Richmond/James River

by Chris McCotter

   May on the tidal James River can be as productive as it gets for multiple species including striper, blue and flathead catfish, hickory and American shad, white perch, largemouth bass, the list goes on. 

  Water temperatures should be getting close to the spawning range for catfish so the bite will be fast and furious until the river is consistently above 74 degrees. Like a switch the bite will die and the spawn will be on. 

   Trophy class rockfish will be scattered throughout the river. Anglers will want to use white bucktails and a grub trailer casting around rocks and jetties. 

   Bass fishing on the tidal James River has been outstanding this spring according to   James River Tackle Co. owner Donnie Bell.

   “Bass will still be in little cuts where they can get out of current and spawn. In the turns in the creeks. Chippokes and Wards Creeks are particularly good.”

  Bell notes by the end of the month you’ll want to switch over to buzzbaits, small crankbaits and creature baits for post spawn bass. He is now stocking more bass tackle than ever at his Hopewell shop, just blocks from the boat ramp at Hopewell Marina.

   Over on nearby Lake Chesdin, W2 Pro Staffer Red Fisher says the lake reached 60 degrees early last month and the shad moved into the creeks.  A nice pre-spawn feed began with bass, striper and saugeye all feeding on gizzard shad.

  For May, Fisher says most bass will be post spawn and guarding fry around boat docks and shallow vegetation. Anglers can target them with wacky-rigged worms and soft plastic jerkbaits.

 By the end of the month there should be a strong morning buzzbait and frog bite developing in creeks like Namozine, Cattle and Whipponock.  Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and crankbaits are good during the day on Chesdin. 

       The James River Tackle Co. Sunday Series tournaments kicked off March 25 and 34 teams fished. Nathan and Anthony P. won with a 16.88-pound limit anchored by a 6.25-pound lunker. Marshall S. and Christopher W. were second with 16.61 pounds. The teams will next fish May 20 and then June 10. All events launch from Hopewell Marina.

     Let’s not forget the annual shad run up the James continues this month. Shops like Pat’s Sporting Goods in Chester, Castaway Sporting Goods in Chester and Green Top Sporting Goods have plenty of shad darts and spoons. Green Top even has an extensive fly fishing department.

  Green Top carries dog kennels from Ruffland and Dakota. The store is in fact, dog friendly, so you can bring your companion and size it to the right kennel.

  Congratulations to the top finishers in the annual Green Top Long Beard Battle. This event focuses on youth turkey hunting and takes place on Youth Hunting Weekend in early April. See the story on page 20 for all the details.

  Pat’s Sporting Goods also houses an archery pro shop and those talented hunters attempting to harvest a late spring gobbler with a bow will want to stop by and have Pat tune up their bow or cut them some new arrows.

  Robbie Patterson and his team at Propeller Dynamics welcome you and your rig to the shop. Patterson sells Xpress aluminum and Falcon fiberglass bass boats as well as offer marine repairs, marine electronics installation and is a factory-authorized Minn Kota and MotorGuide repair job. They will service, sell and install the new Lowrance and Garmin trolling motors and lithium batteries and the specialized digital charging systems that service them. They had a few Xpress and Falcon boats at the end of April but they sell fast!

  Jo-Jo’s Fishing/Hunting Express is on the way to some great lower Rappahannock River fishing on Rt. 360, west of Mechanicsville in Manquin. The shop has it all for fishing and hunting. The upper Pamunkey and Mattaponi are also nearby.  

Related Posts

Woods & Waters Magazine contains monthly features on awesome destinations, new techniques, outdoor personalities, tide charts, our Regional Focus Reports, monthly columns from our staff experts and more. If you want to receive the best hunting and fishing magazine for Virginia, consider subscribing today!

Woods & Waters Magazine is Virginia’s source for hunting and fishing information featuring award-winning articles and photographs by top regional experts intended to inspire you to get out and enjoy life outdoors! Pick up a copy today at over 100 retailers or subscribe here.

Featured Articles

Latest Articles

©2022 Woods & Waters Magazine, LC. All Rights Reserved.