Destination File: Corrottoman River

by Aaron Ball

Back in October I got invited to go on an adventure that I have wanted to make for years. 

  My buddy Mark Faulhaber asked if I wanted to go chase speckled trout and redfish on the Corrotoman River. Mark spends a good amount of the fall on the tidal rivers on the eastern side of Virginia and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to these fisheries, so how could I say no to this?

  I had to meet Mark at 7am at Yankee Point Marina so that meant an early wake up, and a long drive down I-64 in my Silverado, but you have to do what you have to do for an adventure! 

  The Corrotoman River is an unheralded, smallish and wide inlet that meets the Rappahannock River upstream from the State Rt. 3 Robert E. Norris Bridge on what is called the Northern Neck of Virginia. The

Corrotoman splits in two prongs approximately 3.5 miles from the mouth of the river, with the Eastern Branch headwaters being near the village of Lively and the Western Branch headwaters being near the Town of Kilmarnock.

   Oysters were once big business in this area until disease arrived and killed most. Extensive experimentation of disease-resistant strains and management has restored this tasty bay resident. You will probably note waterman harvesting or see other signs of oyster beds while fishing the Corrotoman. 

  Anticipation for the day was high as I pulled in the marina and we launched my aluminum Triton into the calm water. Mark gave me a break down on what we would be focusing on, and I had come prepared with some baits he had suggested.  

   He advised what we would be focusing on is contour breaks in the river and for baits he keeps it really simple. Some type of smaller swimbait on a jig head. I generally prefer to throw a 2.8 or 3.3 Keteich, and I believe Mark was using some type of small Z-Man swimbait in the same general sizes. 

  We pulled up on the first area Mark wanted to try and it didn’t take long until I was hooked up on my first redfish of the day. After a respectible battle I had the fish boatside and I couldn’t help but admire the sun reflecting off it’s beautiful red scales. It had multiple black dots that are the trademark of the redfish. 

  Mark really put on a clinic, putting in multiple redfish, speckled trout and stripers in the boat.  It is such a pleasure sharing a boat with somebody who has spent the time dedicated to his craft as Mark has and his willingness to share ideas is much appreciated. 

   We worked several other areas and they all produced fish, and I continued to pick up redfish, stripers and even my first lizard fish – a very odd-looking fish for sure.

  We moved to another area that Mark had said produced well earlier in the week and this is where we put a cherry on the day.

  Mark had expected the fish to be on the break closer to the shore, but I was able to see the fish were actually relating more to the open water off the bank with my Garmin Livescope.  

  I could see several bigger fish in front of me, and was able to present my swimbait to them with ease using the foward-facing, realtime Livescope. 

  I popped the swimbait over the biggest mark and he instantly inhaled the bait.  I knew this was a better-size fish and after a quick net job by Mark. I had my first gator trout in the boat! 

  We were able to work the area and picked up several other nice trout, and I was able to show Mark some new tricks, which made the day that much more enjoyable. 

  We finished the outing off fishing some dock pilings closer to the ramp, and we picked up several more nice stripers. 

  On the long drive back to Charlottesville I was able to reflect on the days adventure. It is always so much fun stepping out of your comfort zone, trying new things, and meeting new people. It’s one of my favorite things about this activity we all love so much.  

   If you have an suggestions on a new adventures I would love to hear your suggestions or see pictures at my Instagram @PsuAaron. 

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