage and rising. The two weeks of May rain have really taken a toll. When we got there it was quiet, but shortly there after dozens upon dozens of cars started showing up. They were having a trout kids derby day. We were relegated to fishing only the upper end of the lake. I found the fish to be in a bad mood. No surprise with it being post cold front, windy, falling water and cold. I hooked and lost two fish but landed neither. Brad caught two on a crankbait. Greg caught two on a spinnerbait. Tough day of fishing. We had an awesome lunch at the Swinging Bridge over in Pain Bank, Virginia. The first two weeks of May are usually excellent fishing, however this year they have been awful. Cold, heavy rain, high water and not much opportunity to get after them.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Greg and I floated from Barger to Willowwood on a higher than normal Greenbrier. We missed out on the best part of this float due to a nasty thunderstorm that came through with cloud to ground lighting. We only really got to fish to just above the State Road garage. I caught a few on a fluke. My biggest was 16". It was extremely hot and humid when we started and was pouring down the rain by time the storm had hit. The high heat conjured up one serious thunderstorm.
Miles floated/ fished = 5 floated/2.5 fished
Total fish caught= 16
Biggest fish = 16
Biggest five fish = 58"
Minutes per fish = ??? not sure in light of the storm. I would estimate ~ 16 or so.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
We had a wet one for our first SCKBA event of the year. We had 22 anglers who came out and braved the rain in the Bluestone Lake Challenge. It was pretty calm for the first hour then the wind and the driving rain started up and did not stop until well after weigh in. This was our first tournament with a five fish limit instead of a three fish limit. I started off at Bertha fishing shallow below a mud flat and found no interest in my flukes. So I moved out to deeper water thinking that maybe the temperature drop had pulled the fish out from the shallow pre spawn hunts. The wind picked so much so that I was unable to throw a fluke or plopper at all. I upsized to a 1/4oz. shakey head with magnum shakey worms. After 2.5 hours of nothing I finally got a bite off of a laydown tree off the bank a 13.5" keeper. I then started looking around and found another stickup and picked up 17.25 keeper. I went down to the next laydown and got another 16" keeper. By now I was only fishing laydowns and was consistently getting bit despite the wind. The good part about bad weather is that there where virtually no bass boats working up there which is completely unheard of on a Saturday in April. I paddled back to my first laydown and then IT happened. I pitched my shakey head into the laydown and hooked a good 18 inch plus fish. This fish did a big tail walk and then spit my shakey head and came off. I was sick. But I kept fishing and pickup up a smaller 11.5 and another 13 inch keeper. I had a limit of five fish on a day when limits where going to be hard to come by.
I went to weigh in feeling solid about how I had hung in there and pieced together a good pattern while enduring the harsh conditions. The river stick helped me a lot on this day. It allowed me to get up wind of my laydown, keep the wind at my back and pick apart my targets despite the wind and waves from the wind. At the weigh in I learned that I had finished 2nd out of 22 anglers. Bryan Bostic my buddy had bested me by 0.5 inches by getting his best limit ever on Bluestone lake to take the win. The 18 fish I lost cost me a win, but I didn't beat myself up because that kind of thing happens especially in the rain and wind. We had some good give-aways and I still won $60 on a $10 buy in.
Total Fish = 5
Total Hook up = 7 (5 keepers + 1 lost big fish and 1 lost short fish)
Minutes per fish = 66
Biggest fish = 17.25" Tied with Greg Nahodil for tournament big fish
Biggest five fish limit = 71.75" (2nd place finish out of 22) 72.25" by Bryan Bostic won.
Friday, April 21, 2017
A pattern came together on this day. Bostic, Jaquan, and I floated from below Brooks falls down to right above Sandstone falls. It started off foggy and cool and cleared up. After the sun showed itself the fish started to bite. I tried square bill, g-tail and plopper early with some result but slow going early. The water surface temp on Bostic's sonar was 63 degrees. The fish really did not want to chase all that much. I finally figured out that if you could find a ledge going from 2 to 4 feet more (water that goes from brown bottom to green), nearby deep water, and shade over the top of that you were going to get bit. I found today that fishing a fluke and killing on the ledge drop had the best effect, especially around laydowns and stickups. I ended up with 13 fish but had 4 fish over 14 inches. I missed several more due to not having thrown a fluke in some time. I was also changing up with a plopper some and pickup up a few that way. My biggest was a hair over 18.5 inches. Jacquan caught several off of a square bill and Bostic was doing well with a tube. Jacquan caught a nice fish in the 20 inch range and had it flop off the board before he could get a picture on the hawg trough. We managed to hold off the rain and put together a good spring time float.
Miles floated = 3.0
Fish caught = 13
Minutes per fish = 20.5
Biggest fish in inches = 18.5
Biggest five fish in inches = 73 inches
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Brad, Greg, Jaquan, and I fished from the dam down to the first takeout on this Saturday Morning. We started at 7:30am and finished up around 11am. I struggled today to put any kind of formidable pattern together. I tried a square bill, tubes, g-tails, and a plopper. I caught a fish or two off of each in various locations. The fish may have been getting ready to spawn because everybody else struggled as well. Jacquan had the big fish of the day at 17.5 inches. Greg caught 7 mostly on tubes, Brad had 7 mostly on g-tails, and I caught 7 on a variety of stuff.
Miles floated = 3.5
Fish caught = 7
Fish per minutes = 30.2
Biggest fish in inches = 14.5
Biggest five fish in inches = 59.5
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Greg Davis, Brad and I floated from the two bridges down the first take out, which is now a full on construction zone by the way. We fished for 2 hours and 20 minutes. I started off slow and all out of sorts. After having fished my last 8 trips on lakes I seem to have lost my rhythm for floating down the river and taking what she gives you for casting opportunities. But it did not take me long to re acclimate. The weather on this evening was perfect with water temps in high 50's or low 60's. The fish were not in moving water. I thought they would be in water deeper that 3 foot but I was wrong . Because shallow water warms quicker I found them in very shallow calm water pockets some as shallow as 2 inches deep. I started off with a square bill but they were not having that. I then went to a white g tail and caught a few, which is what helped me to pinpoint their locations. Once I figured out how shallow they were I changed to topwater and that is when things started getting interesting. I caught one over 15 inches right off. I told Brad what I had found and then he started catching them as well. It took me a while to get sorted out but once I did the last 45 minutes of fishing was solid. I ended up with 7 fish, 3 of which were over 15 inches. This was my first river float of the year, first of many to come good Lord willing.
Miles Floated = 3
Time fished in hours = 2.3
Total fish caught = 7
Fish per minute = 20
Biggest three fish = 43.7 inches