Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Memories: Boy Scouting the New River

When I was a Boy Scout our troop floated the New River.  We had so much fun and success fishing that we went again the next year.

Anyway, we put in just a few miles east of the WV/VA boarder.  Then we took our time (3 days) floating downstream.  I think we traveled about 18 or 20 miles over the course of the 3 days, which is basically a snails pace trying to fish every spot that looked promising.  We would camp the night on larger islands so as not to intrude on private property. 

It is some real beautiful country. We did encounter a few class 3 rapids but we were equipped with Old Town river canoes and our gear was stored in waterproof bags.  We would tie down our tackle boxes and fishing poles when approaching larger rapids to keep them safe during the ride.

The trip basically took us from VA into WV and it’s totally worth purchasing 2 different state licenses.  It seemed like the further we got into WV the bigger the smallmouth bass got.  And fishing from a canoe provides several advantages over bank fishing.

We planned it out so that some of the parents volunteered to pick us up at our stopping point.  I wish I knew the exact names of the public access points where we entered and exited but its been about 7 years ago.  I do know that they are real close to the WV/VA boarder though. 

It requires a lot of planning in advance and I would not recommend going alone.  If you can find a buddy to go with you its well worth taking off a few days from work for a 2 or 3 day river trip.  You will hit a lot of remote spots that simply not fished very much.  Over the course of 3 days I caught right around 100 smallmouth bass (many over 13"), plus lots of red-eye bass (which are a hybrid of some sort), as well as plenty of energetic bream. 

These trips on the New River are some of the highlights of my youth that I look back on.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Samllmouth Bass Locations in SC

I have fished the following river locations for smallmouth bass.

Broad River in South Carolina
Although South Carolina’s Broad River is not as heavily populated as the rivers that I mentioned above it is still a great river for smallmouth bass!  It also happens to be the river in which I caught my personal record smallmouth of 5-1/2 lbs!  I had to battle this bad-boy for three minutes before I finally got it out of the water.  So there are defiantly smallmouth bass in this river.

Don't just take my word for it.  Check out this great online article about fishing for smallmouth bass on the Broad. 

Location #1: Broad River Dam (Columbia, SC)

This is an awesome location.  Very scenic for being so close to downtown Columbia.  The river is easily accessed by car with a public parking lot and public restrooms.

The rapids here can be very powerful so be careful.  These powerful rapids also yield powerful smallmouth bass!  There is great diversity in this river location.  I have caught smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, stripped bass, bream, channel catfish, and long nose gar all at this location.  The fun thing about spinner lures is that they have the potential to attract other species of fish aside from just bass. 

There is also a sign at this location that says "Warning: Alligators Sighted Here," but I have yet to see any for myself.  At this location you almost have no choice but to wade out into the water on onto the rocky islands.  There are a few spots on the bank but they are not very productive and get over fished.  The bottom of this river is both rocky and sandy depending on were exactly you are standing, old sneakers are defiantly recommended.

Please note that this river location offers both great fishing days and aggravating fishing days.  Some days I enjoy back-to-back fishing action.  Other days I end up highly disappointed.  I'm not sure why the inconsistency.  I will say that your best bet for catching bass is the summer months early in the morning.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Smallmouth Bass Locations in VA

I have fished the following river locations for smallmouth bass.

New River in Virginia

The New River is awesome for smallmouth bass.  This river is on the west of the Appalachians and flows west into West Virginia, then it becomes the Ohio River and eventually flows into the Mississippi River.

Location #1: New River Junction (Blacksburg, VA
This campground is sweet.  It’s a privately owned campground and it’s really nice.  There lots of stuff to do for the whole family like cannoning and tubing.  They take pride in their lush grass campsites for pitching tents.  The mountain scenery is also very beautiful.  There are lots of river access points.  My dad and I found an awesome spot just upstream from the campsite.  We had to wade in the river to get there and avoid poison ivy.  There are a bunch of big boys in this river.  I caught 12” and bigger back to back to back in this part of the New River.

James River in Virginia

The James River is prime smallmouth habitat west of Richmond City.  The James River to the east of Richmond City is probably less productive.

Location #1: Pony Pasture (Richmond, VA)
Pony Pasture is a public access area to the James River just west of Richmond City.  There are lots of trails here up and down the river that have fishing spots on the bank.  I like to wade out into the water and fish for smallmouth like crazy.  Under normal conditions this stretch of the river is fairly shallow and very wide from side to side.  This provides a lot of fishing territory.  Just remember to wear your old sneakers, otherwise the sharp rocks will cut you up.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fishing In The Rain

You will catch more fish when it’s raining.

In my experience this is not true.  I have caught plenty of fish when it was raining but I can’t say that the quantity of fish caught was any greater than when it wasn’t raining.  In fact the longer it rains, they harder it is to catch fish.  When rivers become flooded from heavy rain the water visibility becomes really bad.  Also you are fishing for the same amount of fish in a larger volume of water.  This decreases your chances of hooking as many fishies.  Smallmouth fishing can really suck after heavy flooding rain.  If it’s going to rain while I’m out on the river I would prefer sunshine interrupted by a slight drizzle followed by more sunshine.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Choose Which Spnner to Use

Spinner Lure Brands
My favorite brand of spinner lures is Blue Fox brand.  I have caught most of my smallmouth on Blue Fox brand spinners.  They seem to be the strongest and best quality for the money.  These lures cost aprox $3 per each and can be bought at Wal-Mart.  Other brands of spinners that are successful are Mepps and Roster Tail.   But I have had trouble with Roster Tail lures bending because of snags or big fish.  Once the shaft of the spinner is bent it doesn’t work as well.  But Roster tails are about $1 cheaper than Blue Foxes.  The size lure that you want should be a size 1 or 2.  Lures bigger than a 2 are probably too big for smallmouth.  The box that the lure comes in should list the size.

Color Selection
Choosing the color of your lure is important.  Bass are vision predators.  If you are fishing after it has rained then the water will probably be cloudy for awhile.  When the water is cloudy use a silver spinner with a brightly colored shaft.  Silver and yellow is a good color combination for cloudy water.  You can also use a lure that is all silver.
Good When Water is Cloudy

If the water is clear use spinners that are golden or bronze.  The shaft should be more natural colors like green or blue. 
Good When Water is Clear

Closing Statement
These are just recommendations for colors.  One thing that you must do is experiment with different colors and color combinations.  If you are not catching fish try switching to a different colored spinner lure.  Maybe try 20 to 30 casts before switching lures to give each one a fair chance.  Now get out there and catch some smallmouth bass....  Tight Lines my freinds!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Smallmouth Bass LURE and LINE Tips

I only use artificial bait when I fish for smallmouth bass.  Live bait or bait that used to be alive is messy, stinky, and slimy.  Plus depending on the live bait that you are using you can get bitten by your live bait via crawdads or hellgramites.  If you don’t know what a hellgramite is google it but be prepared for mental flashbacks to the movie Aliens.

Artificial lures are the way to go.  With lures you actually have to move your body and stay active, much different than fishing with live bait.  With spinner lures you are constantly casting and reeling.  I like to wade out into the middle of the river and climb up onto a rock.  Then I can cast 360 degrees all around like a clock.  This way I can cover a lot of fish territory in a short amount of time.  The same strategy can be applied while in a canoe or kayak.  Although it looks more natural to cast upstream and reel the lure in the same direction as the currant, I have had equal success by casting downstream and reeling against the currant or even sideways accross the current.

Spinner lures are easily transported and light weight.  I carry about five lures in a little case that fits in my swimsuit pocket.  I also carry a small Swiss army knife that has the built-in scissors, this makes for switching lures more efficiently.  Never use a swivel!  Although swivels make switching lures very easy they cause the entire lure to spin in the water when you are reeling in.  When the entire lure is spinning it looks unnatural.  Get used to tying fisherman’s knots.  When the lures is tied on directly to the line only the spinner part of the lure spins.  This looks much more natural to the fish.  Note that most spinners have 3-pronged hooks, this will increase your chances of hooking the fish and preventing the fish from escaping during the fight.

I use 8lb test line.  With smallmouth and largemouth that is all the strength that you will need.  So far my favorite brand of fishing line is Spider Wire, which can be bought at Wal-Mart.  Set the drag on your reel to low and be prepared to fight hard.  If the drag is set too high the line will snap when you hook a big boy because the line won’t be able to give.  When the drag is set low like it’s supposed to be the fish will be able to pull your line out at first, but eventually you will tire the fish out and bring him in.