July 2021 Fishing Thread

I just realized, yesterday's report should have been under a July Thread. Be safe this holiday weekend, and post your reports and ask your fishing related questions in this thread.

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Another boat update for those not following along on Instagram.

The interior is sealed, and filled with 2lb closed cell foam. Bottom of the floor is sealed and I glassed in a small pad to reinforce where I will mount my grab bar. Glued the floor on and sealed most of the edges before Elsa ruined my progress. Turns out my canopy is not rated for TS or tornadoes so I've got the wood drying out right now and fans running hoping that not too much got into the subfloor area. Will be days before I'm comfortable sealing the rest of the subfloor in.

https://imgur.com/a/d6MrT4K

Taking my dad out fishing for his brithday this weekend, fully expect dirty water and tough conditions but hope to get him on some slot reds.

(add if applicable) /s

Good luck. I hope the puppy drum chew for you.

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

Interesting how much foam is in the flooring that looks like it'll have short sidewalls then?

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

Yeah there is almost no freeboard in this boat its only about 5-6" floor to rail

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Man we found the fish this weekend had 1.5 great days of fishing.

Day 1: My dad started by giving me a lesson in trout fishing he had me 8-0 while I was losing every swim bait I had. Kept wearing trout out for a bit. Found an errant blue up in the creek. Tide flipped to outgoing and I pit us in redfish fire hole. Not sure if my dad was retrieving just too quick or what but he could not get one to eat but somehow hooked a 2" pinfish. I couldn't keep em away. Took home a 22" red and a couple 16" trout.

Day 2: Doozie of a morning. First cast with a top knock 20" trout let him go, next cast 19" trout, next cast 18" trout. Meanwhile my dad refusing to throw top water coming up empty and losing the rest of my zman paddlers. All the fun ended after this. The wind picked up, the water got muddy, then shit started breaking. My talon got stuck down, my Lowrance just spazzed itself to death and no longer turns on, my amp turns on but no noise to the speaker, then I push about 2 miles up a skinny creek with my minn kota. Gets a little too skinny, go to pull the motor up with the rope...it snaps. Get to a deeper hole turn the boat key....no response...

I've got some serious electrical issues now and they all popped up at once...fish pics to come

Fish pics here: http://imgur.com/a/gzwrLRI
Yes my father also caught a blue crab on a swim bait.

(add if applicable) /s

Nice day!

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

Blacktips eat flies. They also bend hook points.

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

#MakeVTFootballFunAgain

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

Anyone have any good guide leads in the Keys? Probably taking my bachelor party down there looking to stay somewhere around big pine but pretty open. Problem will be with people we'll probably have 10 guys and 8 that want to fish. I can only find one charter that isn't a head boat that has a 25-200 Master's license. Maybe we'd break into a couple boats inshore?

(add if applicable) /s

None in the keys but ft Myers area I know 2 brilliant ones

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

Who's that, the keys are also very excitement for lodging so I'm open.

(add if applicable) /s

It depends what you are looking to chase. For the flats, Pat Bracher- http://www.fishovertime.com/ but inshore isn't really set up for a big group (lots of coordination.

I don't know any offshore guys.

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

Yeah, inshore is going to be tough, did find Blind Squirrel which looks awesome and seems to be the only boat out there that has more than a 6pack. Currently looking at other places around the gulf to deep drop, want a different experience than my normal inshore stuff

(add if applicable) /s

TAKUUUU!!! Takume Itu won the Bassmasters this weekend with a flurry of smallmouth monsters today. We stayed right across from him at Guntersville and got to talk/hangout with him some in our time there. Absurdly nice guy, very happy for him.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

Just booked a fishing trip for the week I'm on vacation in OBX. Went with Traditions Fishing, I've only ever been on a guided fishing trip once and that was in the early 2000s in Myrtle Beach. We will be staying in shore and going for trout and reds. I'm JACKED UP excited!!!!!!

OT...I am officially on the Covid breakthrough list...symptoms mild thus far, so much so that the only reason I got tested is that I was going to a conference down in Back2VT's neighborhood...Mrs D has to get tested tomorrow and daughter D on Thursday (they are not happy)...but keeping fingers crossed.

Best wishes and hope ya get through asymptomatic. It aint fun and hopefully you dont lose your smell and taste that part plus the breathing issues make it no fun.

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

thanks, appreciate that...so far its like a minor head cold but I'm well aware that can change.

with vaccines suppressing symptoms, I suspect there are many more breakthrough cases than are realized. So far, I don't have any symptoms that, at any other time, would suggest I need to see a doctor. The only clue I really had was the little dry cough. I NEVER cough at the onset of a cold, that is always several days in. So I was like, hmmmm, maybe this is actually something, and I'm fortunate to have ready access to testing. But for that; I'd have been sharing this with quite a few people.

edit: so far, tracking like a pretty strong cold (sinus/sneeze/fever) plus loss of smell

edit 2: so Mayo is now prescribing pulmicort for mild cases...we'll give that a go tonite

I had my bout with it in the pre vaccine days and it kicked my ass sideways fast. Only reason I knew I had it was my spicy chicken sandwich tasted and smelled like nothing otherwise I showed no signs for the first week but after that it was mike tyson in his prime and I was a piece of shitty skinny bologna. Hang in there stay hydrated and get some fresh air when ya can and hope it keeps away for the most part and well all be pulling for ya to pull through unscathed. The breathing issue is what has messed me up the most and I dont wish it on anyone for someone whos 28 not being able to catch your breathe for trivial activities was the worst.

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

I had an opportunity to fish with VTFish yesterday and after a tough start, we had a really interesting and fun day.

The Plan:
There was a high tide at 7:50AM at Windmill Point, so we planned to get a very early start and fish the top of the tide. Things started out great, as the eels I got on Monday at Greentop stayed alive in my new eel transportation tool (a hermit crab case with some chicken wire to elevate the eels and catch the slime.) Unfortunately, when we got to the bar, the tide was flowing like an outgoing tide (2 hours before high tide.) I was confounded. At around 6:30AM, the boat finally started to swing around to the north, and the water woke up. Unfortunately it was just bluefish. I caught a few blues on a sabiki and then switched to a bottom rig and got a couple of sea mullet, while VTFish took care of getting threadfins for bait. Any minute we expected a cobia strike. Nothing came by the time the tide topped out at 7:48AM.

Then, instead of having any kind of slack tide, the boat immediately started to flip back to the south. I have never seen anything like it (only one hour of a tide cycle with water flowing in.) By the time the boat settled, our chum had run out, and we went looking for something else to do.

I am glad we did, because business picked up. We ran back into the Piankatank to fish some docks. While puppy drum didn't cooperate, we managed some smaller trout. Fish got the idea of trying a shallow water live bottom to jig up some sea bass. But, when we arrived at the live bottom (again, still in the Piankatank behind Gwynns), 2-5 pound class spanish mackeral started blowing up all around us. We didn't have any stingsilvers or gotchas, so we started throwing our 1/4 oz jigheads and gulp swimming mullets. Although VTFish managed to hook one, the spanish were way too clever to eat puppy drum candy. However, we managed to find every single bluefish that was mixed in with the school. They were blitzing small anchovies and spitting them up all over the deck. We caught a bunch of bluefish for about 20 minutes until our Gulp supply hit critical mass, then we left them blowing up to try and finish the day with a puppy drum or a flounder.

The last spot was a heavily used channel. We drifted Gulp swimming mullets and shrimp and got a nice mixed bag each drift. The species list included spot, croaker, sea mullet, bluefish, lizardfish, and some smaller flounder. I got absolutely blasted a couple of times and then snagged up. Finally, one of those heavy hits came out of the morass. It wasn't huge, but it sure was nice to finish with my first keeper flounder in years.

We headed back over to The Hole in the Wall Restaurant for burgers, shrimp cocktails, and oysters. I was back home before 3:00PM. This living closer to the water thing is ok, if I just could find more time to go.

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

It has been a great summer so far at the Cape. Drum are everywhere. I'm not catching tons, but seeing lots and doing it the hard way, on fly.

They are responding accordingly by flipping me off on occasion.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CRy8GAcANZE/

Got a 30 pound bull in the shoals at Hatteras. I was the only boat that could reach them since they were in 4 feet of water / breakers. Took waves over the bow, did some dangerous maneuvers and landed it with my friend. Even swam in the inlet with the fish to let it go. He hooked one but it came unbuttoned. Had shots on the fly but they ignored it. They have been pestered too much by the Hatteras guides but it was good to get the tip that they were there and worth the LONG run from MHC.

Met some new clients and lots of new friends. The scenery on the boat has been quite nice some days that it's difficult to pay attention to the water...

https://www.instagram.com/p/CRwb4m6h9mWNS8fAF6WHd3hfrHfG3uc83q22LU0/

I'm back in RVA for a few days filming a movie on fly fishing Virginia. I've been back at my house for three hours and already want to be back south but the movie thing should be cool.

Bull Drum will be in the Neuse soon and there are sizeable flounder around. I'd fish for both but I found a new creek with very difficult access that will take up all of my time and it is loaded with slot size reds ready to eat a fly. Oh well...

#MakeVTFootballFunAgain

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

Don't let him fool you, he did throw spinning rod with me to manage nice upper slot red. It was fun to get out with him even though it was less than ideal conditions.

Can't spell DBU without Bud

They have been pestered too much by the Hatteras guides

There are flood flats that I don't even bother going near this time of the year in Charleston for this reason. Might see 200 reds and 1 will be will to eat.

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Forgot to mention that I did fish with 3rdgen and we explored a remote area I had gotten good reports from. Remote is was not as there were a lot of damn boats on the water and he had one blow up on a top water. I managed one pretty 27" drum on the Neuse.

The movie shooting went well. We saw 15 reds in the Bay but none would eat. One little striper came to hand. Ouch. The Bay just doesn't seem healthy to me. Filming on the Mattaponi went well, we hooked 3 bowfin and landed 2, and 4 bass including a four pounder.

Here is the monster drum I caught...

https://www.instagram.com/p/CR4rEPmDXBA/

Summer is flying by and I do not want it to end. I am having a blast.

#MakeVTFootballFunAgain

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

I'm gonna leave the rest of the boat building to yall's imagination as far as pictures go until its done. I will say that I have the first coat of paint on it. The grab bar is here, I'd expect late August or September thread to post the finished boat.

I am in a charity tournament next weekend. I'm awful at tournament fishing and I think my combined weight in the 3-4 tournaments I've been in wouldn't have placed in a bass tournament. Trout, flounder, and reds are all in play for this tournament, kinda cool conservation rule for turning in reds since it is a keeper tourney, is the redfish have to have 3 spots to keep. Excited since I've had good luck with fish recently, nervous cause my bay boat has been on a kick of not working recently.

(add if applicable) /s

300,000 gallons of raw shit dumped into the James. Nice,

Even when you get skunked; fishing never lets you down. 🎣

idk if this is happening more everywhere or I just notice it more now but this seems to happen frequently.

(add if applicable) /s

So you're saying the water quality in the James will remain the same?

#MakeVTFootballFunAgain

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

It was finally getting better so they had to reup the sewage levels.

Actually saw an article published by VDGIF acknowledging the James and New are struggling smallmouth fisheries and that they're looking into but that was all. Interesting that they might actually be admitting theyve done a shit job of managing the fishery.

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

What did they mismanage? I skimmed that article when it came out. It seemed like the spawn got messed up

Can't spell DBU without Bud

As someone who had a taste of what it once was I'd argue a few things they messed up. One releasing the catfish to create a fishery and taking out the bluegill population was the big one for me. The biggest issue with smallmouth is they need calm rivers during the spawn and we have had some bad years all in a row for a while now, this spring was the best we've had for a long while during the spawn. The biggest issue with smallmouth fisheries is that smallmouth take a long time to get adult sized and my biggest gripe with DGIF is the lack of regulation on a fishery where the main fish are hard to get to full size. Personally I also think stocking in years with poor spawn would help supplement it as well. I guess by mismanagement I would argue its more of a lack of management really considering as far as they are concerned we've been told year on year out everything is peachy when anyone who fishes the James regularly can tell you that they are not.
Look at the fish in the Shenandoah and tell me that rivers healthy there are lots of issues with the river fisheries in the state in my eyes, maybe I'm setting the bar too high but I dont think that should be a thing considering all that the fisheries can give when they are taken care of.

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

Just trying to understand, looking at the regs you can't keep any fish from 14 to 22 inches and only one over. So are people keeping small fish? Flatheads and channels were stocked by DGIF in upper James? I agree that stocking smallies would help

Can't spell DBU without Bud

So this is a personal view full disclosure but I personally would like to see keeping smallmouth no allowed as they are a species that can be hit really hard in that area when the poor spawn years cycle in. Also I've seen plenty of people keeping any and all sizes a bunch on the james which puts me in a rage but people will always take advantage of it. I think small fish should be released and allowed to have a chance at reaching maturity to help the spawns but then again the keeping thing wont go away as if you cant keep smallmouth theres nothing else but catfish to even keep in the upper james. I havent seen a genuine bluegill above maidens since my childhood and thats one of the major issues with the smallmouth population they need bluegill to help sustain the population.

I dont know off the top of my head if they have stocked flatheads or channel cats in the upper but if they have that would irk me even more that they would do that when they should have looked harder at the smallmouth population. One of the few things I wish they would do more to educate people on is that musky dont attack people and more so dont really effect smallmouth populations like people think they do. Hell they mainly feed on suckers which are something that compete with smallmouth in so many ways I'd argue their sucker diet is a big benefit that the musky go after them so hard. I've heard so many people who kill musky when they catch them for safety reasons or because they think they harm the smallie populations.

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

I figured most people released them as is general bass culture. I agree that'd be good to put in place after rough spawn years similar to how when there have been bad freezes in saltwater there were temporary moratoriums on trout. I don't think they stocked channels or flatheads just blue cats. I was reading a facebook post and people were saying that they think those bigger flatheads are going after smallmouth. They were seeing smallmouth with scars on them. In general they need to some good spawns and need to stock if the population is struggling. The musky thing has been proven pretty well that they are doing insignificant damage to the smallie population.

Can't spell DBU without Bud

The only legitimate argument against musky in a small mouth fishery is competition for forage. I haven't been up to the New or upper James in 5-6 years but I remember noticing that the food sources in general were getting scarce. I don't think this has to do with the introduction of musky because I remember years of seeing endless chub, endless minnows, crawfish, ect. then seemingly nothing. I think its a part of the fishery that's commonly overlooked. These rough spawn year, floods, and pollutants are rough on the game fish but imo effect bait 10x more. Now you have two very predatory fish competing for a very limited bait pool.

I've always wondered why fisheries programs don't raise and stock native forage more than game fish in fisheries like the New. It has to be cheaper than raising trout and bass. Its not nearly as "sexy" from a PR perspective but I think that is a better use of funds to stabilize the fishery rather than throw 200 more musky fingerlings out there probably 10% of which make it a year and <5% of those ever end up spawning. Same for bass stocking (which I don't even know if they do in the New anymore)

(add if applicable) /s

That's a great point on the forage fish.

#MakeVTFootballFunAgain

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

Definitely agree it's not as sexy but maybe it isn't as effective but to me it would make alot more sense.

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

My question would be, and it may be a really dumb one because I know nothing about this river/fishery, why is the forage base out of whack?

It's really difficult to stand a pyramid on its point...that's essentially a put and take scenario. The most productive freshwater fisheries (lbs/acre standing crop) tend to be the ones with the highest nutrients and longest growing seasons...see Buffalo Cove in the Atchafalaya Basin. Typically harvest management strategies would control the top end and ensure adequate spawning, except in instances where the forage base itself is over harvested (see Chesapeake Bay). But why would the forage base in a polluted freshwater river be insufficient? No O2? Toxins? Because if that foundation is broken, everything else is just for show.

Yes the spawns have been bad. The Shenandoah has been plagued by pollution from the pig farms for years. The New gets its share of pollution, see train tracks down both sides of it for miles.

What did they mismanage?

The introduction of the blue catfish into the James was absolutely devastating. VDGIF are a bunch of fucking hypocrites when they go and shock the brown trout out of the Rose and claim anglers have to kill them in the Conway because they are invasive yet say the blue cats are not a problem. Horseshit. They go and hire young guys like Alex McRickard to go out there and tell the public and guides like myself that it's not a catfish issue when they are 70% of the biomass in the lower James. They can get the hell off of my lawn. I haven't fished the James in 5 years and only reason I would is to catch a carp in the hole below the Dominion building and even then I get harassed by some asshat Dominion fake law dog. You probably won't see me guide any longer in VA unless it is a very specific trip.

Dominion has no regulation and does what it wants at Bremo releasing coal ash into the James and letting it leach into the Potomac. Both of course lead to water quality issues in the Bay. If you want me to go broader scale mismanagement, $$$ grabbing / capitalism is ruining the environment worldwide and to go broader mismanagement than that, there are too many human beings on this planet.

Angry old man fishing guide shaking fist at bureaucratic bullshit rant over...

#MakeVTFootballFunAgain

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

Yeah I know blue cats are out of control on lower James. Definitely an issue. I saw grasses on the Bay were down again obviously water quality issue (less menhaden, more pollution). I was talking more about mismanagement of smallmouth population in upper James which obviously pollution still is a factor but didn't think blue cats are

Can't spell DBU without Bud

They love "looking into it" to get more funding, then never finding the root cause. Instead, they just reduce access.

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

This times a thousand. The article literally said it will take years and years of studies before they can figure out what they can do so its not much more than a we see it but when will we get to it we dont know. I get it some stuff takes time but neglecting something like they have for so long makes it more infuriating to hear they are just now looking into something like this.

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

They have been studying the SF of the Shenandoah for years already. Nothing been done or changed or announced.

Same thing happened a few weeks ago down here on Lake Norman.

Where's the beef?