2018-19 Winter Fishing Report and Discussion Thread

The October thread spilled all the way through December, so it is time to kickstart a new winter thread.

I had the pleasure of joining IFishVT out for a day on the Chesapeake Bay. We had rougher conditions than predicted for the day. Initially, both of us caught fish immediately slow trolling smaller bucktails on the bottom. Chartreuse and white with a grub trailer (I am not sure if we were using 1oz or 1 1/2 oz) bumped up and down as we went just faster than a drift was the ticket. That was my first rockfish on one of Bowed Up Lures rockfish bucktails. I was in the smaller fish, with my biggest only coming in around 17 inches. I also got one on a chartreuse BKD on a 2 oz jig head.

FishVT managed the majority of the fish and two fish over 20 inches, and one was so gorged that I wouldn't have been shocked if she had 2 pounds of small bunker or sand eels in her belly. All fish were released despite FishVT having two keepers.

The coolest part was getting fish on essentially medium action bass tackle, while all the folks around us (and there were plenty of them) were using those giant mojos. And, as always, it was a good day on the water chatting up FishVT, eating peanut butter crackers, and watching the birds dance around.

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As for winter fishing, I am not sure what I have in store. I would love to try togging in the Bay (I have caught some from the shore in Ocean City but I'd love to find some bigger fish.) A couple of my buddies will likely head to the Florida panhandle to find those sea mullet after postponing our original trip, but that would be a tough one to make. I hear the sheepshead are showing around Charleston too.

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

If you can come up with crabs, The Cell has plenty of togs in the winter, and I'd love to do that, but until I win the lottery, I won't have boat enough to do it.

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You will chuckle at this. On Sunday I was in an old bookstore in Winchester, and they had a copy of the old Virginia Fishing book by Bob Gooch (this one was a 1990 or older version.) It had Stingray Point as a prime time tog spot. I just chuckled.

Also, if you can get them, sand fleas are my preferred tog bait, not green crabs. Bev's Bait and Tackle in Ocean City always seemed to have them this time of year before they shut down. I haven't been togging since.

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

Not so funny, maybe. There are some hidden spots locally that you can't get out of the few who are in the know. There are a couple of iron ore reefs just off of Gwynn Isle that are purported to have produce togs in the past, and a couple of rock piles not far from Stingray that are also rumored to hold them. Gotta find 'em though. Stingray could very well be holding some, but I certainly don't have any first hand knowledge of it and have never seen anyone toggin' there. Maybe we oughta give Gooch's pointer a try sometime if we can get the bait.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

If you don't mind me asking, what took you to Winchester? That's where I grew up. I can't think of a single reason a person would choose to go there, so I'm assuming work related?

Visiting my future sister in law. We had bitmap at Mr. Noodle and Rice and then went to a used book store.

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

Mr Noodle is amazing! Good choice.

Sheepshead are in Charleston, have been for a few weeks. I need to get out and get after some seen a lot of my friends catching boat loads.

Togs or sheeps would be fun. If you end up going to Charleston, I'd be interested in tagging along.

I did a Mount Pleasant Pier trip in January 2017 and had a good time.

I'd love to try togging for the big ones out on the Bay, but getting to the areas where they can be found is tough sledding.

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

Will probably start probing the New for some musky after the first of the year. Didn't get to make many trips last year so I'm gonna try to make up for it this year. I'm running a prop so we're relegated to above and below boat ramps depending on flows. If anyone hears any reports I'm all ears.

My friend on the New says they're still catching them when they can go. Not every trip, but enough to call it good. One place this time of year I liked is between the Narrows ramps. The one below the Narrows Falls and downstream to the one on the 460 side. Not a lot of mileage, but good ledges and doable in a prop. You probably know all this, but another place is in front of the Sportsman, deep water, RR car in there somewhere, but fished regularly by good musky folks. I knew some guys who hit it regularly for a while with rainbow trout for bait. I have a spot on Claytor Lake that I used to catch, or more likely fight and lose them regularly in the winter when walleye fishing. We've caught three a day twice and two a day several times. I never fished for them, though. Water's 25-35' deep and they were on the bottom, hence the walleye jig minnow getting bit. I caught my biggest one there on a 1/4oz jig and bass minnow on 8lb test. Open water made it possible. Point is, they're not just in the river. I'll reach out to Jim and see what he's done this past week.

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Just out of curiosity, what is Wolf Creek like? I know that's right there in the town of Narrows.

"Can't argue with that logic" - Rick Sanchez

Wolf Creek is a strange body of water. I've never fished it other than where it dumps into the New. It floods crazily all the time, then is a smallish rocky creek for months. It runs for a long way along a valley right into town as you noted, but other than small redeye and smallmouth in the deeper pools along the way, I don't know what would be in there. At the mouth, however, I've gotten some really nice smallmouth, several citations, and downstream from the mouth a couple hundred yards I saw the biggest smallmouth of my life. State record for sure, client even had it on. I thought it was a carp when it approached the lure its head was so wide and it was so long. When it took and rolled to dive, the width of the body astounded all three of us. Fish story, though, in the end, but I was a better fisherman away from being a famous Virginia smallmouth guide. Sigh.

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Might have to check it out.....thanks for the input I just had heard about some smallmouth being in there. I think they stock it with trout a little upstream as well.

"Can't argue with that logic" - Rick Sanchez

Yeah, they do stock it further up, but I think it's a pretty good way upstream.

Edit: Wolf Creek runs all the way from Tazewell Co., past I-77, Burke's Garden, and miles and miles before reaching Narrows. I think it is stocked in Tazewell. It is a ridiculously long creek that drains a tremendous amount of mountain land. When we first moved back to Giles in '86, we saw a lot of houses over there for ridiculously low prices. I mean like 4 BR brick houses for $18,000 cheap. Didn't take much research to find out how badly Wolf Creek floods. I'm sure there are fish in it, but its volatile nature might limit any good fishing. I'm sure some locals know a few hot spots or deep holes that'll hold worthy adversaries, though.

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About a decade ago I caught a citation sized smallie out of Wolf creek - but it was way up in Bland county. That smalmouth was in a huge hole that probably was safe from big floods.

I do hear some locals talk about 6#+ smallies getting fat on trout where Wolf Creek empties into the New, but I have yet to see actual evidence - but your story adds some possible truth to the story!

They actually stock wolf creek from upstream of Shumate all the way through Narrows and almost to the convergence with the New. This is in addition to the portion along 77 near Rocky Gap. I've never fished it, but in researching stocked trout waters I noticed the stocked portions on the VA interactive trout stocking map.

Thanks for the info. I lived there for 26 years and never knew that. Then again, I lost interest in stocked trout decades ago and only went to the Narz to launch or recover, and I never saw trout or any evidence of them or stocking when I did. Most of the poachers I had to run off of my spring creek came from Narrows, but my fish were a hell of a lot bigger than any stocker they'd have there.

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I hear you. I have lost interest in most of the stocked trout. On occasion I'll go in weeks after stocking with my fly rod. One, for the challenge. Two, because my mom loves rainbow trout. I probably go once or twice a year to put a few in the freezer for her, but other than that I avoid the bait dunking crowd like the plague.

almost to the convergence with the New

No doubt musky are nearby and eating those rainbows

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

If it is stocked, you should be throwing a rainbow trout colored musky lure/fly around that creek mouth where it enters the James.

New. Corrected. Too much wine last night.

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

I'll resist the urge to give you grief for the James reference...long way from the Narz to the James, and the water flows the wrong way to boot, but in all my years on the New, I never saw a musky in the stretch between the mouth of Wolf Creek and Narrows Falls. There's some really deep water and a great drop off out from the campground where it seems muskies should be, and there may be some in there, but we never saw one there. Your take on the lure is spot on, though. Muskies love them some rainbows when they can get 'em.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I appreciate you calling me out since I'm a grammar fanatic.

Here's my latest rainbow...

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq8pXK8HOgz/

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

My mother taught me early on that a slip of the tongue is no fault to the mind, but since we're sorta on a friendly basis, I figured I could give you an elbow without you thinking I was challenging your riparian knowledge. On the grammar front, I must admit that it actually causes me to wince sometimes at TKP posts. I make mistakes as often as most, I guess, but you will never hear me say "He should have ran" or "We should have went", etc. Like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Your musky fly looks good. I'd like to see it on the strip. First musky fly I saw actually catch one looked like a baby mink and had tandem hooks. The fish hooked up on the tandem, but a long shank hook could make hook ups more likely than a short shank.

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This fly jackknifes pretty darn hard in the water. I tie them with tandem hooks but lots of fish are caught on single hook flies as well. Brad Bohen, who is one of the muskiest (how's that for grammar? lol) dudes in the country, ties his Buford on a single hook, as well as his Hangtime pattern. Both catch tons of muskie.

I'm exploring different versions that don't always fit the standard bill and are a little easier to tie. Most of my musky flies these days are 9 inches long, so a single hook will work for them. The fish are being hammered and seeing larger baits all the time and I think they feel a little better taking a smaller one. Mike Smith's neighbor caught and landed a 48 inch musky on one of my nine inch flies, and hooked another and lost a larger one than that, both hooked on the trailer. Two other clients of mine caught 40 plus inch fish on my single hook creations. Two hooks is kind of dangerous tying and even worse casting. But those fish do get caught on the trailer hook.

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

You are right on there. Cecil's mink fly with two hooks was a menace to be in the boat with, and he stopped tying them with the tandem hook for ease of casting (not to mention partner safety). You are also right about the fish being hammered these days. Back then, nobody fished flies for them and it was still before everybody and their brothers were chasing them, but these days, it does pay to downsize sometimes. That's why my little Suick was so successful, I think. It just didn't raise the big boys, but it did put a fair number of smaller fish, 10-15lbs, in the boat.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It is worth noting, the first French homestead in SWVA (settled by Matthew French) was at the mouth of Wolf Creek, and there is a monument erected by DAR there commemorating his service during the American Revolution beside of the creek just upstream from the mouth.

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

Please tell me Mr. Matthew French is doing the Heisman pose for the monument.

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

Pretty sure the railroad car it right around the mouth of the little river. Be careful near there as it will take out a lower unit.

I've never seen it, but I thought it was in pretty deep water. I do know muskies are caught around it, though.

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I will spend most of my winter tying flies for shows (doing at least two, maybe three) and prepping for a few talks.

Musky will be available all winter long, as will freshwater trout with the high flows. I plan on doing a bit of both and hopefully getting down to OBX and maybe a trip to the Gulf, when I buy a boat. Also hoping to go to the Bahamas for bonefish for a few days with a buddy.

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

My guide friend Jim Richmond floated Ivanhoe on Sunday fly fishing for muskies. They had one follow and talked with a guy at the mouth of Cripple Creek who'd caught a 45" musky on a hard bait that day. Not exactly hot, but a follow musky fishing is like a close up gobble from a big tom in the spring turkey woods.

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Thanks for info. I'm right there with you - if you're chasing musky and moving fish you've done something. Gonna try a few different hard baits this year that work a bit better in the slow deep holes of the river. Most on the market are made for covering water or trolling on lakes. Tough to find the perfect balance of getting to mid depth quick and staying there on a slow retrieve. So far my best luck has been off of jakes, super shad raps and believers. Sucks to drop $25 on a lure you can't present properly.

Suicks were my best bait over the years, and a small Grandma Plug for winter and a couple of different colored Mepps Muskie Killer and Bouchertail spinners for the summer. I had a small bumblebee colored Suick, maybe only five inches long or so, that was deadly on smaller muskies, summer and winter. All that stuff really adds up.

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I'm going to respond to both of you here -

04Hokie - I have some jointed believers that are really old. You interested? I think I paid like $30 for 6 of them, and I rarely use them. If you want one or two I can meet you somewhere and maybe you can get some use out of them. I would put new split rings and hooks on them if it were me, but they seem to be in decent condition.

Ifish - did you leave your raft out in the winter? I always worry about it getting so cold that it becomes brittle so mine is in the basement. Of course, I have the cheap PVC NRS raft, you had that built like a tank Maravia (that I assume was hypalon or something close).

Yes, my raft was out year round, but I used it a few times a winter for walleye trips on the upper New. When not in use for a few weeks, I'd cover it with a cheap tarp, but that sucker was so tough it never showed any adverse effects. In the 8+ years I owned it, I only had to repair pin holes once, and had a failed valve once as well, but that raft had so much floatation and support that I didn't even know the chamber was flat until we landed at the ramp. I would deflate the boat somewhat to lower the stress when sitting, but not too much in the winter. The Navy Seals helped with some of the design of those rafts and you could tell. The shell was made of PVC encapsulated in urethane. Tough as nails.

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I may take you up on some of those believers if you don't care to part with them. I've got a possible Canada trip lined up this summer as well so I think I could put them to some good use.

Shoot me an email- zsowder AT vt DOT edu

I live in Pembroke and work on campus so I'll be happy to get them to you somehow.

Christmas sale that may be of interest.

Tackle Direct is selling Penn Clashes at pretty big discounts, especially if you are looking for a 6000 size or 2500 size real. I was sniffing around a 5000 size to upgrade my bucktail reel (machined gears on the Clash) but they are on back order and the discount for that size was less impressive. https://www.tackledirect.com/penn-clash-spinning-reels.html

Most big fishing gear places are unloading whatever inventory of Penn SSVs they have to make room for the SSVIs. You can get them in the $70 range from several spots.

Tackle Direct's best prices are on the live liner SSVs https://www.tackledirect.com/search.html?query=SSV

BassPro/Cabelas starts at $90. https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/penn-spinfisher-v-spinning-reel?bvstate=...

I have been looking for a good price on Shimano Stradics or Saragosas, but haven't found anyone dealing. I did pick up about $40 of Owners SSW 10/0 octopus circles (my preferred drum hooks) at some different stops.

Are any of you being your own Santa this holiday season?

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

That power pro deal is a really good price

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

...Cyber Monday find

All good deals, French.

If you are interested in floating the river comfortably (sorry all you yakers), NRS has their 14" PVC raft on sale for super cheap - from $2100 to $1340.

NRS Outlaw 140

I have had this raft for 3 years and been on approximately 65 trips. My only knock is that the floor isn't the most durable - you can get pinholes from hooks or fish, but can easily be patched with Tear-Aid. The floor does come out though and is $400-$600 to replace from NRS. The floor is drop stitch which makes it nice to stand on (almost like a stand up paddle board as a floor).

The actual rubber of the raft has had zero issues so far and the bottom is super durable and tough.

If you are around the New, these things are worth it for the price right now. The fishing frame with three seats will be about $1200 or so. Then after oars shafts, oar blades, oar rights, sleeves, and oarlocks - you could be in a brand new raft for under $3000.

I had my frame custom made, and while it didn't save me any money, I think I got a better frame because it was welded instead of fitted. Fitted frames can wear loose over time and the cracks can be line snaggers. Problem was that my frame was made of 2" aluminum (irrigation pipe) and most add ons like anchor stuff are geared toward 1-1/2" pipe. Still in all, $3000 for a new raft ready to row is a good deal, if you like the raft. Mine cost considerably more than that to put on the water. Then, comes the trailer....

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I would love to really work out a new design for my frame and custom would be sweet. The NRS one is fine but I hate sitting so low while rowing. Not only does it help to see fishy locations when you are higher, but also for rapids. I find myself standing up a good bit to read the water.

Knowing what I know now - I would have done a lot of things differently - raft, frame, and trailer included. However, I wasn't sure how much I would use it or love it at the time. For an entry level raft that can handle all of the New in Giles, it worked out pretty well. Plus I bought the whole damn thing with discounted Cabela's gift cards so it made the deal about the same price as the scenario above.

However, the next one... big plans. But that will hopefully be 6-8 years from now.

My seat was on top of the raft tubes which were 16" tubes, so there was a bit of elevation. Front seat, same. The frame was in two pieces, with the back seat and attendant frame elevated even slightly more than mine. The anchor arm was out the back and attached to the rear frame with pulleys holding the anchor line up to a cleat beside me at my seat. Jim Richmond's frame includes an aluminum flooring that keeps everyone above the top of the boat and if you stand, you're really pretty high up. I'll admit to that being a bit dicey compared to having feet on the floor of the raft, and I once had a rod and reel slide off into the drink, but we got it back. The welding was done in Pembroke by Wesley's Welding. His place burned down years ago, though. The design was Chuck Kraft's with a little redesign to account for the changes in the Williwa II over the years.
With prompting from Chuck and Jim, I didn't use oar rights and it took about one trip to get comfortable with that. Much more freedom of use when feathering those 10' oars. I did, however use counterweights to aid in lifting the oars and help to keep the blades off of the bottom when out of hand. Only takes a time or two of the blade hitting a sudden ledge and popping up and out of the boat to see the sense in that. I also always carried a complete oar and blade replacement after a couple of close calls in cold weather. My boat rowed like a sports car corners, floated in about three inches of water, fully loaded, and was an all 'round dream...until the wind started blowing. Then, that big baby was like a sail. And of course, it was almost invariably in my face.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I need to practice without oar rights and I need to get a spare oar.

Been telling myself this from day 1, but here we are. One day I'll learn...

The oar right thing is a jump off the cliff kind of thing. You just have to take them off and dive in. I think you'll be surprised at how quickly they become superfluous, then if you have to use them again, you'll wonder how you ever thought they were a good thing. You'll feel hogtied. As for the spare oar, I had to swim for one once, almost got away from me. Luckily it was summer. I didn't learn the lesson, though. The second time I lost the oar, I'd added the 4lb counterweight, but it still hit a ledge and popped out in the upper New while on a walleye float in February. The water was 42 degrees, the oar was in four feet of moving water. We got the anchor down immediately and tried to lever the oar blade up with the net, but every time I touched it, it slipped a couple feet downriver, and a few inches deeper. Faced with an untenable situation, you just can't row those rafts with one oar, I ended up stripping down to my shorts and hopping in to get it. Successfully, and we were ready with a T shirt toweling and back into dry clothes, but that was the last straw, albeit almost too late. Later on, we went to a local store as we left the launch area and my buddies bought me a six pack to celebrate a good day. They told the lady cashier about me stripping down and jumping in the cold water after the oar. She laughed and said she'd have paid to see that. I then held my fingers about two inches apart and said "42 degrees!" She got the joke immediately and got a good laugh out of it. From then on, though, every time I stopped in that store after a float to get a brew, she'd point at me, hold her fingers like I did, and shout "Here comes Mr. 42 degrees!" Some things, you just don't live down.
That night after the swim when I got home, I immediately ordered the extra oar shaft. I already had the extra blade in my emergency kit. Never needed it, but when you think about what you'd do with only one oar and lots of river and rapids in front of you, it quickly becomes a no brainer.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

This is tempting...

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

Quick report: Rockfish up to 40" were caught earlier this week north of R2 in the bay. They were full of baby bunker so the guys downsized their baits and got lucky. Using mojo rigs, but with the small baits, also umbrella rigs with three inch sassy shad. Go figure.
Also, walleye are on fire around Austinville on the New. Somebody got one almost 12lbs the other day.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Mike Smith is fishing that stretch right now. I'll let you know what he says

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

My pal Easy Eddie sent me a picture on my phone of nine fatties they got there just a few days ago. I'll try to remember to send it to you. I'll be interested in seeing if he gets them on the fly. Eddie sure didn't.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Please send me the pics! Just got off the phone with Mike Smith. He and his friend only threw musky flies and got skunked. They didn't see a fish. Water temp was 36. Said there were 5 other boats on the Austinville stretch also chasing musky. All of the trucks had NC or Tenn license plates. The word is certainly out on the New.

Mike also got a report from the best musky guide in VA who said the New below Claytor has been on fire. A few days ago they had 9 follows, five eats and two fish landed on a trip.

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

OK, I think I still have your number somewhere. If not, I'll email you and get it again. Eddie was also supposed to send me the pic of the big one his friend caught, but hasn't. I'll put a bug in his ear and see if I can get it also. Sounds like a good bite on the lower New. As for the out of staters, it's been building yearly for a while now. Tenn, NC, KY and WVA are all descending upon the New. I was about pissed off about it before I retired. Someone else's problem now, though.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks for the pic!

I get the same people giving me dirty looks in North Carolina around some of my redfish spots. It is what it is, with more and more people getting on the water, other anglers are going to show up.

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

Fish here have reshuffled with the "cold" evenings...took my daughter's boyfriend out mid-day and scratched out 3 legal trout to 18" and a handful of smaller fish. Perhaps more importantly, he's a cool kid and really likes to fish.

A keeper then?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

if he'll fix my electrical issues at the house...

I successfully learned how to tie an Alberto knot today. Winter sucks.

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

'bout time : )

I tried this the other day with an FG knot. Never got the hang of it.

FG or improved FG- I can't get either one without having something to hook it to. It is a 4 hand knot.

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

has anyone swapped out or have experience with in-line hooks on hard baits in lieu of trebles?

ordered a couple of Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Sub Walks (they need a shorter name) that come with in-line hooks...I'm considering trying them on some of my shorter topwaters as well

edit: actually just put them on the longer skitterwalk...looks reasonable

This is a weird question:

My Forester is on it's last legs (160,000 miles in 6 years will get after ya.) I know when people think fishing and the outdoors, they automatically go to SUVs. However, when you live 2-5 hours away from your favorite fishing spots, dependability and efficiency become more critical.

What are some good choices which balance affordability and efficiency with the space (minimum of 8 1/2 feet from front window to back window for my bucktail rod) needed to make a serious fishing trip happen? I have eyeballed the Volkswagen Sportswagen a few times, but I am open to suggestions. Please note, the new Forester seems like it has corrected some of the issues with fuel efficiency and oil that mine had, so that is on the table too.

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

I own a Sportwagen...blast to drive and very practical to haul stuff.

If you go that route, get the Alltrack...not as sporty as the 2wd but more inclement weather friendly. Consider a Thule "blade" roof rack (not the VW rack, which is noisy and less aerodynamic...it DOES make a fuel mileage difference), with a rod tube for the roof. Sportwagen is a great road trip vehicle.

Do not park a VW under trees as leaves/debris can find its way through various grates and holes into your A/C condensation collection system, block the drain tube, and dump water into your car, doing about $2500 worth of damage...yeah, almost exactly.

edit: when I went car shopping, I took all of my music gear (bass cases, amp, PA, stands, gear boxes) with me and required that they let me load the vehicle to make sure it would hold everything. None objected and most thought it was hilarious. I say take your fishing gear with you for the test drive.

So you're saying you need to just go ahead and spend the 2500 on an aluminum carport if you're going to get a Sportwagen? Everywhere I've ever lived had trees dumping crap on my vehicles. Wife's Buick has a constant problem with leaves and detritus in the cabin filter which is right by the big crack aft of the hood. What a pain. Poor engineering in my book. Could move to Arizona or something, though.

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that's what the mechanic said I should do...and then I unloaded on him about piss poor design...and it's not like they don't know about it. surprised insurance companies haven't sued.

my old Tundra sits under the trees, has inches of tree shit on it at times, and it NEVER gives me a problem.

That sounds positive. The MPG is attractive. I wouldn't need a roof rack. I always drive with my rods inside the car, wrapped in a bundle.

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

MPG is good. Not sure you can get that 8.5 inside.

edit: just measured and I'm surprised...if you angle from the back corner, i think it will actually fit with a couple inches to spare just short of the dashboard...definitely take your "bundle" and gear with you and check if you go that route.

edit 2: maybe even straight through the pass through in the back seat!

My old Forester has about 3-4 inches of wiggle room on my older bucktail rod. My new one works, along with my surf rods that are 50/50 splits. If I ever get one of the 70/30 split CTS surf rods, I could have a problem.

Three years ago, I went with two people in a Prius drum fishing, and somehow the surf rods fit (50/50.) My bucktail rod wouldn't work though.

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

if you want a pic of a tape measure from the back to the front, I can do it in the morning

I can put my longer rods in the Buick. Butt on the back deck, through the split in the front seat, and onto the dash. I pad them and use hair ties to keep them together. Never actually measured things out, but there's a lot of room in a vehicle if you don't mind having rods on your shoulder.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I use Velcro straps and bundle the rods. If I wasn't lazy I would take the reels off, but I like to grab and go.

I'd appreciate the measurement. If you don't want to send a photo, your word is good on the measurement.

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

2016 VW Sportwagen (Mk7), FWD, tape is at 102"

straight through the pass through

if you angle it slightly toward he passenger side, there is more room to the right of the console into the legroom area

traveling alone, 9' will fit

One of my fellow guides in Aspen rode around in a decked out orange VW bus. It was awesome and he could sleep in it.

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

I can sleep in my Chevy Express Van if I want. A queen sized mattress fits right in. Can't wait to get rid of it.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Is this you at Carmax? /s

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

Loved my old Forester sold it a while back with 330k miles on it was awesome fishing vehicle but I bought a new Colorado to haul boats with the mpgs aren't bad I get 24-25 on average trips

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

Anyone fish much around the Wilmington Area? Looking to relocate again and have a few good leads that way. Might take my boat up and hang out for a weekend to get a feel for the area...no better way to do that than in the water.

I have fished on Oak Island on the piers there. Lots of blacktip sharks in the summer. Kings are good in May and October.

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

I have a family friend that lives in Wilmington now. I don't he has been able to fish much since moving down there. There should still be some trout and maybe some stripers around.

My friend says there are trout and reds around, but they move unpredictably this time of year, weather related. He said he'd concentrate on the "deep holes". Where they at, I dunno.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

This time of the year redfish are going to school up on the darkest shallow water flats in the marsh they can find, if its above 40 degrees. If the water temp dips below that, they will move out to the surf where the water is warmer.

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

I have a hankering to relocate there as well...

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

Are you thinking about guiding down there?

I would probably do some guiding there. Def would still do some to the North around Cape Lookout

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

Yeah you know that fishery so well it would be hard not to guide there

Thank you. No guiding is easy, particularly with the weather down there. But luckily, there's usually somewhere to fish at the Cape no matter what the weather is doing.

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

You're welcome. There is always something going. Best of luck, can't wait to hear your guide stories.

Do it and teach me how to fly fish effectively.

You'll have to recruit me better than that

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

Obviously, he will supply bud light for any of these lessons.

I'll supply the boat and beer.

What kind of boat? This is a big sticking point as I hope to have a very kick ass boat soon.

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

Still in my Action Craft...if I land this opportunity in Wilmington might be adding a CC

Forgot you had that boat. The AC will work well!

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

One of my nearest and dearest Hokie friends (he was in my wedding 45 years ago) lived there for a long time. He relocated to Smithfield for work about 5 years ago (runs the IP paper mill in Franklin), and he fished a ton. He trolled for Kings, cast for albies, and worked the inlets and creeks for flounder, puppies (spot tail bass he called 'em from previous years in SC) and trout, but seemed to concentrate on the flounder in the summer. I can get names, places and seasons from him, or maybe even put you in touch for an old fashioned "conversation" about it if you like. He's about as affable a fellow as you're likely to ever meet and is currently building a house in Surf City. And he's as Hokie as Hokie can be, so there's that. If you want to talk to him, I'm at newriverangler@hotmail.com. I'll get you hooked up.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

A big gem in Wilmington is Masonboro Island. Like an almost private (weekends and holidays, well...) beach only accessible by boat. Cool place. Surf fishing from the front, flounder in the inlet, great place to take the family if you're willing to walk a little from the land side where you anchor. My friend will also be knowledgeable about the local BBQ and shrimp and grits places.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Masonboro Island surf is excellent as well.

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

Yep. My friend's son is a big wave surfer now in Hawaii, but he honed his craft right there. Decent local spearfishing available as well, if you're into that.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Brett Barley?

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

Curtis Snyder.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Well I'm gonna be staying in Carlisle PA for a week over the holidays and am wondering if anyone knows what's good around there this time of year if anything is? Would love to try trout fishing but I'm not sure how PA does their regs and all

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

Lots of good limestone streams up there. They are not easy

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

New to trout fishing in a sense here im assuming limestone is good for holding trout but challenging to fish? Gonna have a few days to kill up there so was gonna try and do a one day go out for the day and if I have to hike a bit to get somewhere decent but wasnt sure if trout have a season up in PA or not.

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

Limestone streams hold trout well. Those ones I've heard are very challenging.

I know nothing of the PA trout season, in fact I don't really understand trout "seasons," after fishing 3/4 of my life. I've fished for trout all over the country, all year long. Not questioning you, just making a point maybe someone can explain to me.

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

Ahhh I see what you mean on the limestone streams I'm looking into more info on what to fish with and where.
And the trout seasons thing is just how I always had thought the stocked trout streams were a heavily regged thing like a hunting thing. Guess I was poorly informed or things have changed, guess I'm basing my info in my head off the articles I used to read about opening days in trout country and the pictures of a billion people lined up fishing a trout stream shoulder to shoulder. Seems I missed the whole fish whenever the rivers right thing.

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

Stocked streams had seasons in Virginia when I was a kid. It stopped when I was about to go to college. Fishing stocked waters in February with no other competition was amazing, and I didn't eat any so they all were released. Then VDGIF started posting the stocking schedule online around 2000 and the bottom fell out (at least on Whitetop Laurel.

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

I unfortunately, can't tell you what rivers to go to. The Letort is famous. A difficult river means the trout will be picky, and you'll likely have to use small flies and super light tippet, say 5 or 6x. Just a hunch though. There are likely fly shops up in those areas that can tell you what is going on. If you haven't fished much for trout, it may be a bit daunting both in terminology and difficulty. Best way to learn is go to a shop, talk to them and then go out and do it.

I hear ya on the stockings. I prefer to stay away from that nonsense, but that's just me! Full disclosure, I got skunked by a bunch of stocked trout this morning in a stream in SWVA.

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

I, too, have fished for several decades and all over the country and can say that there are, indeed, "seasons" in some states, as well as Canada. Some states have closures for spawning purposes, and even Tennessee has some closures in particular stretches of some rivers, like the S. Holston, also for spawning purposes. Most of the closures I've run into over the years were in the Fall, and weren't comprehensive, like some for streams but not lakes, certain streams, etc. Most likely to run into this in the Northeast, like Maine, for example. This has nothing to do with stocking like Virginia's put and take system used to be, it's a whole 'nother thing. Quick call to a fly shop or tackle shop in the state/area can clue you in.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'll be right by Yellow Breeches Creek if anyone's fished it before I'd be open for any suggestions

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

Heading out for another schoolie striper foray in the ayem. Report to come. Supposed to be almost 50 degrees, seas of 1' and E winds at 5kt. Hard to find better days this time of year here on the Bay. Of course, it'll all probably go to shit by the time I launch, but at least I get to feel optimistic for a night.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Good luck. I'd rather be with you than where I will be.

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

First hookset will be for you, my friend.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Well, I owe you French. No birds, no boats, no bites, no runs, no hits, no errors, two bums left on base with clean hands and a boat without slime or blood. Quit at lunch and ate at the Hole in the Wall. Closest we got to a fish was the Landshark pints we had. I can honestly say that I seldom get skunked, but I got fully dipped in skunkitude today. Humbling.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Seems the fish don't sync up well with the best weather it seems but a day fishings far better than a day anywhere else!

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

I used to hear the old refrain "A bad day fishing is better than a good day's work" so often that it actually irritated me as I sat there pulling oars for 9 hours, busting my butt to assure my clients didn't have that "bad day". That, and the even tireder refrain "That's why they call it fishing, not catching" should be retired.
But, of course, both of those things are true, so I guess it's just me. I am, however, thinking that a warm day on a sunny Caribbean beach with a bottle or rum and a lime would beat my last day's fishing. Matter of fact, I'm sure of it.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

scroll up for your photos

Any owners of the following rods? All would be in the 8-17 pound, fast action, 7 foot variety. I would welcome thoughts:

Temple Fork Outfitters Inshore Tactical Rods
St. Croix Tidemaster
St. Croix Mojo Inshore
Shimano Teramar

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

Love my baitcasting mojo bass rod by step Croix medium heavy throws anything well and stuff enough for solid sized fish

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

Also looking for a good set of waders for trout fishing in colder temps nothing terribly expensive but something decent for the buck since I'm trying to finally get myself into the trout game

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

Cheap neoprene does the trick for me. Never had the big bucks for the GoreTex stuff, which is so much more versatile as it can be used regardless of season and the neoprene is hot in the more moderate climes, but it's hard to stay warmer than neoprene in the cold. I still have my second pair of Bass Pro cheapies from 25 years ago. They have a couple of pin hole leaks, and are stocking foot waders, necessitating a pair of wading boots, but they'll still keep me warm and pack easily into a day pack. I stayed away from hip boot styles due to doing some deep wading in some cold Western rivers, though you can roll them down to the waist in shallower creeks. If money were no object, though, I'd likely own some GoreTex bibs.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

That was another question I had since I'd noticed alot of them are bootless if that's really any better but since I'm gonna use these for waterfowl this winter as well I'll go warmer with boots maybe

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

had sock foot neoprenes for both wade fishing and duck hunting for years...just put lace up wading shoes/boots on over them. hard to imagine boots being warmer...question would be how thick of neoprene, 3.5 or 5 mm.

My stocking foot old ones are 3mm I think, but my heavy winter ones are 5mm with thinsulate in the boots. They are the warmest and dryest things I've ever owned, but don't try to walk more than a couple hundred feet in them. I wore myself to a nub on the San Juan a couple of falls ago trying to walk and wade two days with them bogging me down. My heavy ones came from Cabelas.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Since you guys both use wading boots is there a good brand or type to use? Might go that way so I can use the wading boots year round anyway

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

I haven't bought or looked at wading boots in years, so someone else will have to elucidate you if they can. Once I bought the heavy duty booted waders, I seldom used the stocking foot waders, but since I also have a pair of stocking foot hip waders, when I did use them, I used tennis shoes since my felt soled wading boots finally gave up the ghost. Either way, though, I chose felt over spikes when I got the first boots, and got them high enough to give me ankle support, and protection. Also, you should wear socks between the stockings and the shoes to help preserve the integrity of the wader from rocks that get in the boot. This is inevitable, regardless of how tight you tie everything up. That and the accumulation of sand in the wading boot is the main reason I went with booted waders when I stepped up to my winter/duck-goose waders. You might also pose your questions on the hunting thread. I'm sure there are a bunch of waterfowlers out there with good suggestions.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Depends on if you want felt soles or rubber soles, I prefer felt with metal studs for fishing slick rock trout streams. Rubber soles are too slick for me. Hiking in long distance on trails in wading boots is tough on the felt soles. I have Chota brand wading boots that have done well for me. My brother fishes probably 50 plus times a year and will go through more than 1 pair.

Huh interesting one pair might not last as long as I thought they might I'd def go felt they seem the better just gonna have to do some thinking on it I'm still budgeting to see what I'm willing to do to get into cold weather trout fishing

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

Felt is almost a necessity for wading mountain streams. The rocks are slick as snake snot and felt is a good dampener. I avoided the studs because I thought they'd be more damaging to the bottom (probably not true) and to any interior I happened to find myself walking into while/after fishing. Not as bad as golf shoes, but still. You should be able to get more than 50 fishing trips out of a decent pair of wading boots, though. If you're not in waist deep water for any length of time, get a lower priced shell type wader and layer up well underneath. Don't spend much until you know how much you'll be using stuff. No need to start off at the guide level. Get a pair of old high top tennies and cut and glue your own felt soles onto them, get a cheap pair of stocking foot chest waders and have at it. They sell the felt and glue at the big shops, and it works. I resoled my original canvas wading shoes and they really were little more than heavy high tops anyway. The obvious issue is use. If you're going to get something for a couple of weeks this year, that's one thing. If you have multiple uses in mind, there's another. While winter fishing cries out for neoprene to me, summer trout fishing in deeper water can freeze your nibs as well, but might not call for neoprene. A decent Goretex type wader can be pretty versatile if you make sure you have room for layering underneath for true cold weather use.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Heading to Florida again for new years. Same place as usual (Flagler area). Any thoughts on surf fishing this time of year? Any tips on fly fishing the beaches at any time of year? Thanks!

I'll ask around

Thanks! We did decent with whiting and puppy drum (black) a few Thanksgivings ago, but I've never fished in January.

had been doing real well inshore until the last 2 weeks when the weather cooled...the deck has been reshuffled

best surf fishing guy I know hasn't been lately...says your best shot may be pompano...Genung's fish camp (https://genungsfishcamp.com/) had some nice sand fleas as of a few days ago.

otherwise go with the standard...fresh dead shrimp on a Carolina rig.

Thanks for the info! I'll probably do just that. Various bottom rigs and various bait. Had good luck with the fresh dead shrimp, fresh caught sand fleas, and the various incarnations of fish bites.

I'll post if we have any success.

two incarnations of our band are playing NYE at the St Aug Beach pier prior to their fireworks show...scheduled to be on stage from 6-8. if the weather is nice, that is usually a pretty good event

the lead singer for one of the bands is unexpectedly out with some minor surgery so we are having to rework things a bit between now and then...ugh. our options are good, actually very good, but we have to restructure the sets we've been planning to do for the last 2 months and get them installed

Good luck! I'll try harder to make it up this time.

thanks, we'll need it! I hate the last minute changes...but that's the way it goes.

I picked up a new Daiwa Ballistic LT 3000 reel today at the Cabelas. I wish it had been a good experience, but they had the reel at MSRP despite their own website having it marked down for $50 off ($174 instead of $229.) I told them I wanted to buy if they honored the web price. It took showing them the website, sending the link, and two managers to get them to honor their own posted price. also, the SSV 3500 on display was listed at full price instead of the advertised $89. The Stradic was also marked up to $239. Make sure you research your prices and know them by heart before you visit a Cabelas or Bass Pro.

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

Cabelas or Bass Pro.

There's a reason I left when this became a conglomerate. Top down exhaustion of the little bit of freedom local stores had to take care of their customers, now everything is run through one guy I'm not particularly fond of.

I'm right there with you. I always thought Cabelas had the best customer service and their name brand clothing and products were top notch. Since the merger they seem to have dropped a lot of their product lines and customer service has went south. They also don't seem to stock products like they used to. It's a real shame as I've been a Cabelas customer for over 20 years, but I basically quit fooling with Bass Pro for the same reasons. Both have stores within 1.5 hours of me (Bristol), but I only go there if I'm in the area and rarely order online anymore.

I heard they dropped the bargain cave. If so, I am disappointed. Haven't been down to Bristol in a while to check.

Shout out to Watson's Marine in Bluff City, TN for a good customer service experience today.

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

Just returned from Nashville for a fellow Hokie frat bro's wedding.

Fly South in Nash is hands down the best fly shop in the country. Super hospitable ownership and guides and they have more fly fishing gear than I've ever seen. The tying room made me drool. I wanted everything. It is right across the street from Hattie B's hot chicken. Ate there twice. Amazing. If anyone ever goes there, I highly recommend checking out both spots.

There apparently is some good bass, musky and trout fishing in the area. I spent all of my free time in bars with my best friends... the scenery inside was well worth not fishing.

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

That's my old stomping grounds. I lived in Franklin for 5 years or so and that fly shop was my lunch break stop many days.

I fly fished the Harpeth a lot, good warm weather and stocked trout stream, but the most fun I had was catching what I think were striped or hybrid bass schooled up in one of the coves on Percy Priest lake. Also, if you get a chance, the Caney Fork east Nashville is an amazing place for trophy trout. Very challenging but a beautiful river with a lot of big fish potential.

And yeah, the bar scene in Nashville is about tops in my book. Glad you had a good trip.

Struck out again yesterday...4 undersized reds on gulp. Rain very heavy all day today (why I went yesterday); looks like a repeat of last week.

Ran into a couple young guys (I'd guess college kids on break) poling/flyfishing from a gheenoe-based rig (complete with duct tape on the nose...something I would have done!) in some really skinny water...said they'd picked a up a few reds each day and that they were schooling (which is what we would expect at this point).

For Flyguy, they said they were using a black "slider"...tells me were in the brief fiddler crab window and to get out the black bucktail.

we need a couple weeks of no rain to clear up the water and have the pattern settle out. probably after Christmas before I try again

Thanks! Black Clouser / bucktail with a little bit of gold flash is what my friend in NC uses all winter long.

What's up with your "fiddler crab window"? You only have them for a small portion of the year?

You say struck out, but I'd say one redfish any day is a home run!

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

I'm with you flyguy. I think 4 reds is definitely not a strike out.

when the water gets cold (50's) in the winter, the exposed mudflats heat up in the sun. when the tide comes in, reds will work the edge of the tide line on those warmer flats; and typically they are focused on fiddler crabs.

for about a 2 month window typically starting some time in December, bouncing a black bucktail (I like a few purple and copper or gold flash strands buried in the black) on the bottom can be VERY effective on reds...and very, very few people in this part of the world will do that...probably much less than 1%.

Interesting. I would think those flood tide flats would have fiddler crabs on them in the summer as well, much like the Lowcountry. I'm surprised so few people fish it. That is the epitome of the perfect redfish scenario. That jig looks exactly what I tie in a black Clouser. My Yellowstone Slider pattern would also work very effectively for them.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmgdDbunh-L/

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

I'm sure reds take fiddlers year round just like they do blue crabs (I've caught a few on bucktails over rangia beds in the St Johns south of Jax during summer) but right now, fiddlers are the energy efficient target and the match-the-hatch approach is much more effective than at other times.

If you are ever in Jax, Strike Zone is far and away the best tackle store. Go see what they have in stock for bucktails suitable for inshore reds.

Used to have a couple of CK tied flies that were coneheads with medium/short black maribou and a strip of black dyed rabbit fur. Killers.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I went out yesterday for a possibly last attempt to school some schoolies and got schooled myself instead. Traveled far and wide, north and east almost to Tangier Island looking for the tell tale birds, but they were scattered, resting, or absent all day long. The few we found were over really small fish, the smallest schoolies I've dealt with in my six years of chasing them. If not for my big fish companion, 3rdGen, we'd have been looking at a 14" foul hooked big fish. He managed to find an 18" fish amongst the hoards of 9-10" ones who were so small, I was foul hooking them almost as often as mouth hooking, and they absolutely destroyed a Spro jig by pecking all the bucktail off behind the hook. Could have been worse, I talked with two guys who hadn't gotten a bite, but for all the running and searching, it was a tough day. Good company on the water, but a tough way to end the season if I don't make it out again.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It was tough but that seems to be the deal with chasin' birds for any type of fish can be feast or famine. Always pleasure to be out with you.

Since I'm drinking beer, frying bacon, and getting ready to watch this year's Commonwealth Cup clash for the third time, I have no fishing report from the Bay. However, I do have some intel given me via my annual Christmas call from one of my favorite clients from my guiding days. He went to the Wilmington area three weeks ago for some visiting and ended up fishing with a guide that took him on Southwest Creek near Jacksonville. He said they catch gator trout up to 30" often enough to hope for them and he got a 22+" fish that day. I don't know the area and haven't heard of the creek, but he said it was fairly well known, and J'ville isn't that far from Wilmington.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all you Hokies, and you can trust my client's word, him being an old Hokie hisownself, and disinclined to exaggerate about the important things in life, like fishing.
To salt my scratches from last Wednesday's small fish trip, he and his cousin were in the Bay that day, somewhere between buoys 36-41 and they caught one fish trolling. It weighed 45# 8oz. One fish, but damn, whatta fish.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Coming up to the new year and I would like to forget 2018! Here is a recap.

3 bass tourneys and didn't weigh 10#
Trip to MN = nada no muskies
Trip to MN = no walleye
Lake in my back yard-didn't do shit
Cave Run - no muskies
Grand Daughter's first bass!!!!! Beauty!

Maybe it wasn't so bad after all!

Happy New Year fishing guys!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

Since it is winter, there are upcoming boat and fishing shows. Thought we could post any that we may be attending and can meet up if other TKP Fisherpeople attend as well.

The Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival is January 12-13th in Doswell, VA. I do not have a booth, but will be wandering around all day Saturday.

The Fly Fishing Show Atlanta is Feb 1-2, which is Friday and Saturday. If you've ever had an interest in fly fishing, this is THE show to go to. Super Bowl is in ATL on Sunday, which should make things interesting. I'll have a table in the fly tying section. Come say hi.

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

A couple buddies and I are fishing the Keys flats for spring break in kayaks (the dates are March 10th-16th). We are staying in Islamorada for a couple days and then Duck Key for 3. I know that the permit start to come in the flats to spawn that time of year along with some some huge jack crevalles. We plan to do use fly and spin tackle depending on the day. Was curious if anyone has had any experience fishing the flats that time of year and are willing to share what they discovered. Fish on!

"Can't argue with that logic" - Rick Sanchez

First off, I am jealous.

I have kayak fished around the Keys multiple times. Little Duck Key on the ocean side will have bonefish and permit on it on occasion. It is a popular hang out spot though. Only bonefish I have ever seen was tailing there. Certainly worth checking out a few times. It is wadeable.

If I were you I'd spend time around the lower keys, specifically Big Pine. Less development, less people and a lot more keys to explore. No Name Pub is a must do, get the shrimp pizza. There's a launch just around the corner from it that I spent a few days exploring. Head northwest and you can find A LOT of good water to fish and explore. Don't steal any dollar bills.

No Name Pub:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCcEqXjytdG/

I have caught a lot of fish in and around Key West. My favorite move was to party on Duval and then when it died down, go night fishing till dawn. You'll have the great spring break nightlife, but one block north of Duval, I think it is Simonton Ave, has a small ramp for kayaks all the way on the west end. There's a hotel there with lots of lights. I've jumped the fence and fished it many times in the middle of the night and never had an issue till a tarpon I hooked jumped into the side of a sailboat.

Mallory Square has lots of baby tarpon cruising the lights all night long. By baby I mean 5-20 pounds. 10 weight is best. These fish are smart. You will get one or two fish to eat a fly, but then have to switch as they seem to communicate to each other what isn't real. Expect to hook fish here for the fight and then break them off if fishing from the waterfront. Use light tippet or leaders, get a jump or two and them clamp down. It will kill them if you try to drag them up to the top of the concrete. Trust me, I've done it and still feel awful about it. You will find jacks along here too. Good shot at getting one on topwater at night in the lights. Those you can pull up on the concrete, unhook, photo and they will survive.

If you can find large grass flats with bigger potholes in it, throw big chartreuse streamers or tube lures for giant cuda. There are some west of KW, but it is a paddle. About a mile or so I'd guess. We also saw permit on those flats. Make sure the weather report is favorable for you as the storms can just show up. Cuda can also be found along the edges of the passes. They love Chartreuse. Photo of big cuda below...

https://www.instagram.com/p/BB6U9hTlcGa/

The Navy base on KW south of Duval is where the epic fishing is. It's a bold move, but night fishing there in your kayak can be really damn good. I highly recommend having a good light on your kayak (to be seen), wear your PFD, take a whistle and go with a partner when the weather is calm. Put in at the ramp on Simonton and paddle close along the water front heading south. You will see the giant lights shining in the water. It is LOADED with big ass crevalle jacks, tarpon and sharks. I caught a 15-20 pound jack there years ago and have caught dozens of smaller ones in five pound range. Huge schools of tarpon will swim under you. Never had the sharks bother me but it was a bit unnerving to watch them swim under my yak. I've never had the military police mess with me when I was in kayaks, but going up there in a boat, they always told me to get back 100 yards from shore.

The key north of KW has good ocean front flats and access. I forget the name. It's a public beach and apparently nude, but I never saw anyone out there. I did have a 100 pound tarpon cruising down a line, swim right up to my kayak, go around it and then back to his line and continue on down the beach. That was awesome.

The easiest fish to catch down there is mangrove snapper. You can catch tons of them along just about any mangroves. They are a blast on light spin or a 6 weight fly rod. Don't be surprised when something bigger hammers your offering out of the mangroves. Live shrimp was always the best bait for me when I wasn't throwing a fly.

If you find dirty water, snook may be in it. May also see a redfish on flats. Cast to any large stingrays. Never know what is trailing them.

The Angling Company on Simonton in KW is a first class fly shop. Nathan is the owner, super nice guy. Florida Keys Outfitters in Islamorada is good too. Sandy Moret is the owner. Of course you'll have Worldwide Sportsman/Bass Pro.

If you can I'd suggest spending $20 on a Top Spot map or two. It will give you a solid basis to start and helps you get around on the water.

Feeding the tarpon at Robbie's is also a lot of fun. Watch out for the pelicans, their beaks are sharp as hell.

If you want to see the biggest tarpon of your life, go wander around Key West marina. It is extremely highly frowned upon to cast to them, but I'm not sure if it's illegal or not. Either way, I don't know what you'd do with a 180 pound fish hooked up.

If you party in Key West, see if Patrick and the Swayzees are playing anywhere. Homeless guys formed the band and they are fucking awesome. I saw them at the Green Parrot.

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Wow, very appreciative for you to share all of that. It is a trip I have personally wanted to do my whole life to test my salty knowledge (reading and shows like Saltwater Experience ignited my interest as a kid/teen). We are going on an offshore charter the first day in Duck Key out of Marathon hoping to get some insightful info from the 'cap too. We have 3 full days in Duck Key so may take a trip down to Little Pine or Sugarloaf for some exploring.

"Can't argue with that logic" - Rick Sanchez

Sure thing man, have fun. I haven't been there in 3 years so eager to see how it fishes after the hurricane battered it two years ago.

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Ill be sure to make a post of how the trip went. I plan to make a video as well with gopro/higher quality camera footage!

"Can't argue with that logic" - Rick Sanchez

Thanks for the info Flyguy! Tentatively planning a trip to the Keys in March, with a buddy. We are going to rent a boat and go offshore/wreck fishing. He has done it a few times before. Hoping for sailfish, kings, blackfin tuna, snappers, AJs whatever else is around. I would love to catch a juvenile tarpon on light tackle while I'm down there

Has anyone on here fished Rural Retreat Reservoir?

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Rural Retreat lake?

Shore fishing is pretty much limited to small species, but you can hook bluegills like crazy. There are large musky to be had. Near-record size carp have been taken, just make sure you follow all the rules on harvesting carp. I have a friend who slays carp over there.

Lake is electric motors only. No gas. It's a nice paddle on a kayak.

I've seen posts online about things being slow after they did an herbicide treatment a few years ago. That doesn't seem to have slown the carp down.

If you're fly fishing, there are a good many other streams in the area I'd hit.

Yes, that's what I was referring to. Thinking of driving down and hitting it tomorrow for musky out of my Gheenoe.

Thanks for the intel

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You can supposedly put in up at New River Trail State Park and have a shot at some muskies there as well. I've never tried for muskies at either location.

Fished Rural Retreat yesterday in my Gheenoe. Special guest was @barbieonthefly on Instagram. We threw 9 and 10 weights all day and used every single musky fly I've got. Didn't see a fish. The top end of the lake had maybe a foot of visibility. The lower end had two feet. We had strong winds that we had to deal with for most of the day. Several other folks fishing from shore. Talked to one other boat out there who was a guide. They had gotten a 41 inch musky and 30 inch Pike, which was a surprise given they were last stocked in 1999. Some of them must be reproducing. I'll definitely fish it again.

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The top end of the lake had maybe a foot of visibility.

That's like double the vis I've ever fished on that lake I've only been a handful of times and just assumed it was always muddy.

A few years back it was very green. Couldn't see much of anything. I would assume that's why they went the herbicide route.
Water doesn't come in or out of the lake very quickly. So, a lack of clarity doesn't seem all that surprising to me.

Ken Trail and Rock On Charters?

I follow him on social media and saw that pike - never imagined that would be in there. Here is the pic

looks a lot like a chain pickerel; but I would not be the expert on that

Definitely a northern. A 30 inch chain pickerel would probably be a world record. Biggest I've got was at 25" and it was a monster.

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It would be a really nice one...maybe a state line class or lake record fish. The spots on the fins suggest pike but the body coloration is classic pickerel. I'd have been taking some really detailed pics of the head before I released it.

Body coloration does look like pickerel. If it had that eye line, would have been a dead giveaway, but his hand placement on the photo. Looks like IGFA world record pickerel was 31 inches.

http://wrec.igfa.org/WRecDetail.aspx?uid=18812&cn=Pickerel,%20chain#.XC0...

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Yup, that's Jason, who we talked to. He guides with Ken.

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I've never fished the lake but have passed by it a few times on my way to chase musky on the New. Given the water levels right now on the river and the forecasts I may try to make a trip up there in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the report.

The New below Claytor was chocolate milk yesterday. The upper James is green, but high as hell. RR Lake requires electric motor, no gas allowed. The upper end near the put in is apparently 5-6 feet deep across from the map on VDGIF. Friend of mine who guides for musky told me that's where he likes to concentrate in lakes for them. I tried to fish up there but the wind kept blowing us out. We fished the west bank the entire way down and it is 3-6 feet deep and then drops off. The shelf at the dam apparently goes to 10 before dropping off. The other guide got his two fish there. They were throwing 7-8 inch long plugs, one natural looking and one fire tiger. I threw every color fly under the sun.

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Thanks for the additional info. I fish some small electric only lakes down my way and usually mount a "kicker" transom mount trolling motor beside my outboard. It helps if you've got a long run or if you're fighting the wind.

A few years ago I bought a transducer with a WiFi box that sends a signal to my phone or iPad. I use it in conjunction with Navionics sonar charts and have made some decent charts of smaller bodies of water. If I get out there I'll try to map some areas and share with you if you're interested. I've learned there's a lot more detail to be found doing this versus using only published maps or charts, especially 5' contour maps.

Now that's a good idea. I need to do that once I get my next boat. Would love to see some of those!

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Just found the pic of the muskie they caught. Damn it was big.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsG-znyAeO_/

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Looking to get into dry fly fishing for trout? One of my old and dear clients is moving and has sent me two Cortland Rimfly XSmall fly reels, in perfect condition and loaded with backing and line, plus dozens of dry flies. I have no use for them, but have told him I'd find a home for them. Given freely, I'll happily pass them along as freely to any TKP member who can use them. Couldn't tell you what "weight" the line is, but the reels look like they'd be good for the smaller weight rods typically used on smaller streams. The flies are typical drys, with a wide variety of sizes and patterns, all sto' bought. First up gets them. Not sure of the age of anything, but the reels are still in their original boxes with some paperwork and appear to have been barely used.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'm brand new at this... Living and learning to fly fish in the Shenandoah Valley.... trying my best to gather equipment... I'm in!

Is it basketball season yet?

You got 'em. newriveranglerathotmail.com will reach me (@, of course).

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Dang, too late. You are a good man Fish.

Spread the news!!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Son of a gun that's a good little pile of stuff good luck using them let us know how they work!

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

Got on a decent surf bite today in Flagler. Fished from 7-10, caught dozens of whiting (kept three to fry for my mom, averaged about 15" on these), several tiny permit I suspect (definitely not small pompano), and what I think is about an 18" bonnet head shark. Great morning on the water and a nice respite from the relative cold in Virginia.

Also heard reports of great pompano fishing near Ponce Inlet a bit further south. Not sure of any Hokies down that way but thought I'd share.

NYE

"The light in the window is a crack in the sky; A stairway to darkness in the blink of an eye"

That you on the four string?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

yup

go you!

There are some reds to be had in the surf off of beaches around the Crystal Coast. My buddy and his girlfriend from Morehead fished yesterday chucking gulp on jig heads into the whitewater and caught 5 drum, all 20" and up.

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Yeah I saw your friend post that. That's a good day!

He also just called me from his boat while Tuna fishing out of Bogue Inlet and said there are false albacore EVERYWHERE right now

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Damn! That's awesome. I've heard of people speed jigging and popping for Blackfin Tuna out of Hatteras during the winter months and they have to fight through catching all the albies and amberjacks.

a little short...very red

Dang, that is a really dark red. Is your water pretty tannic?

Moultrie Creek upstream of US 1 near the railroad bridge; yes; and still subject to maybe 4' of tidal amplitude.

and what it tells me is that those fish (i caught another just like it) either don't move very much or pick up that color in a hurry. The ones near the confluence of Moultrie Creek and the Matanzas River are standard color...like 2.5 miles downstream from where this was caught

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

That's a pumpkin!

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I don't understand your net.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

lol. i almost didn't post the pic because I figured someone would ask...

that's called: stumbling across an old, old, old wade fishing net in the bottom of a storage box; picking it up; having the cork handle disintegrate in your hand; and then deciding what's left of it will slide nicely under the seat of your kayak and a that you can probably find a short piece of PVC to sub for a handle...if you really want a handle

For French...you had asked about cobia fishing down here this time of year

i just saw a photo of 4 caught "on a wreck" yesterday and a nice wahoo from "a little further out"

edit: and I just saw a couple nice steaks of each variety go into my fridge : )

haven't done anything with cobia in forever...any special recipes out there?

Grilled and blackened with seasoning is the way I've always had it cooked but recently we tried some fillets with a carribean jerk marinade and they turned out great

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

sounds good!

Food for thought: Just read about a 613 lb bluefin tuna being sold at auction in Tokyo for 3.1 MILLION freakin' dollars.

I propose we quit our jobs, if we're still working, sell most of our boats and fishing gear, pool our resources, and go bluefin fishing.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

My buddy Luke and his gf Natalia in Morehead spend a ton of time, energy and gas Bluefin fishing all of December (bluefin season). I'm not sure whether it is worth it, but it is their thing. They use his 28 foot Contender, which is not the best in bad weather. Walkaround would be a lot better. I'd guess they fish three weeks total in December. Last year he hooked three and lost them all and man was he cranky. This year they hooked and landed 5. Three keepers, two undersize that they let go. The keepers were 210, 225 and 520 pounds. He got $3000 each for the two smaller ones and $4000 for the big fish. This fish do get shipped to either Japan or China, I can't remember which. The big fish would have been worth about $8-9k, but it got tangled in the line during the fight and died, which messed up the meat. Bluefin are warm blooded so killing them requires a specific process so it doesn't taint the meat, apparently.

He keeps asking me to join him on a trip, but they are out there at 4 a.m and may not come back till 10 p.m. It's serious fishin'. I turn him down. The bluefins come into Onslow Bay, where Bogue Inlet empties into, just west of Cape Lookout.

Here's a pic of the big one they got this year. For size reference, Natalia is 5'9.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BroO2EvA-9e/

Capt. Sarah Gardner had one feeding right next to her boat there last fall. They didn't cast to it with fly or spin gear. I would have hooked it on a fly, just to say I did. Wish I could find the video she took. Pretty sure it's on her facebook page.

It's crazy to me that Japan has outfished their waters so much that a tuna goes for a few million bucks. That's a lot of fish / bio mass removed from the sea...

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Yeah, it's nuts. Even the guy who made the winning bid said he knew he'd overpayed, but still.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Still sounds like more fun than work. Not surprising at all what they've done to their fisheries unfortunately they poorly managed their waters and now they're paying the price literally

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

I don't know, they put in some serious time for 5 fish. Days and days and days of nothing.

They did hook a whale last year, which is every fisherman's dream lol

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Anyone have a recommendation for an OBX area charter that can take on 8ish people?

Most of the offshore boats take 6 max. So you might need to split your group up. The other option is to go on a headboat trip.

The Country Girl out of Pirates Cove is the only one I know of that can take more than 6 besides a headboat like Ms.Hatteras

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

I'm going on 4 weeks of flooded lakes that are basically unfishable, my parents HOW told me I can't bring the boat anymore so about to make bold moves with the boat again. Ripping all of my electrical out this week. and rewiring everything. I've noticed really inconsistent voltage and upon further inspection have found that 50% of my wires are horribly corroded.

New switch panel, new wires, accessories battery, battery switch, BUS bar, fuse panel, probably throw a new bilge pump in. May add a second live well pump, right now I've got one pump running both wells. New trim tilt motor.

Ideally this just takes this weekend, in reality it'll end up taking me 3 weeks cause every project does.

Ideally this just takes this weekend, in reality it'll end up taking me 3 weeks cause every project does.

Fact of life

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When I rip out the first wire the weather will be beautiful, the lake will drop and clear, stripers going nuts, every bite will turn on inshore and I'll be working on the boat. So get ready for some good fishing.

LOL.

Good, except I'm stuck in the basement tying flies for shows.

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IDK how the weather has been for everyone else but it seems like it only is sunny on weekdays here. This past weekend we got some sun. other than that rain every single weekend. Just checked the forecast to start my project.... Sat rain 70% Sun rain 80%

I feel your pain. This was the 2nd wettest year in RVA history (have to go back to the 1800's for the record), made getting out on the local river a bust for most of the year.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

As an electrician I prefer to never to redo a system unless it won't work at all boat electronics are an even trickier thing to do. Those projects never get done on time but can be fun to do

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

Yes and no. 1 I'm slightly worried about electrical fire risk, most of these wires are original to the boat. 25 years in a marine environment is going to take a toll. 2 they're a balled up mess every time I have an issue with a switch or a fuse it turns into a 5 hour job just tracking the wire and finding the bad connection. The state of wiring on this boat is sketchy at best. All of my negatives are essentially a 3 way male connector with 5 or so female grounds coming into it, the three posts are filled the others are just kinda taped on top.

Makes sense to me at this point to just get it done right. It also helps that I like electrical work and thinking through the solutions to do it most organized, efficiently, and logically.

I hear ya there gotta keep it clean use lots of zip ties and multiconductor cables to make it safer neater and my favorite looking clean

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

Off to a good start, custom ordered a switch panel. Checked in on my order confirmation this AM, have a rough time counting to 6 apparently because i only put 5 switches on it.

Edit: If yall ever need electronics or switch panels. I'm going to possibly prematurely throw in an endorsement for NewWireMarine exceptional customer service despite my clear and obvious fuck up.

Man two for two. Went to replace my tirm/tilt motor, got the "hard screw" out. Stripped the fuck out of the second screw. Good thing its still working cause I just bolted back down the other screw and called it a day. I'll deal with that when the motor actually fails.

a hair too long

Boy from Oklahoma?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

but it had friends

the longer of these 2 (24") hit a gulp shrimp three times...bam (miss), bam (miss), bam (hook up)

the oversize fish hit the little storm shad I've shown y'all before...on the 6' 9" HMG ML...in the current. that one took awhile. i EVEN used a net...with a handle! : )

after that, I went straight to the gulp on a 7' Medium and caught 3 slot fish, an undersized red, and a dinky flounder all in about 30 min.

Nice work Dave! Pretty reds! What lure were you using?

oversize on the small storm wild-eye shad (red eyes, bunker color) which I use as a fish finder; and the rest on gulp shrimp (natural) fished slow on the bottom...a medium hop maybe every 2-3 seconds. I like to cast up current when possible and did so today

Those Storm shad are killers. I've had great luck at the CBBT on them for stripers and one night, a couple of 10lb trout. Bunker or croaker were the colors of choice in those days.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

What's your cooking preference?

Do you eat the cheeks and the throat too? Redfish throat a.k.a. Saltwater Quail, is delicious.

Video on how to cut out fish throats...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDsZycI3yRM

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grilled with blackening seasoning or pan broiled "a la meuniere"...whatever Mrs D is in the mood for...lately, the latter

I don't eat the cheeks and throat but I should start doing that

Definitely use the throats at the least. It's a whole extra (smaller) fillet and it tastes different than the regular flanks. Tastes to me like chicken, but I know everyone has different taste buds.

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That's funny. Seems like half the stuff people tell me taste like chicken end up tasting like crap. Taste buds, though.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Everyone I've turned it on to loves it, but yes I agree with you. An I've eaten so much chicken lately that I'm over it haha

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Just got a report from yesterday morning in Morehead City from a good fly guide down there...

"Saw almost a thousand reds in 4 hours today. Schools of 10-100 fish. Lots of trout too, even on the flats. Caught ten reds and just as many trout, which were accidental bycatch. Fish were not spooky but when you'd hook one the commotion would make the rest uneasy and then that school would get harder to catch."

I can't give away his spots (he would never talk to me again) but it sounds like it is on fiyerrrrr. Of spots that I know, I would expect the shallow flats around Harkers to hold fish, but I have not fished them in winter. There is some mud and oyster bars back there though. If anyone goes, get out a map, find an oyster bar / mud flat and start looking. You'll want sun. Small black flies (2 inches) and I'm assuming soft plastics that size and color are what they want.

This fishery lasts all the way through the end of March, but the fish get harder to catch as the winter goes along.

If I pull the trigger on a flats boat soon, it is the first place I am going.

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That's pretty sweet! I will be down there in late February for a fishing seminar. If weather is decent will go out on Sunday.

Check your email

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Fished lake Anna all day yesterday thinking it might be worth it and we had insider knowledge on where and how to catch them and someone who knew what to do and still got a big fat skunked I'm beginning to believe I need to move to Florida in the winter to avoid the fisherman blues every winter cause not being able to catch anything leaves a bad taste in the mouth if you forget the beer.

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

Florida for the winter??? Brook trout fishing, musky fishing and walleye fishing are on fire right now. Speckled trout are being caught in creeks in the Bay, all in VA. NC saltwater fishing is great right now. No need to go to Florida, just stop fishing over populated and over fished Lake Anna. In 20 years with global warming, you'll hardly notice winter anyways!

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I hear ya wish I had the time to get into the trout this winter but building this houwe myself is taking away my free time. I'm curious on the specks are they in more focused spots or in general in the bay? Ive got a boat on the mobjack I can use but dunno where they are this time of year

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

They hang out all the way up in the backs of creeks. Some creeks have them, others don't. 3-5 feet deep seems to be primo depth. I've done best on jerkbaits when fishing for them.

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In my now 7 years on the Bay, I have always heard about winter trout, but never went after them. Seemed like a real hit or miss thing and I just didn't have enough to go on to try it in the cold. I think flyguy is right that they are somewhere in just some of the local creeks. Most I hear about is creeks off of the Piankatank, though, and even then, only after a winter kill causes a bit of talk about hundreds of dead and dying big trout floating around after really cold temps. My personal belief, and we've discussed this before, is that the creeks that hold those fish all winter are creeks with springs that afford a source of warmer water when the main flow gets really cold. I suspect that some of those springs that flow from the bottom also create deeper holes around the outflow that also help insulate the wintering fish. I don't know, but I suspect it is only the bigger fish that stick around, though, for reasons biological we can only specKulate about. Seems to me that since your family knows everybody around here, someone should know someone who knows someone... That is likely the best way to get on them, since we are surrounded by creeks, rivers and lots of winter dead water that would take a lifetime to properly explore. That, or systematically fishing all of them and keeping track, but what if you're fishing over a couple of hundred that just aren't eating that day? Flyguy's take on jerkbaits is spot on. A very slowly presented suspending jerkbait, complete with dramatic pauses and subtle twitches, is the best bet for cold water trout, but I truly believe it's finding them that is the more important piece of the winter puzzle.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I truly believe it's finding them that is the more important piece of the winter puzzle.

Bingo.

Piankatank

Bingo again. I heard there were a few in one of the lower creeks on the Piankatank. My guess would be Cobb, Wilton or Healy.

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Wilton, for a fact. Other than that, I'm clueless.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Were you around Dike 3, or somewhere else? I went all over that place a few weeks back, mostly just running gas out of the boat, but it was dead.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

We were in the middle chunk we hit everywhere we could find good spots to fish but it was dead as nails sucks cause that lake looks soooooooooooooo good but has no fish

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

Heading out in the morning for one last search for birds and fish in the Bay. Season's over, boats should be gone, hoping for one more shot at some schoolies. Non-ethanol is down to $2.75, so I may as well take advantage of it.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Struck out again. Nice day, great to be out, all alone. Birdless, fishless, miles and miles of beautiful. Empty. Water. Time to put the boat up for a while. Topped off coming home on the 2.75 non-e gas. Might conceivably try a winter trout trip, but might also be done for the winter.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Throw some Stabil in that tank regardless!

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I usually do, although my mechanic says that if I only use non ethanol and fill the tank, I shouldn't need an additive. I also usually change my fuel/water separator filter about this time. I then fill the new filter with Seafoam and run the motor until I hear the Seafoam hit the injectors. Pour the rest of the foam into the gas tank and she's good 'til Spring.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Interesting, I've always been told to put an additive in if the motor is sitting for several months not running. Non ethanol or ethanol, gasoline breaks down and gets water in it and the additives help to combat that.... so they say.

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Ethanol is what breaks down to cause water. Now your non-eth isn't going to be as good, there's definitely a shelf life but it shouldn't be causing any water. I put Stabil in over the winter just cause it doesn't hurt to.

I don't have any scentific evidence to back it up, only my handyman and gearhead father who told me that gas that sits in a small engine for a long period of time has a shelf life and will likely get water in it one way or another. He used to tell me this well before ethanol gas was around. I, and he, could certainly be wrong, but I always have put Stabil or the like in dirt bikes, ATVs, boat motors, lawn mowers if they were going to sit for a few months.

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Main problem I've had over the years with leaving any gas in an unused engine is that eventually it will evaporate, leaving a varnish, especially in small engines. I recall more than one carb rebuilds on lawn mowers because of that. As for the water, filling the tank up to eliminate room for condensation is a good thing also. Still, and all, I'll be adding some stabilizer anyway, whether I need it or not, and I trust my water/fuel separator filter to take care of incidental moisture.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

So like the idiot I am I bought a bunch of flash-a-bou in different colors. Problem it is tinsel and I can't use that for my lures. I need either standard or magnum. Who wants the tinsel?

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

I would but damn if I don't have a whole box of the stuff myself

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rinse and repeat of yesterday...a 22 and 23 in the box in a matter of minutes and this 28" oversize on what my fishing buddy calls "black magic", the little black bucktail with just a tad of flash.

caught this on the light rod again...didn't think it would get in the boat...probably 2 minutes before I even got a look at it

Genuine question here I'm looking to do a few trips on the Susquehanna this upcoming year, family has a house near it in harrisburg and was wondering whats a good place to start on the river? I know very little other than the smallmouth are like glorious little bronze tanks.

Also was gonna start looking into trying to find a place to try northern Pike fishing out one day maybe depending on where I can find em I was hoping to hit one of my favorite ponds that has a solid stock of chain pickerel this weekend but the snow is saying no to that.

Edit: what are good flies for chain pickerel in cold weather? Usually spin fish for them with all sorts of spinner baits and some jerk baits

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

Susquehanna = Muskies

Never fished it but I hear they are there!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

I just read an article on the best sections for floating the Susquehana. I too want to check that river out. I'll see if I can dig it up. Pretty sure a shocking report would tell you what is turning up where.

For pickerel my top fly is a yellow and red seaducer with small bead chain eyes and a weed guard. I do not chase them in the winter, however.

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I'll pick up a few seaducers for the pickerel maybe I'll use the bangarang flies you tied for me as well if I'm feeling dangerous.

We have a house to stay around near it now so I'm itching to give the river a go since we have a place to stay and such and we had a good time last year branching out and trying new rivers so we wanna do it again this year.

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

Careful with those Bangarangs. Big bass love them and we got several nice Bowfin on them last year out of the Chick. I think those bowfin will eat when it is cold out too.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlDcR0Kn3TV/

Pickerel flies:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnBwxWNH8HS/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhH9JpegC3c/

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That was my only fear throwing the bangarangs at something with sharp ass teeth like pickerel without a leader atleast thats why I usually fish cranks and spinnerbaits for pike so I dont lose so much tackle. Any tricks with a fly to help from getting cut off like say on muskies but scaled down for pickerel? Would a heavier leader work better etc?

Those flies look good wonder if a pickerel could still get the hook well enough with a 40 lb mono weed guard.

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

I use 25 pound flouro for pickerel. 40 pound test hasn't inhibited hookups from anything short of maybe a bluegill.

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

I'll give it a go when the ice quits falling then and see how it goes I haven't tried fly casting with heavy tippet so far should be fun

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

I've fished the Susqey six times on guided trips, four of them with Ken Penrod. We concentrated on the areas above, below and around the confluence with the Juniata and caught tons of smallmouth, while encountering a few muskies, none landed. Early spring brings high muddy flow, but also is when to catch numbers of very large pre-spawn fish holding in the major eddies. We fished there last year because Harper's Ferry was "blowed out" as my old buddy Cecil would say, and did very well accessing the Susquehanna at a public ramp above Duncannon. This was a bit later in the year and the fish were where they should be in normal flow and clear water. People were catching walleye as well, but we caught only smallmouth and one nice channel cat. We were in jet boats all six times, so not sure about floating through, but access is pretty good around there and not very far from Harrisburg. For information about the fishery, I recommend you start reading Penrod's website in the spring. He's impeccably honest about numbers, and even baits, usually. His guides have fish counters, so accuracy is important to them. He runs almost all of his trips out of Johnny Cunningham's campground in Duncannon at the confluence. Johnny is a trip, but knows the river like the native he is and can definitely be a great source of information if you take the time to ask him. I have no experience, or information, on fly fishing there, and don't recommend fishing high and muddy with flies, but later on as the river drops and clears, I'd imagine it would work for you. The smallmouth there are definitely a different animal than ours here in VA. More like footballs than torpedos and for my money, the river was a cut above anything I've been into in VA, production-wise. Of the six days I fished it, only one wasn't up to snuff and that was because last year, the first day the guide made an unwise choice of sections and we tried to fish muddy water from the Juniata that didn't produce, it being well past the spawn and the fish not being ganged up by high flow and pre-spawn imperatives. Good luck, and if you need a phone # for Johnny, look up Riverside Campground or shoot me an e-mail and I'll hook you up. All of our early fish came on Mizmo Teaser Tubes, and last year it was my specially rigged Senko that was the winner. Good luck.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks for the info as always I'll see what we can do and report on it for flyguy as well if I didn't have a couple guided trips already setup for this year I'd add one for the susqy first but I think we might give it a go by ourselves once this year. Will look into those stretches to float or just paddle around depending on the flow around there tricky but will be timing weather well and learning the flow of the river as always. We have a bass boat but no propless motor so it'll be canoes and kayaks.

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

I managed a 28 inch rockfish jigging with light tackle today. My host caught a 45 inch fish before daylight. I was using a chartreuse BKD on a 2 oz jighead and my new 3000 Daiwa Ballistic and heavy GLoomis Inshore spinning rod.

I am being purposely vague on the spot on behalf of my host but if you know the Bay and the set up I was using, it won't be tough to figure out. And, it was bloody cold.

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

Someone please tell me how to post photos on here so I can show something

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Imgur, upload to your collection the copy and embed the direct link it's only doable through browser not the imgur app it's weird like that

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

Welp, I tried and it wouldn't put it in there for some reason.

Maybe this will work

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You buy a redfisher? That's the only other boat I was looking at when I bought mine, they're awesome boats.

That's the rumor...

I love it already.

Gotta do some upgrades and fix a minor thing or two but I'll be fishing on it Tuesday / Wed / Thursday

Thank you!

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It's a beauty!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

nice rig!

grab rail? poling platform? what else?

edit: side scan sonar?

I've got the grab rail and poling platform to block on it. It's a 2004 hull with a 2008 Yami 115. Simrad fancy ass GPS electronics. Mercury prop that apparently is the best for it.

This boat was actually in Jacksonville. Negotiated a price last week, drove down Saturday morning and picked it up after close examination and water trial. Was going to fish yesterday on Charleston but weather and the drinking got the best of me.

Fishing the next 2-3 days with it in Morehead with @Blonde_gypsea.

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

that sounds like a really, really good plan. good luck!

Thanks! Will have a full report

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

I switched from the original prop on my '05 Yamaha after stripping the sleeve on oyster cages in the North River here off of Mobjack Bay. The Merc prop came with a replaceable rubber sleeve that didn't need to be sent away to a prop shop to be replaced. I then promptly stripped two more sleeves trying to get reds in less than a foot of water. It was nice to be able to replace the sleeve and be back on the water immediately. I got the original redone, and it took six or seven weeks to get back, but it sits unused now for the last four years.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

That's interesting, he said a new sleeve came with this one. I'll have to see if it's rubber! Great idea.

Piranha props are a brand that the blades slide off so they can be easily replaced.

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

Looks awesome, and congratulations!

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Thank you!

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

Good looking boat!

Thank you!

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

Fished today for 5 hours looking for the reds in da mash... Didn't see any. Saw a lot of small trout and some baby sheepshead. It was cold, but when the cloud cover broke, wow it was pretty. Lot's of military aircraft provided us something to look at since the reds were hiding. Took the Hewes out into the ocean too. It is quite a capable machine and I cannot wait to get the new minn kota on it, poling platform and a few other kinks worked out.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsrcAmqDsxp/

Boat name ideas so far...

Drumbum
Pretty Fly
Brandy

I'm leaning towards Pretty Fly...

We are back at it again tomorrow.

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

I should have bought a newer boat cause I settled on Never Fucking Ending Project for my boat.

LOL trust me, this one has some super simple projects that I know are going to take 9 times longer than they should...

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

I'm partial to Drumbum

Second this

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

Make that a third vote.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I love drum bum too, but the boat is sea foam green. I feel like it would fit better if it was yellow or red

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

Think it would look sweet with a drum top half painted the length of the boat OR have a drum tail with spot painted on the sides torwards the back

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

Yea I've been thinking about that tail

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

Either of those ideas will turn out better as wraps. Even with my new paint job I've considered a wrap on my boat.

Yeah a redfish wrap would be sweet. Definitely would attract schools of reds to your boat haha

Fair enough, I guess if you were doing a fish name it would be better for a trout or flounder but you definitely focus on the reds

Sweet Pea?

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

Fly Guy

I name all my vehicles in the feminine form, so it's already FlyGirl in my head. That said, from your stories, I feel like it should be The Knotty Girl.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Heading back to the Bay today. Skunks and lots of lost jigheads.

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

Headed. Bass Kandy Delights stock just went up due to how many I lost on those rocks.

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

Well, today was interesting to say the least. We get reports of fish to the south and decide to head there for the day. 45 minute drive from Morehead. All geared up, ready to go, dead low tide, gin clear water, sun and light breeze from the west. PERFECT conditions for winter red fish. We haul ass and get to the flat, which borders Camp Lejeune. There are signs all over warning of military bombing practce. I've fished this area four times before and talked to dozens of others who have and no one has ever said anything about being in a bad zone for the bombing. I've always been told that the shooting takes place on the base camp and you can hear it from the water, which I previously had. No big deal. Military planes and choppers doing touch and goes all day.

Anyways, we immediately find fish within 20 minutes. Bunch of pairs of 18-20 inch reds, but they won't eat and are spooky as hell. We drift around for 2 hours casting to them and fishy looking areas, but no dice. Finally we drift onto an oyster bar when I mention to Natalia, let's eat lunch. It's high noon. She doesn't hear me because this air plane is flying overhead of us and around the area. She does mention something about hearing other people out here, but we're the only boat out there. I don't hear any voices, I have shit hearing and this plane is buzzing around like a giant house fly. It is yellow, with very difficult to see numbers on the sides, but a civilian plane. It's not loud, but it's annoying enough to have to talk louder and breaks my concentration. (One reason I refuse to fish near VB is I despise the constant aircraft noise.) I realize the plane has probably been there for 15 minutes. Anyways, we eat lunch for 15-20 minutes and then back to fishing and this guy won't fly anywhere else. He is circling us close, circling us from afar, flying away and then flying back, but always comes back over us. Kind of weird, but I figure it's some yahoo logging hours and watching me fly fish. I've had plenty of people over the years ask at various points if they can sit and watch me fly cast and fish. I openly ask if its something about being near the camp, Natalia says no way, her bf has never said anything about having problems fishing here around the bomb area, despite all of the signs, most of which are faded and in disrepair. Natalia again mentions hearing voices. "They are in your head, no one else is out here except this asshole in the plane, who is probably trying to tell us something!"

Another 20 minutes goes by and I'm flat out annoyed and getting cranky at this point. He's going back and forth. I wave up to him, shrug at him, stick my arms like "what do you want?" I can see the pilot but he does nothing. I tell Natalia it has to be something about the base. She decides to text her BF Luke, who is on a fishing boat in Alaska. He says it is likely something to do with shooting at the base, but they would have had boats blocking the area and the lights flashing at the guard tower. I can see the guard tower from our spot. I don't see lights flashing, but I see a boat with people wearing bright orange. I also see a smaller boat with two people wearing all black trying to snake its way through the marsh towards us, I figure, but it's shallow as shit even on the rising tide. I'm in my flats boat and had gotten stuck multiple times already this am. The boat turns around in maybe a minute. Plane is still circling. We continue looking for redfish for another five minutes. The plane leaves. FINALLY!!! Then I hear the voices. It's from the loud speaker on the guard tower 500 yards away and I can hear it clearly. "We cannot commence if there are boats in the area." Something else came from the speaker but I'm already asking Natalia if she heard it too. "Yes, it specifically said something about 'boats in the area.'" I look over and there's this local skiff with a pound net set up coming towards us through the creeks. Again, the loud speakers, something about boats in the area. Then the loudest fucking siren I have ever heard in my life. It's LOUD and we are 500 yards away. "Well, they are DEFINITELY trying to tell us something now." The siren stops and the local pulls up within 20 yards. "Time to go, now!" He yells. At this point I realize the plane had been circling us to tell us something important. My VHF radio was sitting at my desk at home and my cell phone was off, not that anyone around Camp Lejuene had my number anyways.

We reel up and I snake my way back to the ICW. The local fisherman is gone, so is the white boat with the black jacket guys, but the other boat is anchored right there with two people wearing the orange jackets. It's a man and a woman in a weird gray boat with no numbering or letters.

"So uh, did I cause a national emergency?"

No, they responded. "We've been trying to get your attention with the plane and reach you over the radio. We were supposed to start bombing near this area over an hour ago."

"Wow, I'm really sorry, I forgot my radio and just thought the airplane was some idiot. Your flashing lights weren't on and I had no idea something was going on until we heard the loudspeaker say something about boats in the area."

"It's fine, we're just in big trouble because it's our job to clear the area and they have been talking to us on the loudspeaker about you for an hour but we couldn't get to you. They are pissed. You were on the edge of the dangerous area, if you could go a little east, you'll be fine. We will be done by 4 p.m."

"Sure thing, sorry for any trouble. If I may offer a bit of advice... park the plane and save yourself the jet fuel for it. We couldn't hear anything due to it's noise but if you had simply given commands to us over the loudspeakers we would have definitely heard it without the plane."

I was a bit shaken, thinking I may get busted for having a new to me boat not even registered in my name but everything was cool. Natalia and I headed east and found a small creek to explore, laughing about the absurdity of it all. The shooting and bombing commenced, nothing crazy but smoke plumes a few miles away in the distance and ratta tat tat of what sounded like a very large machine gun was much closer. The yellow plane came back and was flying long laps around the area, but much higher this time. The redfish school hadn't put us in danger, but probably too close for some Army generals comfort. Helicopters started doing touch and goes and as Natalia and I are watching some 20" long trout spook and ignore our offerings, two of them loaded with crew holding guns did a close fly by and slowed as they peeled around us. I can see the light reflecting off of the pilots' helmet masks. I wave, but no one on board either Black Hawk (just an assumption) returns the gesture. No doubt they were swinging by to check us out. The helos returned to the tree line and appeared to land, never returning. Guess they were impressed with my double haul...

We shot back to the original spot after the shooting ceased and the orange vests were gone. Tide was too high and couldn't find the fish. Oh well, it was quite the day and left me much to ponder. I wonder how much money I had personally caused the US military to waste on lost time, air plane fuel, etc. just for my redfish addiction? How often does this happen here where fishermen are out enjoying the day and have to go in at risk of getting blown up? What was being said about me by the helo guys and all of the trigger men waiting to shoot their rounds and bombs? Would Trump get word of this and suggest building a wall around this epic redfish flat?

The jokes are piling up in my head.

-The fish aren't spooky, they were shell shocked.
-My new boat is bombdiggity.
-Cast a bomber fly.
-That spot is the bomb.
-Bombs over blue crabs.
-All Fly on the Western Front.

Tomorrow we play around the Cape away from the explosives before I head home early afternoon. Hopefully day three finally puts some slime in the new rig.

And if you're ever in the area, be sure to call some guy named "Blackburn" and get the scoop on the local fireworks schedule...

https://www.instagram.com/p/BstU2DWBvPD/

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

Well that's an interesting deal. I fish a lot around Parris Island, I never venture too close assuming something like this may happen. The restricted area according to Navionics is pretty close to the bank and probably not boatable most times but I'm not trying to run into a situation similar to yours.

Well, that's quite the saga. Closest I've come to similar reactions is on the Radford Arsenal float. I've had several encounters with workers there warning me off the burning grounds, and once got held upriver for an hour and a half for their purposes, making us perilously close to pulling out after dark.
My friend and fellow guide, Jim Richmond, was with clients once and they stopped at lunchtime on a tree lined bank in the middle of the Arsenal. They were accosted by three armed guards and ordered to stop eating and get the devil off the property or face arrest and prosecution. Jim said the guards were aggressive and obviously pissed off and it seemed like a tense moment, though no action was taken once they "dropped the sandwiches" and loaded up and left. Once had a client who got caught short and needed a serious moment on shore to relieve himself, but it ended up that he was so afraid of getting arrested that he tensed up and couldn't complete his task, leading to several hours of pain and discomfort until he was so discommoded he decided it was worth the risk, but it ruined his day and made his buddy and I pretty uncomfortable as well.
I do understand that if you are in danger from military activities, you should be informed and run off, but eating a sandwich or taking a dump shouldn't get you in trouble with twenty year old guards armed with automatic weapons just for a quick stop, especially when there was no danger involved.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Talked to some friends in PA on smallmouth around the Susquehanna and they mentioned the Juanita river which is a sizable long tributary for the Susquehanna with good fishing so we may add that to the list while in PA this summer

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

Is anyone else going to be at the Richmond Fishing Expo Saturday?

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

I am now, thanks for sharing.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

If you go to the Bowed Up Lures booth, ask if French is around. I will be there for a little while on Saturday, but I also need to meet up with my brother for lunch. Billy is going to have flutter jigs, cobia bucktails, spanish mackerel spoons, and other cool Bowed Up stuff at below store prices. And, he got to get hit by Vince Hall every day for years.

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

I am officially obsessed with figuring out this light tackle jigging for winter rockfish deal.

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

I know its hard, but anyone have any tips on winter New River smallmouth? Got a couple new reels I am dying to try out. Thanks in advance!

"Can't argue with that logic" - Rick Sanchez

Deep slow eddies and pools. They sometimes eat musky flies. You're more likely to stick a walleye though and the New has some big walleyes.

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

The walleye bite has always intrigued me but never actually taken the time to fish for them.

"Can't argue with that logic" - Rick Sanchez

Come to think of it, I remember reading an article years ago talking about Blane Chocklett fishing flats for smallmouth in mid winter on warmer days. The fish would get up on them in the sun to warm up. I recall him using a crayfish imitation and very slow retrieve.

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

I was getting ready to comment here on the same thing. Not sure when we will see those warm days though, unfortunately.

Yeah, looking at the past flows and the upcoming forecast, winter fishing on the New continues to be a pretty bleak prospect for the '18-'19 season. I've been dying to chase some musky but conditions have sucked and next few weeks doesn't look much better. Hopefully we can get some decent sunny skies matched with some fishable water before spring hits.

BTW I gotta get back to you on those believers - been tied up last few weeks.

Rock on charters has been catching them in the James and New despite the flows, at least from what I can tell in their pics.

VGDIF just shocked a 50" musky yesterday at Whitethorn.

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

I got this in an email too. This is great!

"Can't argue with that logic" - Rick Sanchez

Going to hit the private pond for stocked pickerel and largemouths today hopefully the sun will come out. Just need work to go by a little quicker.

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

Almost 30 fish in an hour at last light yesterday. No pickerel all bass but got into em thick around hard bottoms on flukes and jerk baits down deep and very slow

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

That's impressive for mid January

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