Central Virginia/Upper James River

by Chris McCotter

   Spring fever in the Old Dominion has many of us using our PTO days to wet a line and see what’s biting.  Local lakes and rivers are again teeming with anglers taking advantage of the warmer weather and longer days and it sure feels good!

  Ever tried catfishing?  If not then this month and next are prime times to try your luck on the James.  Keep an eye on the water temperature – when it climbs into the 70s then it’s time to hit the river.  You’ll have great luck using live bait and be certain to give your tackle a once over before dropping a line.  James River cats can be formidable so you must make  you’ve got good, strong line on your reel or you could risk breaking off a good catch!.

  You’ll find catfish near creek mouths and up-stream of log jams near deep holes for the best action.  

  While some prefer to fish for cats, there are many who love going after smallmouth.  Brian “Razor” Bodine of Razorback guide service is the number one smallmouth guide in the region and knows where to go and what to throw to land them.  This month Razor will be looking for smallies behind large current breaks like islands and boulders that allow these fish to establish and maintain their beds.

  “Tie on a spinnerbait, crankbait or a swimbait to quickly catch the move aggressive male protecting the bed,” advises Bodine.  

  “Once you locate the smaller of the two fish, throw a jig or Senko back in to catch the big cow sitting on the bed,” he adds.  Bodine implores anglers to return your catch to the water quickly so she can go about tending to the fry.  CPR is key – catch, photograph and release as quickly as you can.  

  Don’t forget that Razorback Guide Service offers popular “Businessman’s Special” guided fishing trips.  You can work your full day, clock out and then meet your guide for an evening of fishing.  These trips are a good alternative if golfing isn’t your “thing” and you want to impress a potential client or get some brownie points with the boss.

  Believe it or not, Razor is already booking deer hunts for the fall and now is the best time to call him so that you can reserve the best dates possible.  

  Some school systems start their summer break this month and it’s a wonderful time of year to take a youngster out after dinner and practice your shooting skills on area ground hogs.  Here in Louisa County farmers and home owners with land are genuinely happy to allow you to set up in a field and take care of those whistle-pigs.  Be sure to pack some drinks and bug spray and you’ll find that something as simple as shooting ground hogs will mean so much to a kid.  What an excellent opportunity to model and discuss gun safety and hunting ethics, also.  It’s our responsibility to pass on the tradition so consider starting today.

  James River Jets has been busy this spring custom rigging their Rhino boats for area river enthusiasts.  These boats are more durable and actually more affordable than you may think and there is no match for them on the James.  Give Jim Starkey, owner of James River Jets, a call and set up an appointment so that you can learn more about how easy it is to own one of his desirable boats.

  Lake Anna Outfitters offers a variety of kayaks that are perfect for anglers and waterfowl hunters alike.  Stop by their shop, located at High Point Marina, and see for yourself how versatile their kayaks are. A kayak is a thoughtful Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift that will be enjoyed for years to come. Your significant other will surely approve of adding a kayak or two tbecause they can be paddled by all family members in all kinds of water.

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