Winter Fishing Report/Tips Thread

Well, I hope your fall fishing season went better than mine. I put 11 days of drum fishing over the course of three tips grinding on average 14 hours a day and didn't manage a single citation drum. It is my first drumless season since 2011.

When red drum were not factored, the fishing was solid. My last trip was a three day run last Wednesday through Thursday. If you enjoyed light tackle bluefish, you could catch a bluefish every couple of casts all day every day. Gotcha plugs produced the best numbers primarily because the hook up ratio was highest. My buddy and I limited out (15 per person) each before daylight and the blues continued to bite all day. I used the bluefish heads as baits because spot were impossible to come by.

I spent most of the trip using a double trout jig, but instead of using the TWs B&T jig bodies, I replaced them with gold flake Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ in an effort to get a keeper trout. I probably caught 60 trout over the course of three days by slowing down and dragging the bait underneath the bluefish. The blues were still thick on the ZMan, and unlike my Shad Assassins (which the tail would get bitten off on the first class), the ZMan's held together. I only went through six ZMan's the whole trip. They made a believer out of me.

Drum fishing was rough. One morning, I fought six carhood rays over a five hour period. It was agonizing. There were some other garbage on day 1 and day 3 (mostly biter and sand tiger sharks.) One lucky angler managed a skinny, 7 foot long tiger shark. I have only seen two before in 20 years of pier fishing. Here is video footage.

The drum run just never happened for the northern OBX. Boat anglers in the Bay wore them out for months and the just would not leave. The southern OBX piers and Hatteras Beaches got local drum coming out of the Pamlico. We were in the dead zone, with fish passing well off the beach when they trickled down. I have never seen anything like it. Even in years where I struck out, other folks were catching. I saw three drum landed all year. I don't get it.

Now we are in November. Hopefully I can joing IAmFish down in the Bay. I also will probably make a few runs over to Cambridge MD to catch schoolies off the Burton Pier.

What else is cooking?

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Comments

I'll be heading to Nags Head this weekend to go fishing with a friend. I'm an absolute beginner; do you folks have any tips for shore fishing?

Red one oz jighead with a chartreuse gulp minnow, dragged very slowly in the slough's close to the lip of the beach. If the surf is relatively calm there should be plenty of trout and maybe a puppy drum.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I concur. Trout and puppies love that gulp stuff. Fish have been hot up the Piankatank this fall, but when 3rdGen and I went last Sunday, they'd taken the day off. They've been getting rockfish, grey and speckled trout, and bluefish. Scouted the mouths of the 'tank and the Rapp, but no birds, bites or boats. I'll let you know when those darned rock decide to gang up down here.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

"If the surf is relatively calm"... ain't gonna happen this weekend. Heavy NE winds expected overnight that are supposed to settle-in to +/- 10 mph NNE winds for the weekend. Time to drink heavily and watch football.

The surf was super rough, but I still reeled in a striper and a puppy drum!

I'm an absolute beginner; do you folks have any tips for shore fishing?

The key to all of this is to remember that the Presbyterian mollusks wear linen jodhpurs and react accordingly. If you ever don't unwind the spool of the slough over the lip, you'll definitely want to. Never under any circumstances ignore the wave motion of the inlet signals, as this often indicates a big run on the jetty where you definitely won't want to be. Be sure to check the tides.

Chem PhD '16

I'm an absolute beginner; do you folks have any tips for shore fishing?

Red one oz jighead with a chartreuse gulp minnow

Chem PhD '16

I'm dense. I still can't decipher the post to which I replied. Perhaps it's fisherman code?

No I was just making stuff up. But if Rigging a one oz jighead with a chartreuse minnow means something, then anything can mean something.

Chem PhD '16

Rigging a one oz jighead with a chartreuse (gulp) minnow doesn't mean something...it means EVERYTHING.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Right, and so does "the Presbyterian mollusks wear linen jodhpurs"

Chem PhD '16

I appreciate the attempt to be funny. But, the tenor seems to be more making fun of fishermen and less good jest. Hence, it isn't funny.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Wasn't trying to mock fishermen as much as poke fun at any sort of niche slang and jargon, especially when someone admits they have no clue about anything. Apologies for the flat delivery.

Chem PhD '16

It was neither niche slang nor jargon. The jighead is standard and ubiquitous, fishing 101 if you will, and Gulp is a brand of saltwater artificial bait that is well known and sold everywhere you can buy beer within 50 miles of the coast. Chartreuse is, again, a standard color for many, if not most saltwater inshore baits. If the fisherperson goes into a tackle shop, that's what they'll find. French also gave a "cut to the chase" way to work the bait for an effective presentation and decent chance to catch many or most of the fish that would be there.
Far from a cryptic, cute or insider talk answer, what French did was give the poster that clue. Books are written, people make a living teaching or serving the fishing community, and some of us have a lifetime invested in learning it. Impossible to tell someone all of the things they need to know to fish. They gotta learn it for themselves with hints and help along the way. French's post was both.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

What's funny, to me at least, is that I understood 100% of the post about the jighead and Gulp minnow, and approximately 0% of the post that followed.

Now that I understand it, I see the humor in the post. Made-up jargon is a go-to wise crack in my family. But I also agree that it definitely could have been taken as insulting due to the delivery.

Thanks French and Fish, as always, for your fishing insights.

And I agree with you, I thought it was funny, too. More condescending than insulting, I thought, but the humor was there and fairly well delivered.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I didn't understand a damned bit of what was suggested to me without Google. Please don't act like it was beginner-friendly, because it was anything but.

Well, sorry about that. If you have more specific questions, perhaps the answers would be more helpful. If you want to learn more about the sport, though, I'd suggest a long visit to a well respected local tackle shop. A professional guide would also be of tremendous help, but most of us learn by going out with knowledgeable fishermen and asking questions that can be answered in person. My particular point is that you cannot get all of the instruction, tips and hints that you need to go fishing successfully in a forum like this. I, for example, have given my home phone number and email address out on TKP more than once for anyone who'd care for a more in-depth discussion, and there are a lot of people on this site who know more than me about any kind of fishing you could care to pursue, but you have to give them something more to work with than you did with your question. It took a lifetime for most of us to learn what we know, and we wouldn't mind sharing it, but don't expect to speak French without learning the language, so to speak. Glad you caught some fish, though. Some folks don't do as well their first time out.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Fish can tell you, only I speak French.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Put these:

On this:

Walk to this:

Cast into it. Reel slowly. If it doesn't work, reel faster and slower. Change speeds until it works. Eventually you will catch something.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

As for how fishing technique goes, this will put it in a nutshell. I once had a book titled Proven Musky Tactics.
It contained 100 blank pages. Wish I knew what happened to it!

Year 3 is coming up!

Saltwater fishing = chartreuse gulp minnow

I fish my ass off and found it to be funny bullshit. In fact I disagree because the Baptist clams are the true indicators of a lake's state of fertility.

Year 3 is coming up!

I will be headed down to Beaufort for the long Thanksgiving Weekend. Taking a guided trip for kings, albacore and maybe a quick stop for trout. Then hopefully putting that knowledge to work the rest of the week focusing more on trout, maybe luck into a school of reds, albacore.

Lots of kings should be around if the weather doesn't go to hell.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

It seems like it's been a great season for kings. Seen reports of big ones caught and even people catching them on the pier with gotcha lures. With it being a little later in the season, trying to temper expectations of what will happen. I'm hoping the wind stays down for the charter and it's not too rough to go out to wherever we would go. If wind is up, staying in the backwaters or at the jetties for trout would be fine.

reds holding tight to the beach in NEFL. this won't last much longer

With deer season in full rut I've been a hobbit in the hills having left my fishing gear behind for the last few weeks and won't be picking up tackle till thanksgiving for some good crappie fishing caught one close to a citation last year hoping to hit that mark this year

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Maybe I'll actually go fish the hard water this year. I've lived out here for two years and haven't figured out why people find it enjoyable to sit on a bucket on a frozen lake when you can be hunting. That being said getting some pike, walleye, and perch in the freezer wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Thing is when can you catch a 300 pound fish with delectable tenderloins as big as your arms?

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I'm gonna need to drill a bigger whole in the ice. My deer season is pretty much done. I didn't get a rifle tag and once rifle season starts here everything dies and public land gets really sketchy; but its also the perfect time of the year to duck and pheasant hunt cause everyone else is chasin deers.

Visited my friend in Wisconsin over the summer and he would rather ice fish than anything else. And he's not very good at it. I think its because he gets to sit in his hut away from the wife and neighbors and drink 100 Busch Lights and watch the Packers game

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Hell yeah. Who doesn't want that?

Hey Fly, you forgot the beenie weenies.

Year 3 is coming up!

Dude, if he's got a hundred beers and a working TV in that ice shack, I'd be willing to bet we're talking brats at the very least. Beenie weenies is for southern boys lookin' for some veggies to go with that Slim Jim and Vienna Sausages.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

No way fish! I downed many a Strohs and cans of B/Ws in a shanty in MI!

Year 3 is coming up!

You're just a transplanted Southern boy, Musky.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Took the whole family fishing in WNC again on a very cold, rainy Halloween weekend. Mostly nymph and terrestrial used due to rain falling. Western Fork of the Pigeon as it flows into Lake Logan (private property). Twas absolutely beautiful water with the most amazing myriad of colors of stones we walked on.

Best part of the trip was my daughter finally catching TWO! trout after not getting any the last two trips out. She got a 15" Rainbow and this little Brown. The brown was her first on a fly rod and she was so proud! The rest of were skunked but to see her smile after catching those fish made it all worthwhile in the cold water and cold rain.

"Take a Kid Fishng!"

Year 3 is coming up!

Nice. Beautiful water, too.
Good sized rainbow, but a Brown is more fun, IMHO.
She'll remember that forever.
Some of best fishing can be done under those weather conditions.
If the nymphs don't work and the water's stirred up, I carry some crazy streamers that tend to pull up some of the bigguns. (I know, I know, but it has worked, and especially for kids, it's easy like fishing a spincast rig on a fly rod.)

I know a few world class fly fishermen that have no problem using streamers to catch big fish in stained water. It's not like using dynamite or blasting caps.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I need to fish more.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

That's true for most of us most of the time. It's especially accurate on days like this.

Up until Sunday it had been over a month since I had been on the water. Spent all Saturday night tying and woke up at 5 a.m. and headed Down East to Cape Lookout. My buddy recently returned from Alaska aboard a commercial fishing vessel and had a brand new (to him) toy, a Contender 25 with new twin Yamaha 200s. I was to be his guinea pig for chasing Albacore and potential trips offshore for king mackerel and black fin tuna. His girlfriend and fellow Hokie, Natalia, joined us. She knows her way around a boat quite well.

Sunday there were albies up for a bit, but they were super picky. I hooked one on the very first cast and broke him off. Hooking fish on the first cast is bad luck in my book. We went 15 miles offshore to a king spot and got skunked. His new boat took the heavy chop and seas very, very well.

Monday we again chased albies. They were there, but very small and sporadic schools that would stay up for a max of 20 seconds. For those not familiar with this style fishing, you are on the lookout for breaking fish and birds diving, drive the boat up and make casts to the fish. It is extremely hard with the rocking boat, wind, bad weather and buck fever. It's even worse when they won't stay up. I made over a dozen really good casts and for some reason the fish wouldn't eat. We realized they were eating micro-bait, so I cut my albie fly down to 1.5 inches and hooked up finally. Man I love that pull, drag screaming and line hissing through the water. The fish got more and more sporadic so we followed a few trawlers culling their catch. Albies will follow the boats and eat the small fish they throw overboard and this tactic is kind of a cheating way to catch them. This resulted in two more albies and were my first behind trawlers after traveling down here for 6 years.

Tuesday Luke took me out trout fishing in his Hells Bay skiff. What a beautiful boat. I'm ruined and now need a flats boat ASAP. The trout fishing was slow. Luke stuck two on gear, and I missed a solid bite on fly. He decided to show me his favorite winter redfish spots, which turned out to be a great decision. We explored for awhile under overcast skies and finally the clouds broke for a bit so we could see them. We found 3 fish and I was able to coax one into eating. There is NOTHING better than watching a cruising redfish suck in your fly. It's a rush every single time I do it.

Had to head back to RVA today, wish we had hit the redfish flat again as it was sunny and 60 when I left. Will be back this winter for more.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

NIce! Flash-A-Bou?

Year 3 is coming up!

Which fly are you referencing?

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Shrimp looking thing that caught the flounder. Green in the drum's mouth.

Year 3 is coming up!

That's actually the same fly.

Redfish Wiggler, which has a tail of copper Kreinik, a collar of palmer chenille and then body of ice chenille, clipped flat on top and bottom. Tied on a hook bent to a mild U shape and properly weighted with lead wire. Flashabou can be used as the tail in leiu of the Kreinik. It's my best producing redfish fly and very versatile.

My video on how to tie it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fczrPopQewI&t=194s

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Seems the eyes were a bitch!

Year 3 is coming up!

They can be. I rarely tie them in any more when I fish the flies myself. For selling them though, people love the eyes

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Yes! Remember that lures are made to catch fisherman...not fish!

Year 3 is coming up!

love just a touch of copper and purple flash in a black bucktail jig for reds when it's fiddler crab season (cold weather with fish moving onto the warm mud banks/bars on the first part of incoming tide.

you can thank me later

Oh I've been pairing black, purple and copper for awhile now. Great color combo

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Black and purple are great colors in stained water.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Junebug anything!

Year 3 is coming up!

I've had luck with copper flash in rust colored bucktail jigs as well (white or copper head) in the lower St Johns River just upstream from Jax on the shell bars; but give me black in the marshes/creeks for about the next 10 weeks in N FL.

Another great write up, and you definitely know how to get a great hero shot out of it, as well. I know all about boat envy, and it sounds like your buddy has it nailed. Flats boat for inshore, great offshore boat for the big water. Ahhh, to be young and have money!
Still looking for a reliable striper (errr rockfish) bite here. Going out today to take the temperature, but with predicted winds, it won't last too long. The cooler temps should be pushing them into the area soon, if not already. Thanks for the report.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Sure thing and thanks for keeping me updated as always! We need to get out on the water again.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Just a heads up. One of my new acquaintances from the cobia venture went out and eeled earlier this week around the CBBT. He managed some with the biggest checking in at 44 inches.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Eeling is a great way to catch big rockfish, but it can be as boring as watching paint dry if they aren't in a biting mood. One of those endeavors that one bite, however, can turn a ho hum day into a whoopdeedoo. My old friend Scanlan got his brother a 50" drum at the Cell a week and a half ago.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

That is a great report! I have been on a 25 foot Contender one time, and man, what a boat. Speed, control, and comfort. It is hard to top.

False albacore are my favorite fish to catch on light tackle. NOTHING pulls harder pound for pound (amberjack is close second) that you can catch on spinning/fly tackle. For the folks reading who never have caught an albacore, nothing can dump a 2500 size reel faster.

Those trout and puppy drum must have been a ton of fun. This has, by all accounts from Virginia to down south, an amazing speckled trout fall.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Thanks French!

Those Contenders are flat out badass.

I expect a good trout fishing season here this winter.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Great writeup as always. I can't wait to get down there myself. Weather is looking good for a week out. Maybe sometime, we can sink up schedules and be down there are the same time.

Thanks! Sounds good

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Well, don't hurry down on my account. We didn't do much today...again... Managed one small striper first thing casting to the bridge pilings at the Gwynn's Island bridge. That was it. My buddy who lives up the Piankatank struck out a couple of days ago, and we found nothing there today. Also nothing out at the mouth of the Rapp. Man, you'd think that sooner or later those schoolies would be moving in, and I'll continue to try. When I find them, we'll ALL go.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

OK, just to follow up on my empty report, I have to say that it seems the stripers have shown up here in the Middle Peninsula area. Have had two good reports from the Rapp, with yesterday being a real show of birds and fish in the mouth of said Rapp. My friends got maybe fifty fish, with a 28" in the mix. This after a report from late last week of fish up to 32" at the Rt. 3 bridge (again, the Rappahannock), and birds galore, on the day I struck out at the mouth and up the Piankatank. The guys yesterday said the birds were so thick that gulls were landing on pelican's backs and harassing them into spitting up bait which they'd then steal. Hopefully, this will continue for several weeks. Let's go!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I had 5 days of fishing down at Beaufort. First day we went on a charter looking for albies and speckled trout. It was super foggy to start the morning which delayed our start of the trip. Fog didn't burn off til 9. We started jigging stingsilvers on an artificial reef waiting for fog to burn off more. Caught bluefish and gray trout every drop. Once fog burned off rode around for albies for 2 hours didn't see any activity. Which was surprising since the captain had his best day of albie fishing the day before. Went to the Cape Lookout Jetty. We caught a variety of species including 3 keeper gray trout, 2 nice black drum, more blues, undersized specs and a ray. Rode around for albies after bite had died down at the jetty. Didn't see any activity.
Fished the next day at the Shackleford Jetty, dad caught a 22.5" drum on a slip cork with live shrimp. Caught a small sheepshead and small spec. Caught about 20 undersized specs at the Haystacks the next day all on artificial which was cool to get the feel for retrieval and bite of the specs. Rode around Atlantic Beach and up Shackleford Banks looked for albie, didn't see anything and then headed to Cape Lookout Jetty the next day to try to find some bigger specs but it was slow for everyone out there. Tried to fish some docks up Core Creek after getting some info that a few keeper trout had been caught there. Didn't do anything other than get some live shirmp stolen. We went to the Haystacks again and caught some nicer specs in the 12-13.5" range. Overall, I was happy that we caught a bunch of trout seems like the fishing had slowed down overall in the area from talking to the guide this weekend.

Awesome

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Those are delicious....

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

I hadn't had black drum before that. It was very good. Definitely wouldn't mind catching more of those. Fun fight and good eating.

I have blackened both black drum and redfish (red drum) many times. They are different, but they are of equal taste quality in my mind.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Awesome report. Albies will do that, there one day and totally gone the next. I've been told by several locals and guides they are showing less and less. They think it has to do with the number of boats out there fishing for them.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

It felt like we were chasing after a unicorn with those dang albies. To be fair we only rode around looking for them for two of the five days. It makes me feel a little better that not many were caught. Is there a decent run of them in the spring?

Albies, like many other saltwater species, do not always cooperate like we want them to. There are still PLENTY of them around every fall, sometimes they are easy to find and stay up, sometimes they go down. Sometimes they eat anything, other times, only snot bait. A week and a half ago, I went out for two days of fishing for them on the perfect boat for them, with a Morehead local who is no doubt a better captain than most (and he doesn't guide) and we only got three. Both he and I were frustrated, but it's the way it goes.

I've had days of zero and days of 25. I introduced a friend of mine to this fishery this fall and he caught 75 over three days, his first weekend down there. He thinks it's easy and is probably in for a rude awakening next fall when they will only eat snot. Another friend and his dad have hired me to guide them for 4 straight years. We have landed one albie total, it just has not lined up for us. Keep putting in your time and you will get them, just like all fish. I have been after huge bull reds for years down there and have yet to get one. I will eventually.

There can be a few albies around in the spring, along with some bonita, but it isn't consistent like the fall. There can be nice schools of redfish in the spring, and this spring they had a run of monster bluefish, 10-14 pounders. Locals told me that happens once every dozen years.

Nice job on the black drum, I have never caught one in NC. November and Dec are trout time along the Crystal Coast. I've caught so many different species of fish off of that jetty it isn't even funny. Also seen some serious boat accidents.

If you want a fish that will frustrate and drive you crazy yet justified in disappointment for not catching, hooking, seeing or even thinking they are there, go fish for musky!

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

That what I'm understanding more and more now about the albies. I had only watched youtube videos where the bait is busting and they are wacking albies every cast. The fight they put up is so awesome, I definitely will stay after it next year. I will have to make sure to get down there a couple more times than I did this fall. I have heard the bonita only come in the spring. Are the schools of drum usually in the backwaters or out along the beaches more?

Thanks, I was really slowly dragging a live shrimp on a jighead across the bottom and it hit hard. I was surprised that the Jetty wasn't hot since it was later in the season and more trout should be moving out of the marsh. You are definitely close enough to other boats that something bad can happen quick.

I might end up fishing for musky this winter actually. One of my buddies lives up in Giles and has recently got a jet boat and primarily goes after muskies. I've heard how finicky they can be. Should be quite an experience or lack of experience of seeing any muskies haha.

Where did you catch that black drum? I generally fish the jetty early fall, and catch a lot of spanish mackerel and bluefish off of it. We also seem to get a lot of pullage from crevalle jacks. The past few years we have seen tarpon and mahi busting around it, but only when the water is warm and super clear. There have been years down there in late November/December the jetty was loaded with puppy drum and trout and everyone and their brother was out there fishing for them catching them every cast. Haven't heard that report the last couple of seasons. It seems those same fish have been along the beaches in the sloughs instead of on the jetty. Shark Island gets a good amount of drum all around it and particularly in the slot, but that's a bold move to go fish in there. I won't do it, unless for some reason it is calm as hell, and even then it is super dangerous. I will fish the surf on the west side of Shark Island if the weather/wind permit and nothing else is going on.

The spring time "outside" redfish are going to be 30 inches and up generally. Last year they were there in April. If everything comes together, the massive schools of them are reachable via boat. I spoke to a Park Service guy who works at the lighthouse, and he said in the spring he can be standing at the top of the lighthouse and see the schools of the bull reds swimming up and down the East Side and sometimes around Shark Island. I would lose my job if I had to work in/access to a fish sighting apparatus like a 160 foot light house. There are always puppy drum in the sound/marshes year round till they get to be about 28 inches, you just gotta figure out where to find them.

Bonita only come in the spring to my knowledge but they just aren't on my radar to make a trip for them. The new fish I want to get down there is a blackfin tuna, which get in close and be caught from boats on light spin and fly. Local knowledge needed from what I'm told. I was supposed to try with my friend this past summer, but didn't shake out. I'll def do a report when I do. Kingfish can consistently be caught in October and November in Onslow Bay depending on where the bait is. Lots of folks like fishing for them, I'm indifferent only because they are very hard to get on fly, but it can be done. I've tried it 3 times to both bait and fly fish for them and come away with only sharks, but my friend was 50 feet away in his boat and caught six one time we were out in the same area together! Freeline a dead greenback/menhaden and wait and wait and wait some more till your reel starts singing. The best bait for them is a live lizardfish apparently. French probably has more intel on Kings than I do, but they run very well around the Cape.

I haven't seen any boats run into each other near the jetty, though I'm sure it has happened. I have seen boats hit the jetty rocks and it got ugly quick. There are dozens of props and lower units all over that thing. I'm hoping to go snorkeling around it next summer and collect some parts. My local friend said the fishing on it is best in the fall and winter and is dead during the summer, so they like to go snorkel around it and look for lures, etc, when they don't have to worry about jigs and spoons being reeled past their heads, plus the water is warm.

Go musky fishing. It sucks. Until you catch one. Then drink to celebrate and it will suck again till you catch another (if ever). I've been 8 times and caught ONE. Granted, I only fly fish and it is decidely more difficult for musky.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

We were in about 15 feet of water, anchored about 40 feet off the jetty. I hadn't heard of anyone catch jack crevalles in the area. Probably cause they aren't good table fare I guess. Seem to be awesome fighters. I've watched some youtube videos of guys fishing the sloughs for puppy drum. What do you look for to determine what area to fish? Is Shark Island the shoal not connected to the point of Cape Lookout?

I have a couple spots in the marsh I've found to catch puppy drum. Always looking to try different spots. I've heard about those schools of drum on the east side but have never gone out there to try it.

I didn't know that Blackfin Tuna got in close consistently. I've seen some pictures of people catching them while king fishing. I've heard they are around the cape earlier in the season.

I bet you will see some crazy stuff on that jetty when you go snorkeling. So many boats fish it in the fall.

My buddy is pretty solid at it from what I get from pictures and talking to him about it. Granted he is conventionally fishing not fly. He was talking about getting addicted to it quick.

Thanks for the Black Drum details.

Shark Island is the island out past the tip of Cape Lookout.

What do you look for to determine what area to fish?

Are you asking in regards to redfish off of the beach?

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

You're welcome. We caught two that way. Talked to one of the guys at chasin' tails and it sounded like it was decently common to catch them on the jetty slow rolling a jighead with live shirm. Not sure how you would fly fish for them but I'm sure you have a way to do it. I'm fine exchanging some info, you know more spots inshore for reds that I wouldn't mind knowing about.

Yeah, I was wondering about how you find the reds off the beach? Are you finding them by riding around and see they busting on the surface?

Rarely will you see redfish on the surface, if you do, enjoy it. That's a treat. At some point or another they are traveling through the sloughs. I'm lucky enough that I've got friends/locals down there who will tell me where they have been. Still, they are only there some of the time. It's obviously a lot of water to cover. I know they consistently travel around shark island and I have seen several people out there chugging plugs through the surf for the big ones.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

It seems daunting for all the area you could cover around the local beaches especially when I'm not exactly sure what to look for. It definitely seems like something you need to be out on the water a lot to be in tune with. I will have to try out fishing Shark Island. I've trolled for spanish/blues with my grandad a good amount of times in the area.

Holes along the beach are what you are looking for and those are found by looking at the beach, i.e. how steep it is. The steeper it drops, the deeper the water will be in that area (in general). You can also usually see a bar off the beach. There is deeper water between that bar and the beach and then there will be even deeper water past the bar. The inside slot is what is called a slough. Reds will travel through it.

Mind you, I don't catch a ton of reds from the beach. I only target them when I've got a good report. You're more likely going to find reds by searching flats in the back. Mud/oyster flats in the winter/spring and grass in the summer/fall. There are tailing flats in the area but I rarely see fish tailing down there. They are more likely to be cruising, but do tail sometimes though. Google Earth is your friend for finding these spots and some days they are there and some days they aren't. I don't see a fish 25% of the time I go out on my most consistent flats. That's what make reds so addicting. Every day is different and it is maddening and amazing all at once.

For shark island, anchor your boat on it on a calm day. It's a cool island to just walk around. Good shelling. You will see the holes around it. Work plugs in the surf.

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I grew up fishing the Outer Banks, from Nags Head to Okracoke, and back then, no one around there had ever heard of a "redfish". There were channel bass and puppy drum. The reason they were called channel bass is that they would run the slough channel between the shore and the first sand bar, usually at night when I was a kid. Historically, the fish would run in such numbers that the water would turn copper red and the Indian folks were able to wade out with spears and load up on big drum, but the good ole white man helped wipe that stuff out. Chef Paul Prudhomme was responsible, unintentionally, for both the almost extinction, then the salvation of the large numbers of reds that we are enjoying today, with a little help from fisheries management and some really concerned anglers.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Find out sucks/rip tides- ie look for a place where the waves are coming except for one area where it looks like they are going out. Those are the Red drum ambush points. Also inlets are great spots if you can fish near a drop off.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Have had great November surf fishing for black and puppy drum on Okracoke in the past.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

HUSH!!!

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If anyone sees any good Cyber Monday deals on tackle, post them here. Alltackle had a sweet deal on Penn Conflicts ($80 for a $140 reel!) but they have sold out already.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

West Marine is running a deal on the Penn Conflicts, 20% off normal price.
Dick's is running a 25% off everything in the store. Pretty decent selection of rods and reels.

I am thinking Penn must be discontinuing the Conflicts. Seems like they are on sale in a lot of places, kind of like the Daiwa BGs last year.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

No, they have actually come out with the conflict 2's. Which they are marketing as their lightest spinning reel ever. Shaved 2+ ounces off 2000-4000 series. 5 ounces off the 5000 series. No reels in the 6000-8000 series shown on penn's website.

I am going to guess that Penn felt like the use cases and price point of the Conflict and SSV were too close, so they are driving the smaller reel market to the lighter Conflict and the heavier 6000+ folks to the SSV. I have caught a cobia on both, but not similar size so I can't speak to the performance. (The 41 incher I got at the end of my season was on a buddy's Conflict 5000 + custom Vega Interceptor rod.)

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

That makes sense to me. With your fishing applications with on the smaller reels weight matter more. Spinfisher is a classic and has the heavier max drag compared to Conflict. I don't really understand what the benefit of getting a Clash is. All you get is one more bearing and is heavier than Conflict. Would make more sense to jump to the Slammer which has higher max drag. Seems to me like Penn's lineup is a little crowded. The Cobia's I caught in the summer weren't big enough to push the reel's limit. I do have a Battle II 5000 that I'm anxious to put some work in on any sort of big fish.

I got a SSV 6500 and threw at plenty of cobia. For reasons that had nothing to do with the reel, I didn't get to try it out. My fish came on Spheros and Saragossa 6000's and a 5000 Conflict. Let me tell you, those big cobia were a problem with the little 6000 Spheros (which is like a 5000 Penn.)

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Gotcha. I would think that SSV 6500 would be able to handle them better with better drag and more line capacity. I would love the problem of having a big cobia attempting to spool me. I'd love to sight cast to some Cobia, I had seen how Salt Treated Fishing would have single person walk ons during the summer.

I can't recommend Zack enough. Damn good fisherman.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I followed his reports pretty regularly this summer and he got a couple Cobia every time and most cases he caught more. He seems to be so dialed into the fishery.

Talked with Zack at the FMAC meeting last night. If you book with him, let him know I recommended him.

One thing- he loves throwing eels, especially early in the year.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Will do. Maybe a couple of us on the forum can pick out a date and go out with him.

How different is casting an eel versus a bucktail?

Need a lighter rod with a softer action. He uses 7 foot TFOs and Teramar 15-30lb class rods with more of a medium fast action to flip the eels out. It is real easy to pull an eel from their mouth. But, the number of hits will go up exponentially if you can flip good eels at them instead of bucktails.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

but they have sold out already.

Probably on E Bay already!

Year 3 is coming up!

A friend of mine caught a mess of whiting, several baby permit around 6" long, several hardhead catfish, and a few small black drum in northeast Florida a week or two ago. Just dunking dead shrimp on a pompano rig with two dropper loops while drinking beer on the beach. Apparently it was a fantastic couple of days.

I was wondering, does the term puppy drum refer to red drum only? Is there a name for the juvenile black drum with the black and silver stripes?

Also, if you are consistently catching a certain size whiting (smallish around 10") and only getting a decent one every now and then, what can you do to improve the odds of getting more keepers? They're so good to eat in my opinion, just a pain to clean several dozen smaller fish.

Thanks!

Baby Permit??? Are you sure they weren't pompano?

Puppy drum is generally recognized as a redfish under 28" or so, but that also depends on who you are talking to. In the bayou, drum are referring to black drum.

To catch bigger fish, use bigger bait.

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Yep, puppies are reds, and like you say, small blacks are just drum. As for the bigger whiting, I have found that while you can indeed cull out some of the smaller fish by going to bigger bait, like from bloodworms to cut bait or live sand fleas, generally the fish seem to school up according to size groups, so you might try every trick in the book and not up the size. If they're not there...

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

This jives with my experience. I've switched from blood worms to a whole peeled fresh shrimp to very large sandfleas and it doesn't always make any difference. That being said, like most things with fishing, always nice to have a another thing to try.

in parts of Tx, puppies are black drum

Yeah I thought pompano as well. But when he sent me the pictures I found a thing online telling the difference between the two. These fish had the very bright orange area near the anal fin (not yellow like a pompano). Both the anal fin and dorsal fin were long and sloped back toward the tail. Do a quick Google image search for pompano vs permit. I could be mistaken, it's happened once or twice, but these fish looked exactly like every picture of permit I've ever seen.

Thanks for the info on the drum. I doubt I get to the bayou anytime soon. What do people call the various sizes of black drum and red fish along the Atlantic from NC to Daytona?

I'll definitely recommend bigger bait. Thanks!

Edit: added photo

FISHING REPORT:

VTFish and I went to the mouth of the Rapp. There were fish popping up under birds fairly well when the tide was moving. Unfortunately, they were small and they only wanted to eat VTFish's crippled herring/jigfish metal being jigged vertically. I got one fish that came kind of close to being a keeper casting to breaking fish. But, most of our hits were vertically jigging right on the bottom even as birds worked close by. Average fish was about 13-15 inches.

Note, when the tide bottomed out, the Bay became the Dead Sea. I messed up what might have been a good evening bite because I had to head back home.

As always, it is a pleasure to spend the day with VTFish. I had a great time. I love seeing rockfish rolling bait on the surface and it was a gorgeous day.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Truly a pleasure, French. Now, if I could only remember a tenth of the stuff you told me about football...

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Fished all day Friday and Saturday morning with Mike Smith who guides on the New above Claytor Lake. Muskie were the target and the other goal was for me to get some time behind the oars as I will be taking on a lot of trips for Mike in May. If anyone wants to float the New upstream of Claytor with me for big smallmouth on topwater in May, let me know and we will get you booked. The weekends are already taken.

As for the fishing, my arm is about to fall off from hucking 10 inch "small" musky flies on 350 grain sink tip lines on 10 and 11 weights. We fished our asses off from 9-5 on Friday. Saturday we fished from 8-noon. The water is absolutely gin clear, which makes these already finicky fish even more difficult to catch. Better to have stained water. We had four follows total between the two of us and saw six fish overall. I had three really hot follows on fish ranging 40-45 inches, one followed the fly super close on the figure 8 as I went over him FOUR TIMES before he left. He wouldn't commit. Watching these fish will leave your knees shaking.

On the way home yesterday evening I was just shy of Staunton and the 64 exit when a six point buck jumped the guard rail directly into my lane. I hit him going 75 and barely even got to touch the brakes. His head went flying off his body. First deer I've ever killed, I would have preferred to shoot it with my gun instead of my Sierra. The truck is in pretty rough shape, but I was able to limp her home. I'm fine physically, but the repairs will be a hassle. Keep an eye out for deer this time of year, they are clearly suicidal and if you are going to hit one, hit the deer, don't swerve and hit something else! Wish I had gotten the bucktail for more fly tying.

Friday, I am hooking up to the boat (probably with a rental truck) and driving to New Orleans for 8 days of fishing for redfish, exploring the city, a wedding, fishing, drinking too much and probably more fishing. Will have a full report.

Roast Beef and Horseradish. Two of the fish followed this fly.

Burnt Toast.

Skittles.

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I hope you're compiling all this and preparing to write a book. Say hey to the Gulf for me.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I've gotten lots of requests for a book on all of my stories/adventures... it's on the life to do list.

Will do! Let me know if you get into any rock at the mouth of the Rapp. Looking more and more like I won't hit that this fall/winter and frankly, I'm more than content with redfish in NOLA instead.

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Well this sucks. Looks like I need to postpone my New Orleans trip, until possibly February. My truck is in the shop until the 20th, getting $6000 worth of repairs from the F&CKING deer that I hit. Hertz rented me a truck for $500 for two weeks, but claims I cannot legally tow anything with it. Looking at uhaul, they would charge me over a grand. Far too much with my $500 deductible on top. This hurts me extra bad as I've heard many guides tell me the best time for the marsh is Thanksgiving to Christmas. Sigh.... oh well. Can't complain too much about first world problems.

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Ouch! And we don't get those great photos and your always interesting report. Sucks for sure, hope it works out ok.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Haha thank you! Never fear, I'm already talking to my Morehead City buddy about a three day jaunt down there. He found some 25-35 pound albacore and bull reds off of the Cape yesterday. Those will hold me over and I'll def share photos and experiences

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Dang, I didn't know albies got that big. Thought the 15-20 lb class was the biggest they got. Go get your drum!

Hokieflyguy, what would you suggest for a travel fly rod? Looking to get a fly rod for backpacking, so mainly would fishing for trout/panfish.

By "travel," are you specifically looking for something smaller than the standard four piece? Nearly all of today's rods are four piece, cast like the old two pieces and you can take them on airplanes as carry on. I've even stuck rod tubes in my backpack for hiking and you can often find one strapped to my dirt bike as well.

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I think so. I've been researching it some and leaning to a six to eight piece set up.

I've never owned, nor do I think I have cast a 6-8 piece rod. HBurgHokie mentioned something about Cabelas... I owned one Cabela's rod and it sucked. I know they have had some good equipment here and there over the years but looking at how poor their fly fishing section is in their stores (it's not even a section) would lead me personally to stay away from a company that doesn't focus on it. Just my .02, it could be a pretty good rod.

EDIT: Quick search and I found this link... which of course mentions the Cabela's Stoaway as a solid choice. If I'm you, I get the Echo. I own a few and they cast extremely well, are affordable and have great customer service. Well worth the $$$. Orvis isn't bad, good customer service, but their reels are subpar. Also, Orvis is way too expensive for what you get in my opinion.

http://manmakesfire.com/best-travel-fly-rod/

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While I don't fly fish like Hokieflyguy does, I have been fly fishing for more than 50 years. I also say stay away, or stay very wary of Cabela's offerings, and avoid paying Orvis for having the privilege of sporting their logo. There are a ton of great rods out there. I had a lot of trouble accepting the fact that modern 4 piece rods could be as good as 2 piece. Always figured the more pieces, the more possibilities for trouble. What with weak points at the gozintas and gozoutas or loss of sensitivity and overall backbone due to too many sections having to be perfectly aligned and firmly seated, etc. Boy, was I wrong. Today's 4 piece rods outperform my old two piece rigs and pack down into really portable holders that can make the trip on planes and in or attached to packs just fine. I feel like 6-8 piece rods aren't going to be as good as 4 piece rods, and may not be worth the space savings, and I was monumentally wrong before about 4 piece so I could be again, but I think I'd invest in a good 4 piece and convolute a bit to travel with it rather than buy a rod you might not use but for very occasional travel. Also, does the 6-8 piece rod give you the options of most of the weights available? What if you need an 8 wt. on this trip, a 6 wt. on your next trip, and a 4-5 wt. on the one after that?
I'd love to say that's my .02 worth, but it's probably worth considerably less. Let us know what you settle on.

Edit: I just measured my 4 piece Powell 6 wt. rod holder. 30 1/2" in length and light as a feather.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

The issue with Cabela's fly stuff is knowing who actually made it. A lot their stuff is actually made by notable fly companies and re branded, I've had the advantage of knowing which model is made by who but the quality of their products varies so much from line to line that it's hard for a normal customer to figure out which lines are actually good.

Bass Pro is the same way. For years I have used their large spools of monofilament. It's just Berkeley XL, a good all purpose mono they sell under their own label. When I first started buying it, I could get 2030 yards of 8 lb test for 21.95. Inexpensive ain't always cheap. Like you say, though, not everyone knows which is what and made by whom.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Right, working for Cabela's corporate made my view of their branded products as top notch products but only cause I knew the good ones. Unfortunately now we're owned by Bass Pro who I've never had a great outlook on their branded stuff and quite a bit of our sourcing may be changing.

I had no clue where their gear was made, good insight.

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That manmakesfire website was what I first started looking at for the backpacking rod. That cabelas rod isn't available anymore based off of their website. Based on doing some more research today and seeing how people were storing their rods on the pack. I think a 4 piece could work. It appears going with a 9' 5 weight is a standard. If I was to go the 4 piece rod, I remember you mentioning TFO in another thread for a beginning set up. I looked at the NXT or Pro II.

Depending on what streams you backpack into, a 9 foot rod may not be easily fished. Some streams are so tight a short rod is better.

Yeah that thought crossed my mind. Would a 7'6" rod be the go to then? Is a 5 weight still appropriate or go down to a 3 weight?

If I am fishing small trout streams with lots of brush overhang, I fish my 7 ft. 3 weight St. Croix rod but it is a two piece. This type of fishing is 90% of the streams I fish in my area.

To mirror all the great advice above, it all depends on how/what you will be fishing.
In general:
Size of fish affects the weight of rod.
Size of water/type of fishing affects length.
(There's a whole lot of gray area...)
You don't want to be underpowered, so go a little bigger if not sure.
I'd argue a 3wt is light...a 5wt 7' 6" is a better general East coast fresh water rod.
(That being said, it's GREAT fun to use a shorter 3wt on smaller tight streams and find some Brookies...)
Trophy fresh water East Coast, you can go 8wt, maybe a bit longer, but too long can be wieldy. (Actually great for tight streams with lots of roll-casting, but technical and makes general casting frustrating with branches.)

What waters are you specifically going to be fishing? If you are Brookie fishing, yes a 7 foot rod is what you want. But that is really going to hamper fishing for smallmouth in a river or bass in a pond

You live in RVA, correct?

TFO does make great setups at a good cost. Greentop often has them on sale.

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Yep, I live in RVA. I don't have any specific waters yet. This is more in the idea phase than fully planned out. I've gone backpacking a few times and thought it would be nice to have a rod along with me to fish some of the creeks. I don't plan on using it for bass at the moment.

I'd suggest an 8 foot 4 weight. Can brookie fish, trout and light smallmouth on bigger streams and light bass and panfish with it in ponds if you wanted, which you're going to want to do eventually I would imagine. I would get a regular 4 piece. I camp/hike with mine often.

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Thanks for the advice. I appreciate you helping me think it through. Once I figure out more where I'm fishing I will contact you on tying some flies for me.

Always happy to help and would much appreciate the order!

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What kind/brand of line do you recommend? I know there are a bunch of different things to look into.

Rio or Scientific Anglers. Lines aren't cheap in comparison to regular fishing line ($80 for the best), but they are the most important casting component in my opinion. A crappy/dirty/old line will take feet off of the length of your cast. Weight forward, floating which is designated as WF4 on the box, if you are getting a 4 weight.

What won't need to spend a bunch of $$$ on is the reel. On a 4 weight, it is simply a line holder.

When are you planning on making this purchase? If you wanted, you are welcome to come by my house and cast a few rods to get a feel for what you like.

I am out of town through the 20th however.

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Yeah in my quick search rio was the one of the main brands I kept seeing. I was going to get the low end TFO reel at 90 bucks. Up for another suggestion if there is something cheaper but solid enough to get me by. I might take you up on that offer. That would be very helpful.

You should be able to get by with any of the low end reels. Let me know when you are free to swing by. I don't have a normal person schedule, if I'm in town, it shouldn't be a problem

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Okuma Sierra reel, cheap but decent quality.

Cabelas Stoaway is a decent travel/backpacking rod.

Thanks for the input, that was one of the main ones I was looking at.

Had an awesome evening with several 'firsts' on Lake Anna yesterday. I used one of the local guides (Lake Anna Striper Guide Service) to go out with the family and chase striper on the big lake. This was my first time going after them, and it didn't disappoint; pretty addicting, actually. The bite was good all evening - we never got into them hot and heavy, but we did have a slow and steady bite. We probably caught 10, and missed 5 more, with the 2 largest being a solid 8 lbs, per the guide. After chasing river smallies the last few years, every fish we caught was a new record for me, and being there with the kids, with all of them getting excited and fighting over who gets to grab the next one, is one heck of a memory. I'm definitely going to have to give that a shot myself next year. I brought one home and fried it up a couple different ways, and wow, I had no idea how good they are. I wish I'd kept more now, I can't think of a better tasting freshwater fish at the moment.




(Not our boat, but a pic we took that I just love):

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Great report and really nice pictures to go with it. Glad you were able to get the family in on the fun. Making lots of memories for sure, and the right kind to boot!
As for better tasting freshwater fish than a striper, I have a few I believe are superior, but taste is so personal as to make for a moot argument generally. That said, I'll make a opinionated statement that walleye is far superior to striper as table fare.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'm wondering how Striper taste when they are caught in salt water vs fresh water (and better or worse)...

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Yeah I'm gonna have to agree with you there. What freshwater fish have you eaten? My top 5 would be as follows:

1. Yellow Perch
2. Walleye
3. Bluegill
4. Crappie
5. Everything but striper/hybrid/white bass

Sounds like you had a great trip. Way to get the whole family involved.

Smallmouth bass are pretty tasty as well, as are some catfish. Boneless, skinless filets, younger fish, etc.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Pain in the ass to clean SMBs?

Ate a northern pike this summer, that was good. Can't go wrong with snakeheads! I like beer battered LMBs. Rainbow trout cooked in bacon grease is good too.

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I can't eat a stocked trout anymore. They all taste like crap to me.

I hear ya, haven't done it in years

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Well, tiny fly caught smbs maybe, but the more robust of the species that I routinely caught, not a prob. Truth in advertising, I quit eating them probably 25 years ago when I began to target them as trophy fish, and before I started guiding for them, but before that, Mrs. Fish had them at the top of the grocery list for fried fish filets. This was before New River and Claytor Lake walleye came into regular play, but seriously, smallmouth are good grunts. LMBs? If you're talking about largemouth bass, I'd vehemently deny their palatability, tastes like muddy moss to me, but that's the thing about taste, right? No accounting for it.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Interesting and good to know when the apocalypse comes, I'll eat smallies! Yes, I was referring to largemouths, my neighbor used to beer batter them and fry them and it was delicious. Then again, anything fried...

Taste is everything. I know folks who LOVE wahoo. I think it's ok at best and over rated.

I, of course, do love it when our sports teams cook the wahoos on the field/court.

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wahoo is good but it is just too easy to overcook.

lots of people have them a ways down on the list but i LOVE fresh amberjack

Amberjack tastes good, but that visual of the worms crawling out of the meat when you put heat to it KILLS me.

I wish I could get back out for a good two hours of jigging up reef donkeys. They are soooooo much fun to catch.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

That's because wahoo has been beaten so much it's really tender.

hat said, I'll make a opinionated statement that walleye is far superior to striper as table fare.

Ha! I have 8 walleye in the freezer right now. Good on me!

Year 3 is coming up!

Awesome!!

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It is so cool to see them come up and chase the shad behind the planers. That looks like your kids had a blast. You can't beat that!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

what river were you chasing smallies in by chance?

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I used to live in Charlottesville, so I was on the James doing howardsville to hatton ferry, or on the Rivanna pretty regularly a few years back. Man I miss those spots. The sections I have easy access to now on the James are dead to smallmouth - I think I need a stick of dynamite to have any luck out there.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

You tried Hardware WMA to Bremo Bluff lately?

Negative, though I think FlyGuy said he won't guide on anything below Bremo anymore b/c of the Dominion's Coal Ash and the subsequent immediate disappearance of nearly all smallmouth. Flyguy - if you're around, is that right, and did that include Bremo, or was it after?

Hokie fan | W&M grad

If you have youll know fly guy is right that stretch used to be dynamite and now without dynamite you wont catch a thing

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

It isn't Christmas, and I am already watching cobia videos and tears are rolling down my cheeks.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Walleye
Yellow Perch
Striped Bass
Flathead Cat
NO LM / SM bass blech

EDIT: I have heard freshwater rockfish is not as good as it's saltwater brothers. I have never eaten fw rocks.

Looked like a great trip! Anna is an awesome reservoir.

Year 3 is coming up!

Yeah, my freshwater repertoire isn't very deep, I've never had perch or walleye, but I've also never experienced anything so easy to clean - a couple swipes of the blade and you've got two huge slabs of thick, white meat with no bones at all, that's ready to cook. Then they fried up so nice and tender and juicy. Maybe it was the shock factor, or maybe it's the auto-immune diet the wife has had us on, but it definitely exceeded my expectations.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I am not big on freshwater fish. Once you eat tog (tautog), it will be hard to go back. Tilefish and sheepshead are up there too.

I love wahoo, but it is really easy to overcook. Mahi, cobia, and triggerfish (nightmare to clean) are good too. Spot and spanish mackerel are excellent, but my dad had a weird allergic reaction when he ate spanish. I think his allergy was to the panko, but we still haven't figured out for sure what caused it.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Wait'll you get a chance to filet a walleye. Easiest fish in the whole wide world to clean. While I don't care at all for stripers, if you like them that much, you're in luck. There are a lot of them around. I'd trade you a hundred pounds of striper filet for a warm Miller Lite.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'd love to give it a try - anyone want to volunteer to teach me how to catch a walleye? I'm happy to trade for a case of beer or your choice, and a day of good company on the water. :)

Side note - my food recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt right now. This freakin' auto-immune diet has me drooling for piece of buttered toast.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I can tell you some stuff about a few places. Depends on where you are and what walleye waters are available to you. I caught a bunch in Tennessee near Rogersville fishing a warm water discharge at the top of Cherokee on the Holston. Philpott Lake holds decent numbers of walleye. I caught a lot more in Claytor Lake and the upper New River as far up as Fries. Since walleye are still somewhat active in the winter, they can be caught unless the water is frozen on Claytor pretty much all winter. Upriver is more of a spawning run that sees the biggest females moving up in February and an all out run from the lake up to Foster Falls at the Shot Tower park on I-77. Things can get a bit crowded there, and access is tough for anything bigger than a johnboat, but the river downstream holds fish and floating through is a decent way to get into some fish during the run.
Anyway, if you live near walleye, tell me where and I'll tell you what I'd do for what that's worth. There are several ways to go at 'em. As a side note, there are some monster walleye around in Claytor and the upper New. I know a guy who caught a 13 lb fish. My biggest was 7-7, but I caught a bunch over 5 lbs and several over 6 and a couple over 7. The old historical record for state record walleye was over 20lbs, IIRC, and from the New, so while there aren't a bunch of them, you know there are some whoppers in the system.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Walleye Butterfinger. They love these fished deep and slow above Claytor

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I can see why they would. Beautiful!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks! I have yet to get them on fly but we had a few follows from them last weekend. I just haven't specifically targeted them but Mike does

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I'm in the West End of Richmond + was hoping there might be some in Anna, but in looking at the VDGF reports, it appears they don't stock them there anymore, and numbers are probably pretty limited by now.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I am not sure exactly where he is finding them (he keeps it on the DL) but a buddy has been whacking walleye and schoolie striped bass in the Potomac. I guess he is fishing Chain Bridge but I don't know for sure and he is keeping it hush other than sending pictures.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Guys who catch walleye don't let on. It gets out anyway, and there are usually others who already know also wondering how he found out about it. I'm pretty open to sharing my spots now that I'm not guiding and have moved away, but when I was living in that area, I went to great lengths to keep quiet where and how, especially on Claytor. Anyone in my boat knew they were forbidden to land a walleye if another boat was passing by, or to slip it in on the far side of the boat if someone else was fishing nearby. Lost a few fish that way and eventually, the word got out on my spot, due primarily to me taking friends, who then took their friends, and so on, but I had it to myself for a couple of decades and landed a ton of walleye from that spot. Thing is, they'll hit a number of lures, jigs, and baits, so many get caught incidentally, but the real trick is to find concentrations and stay on them when they're biting. Finicky biters, too, and time of day, depth and current changes affect them. Fun fish, though, once you figure them out.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Not sure where Chain Bridge is but I have to imagine it is above the fall line.

Year 3 is coming up!

Interestingly, it is still tidal but right at the tideline. Chain Bridge Road (123) crossing from VA into DC above Georgetown. I fish for hickory and american shad less than a mile downstream. I have also caught smallmouth (small ones) in the tidal water down below the Jefferson Memorial, and there was an episode of the Mike Iaconelli urban fishing show where he was catching big smallmouth off a hot water discharge in northern Alexandria.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Game and Inland Fisheries tried for years to get the walleye to take in Anna. Just wasn't going to happen. Anna being somewhere between oligotrophic and mesotrophic (nutrient levels) can't produce the necessary forage base. Walleye cannot compete with LMB, rockfish and SMB population for the available forage. That's my take on it. Its been a few years but I heard that they were still catching some at Anna on the warm side of Dike #3.

Gaston has a few but is probably like Anna. Really your best bet is to head to the mountains as suggested or go with me to Lake of the Woods next summer. BTW it is snowing like hell in Richmond.

Year 3 is coming up!

The biggest VDGIF failing has been failing to come up with an arrangement to put striped bass in South Holston. It is so perfect for them.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

The smallmouth and sunfish populations of the James beg to differ regarding the dumbass decision to stock catfish in the river...

Also the brown trout in the Conway. (And by this I mean, leave them the hell alone! You put them them there, now leave them for us to enjoy.)

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I have heard freshwater rockfish is not as good as it's saltwater brothers.

Thanks for that input.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

While I totally agree with the blech factor of LMB, I vehemently disagree with you about the palatability of a nice smallmouth bass filet. It is far better than any striped bass I've ever tasted, and on par with bluegill and yellow perch in my opinion.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I've read through a spattering of the posts here so apologies if i missed any answers to my questions. I'll be heading to the Cacapon River (about 30 miles west of Winchester) over Christmas and am just looking for some general cold weather fishing tips/advice for smallmouth or any other other freshwater fish. I've already got the gear (basic rods, reels, lures etc.) so just looking more for what to try for and when and how to set up. Thanks in advance guys and happy fishing!!

Cold usually means slow. Try a senko style bait (4") rigged wacky or Texas. Soak it or let it naturally flow with breaks and riffles into deep pockets.

Year 3 is coming up!

This is good advice. Outside of striped bass (and skates/dogfish/ling cod in the surf), I have never caught anything in fresh or saltwater after early November. I know folks do well catching (float and fly was big on South Holston in the winter for smallmouths) but I never could figure it out.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

That's what I'd try as well, unless you hit a nice 3 day warming trend. Then I'd look for ledges where it drops off to deep water pretty quickly and fish that drop off thoroughly with a weightless zoom fluke (my go-to is white unless the water is dirty, and absolutely not a super fluke). The big fish can get really active in this scenario.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Mizmo teaser tubes on a quarter oz jighead fished slowly on the bottom of deeper eddies with short twitches or six inch hops, resting between movements. Green pumpkin colors for clear water, darker tubes for stained water. This is a good smallmouth technique in any moving water situation, especially in cold water. Like the man said, slow. If you think you're fishing too slowly, slow down.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

*smiling* - earlier, I started to ask that very question: 'what do ya'll think of a mizmo tube on a 1/8oz jighead,' and then deleted it. It's something I've only done once, but it caught them when nothing else was working. Thanks Ifish!

Hokie fan | W&M grad

You're ahead of the game! I usually went with 1/4 oz because I was fishing high spring water, mostly, and 1/8 didn't allow me to cast as far, or work the eddies as thoroughly. Smaller water with less flow, 1/8 might just fit the bill.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I have driven past the Cacapon literally every Memorial Day weekend for past 30 years and have yet to fish it. Looks to be a great little river for a fun day of floating in small kayak with a six pack picking apart holes smallmouth and sunfish. That being said, I'd expect it will be extremely difficult to catch fish this time of the year. There are several trout streams nearby that you would be better off exploring. I don't know names off the top of my head as I fished them years ago, but I know you can find them online. If you are throwing conventional, a small spinner with a single hook or (shudders) powerbait dead drifted.

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If anyone out there owns a 7'2 medium Shimano Terez Waxwing spinning rod and is looking to sell, hit me up. Apparently Shimano discontinued them and I am still kicking myself for not picking one up when GreenTop had them at huge discounts two years ago.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

The first one is only the 8 footer. The Terez is different than the waxwing (more expensive and a heavier grip.) The third one is promising. Have you ordered from them before? I never heard of them.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Nope, just tried to help with some low hanging fruit.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

I appreciate it. I am going to call and make sure they have them in stock. If they do, hopefully there will be a discontinued discount!!!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Based on a tip that some schoolie striped bass were hanging around, I tried out a new spot off of GW Parkway. The outflow looked promising, but it didn't produce any fish in 3 hours. I worked it with 4 inch pearl white ZMan Diezel Minnows, 3 inch and 4 inch storm shads, and small bucktails.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

But...but...but you didn't try Gulp!? /s

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It wasn't that promising a spot :)

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Went out on the bay last Saturday but had to head back in at 11:30 because it was borderline "The Perfect Storm" conditions. The fishing, however, was not bad at all. We were up by Reedville around buoy 65 and found some birds among the massive swell and caught five fish all around 27"-30" trolling umbrellas. If the weather was not so snotty I think we would have limited out because everyone was catching them. Last I heard of the migratory big boys, they were about to make the turn into the bay from the ocean. As the weather is growing colder, the last couple weeks in the bay should be pretty good compared to the last couple of years.

"Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." -Ron Swanson

I went to my first Virginia Tech bowl game while I was in the womb.

I've been unable to get out due to the wind/wave thing and having a small boat. Going to try to go Sunday if the forecast holds. I've been hoping cold weather would send the Bay fish down to us here in the middle.

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The bigger fish have moved down, especially around the steel ships.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

They're apparently coming down the coast and up into the Bay as well. Around Cape Charles, as usual, and most efficiently caught by drifting live eels. My boat's too small to run over there, but it's a good way to catch a 45+ pound fish this time of year. Calling for 1' seas Sunday, so 3rdGen and I are going to try to get into schoolies in the mouth of the Rapp. Hopefully we'll find more and bigger fish than I've been able to manage so far.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

good luck!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Unrelated... I am going to pick up a 2 pack of those RediRig floats. I may just run one up top and try some things next some- experiment if you will.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Always be prepared to experiment.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks for the report. You all have fun with the stripahs, I'm leaving them alone for this season and am going to focus on improving my fly tying and maybe take a winter mountain trout trip or two.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I went on a trip with a few of my buddies for blue cats on the lower James last Friday. We fished a bunch of different spots. The bite wasn't super hot but we managed 13 between the 4 of us. The largest one caught was 42 pounds. Caught all of them on cut shad. Near the end of the trip was the start of the snowstorm, it was pretty cool to see it coming down while we were out on the water. Main thing I took away was how important a good depth finder is when locating your spot to see the ledges and bait/fish. I need to look into getting one for my jon boat so I go out on my own to do it. Will post some pictures later

Awesome catches

There are a ton of big catfish around DC for NOVA anglers. However, I have no clue how to acquire fresh shad. You need a boat to get to one of the warm discharges like Blue Plains and gill netting isn't allowed. Not sure I would want to throw a cast net into the Potomac. You may end up with a body in it.

But if you can get fresh shad, the blue catfish are plentiful in Washington Channel, the Tidal Basin (left corner of the Jefferson Memorial steps holds fish all year), just below the 395 bridge, and I am sure other areas.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Thanks French! I'm in the same boat as you about figuring out the fresh shad thing. I've watched one of the Chad Ferguson (Catfish Edge) videos on youtube about finding shad. I'm trying to learn cause you definitely need the fresh shad to catch the blue cats most consistently. I know you can get frozen shad at Cabelas but obviously not as good as fresh. Still learning how to throw a cast net decently.

. Main thing I took away was how important a good depth finder is when locating your spot to see the ledges and bait/fish. I need to look into getting one for my jon boat

Buy the largest screen you can afford! I had a Lowrance with a 6" that was fine. Then it blew up. I replaced it with a 4" unit for the HDS feature. Great detail but it is so small it hardly helps.

And I just found out my Doc is headed to Patagonia to fly fish for trout. All it takes is cash!

Rate Them

Year 3 is coming up!

The huge difference between an $1800 unit and a $400 unit, for example, is something that cannot be denied, but in a lot of cases, the main reason for a fishfinder is as a depth finder. Depends on your fishing grounds, and what you are targeting, and whether or not the economy and your achievement has afforded you the luxury of an upper end unit. Still and all, you're better off having a depth finder than not, regardless of bells and whistles. In most fishing cases, though, the fishfinder doesn't find you the fish, just the places and situations that the fish should be likely to be found. Obviously, in bigger water and especially in the ocean. the more sophisticated the electronics, the more likely you are to locate the fish and bait and maximize your effort. In a jon boat, though, I'd be looking for entry level depth finding portability. Musky isn't wrong about screen size, though. Bigger screen is easier to see/use.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Something I did this year is purchase the navionics app on my iPad and have my depth finder display via wifi to the iPad. Works great and saved a ton of $$. Plus I can move around the boat with it.

navionics app on my iPad

Basically wireless on the boat. Too cool!

Year 3 is coming up!

Yes- one of the huge advantages charter guys have is using navionics to mark where they catch fish (and capture other conditions, like if they find fish in a spot where a temperature break, structure, and bait all come together) and then chart and have the boat go directly to those spots rather than adventuring around looking for needles in the haystack.

I can't tell you how amazed I have been when going bluefin tuna fishing, and the captain tells you that we will get hit in 10 minutes, and then 10 minutes later we hit the spot where the structure and temperature change hits and boom, 4-5 rods go off with 200 pounders.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Genius idea!

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Thanks for advice everyone! I appreciate the link Musky. Gives me a good place to start in my research.

There is some big Browns down in Chile.

Holy frijoles.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Nice fish, nice trip! My old friend, Chuck Kraft, used to go down there regularly and get 'em on his flies. Do you know him? He's from Charlottesville.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

That isn't me, I pulled it from Patagonia fly fishing website. I would love to go there though. Don't know Chuck, I only know a few people over in C'ville through work.

That fish is a horse! Yes, there are indeed monster trout in Patagonia. From my trip in 2012 below... Bottom fish was 24.75" and weighed seven pounds. Also caught a nine pounder but that one on the bottom is the prettiest trout I have ever landed. My best day I caught 14 browns over 20". Huge dry flies and small streamers were the ticket. By huge, I mean bass bugs and mice flies and "downsizing" to a size 4 Chernobyl ant. Streamers, a size 6, small green Woolly Bugger/leach type fly they could not resist in the lakes. It is the best trout fishing in the world.

I do have a lodge down there I host at if anyone is interested in details. It is the trip of a lifetime.

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You had me until the picture of the giant beetle. That triggered bad flashbacks to my childhood days visiting Colombia and being scared to death of scorpions.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Haha. Darwin's Beetle! They can't pinch or bite. The trout LOVE them.

There is a type of black fly in northern Patagonia called a Tabano that you should watch out for. Those bastards are awful. Like a big black and orange horsefly and they are seemingly immortal. They will land on you and you can slap them as hard as possible and they will just fly off. Can't crush them and they bite like hell. The guide caught one in his hand and we stuck a toothpick through the fly. He took off and flew away with the toothpick in him. Unreal.

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Where is he going? If he needs flies, I have ones that will work.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Slobs. I am not sure if they are as thick in the James, but I sure wish Maryland would put the snakehead "kill them when you catch them" order on the blue catfish in the Potomac. Nobody eats them because of the pollution, and they are running rampant on the ecosystem now. It is damn near impossible to catch a little pumpkinseed or bluegill any more.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Wow! Nice work. I've seen some close to that size cruising around but haven't been able to hook them.

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Thanks! That would be pretty impressive to get a big blue cat on fly.

Well, first, Hokieflyguy has to come up with a fly that looks like a shad that a smokin' hot babe has just bit the head off of...

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

The fly for these fish is called an M4. Big rabbit strip streamer. Don't have any super big ones tied at the moment but here's a photo on my site.

http://www.knotthereelworld.com/flies/m4

I can tie some "chum" flies though. And that chick is disgusting.

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C'mon, man. What she did was maybe disgusting (no, I wouldn't do it), but she ain't. Your cull line is set too high.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I am so lost.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Ok, I stand corrected. She isn't disgusting, but the mouthful of shad is. I still don't find her appealing, there's something about her look that I don't like. Yes, I am picky as hell and have a very high cull line (LMFAO great comment.) If I see an attractive woman, I like to say she's hard to look at, sarcastically of course.

For example, here's a nice photo of my future ex-wife, Rebekka Redd. Very hard to look at.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Sounds like she could F you up good.

Rebekka is a competitive martial artist – and holds 2nd dan black belt in TKD – training internationally and in Europe.
She enjoys traditional form with her weapon of choice.

Wow, did not know this. Good topic to bring up on our first date

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

She's got a really nice bass.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

There's some spots in downtown Richmond that hold them and you can sight cast to them. I'll make it a goal to get a 10 pounder (minimum) next summer.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

So I have a question- I know there are some largemouth fishing guys on here. I have been out of that fishery for awhile, but am looking at possibly getting some gear that many would consider largemouth gear.

I am trying to find the right rod and reel combo to meet the following specifications. First and foremost, the rod is more critical than the reel. I would like a low profile, and a low backlash rate. Otherwise, the reel kind of doesn't move my needle. I would like the reel to be sealed so saltwater doesn't screw it up, otherwise typical bass gear (12 pound drag, 130 yards of 20lb braid) is fine. Retrieve speed means little. Slow is fine. I fish slow.

I want a light, extra-fast or fast action, medium power 7 foot rod. Counterbalance and sensitivity is critical. Feeling light bites, think a light plastic worm tap, is critical.

I am looking for this to possibly try some bass fishing when long trips just aren't workable. Moreso, I would like a rod where I can use 20lb braid and fish vertically for sheepshead, striped bass, and bottom fish.

I welcome your recommendations. If I can get the combo under $200, that would be sweet.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

baitcasting or spinning reel?

I'm a spincast guy but years ago bought a Shimano Curado (LH retrieve so I didn't have to learn how to retrieve with my right). It had an adjustable braking system and that really helped to limit backlashes. You opened up the side and it had some pins that you could move to increase/decrease resistance to hide my lack of skill in feathering the spool. Pretty cool/easy actually. But that was also 20 years ago. Hopefully there is better tech today.

I've owned a lot of baitcasting reels and in my opinion the Shimano Curado is hands down the best reel at its price point. I think they recently redesigned the reel a bit and while I don't have one of the new ones, the older green models were stellar. I have had one for over 10 years and it has seen a number of Lew's and Abu reels come and go, and it's still going strong. Really can't recommend it enough unless they've somehow changed the construction, however I think the reel itself is around $175 so it may be out of your price range. You may be able to pair it up with a combo in your price range with some looking.

As for rods, they are so technique specific that it's difficult to say. I used to be a huge Shimano rod fan as they had a ton of different lines (I have several Crucial's) that each had different actions and lengths to cater to techniques. I loved the hook keepers and reel seats, and the balance seemed to always be spot on. The big selling point for me, however, was that they had a lifetime warranty. I never had one of these rods fail due to normal fishing use, and once you got a setup dialed in they were money, but they since stopped with their warranty you may want to play the field. I'd swing by a tackle shop somewhere and pick up a few to test the balance/feel. I like an exposed reel seat to help feel light bites and a split grip that's long enough to offer leverage. Cork looks nice, for a while, but to me gets a bit slimy with use and is more susceptible to damage - I like it more on spinning rods than I do on baitcasters. Hope this helps.

Agree wholeheartedly with you about the Curado. I still have two of them I've had for 15 years. While they're not saltwater reels, I have used them in the salt (with much rinsing afterward). Great reels, and I've had more expensive ones (Daiwa TDX) that were no better, in my opinion.
As for rods, I'm pretty hung up on Lamiglas rods, but Team Daiwa used to make some pretty sweet bass rods. I'm not sure what's out there, though. Haven't bought a bass rod in at least 10 years. Lamiglas rods last a long time and while I use them often, I've had several for 15 years that are still catching fish. I use them in fresh or salt water.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks Tom- while I don't bass fish much anymore, I am thinking that something I can use to vertical jig (like we were doing) and use for sheepshead/triggerfish/sibiki, would be perfect. For whatever reason, my feel has always been better with a casting rod instead of a spinning rod. I just hated the potential blow ups.

With regards to the Curado (sp?), it sounds like what I am looking for, but if there is an option with a dial for the mag break on the outside of the reel (similar to on a Penn Squall 12 or 15 (which is way too heavy a reel for my purpose), I would prefer that.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

French, my Lamiglas casting rods are every bit as sensitive (with plenty of ass in case you hook up bigger than expected) as Lamiglas spinning rods. Absolutely fantastic rods, best I've ever owned, made in the USofA by the West coast boutique company that has been providing blanks for rod builders since long before graphite became the thing. As for the Curado, the two I have do have a dial for mag break on the outside of the reel. Tell ya what, if I see you before you buy one, I'll loan you one of mine and you can try it out and see if you like it. Actually, I may very well have an extra Lammy baitcasting rod up in the attic. I'm dealing with a defunct water pump situation this morning (waiting on Mr. Leon to get back from the hardware store and holding my breath), but I'll check on my rod stock the next chance I get. I have a lot of stuff left over from my guiding days that might be tired of sitting unused in the rafters. Meanwhile, if you see a used TLD 15 in reasonable shape, let me know. With that reel, I'll have two good cobia set ups. Next purchase will have to be a net big enough for a 60 lb fish. I hate borrowing from friends.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

My shopping list for next cobia season:

1) used TLD15- can look at star drag versions of the TLD15 too if you want. I am on some facebook groups trying to get a deal

2) RediRig floats

3) This http://www.eagleproducts.us/product/trio-rod-holder/

4) Will ask around on net options.

I had looked on the Dobyns Fury or a 13 Omen. I am not trying to break the bank because, honestly, I would be using it for a pretty narrow function unless I got back into bass fishing. There is just something about a casting rod that makes tiny bites resonate better. When I fished for bass, I tried for years to apply my unique way of fishing soft plastics to a spinning rod. It never worked, and eventually I gave up bass fishing.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

If you check out the bass boards, a lot of folks swear Dobyns casting rods are the best. Check out their site, they have a line of rod for every purpose: Dobyns rods - http://dobynsrods.com/. Their Fury series is an excellent price point for what you get (~ $110).

I don't know much at all about baitcasters, but Cabelas had their Arachnid (it's really a Daiwa Tatula, with a couple upgrades) on sale last week for $100. I'm not sure if it's sealed for saltwater, but the reviews indicate it's an excellent value that's nearly impossible to backlash.

I've been eyeing the above setup, and waiting for that Cabelas sale, all year; I finally pulled the trigger last week as my Christmas present. That said, if you were curious to get your hands on one before purchasing, I'll be on Lake Anna next Monday or Tuesday, plus again sometime later in the Christmas week. I'd be happy to meet you there and head out on the boat to try a little striper fishing.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Hopefully if I sneak off and get it (Abingdon now has a BPS and a Cabelas, plus a nice local shop called Just Fishin within about 10 miles), MsSusieCue won't kill me. I already have purchased a custom Vega Interceptor bucktail rod, a Vega Fish Tamer live bait rod, a 3000 yard spool of Berkley Pro Spec, and a Penn Conflict 5000 since my last fishing trip as presents for myself. At least nominally, I am going sheepshead fishing in Charleston SC in mid-January, and I just hate using a spinning set up for them. Most folks use heavy tackle, but I found that a medium power fast action casting rod with high sensitivity is more than enough even to get 5-6 pounders where we target them.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

now if you used the same set up around Oregon Inlet, instead of a muskie rod and a Shimano Tranx type set up, those sheepshead would whup you badly.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Why do you need a different setup with sheepshead around Oregon Inlet?

Those fish hold right on the pilings. You have to have length and serious ass in the rod to get them off the pilings before they cut you off. Most of the guys who climb down on the pilings to chase sheepshead use rods that look like musky rods, with Shimano Tranx or even Calcutta type reels on them for the cranking power.

Fortunately, the spot I fish in Charleston is more about using chum to get them out in the open instead of pulling them off structure. We were catching them up to 5 pounds on very light spinning tackle (1000 and 2500 reels, 20lb braid.) I have small hands for a big guy, and something gets lost when I trigger the line with my index finger to feel the bite on a spinner versus having my left thumb under the line on a conventional.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Gotcha. That makes sense. I thought you always had to pull those sheepshead off the pilings. So you are saying that it is easier you to feel the bite with a baitcaster/coventional reel? I'm intrigued by sheepshead fishing.

For me, yes. I like to lay my left thumb under the line in front of the spool. It just feels better, and you react to bites quicker, than the spinner.

This is the same place I have gone to get them. These guys use Carolina rigs and put the rods in holders to let the sheepshead hook themselves. When we were down there, we outcaught them 4/1 using tog rigs (small 1oz cannonball sinker on the bottom, dropper loop about half way up a 4 foot leader, to 20lb braid) and very light spinning tackle. My buddy used a 1000 reel (Shimano Sustain, sorry, I remembered it wrong when I wrote the Ultegra) and very light fast action spinners. I was using heavier spinning tackle and missed a ton of fish. We bought a giant sack of oysters and every scrap and shell we weren't using got dumped right where we were fishing. We went through $60 in oysters for about 40 sheepshead. Only 4 kept.

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Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

This is the exact same spot. These guys use fiddler crabs and carolina rigs.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I have always heard that fiddler crabs were used for sheepshead. Is it better sheepshead fishing in the winter? Don't know much about their feeding trends.

Fiddler crabs, sand fleas, oysters- get whatever is available. Oysters are a pain but they make it easier to chum.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Gotcha. Is there a time of year where Sheesphead fishing is the best?

Down there, late November through February. Oregon Inlet and the Bay is a summer fishery. I don't know many folks who target them in the Bay other than spearfishing guys. Most folks chase the spadefish.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Gotcha. I thought it was more of a summertime thing up in NC and VA. A few kayak fishing guys I follow do a good bit of sheepshead fishing in the summer. I have general spinning setup you described. 2500 series spinning reel with a sensitive medium power rod. If you are going for the baitcast setup, would you be looking for a high max drag so that you can yank the fish off the structure?
Going back to the tog rig versus carolina rig, don't have much experience with fishing that tight on structure but it makes sense to be able to set the hook and get the sheepshead off the structure versus letting have a slight advantage when it hooks itself.

Drag power means less for how I am fishing. Most of the guys want the power. I'd rather lose the fish in structure than not hook it.

Now, the few times I have gone tautog fishing on the bulkheads of Ocean City, a powerful first crank to get the fish out of the rocks was more critical than feel. If fishing for sheepshead on the pilings or rocks, I would think that fast action and power to get the fish away from structure would be critical.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

grab spool; walk backward away from structure; reel up slack; if fish is still on, fight fish

The flats on OBX that I frequent for redfish during the summer are loaded with sheepshead from 2 pounds to that monster 14 pounder I caught last summer. They will swim as shallow as a foot of water.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

That's pretty cool. I hadn't heard about before until I was reading an article last night about how they move to the flat at lower tides to get the fiddler crabs.

Oh yes. And they tail!

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Dang I didn't realize that! That's pretty cool. Still waiting to see my first drum tailing.

Think about it this way. With a spinning rod, you have the line going out and resting on the guides as you work your bait, with the rod above them and trying to pick up the feel from the line transferring the messages through the guides. With a baitcasting rod, the line guides are facing upward after doing their job of casting, with the rod being the main avenue of transferring the feel of the bait/bite to the angler vs the line guides. Make sense? Definitely makes for a better sensitivity and little better connection with the bait, like a rubber worm or jig and pig, that you are working the bottom with. Easier to feel the bottom, rocks, etc. and a bit better at detecting really light strikes.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

That makes sense. Thanks for the explanation. Just have experience in the spinning reel world, so all the baitcaster stuff is foreign to me.

And there's so much more to it than that. Some baits work better, some guys can cast much more accurately with the baitcaster, etc. The bass guys could chip in here. I never attained more than adequacy in baitcasterism.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Baitcasters have a lot of advantages in certain situations. They have higher gear ratios and work better for burning baits and covering water. They are great for power fishing and for moving baits like spinnerbaits and buzzbaits that are tougher to make the cast/retrieve transition in a spinning reel. I think they work better for working heavy baits and fishing in cover. In a nutshell for me, spinning gear for bass translates to finesse fishing and slower presentations. Baitcasters handle everything else with exceptions. In the end you tend to fish what rigs and baits you feel confident with and work them how you feel comfortable working them, so everyone is a bit different.

I have had that thought when I've fished buzzbaits with a spinning set up. Definitely a struggle to get a solid cast/retrieve transition with the spinning setup. All of those points make sense.

Shimano Tranx

Year 3 is coming up!

I used to think I spent a lot on fishing stuff. Then I started to read bass fishing boards and saw where people were recommending $500 rods to fish plastic worms.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I admit I have a $600 fly rod designed for Bluegill...

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

My most expensive rod purchase was a Daiwa Ballistic 40-405, although I have a Century Surf Max that retails for $750. I just got lucky and won that on a facebook contest.

My most expensive reel purchase was my Daiwa Saltiga Surf ($500.) But, despite the fact that it is an awesome reel, I shouldn't have spent the money. I don't have any other reels that I have spent over $200 on, and only one rod (the Vega.)

I think there is a ton of truth to the rod build being critical to some applications. I found that out the hard way when I learned that my pier bucktail rod was too heavy and had too slow an action to work well from a boat.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Damn, and I think spending more than $50 for a rod or reel is expensive. Thankfully for the last twenty years I have made my own rods. Buying blanks is a lot cheaper than a package system and I get what I want and how I want it to look.

FYI, Dick's is having an online sale today til 3 pm where you can get 40% off one item (max 50 bucks off).

Damn it. Missed this. I actually have a $10 off coupon from them too.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Wish you could have seen my post earlier, would have helped with the price of your bass setup. I got the same coupon unsure of what to buy. Got a Penn Prevail for slinging metal jigs in the surf from today's deal.

Schoolies galore yesterday on the Bay with 3rdGen. Can truthfully say he kicked ass with a slick little pink and green slim profile paddle tail swim shad on a quarter oz jig head. I got several early on a lipless crankbait, maybe one or two on a bucktail, more on a Calcutta swim bait, but until I cadged (only cost me a couple hundred bucks worth of musky lures) one of 3rd's pinkies he was flat out kicking my ass along with the schoolies. We didn't get a keeper out of the serious numbers of fish we boated, and only sniffed at it with one 19" fish, but lordy man did we catch a bunch. Light tackle, we got them mainly casting and retrieving, didn't stick with vertical jigging long since the cast/retrieve was working so well. Also got them almost comically at will motoring at the slowest possible speed and dragging the light jigs while taking a break from casting. We chased birds and in the afternoon, found some bigger fish and lots of birds without another boat anywhere around. I got so wrapped up in jerking lip that I got somewhat disoriented out there in the middle of the Bay as the clouds rolled in and visibility lessened. Luckily, with 3rdGen's younger eyes and apparently better sense of direction, we figured out which way was home. I had a paper chart, but it turned out to be incomplete (it will burn, baby burn) and my GPS unit is defunct and I had left my good chart book at home in the mistaken belief that the paper chart was sufficient. Needless to say, I'll be getting a hand held GPS unit for Christmas. While we had a 50/50 chance of guessing right, and I had a compass that also seemed to be wrong, I was glad we weren't spending the night on the Eastern Shore. That was a first for me, but all's well that ends well.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

glad you guys got them... settled on a St. Croix Premier or a Dobyns Fury and an Abu Black Max. Economical and sensitive.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Did you make a final decision? I've only used it twice, but I love my Dobyn's so far. Caveat - I've been using spinning gear prior to this, so as others have commented about switching to a casting rod, the feel is so much better than I'm used b/c those bites are transferring down the rod and not the guides.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Giggity. Download Navionics to your phone and you are a lot less likely to get lost!

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Dewd, that'd be damn giggity if I had one of them daggone smartie phones. Also, we were in mid-bay on a cloudy day and my tracfone wasn't getting service. Just ordered a cheap hand-held gps unit anyway. Wasn't what you'd call lost, just turned around a little. We were too far from land in either direction to pick out features of the shore line, and to be honest, I've never been disoriented like that around here so wasn't worried enough about that to keep an eye on things in the afternoon when the action heated up. Have a buddy once who went out from the Piankatank and started chasing birds and getting big rock on the fly. They just kept chasing and casting until it was getting a bit late and he looked up and realized he'd chased them almost to the CBBT. Got home well after dark. A feller can get distracted when the fishing gets hot. And despite the size of the fish, the fishing was hot.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks for having me out! It was a blast. Never experienced anything like that. Glad we didn't spend the night on Eastern Shore.

google maps? 3rd gen has no smart phone?

We didn't have any service where we were on the bay so google maps wouldn't have helped. My galaxy had low battery from trying to find signal. Didn't put it in airplane mode because I was communicating with a buddy also out fishing before we were in the middle of the bay.

You are a young engineer. You are expected to have McGyver-like skills when it comes to smart phones and such, especially by old people like Ifish and myself. No cell service? You should be able to create it!

WE are expected to have great knowledge to impart about the great mysteries of life...like how to catch fish and not say really stupid things that piss off women. YOU are supposed to keep us from killing ourselves through forgetfulness and confusion. I'm putting this near-debacle totally on you.

Haha you are right! I'm sure I can make a portable mini cell tower for the boat next time. I think you have set up a pretty fair deal trading knowledge of fishing and avoiding saying stupid things to women for my adequate technology skills.

I mainly regret the 20 more fish we'd have caught if we hadn't had to run around getting reoriented. But, as God is my witness, I'll never be lost on the Bay again!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I believe there would have been a 20+ incher in those 20 fish too!

or launch a satellite, or make a super powered signal booster from seawater, gasoline, aluminum cans, and fishing line. c'mon man!

The truth is, and don't let this go to your head, that but for your little electric chicken colored swimmy things, Ifish would have reported that the fishing was spotty and we'd have all believed it. : )

Haha he would have changed it up and figured it out. The second stop in the morning where we saw birds diving, you could barely get your lure in the water before you were hooked up. You could see stripers flipping 10 feet from the boat. Ifish also didn't even use the deadly gulp swimming mullet so I'm sure that would have started whuppin up on them.

yesterday pm in North Florida, a small bunker colored storm shad skunked live shrimp, live mudminnows, and gulp swimming mullet. sadly the reds were undersize. but there are quite a few days when plastic wins. pre-gulp, my live bait chunking friends used to call me the "tupperware man".

I won't take away from 3rd's Pinkie, it was clearly a winner, but there were still a few guns in my arsenal had it not proven so effective, and had he not had one to share. Why experiment when he nailed it so quickly? Maybe we could have messed around more and found something to catch bigger fish, but there were just so many small fish around and we were having so much fun we just never felt the need to do so. It's not like people around us were catching more or bigger fish or anything. One of my friends was out trolling in the same area we were fishing and he managed all of three shorts for the day, so I think we squeezed the best out of the day and would have still had a magnificent time even without the Pinkie. Still, glad he had 'em.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I was thinking about if that would have mattered, if we threw a bigger plastic bait would it have produced a bigger fish in that last school. You were throwing the bucktail earlier in the day and catching the same size fish but with that last school having more potential size wise it could have done better. Maybe being lower in the water column might have bigger fish. Who knows, all a game of what if.

Glad you guys were catching them up! My buddy Travis that took me sight casting last cobia season got a 50 pounder on an eel on Sunday.

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Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Dang, that's a beast. I follow him on instagram and he really whups up on some big fish.

He is one hell of a fisherman. I just bought my boat bucktail rod from him. He was catching big drum in the surf right up to a week or two ago.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I bet, he definitely puts his time in and gets after them. From what I heard from the guys when I was surf fishing in Hatteras, the drum run ended around Thanksgiving but seems to have gone later this year.

If the bunker and mullet stays on the beach, it can go on for awhile. Until around 2008 we had a good chance to catch nice rockfish from the beach in December. Sadly there isn't much of that anymore. At least the Bay seems to be having a better winter season than past years for big fish.

I don't begrudge anyone keeping legals fish. But, it does bum me out to see all those big breeder fish getting harvested. It would be something to see a big girl like that swim away.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Yeah, I heard that the big stripers just don't come down to OBX anymore. Coming more from a drum mindset, I kinda liken the stripers to the drum so it seems kinda wrong to kill the big fish but people at least eat those big stripers.

What caused the changes in rockfish availability on the beach? I don't fish for them but would be interested in learning what created the issue.

The locals will tell you that the Omega protein fleet has wiped out the menhaden that's they come into the Bay to feed on. For the last 8 years until this year, the big fish from up north stayed offshore as they migrate south. It is illegal to fish for them outside of 3 miles from the beach.

This year more of the big monsters have come in the Bay. But, I think there have been a lot more of the bigger (25-40 inch fish) that just stay in the Bay the last few years. Big fish have shown in the rivers at warm water discharges and at Calvert Cliffs all year, and friends were catching 30 inch class fish all summer in the Choptank on peelers. I don't know enough about the fishery to know for sure because I only target them during the migrations (spring and fall) and I catch and release exclusively for stripers unless someone in my party wants to dine on them. I have not caught a rockfish in the surf anywhere but Nee Jersey and Assataegue Island, and that December Assateague run vanished around 2011.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Thanks!

Wow ... just WOW. That is a monster!

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I blocked MsSusieCue's route playing Ticket to Ride (a board game) last night, and I slept on the couch. I welcome your guidance.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

lol.

I play bass in a couple of local (very local) cover bands. I have a wireless transmitter so I can get out in the crowd/dance floor in small venues.

Last gig we had some girls show up in 80's glitter garb. Next day a pic shows up on my wife's facebook page with "green glitter girl" dancing with her arm around me and I have a big smile on my face.

Mrs. Dave: "What's this picture?????"

Not good.

I'm gonna need some pics next time gents. Got me all excited reading the report ... and then it was just over, like a bad first date. 😃

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Not to disappoint you too much. The picture is of an 17.5 incher I think. We were so busy catching and releasing almost didn't take any pictures.

Much obliged. Thank you!

Hokie fan | W&M grad

3000 sized reel, medium spinning rod, and give me those all day long. I love the schoolies!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Yep, that was my setup! It was a ton of fun catching them like that.

And I am a pink swimbait guy as well. 1oz round jighead and a pink Shad assaian has been a go to for years off the ocean city bridges for me. Oddly, when I got to go with IAmFish they wouldn't touch anything but a Jigfish.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Yep, it was a 4 inch electric chicken swim shad from bass assassin. Maybe it was just that the fish were up more in the water column than the day you were out.

We had them on top, but only 1 out of 20 hit a casted and retrieved bait. The rest all hit the Jigfish using IamFish's vertical jogging technique

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Interesting, I caught one vertical jigging in the beginning but the rest were on a casted and retrieved bait or slow troll.

Also, I just got a text from my buddy. He got a 45 pounder today. Awaiting a photo.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

You guys are making me jealous and regretting that I still live in the burgs. Claytor Lake and the New doesn't quite compare.

I would not be jealous. You live on one of the best smallmouth and musky rivers in the country. You can catch striper up to 25 pounds in the rivers in east Tennessee and they will fight every bit as hard, if not harder.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

And I've never been lost walleye fishing on Claytor Lake.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

To be fair here, 3rdGen and I didn't spend much time jigging and French and I didn't spend much time casting and retrieving. I think the same fish bite was available both trips, it's just that there were a ton more fish available to 3rd and I. As well as Pinkie was working Sunday, though, I suspect French and I would have caught more of the fish we were around if we'd had and employed it.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Hearsay and nonsense. The most fish would have been caught had I been aboard slinging shooting heads on my 9 weight with my new striper killer... The New Age Non-Whistling Whistler.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

That's a beautiful fly, Hokieflyguy, and with the fish so close to the top (and to the boat), you would have definitely spent the day hooked up, but I'd be willing to bet I would have time to land two by the time you finally landed your little striper even with that 9wt fairy wand you'd be throwing it with. 3rdGen would have smoked ya. If we get another decent day to go out, I'd be glad to test your boast. I have a feeling that the fishing might still be good for a few more weeks, and most folks give it up when they can't keep them, regardless of whether they're still there or not. I got nowhere to go after Christmas...and a colonoscopy (wheeeeee).

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

"Fairy wand"????

I don't throw Orvis.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Fly fisherman smackdown!

The friendly trash talk - I love it! Hold on, let me get some popcorn. :)

Seriously, that is another awesome looking fly!

Side note - I went out to Lake Anna yesterday for striper, and got skunked. Couldn't even get a crappie with live minnows. Terrible day for fishing, but an absolutely beautiful day to be enjoying some time on the water. Must have been 40 boats out there, and we only saw 1 fish get landed.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I think ringing in the new year by slaying some stripers sounds like a wonderful idea.

You're invited. By virtue of your magnificent performance last Sunday, I'll waive your entry fee.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Ahh, you are too kind sir!

It is CnR only, correct?

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Huh?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Catch and Release

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Yes, I thought the season closes inside the Bay at the end of the year?

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

No clue. I know there is a spring season.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

yes it does

Year 3 is coming up!

Correct. You can still fish for them legally, unlike outside of the 3 mile limit in the ocean, but cannot keep them. With the warm water this late in the Fall, I feel like there's a pretty good chance there will still be a lot of fish available in the middle Bay after the new year.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thought I would do a post on the upcoming winter Fly Fishing shows across the eastern seaboard for anyone interested in getting into the sport/addiction or wants to get better.

Jan 15/16: Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival in Doswell, VA (Next to Kings Dominion). This is a solid show with a lot of tiers, demonstrations, guides and travel companies from across the country. I used to do a tying booth at this show but refrained last year and this year. I will be attending at least on Sunday and wandering around in my maroon and orange Knot the Reel World shirt. Say hello, I'm ugly but friendly and have had my rabies shots.

www.vaflyfishingfestival.com

Feb 18: Rapidan TU Annual Fly Fishing Show: I've never been to this one but it is definitely on the smaller side. There are some good speakers it appears. I may attend this one to just wander around and get a feel for potential tying opportunities in the future. It is held at Highland School, which is of all places, where I graduated middle and high school. If you look out across the back athletic fields you can still see my slow ass chugging down the field to pick up a ground ball with a lacrosse stick from 15 years ago. Yes, I was that slow.

http://www.rapidantu.org/2018-rapidan-tu-chapter-annual-fishing-show/

Feb 24-25: Lefty Kreh Tiefest in Annapolis , MD at the Loew's Annapolis Hotel. This is the first year it is two days and another good event with lots of tiers and guides. Should be a really solid event and a unique one given Lefty's declining health. I hope this event doesn't go away in the future. I'm not sure there is a website for this show but it is on Instagram. The Facebook page has not been updated.

April 21 and 22: South River Expo in Waynesboro, VA. This show was small last year but has one of the best tiers in the world in Pat Cohen attending. Chris Newsome (Bay Fly Fishing) also has a set up. This show is replacing what the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival left. Same location and a smaller, more local feel for small time guides and folks in the business such as myself. I've been talking with the guys who run it and if I can get out of Blacksburg on the 22nd, I will be doing a talk/demonstration on something fly fishing related for any and all attendees. I also may have a tying table depending on my schedule.

http://www.southriverexpo.org/

And the Grandaddy of them all, The Fly Fishing Show. This show offers 6 dates, but I'll put down January 26-28 and Febuary 2nd and 3rd as the important ones. The 26-28th show is in Edison NJ and is probably the largest fly fishing show in the country, if not world. The Atlanta one is important because yours truly will have a fly tying table at it and will be sharing lots of my tips, tricks, secrets and general fly fishing knowledge to any and all who will listen. Again, come by and say hi, I'm absolutely stoked for this one. These shows have TONS of vendors, tiers, and demonstrations. You can learn a lot at them and also spend a lot of $$$ if you are like me, or just a little if you aren't me. Other locations for this show at the website below.

www.theflyfishingshow.com

I know there are other "regular" fishing shows as well, feel free to add those dates on too.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

With deer season finally winding down its time to switch gears from turf back to surf waiting to go smallie fishing can be a drag this time of year gonna try a bit of catfishing the next few months to try and get by till spring. Went crappie fishing over thanksgiving and caught one citation and one that was 1/4 inch short of a citation, 2 trips, first caught 98 in hour and a half and the second trip we caught 63 in an hour. First time coming across round worm in pond fish though was rather upset to find the fish were riddled with round worm which I still ate em after they went through some batter and hot oil of course.

Also HokieFlyGuy I deer hunted me arse off the last 2 months and you still got more deer than I did this year!

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Thanks for the report. Have never done fall crappie fishing. I wish you would have gotten the deer, I am still truckless and it is driving me crazy!

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Its easy find a deep hole in a river or a pond and get a big almost bass tube thats pink and blue or really any wild combo will work and work it deep and slow once the school starts feeding youll be pulling them in every cast.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I'm thinking about changing things up a little and going out of Mobjack Bay tomorrow and heading up to the Wolftrap area. Have heard some intriguing stories from a local, and one of his buddies trolled up a 35lb fish from that general area earlier this week. I don't plan to troll, preferring to target light tackle opportunities and chase birds and cast or jig, but hoping for a bigger class of schoolies.
Still mulling over the thought, and I know it's last minute, but since I'm still in the planning stage I'll issue a cattle call. ANYBODY WANNA GO WITH ME? 804-725-2680 will reach me or my voice mail, and I will return your call if I miss it. I'll buy the gas, but if you have any of those 4" Electric Chicken Shad Assassins...

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Ooooh very enticing!

First two to commit are in. You are definitely a preferred walk-on already, but a scholly awaits you if you can justify it.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Seeing if I can swing it with the boss. Will let you know

Cough, cough cough. I think you may have caught my cold from Sunday. Can't spread virus germs throughout the workforce right before Christmas, can you? Your boss should thank you for not showing tomorrow. Tell him/her to call me, I'll con...cough, cough...firm!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'm clear to go! See ya tomorrow morning. I will bring the pinkies!

Sounds good. You know, of course, that those pinkies will probably never work again, don't you? /s, sorta (won't be the first time!)
We'll finalize later today on time, but we'll be going out of the Town Landing ramp where first we met.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Sounds like a plan. Who knows about the pinkies, going to Green Top/Bass Pro tonight to grab a couple different soft plastics.

Catch them up! I am on the other side of the state and will likely be taking my niece to Sycamore Shoals to learn about the American Revolution tomorrow.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

They caught fish in the good ole days, too! Enjoy the family, hope to see you soon, and have a very merry Christmas.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Just took my crew to the Bristol lights on the speedway. Need to check out SS.

.

Oh man, I'm so tempted ... what time are you heading out tomorrow?

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Well, it will be cold tonight, and there's little need for a sunrise departure, so I would say anytime between 8-9 am to allow for travel (I am 2 miles from the boat ramp in Mathews). If you want to go, I'll work around your needs. We'll be back at the ramp around 4 pm, so your whole evening won't be shot. For this kind of fishing, I can comfortably take two folks with me, so we'd just make sure the travel works out, and if you and 3rd both go and you're both in Richmond (?), maybe you could carpool, but I'm getting the cart ahead of the horse here. Either way, you are welcome to join me if you can make it.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Let's do this, I'm in as well; scott @ 434.566.1971 in case you need it. Ifish, I'll call you later today to discuss details (what to bring, where to meet, etc.). Anytime from 8am or after works for me.

3rd, I live in the west end of Richmond. Shoot me a text if you want to carpool.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Alright! While the numbers always work out for the Hokies, I can say that this class is full. Looking forward to hearing from you. I'll be available anytime after 4 this pm.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

3rdGen and I are going to carpool - what time do you want us at that ramp?

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Let's meet at 8:30. No worries if the road slows you down, but if so, my little used cell is 804-384-1785. I'll have it on. If I remember. I need gas so I'll leave the house at 8. You can get me till then on my landline. See you then.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Last time i checked the traffic in and around the bohannon is so crazy almost like new york city

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Yeah, Bohannon is crazy for sure, but they do have to come from Richmond and that means I-64. Anything can happen!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I can report that jigging for stripers at SML is getting right. Went out Sunday midday at caught 6. Using 3/4oz Bowed Up jig heads and white ice super fluke. Most fish were around 30 in. Didn't take the time to measure, had fish all over me and wanted to maximize catching. All fish released.
Took my dad and his friend out today and had a 10 or 11 fish day. Same set up, same area. Everyone caught fish, even kept a few that were under the 30-40in slot that will hit grease soon and I plan on experimenting with my smoker too.

HokieObsession

Good report! We'd love to see a 30" fish today. As to your smoker, I can attest to the smokability of striper. I don't care much for them in general, but one of my old fishing buddies smokes all of his big stripers and they are delicious. You know the drill, crackers, a little cream cheese, capers and minced red onion. MMM mmm good.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Big shout out to Ifish for an awesome day on the watery yesterday! He put us right on the fish + we could have stayed there and caught striper all day long. We probably put 40 in the boat between us, and with Ifish having to stay on the motor most of the time to keep us on spot (sorry, no pics, but a big THANK YOU for that). Anyhow, it was a great day, with some great people, who happen to be pretty darn good with a rod and reel. For reference, we watched boat after boat come and go right beside us, with us blessed to pull fish after fish, and there was only 1 boat that I recall, that caught more than 1 or 2 off that same spot, with the majority getting skunked. Sorry for any typo's ... my thumbs are little tore up this morning. ;)

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Thanks for the kind words, I'll gladly return them. You and 3rd got on the pattern quickly and maximized the effort. I was particularly impressed with how well your ho'made soft plastic baits performed, giving 3rd's Pinkies some stiff competition. No keepers, again, but a solid effort on a day that the fish we did find seemed skittish and scattered, and we covered a bunch of miles looking for them when we left Wolftrap. Both of you guys did a great job and fished your butts off. Good company, strong fish, light tackle, just an all 'round good day on the "watery"! Hopefully we can manage one more trip before it gets too cold to try again.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It was a pleasure being in the boat with both of y'all! Glad we could get in the trip. It was a damn good way to spend a Friday.

Wish I could have joined you guys. I will admit it was also fun to see my niece marching around protecting Fort Watauga from the Cherokee too.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Got cabin fever already! Have to get back up north! Love the Linders.

Couple of Biggins!

Small Guy 36" or 38"

14 hr grind for 48" (almost a clubber)!

Second Vid explains the addiction.

Year 3 is coming up!

Hope Santa was good to you!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Got a fly tying kit finally so I can start tying my own stuff which will be lots of fun since I have lots of access to animal hides and bird feathers I can get creative and if anything just help survive cabin fever until the spring! Gonna try some unique color schemes for spring smallies first!

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Careful now, it's an addiction.

I have not had drink (yet) today, and am wearing my reading glasses to read the computer screen, and I still read that as you got a kite flying kit TWICE before I finally read it right. I was picturing you out on a the bank of a river, lake or by the ocean, using a kite to get your bait out into deeper water, and thinking - "that would be cool". Not that tying flies is not cool, its just not as cool as kite fishing with the flies you tied.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Welcome to the even more fun side of fly fishing. Top smallmouth colors:

White
Black
Cream or peach
Blue (topwater)
Brown and yellow
Chartruese

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Ended up with a Lews Laser Speed MG reel with a 13 7'2 medium heavy fast action rod, a Penn Conflict 5000, a Vega Intimidator 7'6 bucktail rod, and I am awaiting delivery on a Vega Fish Tamer live bait rod customized wig maroon and orange. And my stepson asked me to adopt him, so that means there will be another French!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Maroon /orange wig? Nice for game day!

Year 3 is coming up!

Sorry *with*

The guides are threaded on with orange and maroon.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Rhetorical my good man! Nice rigs! Lew's are usually slick reels.

Year 3 is coming up!

Congrats on the adoption. That's big time.

Fantastic news, French! Now, we just gotta get you married off and living closer to the Bay and it'll be a great New Year. You'll make a great daddy.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

G Loomis. What's the scuttlebutt? Yay? Nay? Superlative? Or not worth the scratch? Oh, I am a LGM Bass kinda guy.

LOVE their fly rods. Very well built.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I've heard the same about their fly rods. I don't fly fish though. I used to trout fish in heavy cover so fly rods would not have worked!

I may have a different opinion and I qualify it by saying that I don't fish for bass much. For a rod, I want it to be as light as possible and still have the action and power needed for the job. If you are fishing with soft plastics or jigs, you want a fast or extra fast action, and enough power for a good hookset. If you want it for crabkbaits or spinnerbaits, a medium action with less power and better casting distance is your toy.

Loomis and St Croix both make a wide variety of rods that meet the needs. Lots of other folks do too. A graphite rod will be the lightest, the most sensitive, and the easiest to break. A glass rod will likely be heavier, more durable, and less expensive. Ask folks in the know about the components- those are the first to break.

All things being even, if you want an inexpensive all around rod, a medium 7 foot St Croix Triumph spinning rod is under $100 and is solid all around. But it wouldn't be a good fit for fishing Texas rigged soft plastics or in pads/timber. Describe how you want to fish and I am sure folks will chime in with options.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I've put my mitts on the St Croix Mojo at Bass Pro but did not purchase. I have finally mastered the baitcaster (most days) and love the Lews offerings. I fish a private farm where the Z-Man Chatterbait (0.75oz) is straight $$$$ 9/10 days. I try to change up to TX rigs and spinners but rarely have the success of the chatterbait. Sometimes I have hook set problems with my Johnny Morris Sig Series 7'1" Fast tip MH.

I will defer to others, but I thought the mojos (at least the spinners) felt the same as the Shimano Teramar SE. I do know that something that is good for a chatterbait would probably be too much of a soft tip for a Texas rig worm hookset.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Mojo is awesome. I have two. I like to pair with Berkley Vanish for jig / worm . jerk bait when braid is not the choice around rock and structure. Good fishing!

Year 3 is coming up!

I've never used a Loomis, but I have owned a nice ultra-light St. Croix. I prefer the Fenwick Elite Tech for spinning rods (hands down the best spinning rod I've ever owned), and anything Dobyn's for casting rods.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Had several clients that loved their Loomis, but had two break in my boat on routine hooksets. Had a similar report from one of my friends that guided for years. I always ran Lamiglas rods, thanks to recommendations from some truly great guides and a guide program that made them affordable. Never a disappointment with them, still using them almost every fishing trip 15 years after purchasing them and using them for personal and client use. Haven't had to buy a bass rod since, so not sure what they go for now, but likely around 200 bucks. Strong, sensitive, and with decent components, nothing wrong but a couple of tip replacements over the years of hard use. Don't let the Lamiglas name fool you, they've been making rods for 70 years or so, American company, and they use all the modern day materials plus some proprietary ones they've invented.
If someone gave me a Loomis, I'd take it, but I wouldn't buy one, and not sure I'd trust it, to be honest.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Just don't buy a Carrot Stix. Pee-Eww

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Second that emotion. Weak gimmicky rods known for breaking with little provocation.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Never owned one so I looked them up. Yes pretty much junk. Scroll down for reviews. WTH is micro fiber anyway?

Carrot Stick

One guy mentioned he would have been better off with a cheap Walmart rod. I don't know what they have now but they used to sell a rod that was branded as Torsion. Made of IM6, very sensitive and well balanced. I have 3 2, one went in the drink with a lews and a rapalla jerk bait. They were 20 bucks. Only draw backs were that they only came in 6 foot and H and MH action. Might want to see what they have now.

Year 3 is coming up!

Loomis = rip off. Sensitivity has more to do with line than the rod.

Year 3 is coming up!

I am "hooked" on Spiderwire Stealth Braid. Don't think I'll ever try anything else.

Wish I could get 300 yard spools in 50 pound of the blue.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Oh nice, thanks for the tip. I'll have to give it a try next.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I have the 15 lb Spiderwire Stealth Braid on 2 of my reels. Tried out 10 lb Power Pro of my newest setup only used once so far. I am liking the casting distance increase of newest setup with 10 lb braid. Distance increase a combo of nicer rod with lighter braid. Probably would be having the same result if I was using Spiderwire.

I'm really missing the water. Now that football and deer season is over (for me anyways) I am really wanting to wet a line. Anyways, I have 1 question about fishing a new technique for me, and 1 really great article on fly fishing for smallmouth bass on Lefty Kreh.

So - the question is - I've never fished a tube before. I hear they are great for spring slobs on the New. I have some gitzits that I bought awhile back but never used them. Anyone have any tips? Rigs? Weight of the jighead? Types of jigheads? A quick google search overwhelmed me.

And for the SMB article, I really got a lot out of it. HokieFlyGuy might have shared this before (if he didn't I think he should read it), but it is worth sharing again. I'm hoping to get a platform for my front and back seats of my raft with Xmas and Birthday money so I can do more fly fishing. Nothing beats watching a big smallie come up and grab your popper.

Thank you very much for sharing. I used to read Midcurrent alot but have gotten away from it. Never saw that article and glad you posted it, Lefty doesn't have much time left. I have tied the "Lefty Bug" he describes and will do one and post a photo next week. I never thought about leg length on a fly from the standpoint of shorter ones to the rear, makes total sense! Lefty is truly a wealth of fly fishing and fly tying knowledge. Love how he mentions the New below Claytor, literally the stretch closest to Blacksburg.

What kind of raft do you have? Smallmouth are one of my three favorite fish on the fly and they are indeed tough to beat on a hot summer day.

I've heard grey colored tubes on the new are very good.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I have a 14' NRS Outlaw (not to be confused with the otter). It is their PVC raft - I didn't want to drop 4k on hypalon to find out it wasn't for me or get it wrapped on a rock. What is nice about it is that it has a drop stitch floor that you can stand on, but isn't that stable or comfortable as a platform for more than a couple casts. I have had the raft for 2 seasons and made about 40 trips and I have no complaints (although I've only been a passenger on other rafts).

I do throw a smoke colored grub a good bit, but hadn't thought of it for a tube. Will definitely try it this spring!

If you are ever in Blacksburg and want to do a float, just let me know. I really enjoy watching and learning from someone who knows their way around the river and with a fly rod.

That's awesome. Are you guiding with it or just fishing for fun?

I am in Blacksburg often and will be guiding above Claytor all of May. Will let you know and we can get together.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Guiding? Ha. I'm a greenhorn still on the oars and when it comes to reading water - been thinking about starting to book some guided trips so I can watch and learn from experienced guys.

I live in Pembroke and I have summers off minus some online classes that I teach - definitely hit me up if you want to fish zsowder at VT dot edu

I'd say two seasons and 40 trips puts you well past greenhorn at the oars. I've only been behind the oars 5 times. I'd say that I'm definitely greenhorn level.

I would love to get out there and float below Pembroke, I feel like that water doesn't get fished nearly as much as upstream. I can definitely help reading water and if you want any fly fishing/fly casting lessons.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Let's do it then. I often go below Pembroke and further (Narrows to Glen Lyn produced some of our best fish this year) to beat the crowds on the weekends - it's just no fun having to work around people (some fishing, some not) all day long.

I say I'm a greenhorn because I know there are better ways of doing things (staying in one spot by using the current, feathering the oars, keeping the raft straight so both people have good locations to cast to and work their lures). IFishIAm was supposed to come and float with me this spring and I planned to pick his brain on how to better my raft skills, but the river was washed out and he and his friend didn't make the trip.

It will be fun to have a great fly-fisher in the boat, hopefully in the summer months when the popper/bug bite is on.

Ifish is your guy for the tube question on the New. Get a mizmo tube and their special hooks so you can rig it weedless. I think he said a quarter oz head since the water is usually higher/faster in the spring.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I will chime in here, having had hundreds of smallmouth come aboard after falling for tubes, both for me and my clients over the years I spent fishing the New. Gitzits are decent baits, and before I was turned on to Mizmo Teaser tubes, Gitzits were the go to for numbers, especially in the summer, but we used bigger tubes in the winter and spring for the bigguns. I got the Teaser fever from a couple of my best clients who got it from Ken Penrod and their annual guided trips with him on the Susquehanna up in PA. For the Gitzit, we used to use Larew's Slider heads, but there are several types and only one really worked well. Unfortunately, I can't remember exactly what the ones we used were called, but they had an offset at the head that allowed you to essentially Texas rig the tube behind the head. 1/8 oz worked in the summer, but 1/4 oz gave the weight we needed to cast and get to the bottom, where most tube bites occur. Yes, you can get them swimming the tube, and some days, you needed to hit bottom and swim them a bit to get hit, but the vast majority of my fish came from the bottom. Once the Mizmo Teaser came on board, though, they were the only tube I carried. I used a custom made jighead made just for the Teaser by a guy in Duncannon PA named Johnny at the campground where Penrod is based for his spring fishing. These heads were 1/4oz, fit inside of the tube, and had a single strand weedguard. Tough to rig, especially in the really cold weather you often deal with in the spring, but I couldn't imagine a more productive tube to fish. Mizmo has a plethora of colors, some of them designed by Penrod, but we did really well with brown, brown with purple tips, dark smoke with blue tips on the tail strands and green pumpkin. The stained water called for darker colors, clear water called for lighter colors. I'd imagine Johnny still makes the heads, but haven't ordered them in six years or so. These jigs are not big jigs, but damn, they got some mighty fine fish. The guys who turned me on to them got a 6-4 and a 5-13 from the same hole two days apart on Teasers and another of my guys got a 6 pounder my last spring fishing up there. Worked slowly on the bottom of the eddies, small hops (imagine a crawfish looking to get under a rock) and a strong hookset once bitten was the procedure. Thing is, tubes are fun to fish. When you feel that little tick that signals a pick up, you don't know what you'll set the hook on...smallmouth, redeye and muskies love them, and until you bow up, you don't know what it'll be. I've given out my number and email enough times that if anyone wants more info, you can find it and give me a call. I can find Johnny's number somewhere if need be. He also sells the tubes and is just an all 'round good guy to deal with. Penrod's website used to have a lot of info about what he's getting them on, when they're fishing up there, and you can trust his info, and his numbers as well.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks for all the great info, Tom.

Hopefully if you come back this year to float the New (and the water cooperates unlike last spring), we can get on the water and you can show me this technique first hand!

You are welcome. Not sure what the spring will bring, but if I get up thataway, I'll definitely holler atcha.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

We are in the same boat I'm done deer hunting, got skunked this year, and now waiting on warmer weather for smallies.
Now to your tube question, I religiously use 4 inch cabin creek outfitters bass tubes in purple with Smokey flakes or pumpkin with red flake rigged like a Texas worm with a free weight on the line and I hide the hook in the side of the tube so it's kind of weedless and just dead stick it and keep enough tension so you can feel the tick of the fish when the suck it down it's a very subtle touch that takes time to develop the feel for

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Question for the board:

I really want to learn to use a casting rod. Somewhat like learning to drive a stick at age 25 just because I felt like it's something I should know (no one in my family or friends had one until then), using a casting rod effectively just seems like a good addition to my skillset. I don't have any idea where to start. I'll use it mainly for smallmouth in the New and largemouth in ponds. Not sure if I need to choose a specific technique in order to get outfit recommendations. I don't fish as much as I'd like, but that being said I don't need a $300 outfit to do what I want to do. Any suggestions for a sub-$150 rod and real combo? What line is best for this?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

I learned not too many years ago and my key was setting the centrifugal brakes (dial on the side) high enough to prevent backlash. I spent waaaaay too much time picking line when I could have been fishing! Keep your thumb close to the spool to slow down the line when you are pin point casting and get acclimated to stopping the line the instant BEFORE it hits water. In a word P R A C T I C E. Now I hardly use any brake and have my thumb trained and ready just like 2nd nature. I can cover a country mile now and love it. It was love/hate at 1st......
As for the reel/rod combo. Bass Pros has a spring trade-in program around March (IIRC). Their brand of rod reel combos are a pretty good deal for the quality especially with the trade in. Good luck!

I got a lews bait caster then a rod on sale to get a combo for 140$ and it's killer for learning baitcasting but at first I got a cheaper abu Garcia combos that run about 60$ they work well but once you try the next tier up in cost they get so smooth and once you learn how to use one it'll completely change the way you fish

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

This is what I wanted to hear. I think I'm going to up my budget to $200 so I can buy once cry once.

Thanks!

FYI - cabelas has their arachnid on sale again for $100. I can't imagine you're going to find a better casting real for that price. It's made by Daiwa, and just read the first review for some perspective.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

double post. sorry.

Get has the main point. Train your thumb! You will get to the point where you know the spool is is rotating faster than the line is. Slight roll of the thumb will slow it. You will always get a couple of bird nests, but it is well worth the line control. You might want to consider starting with braid since it is more forgiving when back lashed. Upfront I would spend as much as possible on the reel.

Year 3 is coming up!

Thanks guys. Appreciate the info. Any particular features of a baitcasting reel that I'd want to look for or avoid as a beginner? With spinning reels I feel there are fewer "features" to consider. I don't know anything about brakes or whatever. I'm going to start some research before purchasing but if there are "must haves" or "must avoids" it would be helpful to know.

Use mono first. Braid is expensive to replace when you birdsnest. Get something with good breaks that are easy to use. I just bought a Lews and haven't used it yet. Everyone recommended a Curdado and I loved them, but I couldn't justify the expense to use for sheepshead, schoolie stripers, and sea mullet.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Cabelas has a Lews Laser Pro Speed Spool medium heavy 6'-10" combo on sale for $99. I also have a $25 gift card. Is that a decent combo and deal?

Also if I'm used to a left hand retrieve spinning setup, should I get a left hand retrieve model or go with right? I know it's a preference thing just wondering what most folks do.

Thanks again!

I got the Lews Laser Spool MG and matched it with an Omen 13 rod. I haven't used it yet. Again, when in doubt almost everyone said that a Shimano Curdado paired with a Dobyns Fury is a really nice economical set up. Again, I have almost no experience with them.

I know VTFish loves Lamiglass. The Lamiglass X-11 is on sale at Cabelas for $99

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I am a big fan of Lew's, having used my Dad's old Speed Spin 2 growing up. I like that reel you mention and that price works. I think I will go that direction too. I think the Dobyns Fury 7'-0" MH will pair well with that. I doubt that I'd never need anything else for my needs.

Lews is perfect BUT my one rule when going out when I was learning or teaching baitcasting is that rats nest WILL happen so always always always bring back rods or another baitcaster sometimes you'll mess up and get a rats nest that isn't fixable so it's best to have backups to go with

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

That's great advice. Thanks!

Can't beat the price. I looked it up on Cabelas and it appears it's only available in LT hand retrieve. I am RT handed and could not possibly use a LT retrieve baitcaster. That's me though. Keep in mind your dominate THUMB.

If you aren't in a hurry - you can get a $100 Cabela's GC for $80 - that might make your money go a little further but it takes a few days to get to you.

Here is the eBay link: https://www.ebay.com/itm/100-Cabelas-Gift-Card-For-Only-80-FREE-Mail-Del...

I stock up on GCs this way so that I never have to pay full price. Also, you can now use a Cabela's GC at BPS and vice versa, you just have to call a number to have them converted.

And I'm not an expert, but I grew up on spinning rods and converted to a left hand retrieve baitcaster. I can't walk the dog for crap with the rod in my left hand and I find it is much more comfortable overall using a left hand retrieve. You also don't have to switch hands after casting.

edit: wrong hand

As someone who just started using baitcasters as well (from a spinning rod), personally, I hate the right handed retrieve. I can't use them. Bought a cabelas arachnid when it was on sale in left hand, and it was so much better than a right hand set up for me.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

That is what I was thinking. Thanks for confirming. I'm going to spring for a left hand retrieve even if it is a few more bills.

I thought it would be prohibitive to cast with my right hand, switch hands, and then work the bait and retrieve with the rod in my left hand, just seemed like too big a change from spinning gear. I was dead wrong. I can cast, stop the lure where required, switch hands and begin the retrieve without thinking of it now, and it really didn't take long at all to get the hang of it. If you don't try, you won't learn, and if you have no confidence that you can do it, you probably won't stick with it long enough for the comfort factor to kick in. I can't tell you why, but I would hate to have to use a left hand on the handle retrieve on a baitcaster now. I'll say this, though, if I can do it, pretty much anyone can.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I agree completely!

It's the switching hands that gets me. For me, it's wasted motion that will never go away, and since I'm already used to a left handed retrieve, I just didn't see the point in forcing myself to learn the right handed motion.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Like I said above, I thought it'd be hard to get used to but it wasn't for me. After fishing with you, I'd suggest that it wouldn't be hard for you, either. It's not so much forcing yourself to relearn anything, just learning how to use the tool the way the overwhelming majority of bait casting fishermen use it. It doesn't feel like wasted motion when you do it and it flows naturally pretty quickly as it becomes second nature. Next time we go, let's dissect it a little. I know a couple of leftys who use a left hand cast and switch to the right for the retrieve, but virtually all the guys I've fished with who are rightys cast with the right and switch. I wouldn't swear that it is better that way, it's hard to explain why it seems that way, but it just does. But then again, I knew an avid spinning gear fisherman who fished with his reel pointing up reeling backwards, so I guess it's to each his own. Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Sounds like an excuse to get together for another fishing trip to me! I don't know about you, but I keep waiting for a bit of warmer weather to sneak back out on the water. And Happy New Year to you and everyone else!

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Yeah, it may be over for the season here. I'm not going to winterize the boat for a couple more weeks, though, just in case things warm up some and there's a few fish left to chase. This snap might just be enough to send them on to the ocean.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'll be the wet blanket. The first time your lure hits a tree branch (or a leaf, or a dragonfly) in mid flight and you have to cut all the line off your reel, you'll be tempted to give it away. Which is what I finally did with my LH retrieve Curado and perfectly matched Shimano rod. I gave it to a good friend who had dreams of being a pro and had no money for gear.

I envy people who can make a baitcasting reel dance. But for the average person, I don't think the microscopic advantage of a little better feel is worth it unless you are targeting something that has a notoriously light bite (sheepshead). IMO, braided line on spinning reels negates the once significant advantage baitcasters had re: line twist.

For me, covering a lot of water is critical. I'll take 20% more casts using spinning tackle over maybe, just maybe, feeling one more bite on a baitcaster

I agree with you about more casts and covering water. Also, running a really good spinning rod and proper line will give you all the feel you need when feel is the deal. Feeling a bite isn't the main reason to bait cast, though. Some baits just work better (buzzbaits come to mind) and a really good bait caster can get up under bushes better than I can with a spinner, and the very best are much more accurate with pinpointing a bait. I had a pretty nice set-up and used it a lot for a few years throwing jig and pig, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, but once I went to small tubes, I'd be back on the spinning gear. Throwing musky plugs and spinners, I think the baitcasting set up works better for lure retrieval, but feel obviously doesn't enter this equation.
Either way, for me it's just another arrow in the quiver, much the way I view my fly rod.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Times for a conventional-
1) vertical presentations (vertical jogging plastics for striped bass, speed jigging amberjack)

2) bait fishing with sensitive biters (sheepshead, tautog, triggerfish.)

3) Texas or Carolina rigged-soft plastics. It is very difficult to find spinning tackle that can drive the hook through the plastic on the hookset, and I think the feel is much better

4) Surf fishing for large predators- conventionals are cheaper, easier to replace, have clickers.

5) live bait presentations with minimal casting required (trolling baits behind planer boards, king rigging, trolling for Peligacs)

For everything else, I use spinning tackle. However for a traditional medium 7 foot set up, I have yet to hear consensus on best set ups.

Everything else, I use spinning tackle.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

baitcasters will win all of the pinpoint accuracy contests because of the ability to "brake" in flight. but i can drop a soft plastic on a dinner plate all day long and intentionally bounce one off a piling or skip a lure up under a dock without fear of a backlash.

if I'm casting underneath stuff, last thing I want is a baitcaster.

baitcasters have their applications as French noted but I haven't been fishing in a decade wishing I had one along...probably because I fish almost exclusively inshore saltwater.

Yeah. What Musky said!

One other feature. Make sure your centrifugal brake adjustment is external, either a knob or a dial. I bought a couple of very nice phluegers. They were great smooth reels but you had to remove the end cap to set the magnets that were on tiny springs. You know where they ended up! In fact you might want to see what they offer now I know that they have redesigned to an external dial.

Edit: Now I have cabin fever! I guess in need more Cowbell.

Year 3 is coming up!

I can definitely see the internal style being a problem. Thanks for the tip!

At risk of taking too much advantage of the knowledge on this forum for one day, what recommendations do you guys have for an outboard motor for a 14' aluminum jonboat? I have one that has a really old and not well maintained Johnson 9.9 HP, but I have had so much trouble with the motor since I inherited the setup that I am considering replacing the motor rather than going through another maintenance/rebuilding process on it. Damn thing has left me stranded on the water before, had to use the trolling motor to get back to the ramp. Luckily I hadn't gone too far when it died on me.

Is that a poor decision? If not, what would you recommend I replace it with? Again, New River and probably Claytor Lake/SML are the only places it will ever see the water. I am also aware that an ideal setup for each type of water isn't going to be great at the other. I just want something reliable that I won't have to fool around with too much while taking the kids fishing.

Check out Suzuki. When I was looking at buying a small boat, that name kept popping up as a great value and super reliable. You could probably drop a 15 hp motor om there an love it, if you're used to the old Johnson.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I'll check it out. Thanks!

check out Tohatsu's as well. unless you fish on horsepower restricted water, look at the weight of the outboard and get the most HP for the weight as you can (provided it isn't too much for the boat), especially if you have to cover a decent amount of territory. often there is little to no difference in weight from a 9.9 to a 15.

if you live on the coast, get one that is rated for saltwater

make sure you get the right shaft length

i have twice purchased outboards on line with no issues

https://onlineoutboards.com/tohatsu-15-hp-outboards.html

edit:

to add a little more...some models of the lower HP models have alternators and some do not. an alternator is a good ting to have

Suzuki used to, and may still, have a threaded motor flushing port. that is also a really convenient thing to have

frankly, you should be able to get a new Yamaha, Suzuzki, or Tohatsu for about the same money and in the 25 and under HP's, all are going to be fine motors.

Plus one for Tohatsu, in fact now I'm wondering if Tohatsu is what I was remembering and not Suzuki. I read a lot of saltwater forums thinking that if something could hold up in saltwater, it would be super reliable for freshwater. Anyway, good luck and definitely update the forum with what you find. I'm curious by nature, and things change all the time.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Perfect for The NEW. Though you have to go to Alabama to get one.

Year 3 is coming up!

Lol.

1. Yamaha
2. Suzuki

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Awesome French...gives me an idearr

Year 3 is coming up!

All I see is an empty square almost like it's a symbol or image that won't load on my phone.

Rt click on the icon and select view image. This is the only time it has worked for me.

Year 3 is coming up!

Sorry it isn't working. My former Hokie FB buddy is dipping his toe into doing custom cobia bucktails in college football team colors. That was an initial prototype.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Nice! Can't see it, but sounds .... giggity.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

570_D37_F6_1_B18_450_A_871_C_6523_D5_DDD735

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Work of art! I'd have a hard time throwing something like that. Belongs on the wall. Do wahoos hit jigs? If so....

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Year 3 is coming up!