Richmond – Tidal James River Region

by Chris McCotter

James River Tackle Co. shop owner and  avid river angler Donnie Bell notes the fall fishing is progressing on the tidal Appomattox and James Rivers. He says water temperatures were around 78 at the end of September and falling and will drop into the upper 60’s by mid October.

He predicts bass will be moving shallow this month, following baitfish migrating from main river flats into the backs of creeks.

Largemouth bass on the Appomattox River  can be caught with spinnerbaits, Ricos and small crankbaits now.

Bell says to look for Appomattox fish on the flats in feeder creeks/drains like White Bank. He says you can also catch them way up under I-95 close to the WalMart distribution center.  

Bell prefers to fish a high, outgoing tide. He notes fish are up on the bank at high tide, then they start moving off and feeding. You might catch a four-pounder but most will be about a pound-and-a-half if you fish the Appomattox. Launching your boat at the free Roslyn Trail Access Ramp in Colonial Heights is a good starting point.

Over on the tidal James River, Bell says the backs of creeks will be the place to fish this month. Try Herring Creek, Ward’s Creek and Flowerdew Creek as the bait moves off main river flats at the mouths of the creek. Fish any laydowns and duck blinds you find in the back of these creeks.

Bell notes the big blue catfish will move up onto the flats on the James River by mid October. The mouth of Wards Creek is a known hotspot as is the flat behind John Randolph Hospital and City Point in Hopewell.

James River Tackle Co. is a 2,500 sq. ft. tackle shop located in Hopewell stocking everything you need for catch bass, crappie and catfish in the area’s rivers, lakes and ponds.

Bell is the tournament director for the James River Tackle Co. Weekend Series Bass Tournaments held on the nearby James and Appomattox Rivers.

The series culminated in a two-day classic held Sept. 10-11 won by Jesse Kidd and Matt Cooley with 12.78 lbs. on Day 1 and 14.23 lbs. on Day Two for a total of 27.01 lbs. They took home $1,642.

Other area sport shops like Castaway Sporting Goods in Chester, Surf & Turf Outdoors near West Point, Dance’s in Colonial Heights, G-Daddy’s in Carrollton, Jo Jo’s in Manquin are your sources for fishing information. Stop by and talk to the clerks. They will be happy to let you know what the fish are biting on around the region. 

The annual Green Top Sporting Goods Outdoor Expo is coming October 1-2 this year. The Expo has quickly become a phenomena for Green Top, attracting over 15,000 folks to the store and the 200+ vendors arrayed outside in massive tents and in a portion of the parking lot. 

The 2022 Green Top Outdoor Expo will also prominently feature the “Virginian” — an exclusive, limited edition version of Benelli’s venerable Super Black Eagle 3 semi-automatic shotgun. Only 300 “Virginian” shotguns were produced by Benelli USA exclusively for Green Top’s 75th anniversary and a limited number will be available for sale at the Expo.

Area archery pro shops like Shooter’s Archery in Partlow and HuntNShak Archery Center in Richmond are ready for your visit. Big box and online shops have very little ability to help you set up, tune or troubleshoot with your bow or crossbow. Check with both shops if you need bow work or new arrows this month before they get too busy.

Robby Patterson and his crew at Propeller Dynamics welcome your trolling motor work. They are Virginia’s only factory-authorized Minn Kota, Motor Guide, Lowrance and Garmin warranty repair center. Patterson also sells Falcon and Xpress bass boats.

G-Daddy’s Bait & Tackle located just over the James River Bridge near Hampton says now is the time to try your luck on the lower James for the last of the croaker and spot runs. Stop by the shop for details.

Joe Joe’s Hunting & Fishing in Manquin is on the way to a lot of great saltwater fishing on Rt. 360 and the shop offers a great selection of all things fishing and hunting.

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