Sunday, April 15, 2012

James River Shad Fishing Report (aka Not Holding Your Mouth Right)

Exhibit A:  not holding your mouth right = not catching fish (but still having fun).

Shad fly looks good but that's not always good enough...

A whole other kind of "fly fishing"...the Osprey having obvious (mocking) success...

 Taking in the sights of downtown Richmond.

Pretty cool old gotta love the Peanut M&M wrapper in the wheel...

View of downtown Richmond from the south side of 14th street bridge.

When I was a kid, our family would take frequent outings in the sweltering heat of the Georgia summers to fish and swim on some local farm pond.  And like most kids, I would usually end up complaining if I wasn't actively catching fish.  The simple rebuttal from my mom was usually something like, "You can't catch fish if your line is not wet" or "Well, I guess you'll just have to eat sardines" or "You're just not holding your mouth right."  I didn't really get that last one, but I knew it meant I was doing something wrong - like not being patient. 

I'm a big boy now and I still love fishing.  I've grown more patient and I rarely get skunked, but every once in a while, it happens.  Last year, I tried fly fishing the shad run on the James River in downtown Richmond for the first time with a lot of success.  Not that it was super hard or anything (shad aren't super picky) but, for the first attempt, I thought things went well.  I caught dozens of shad and I was shocked at the size and fight these fish offered, so I tied up a bunch of custom shad dart variations along with some stand-by Clousers and had a fantastic time.  After all, while shad are fun, a striper would be a nice bonus.

This year, things have been a bit different so far.  I made my first two trips of the season this weekend (maybe a bit late...I dunno) and so far I've not brought a single fish to hand.  For that matter, I haven't seen a single fish caught despite dozens of fisherman lining the banks.  The water is very clear, so I decided to fish full sinking lines and focus on the deeper holes.  Still, no luck.  I've tried different color combos and I've monitored the tides, the flow, etc.  But no dice.  We'll see what happens...I'm thinking perhaps the cooler temps and super clear water have them messed up, but I dunno.  I'm still an admitted novice at this game.

I'll be back for another round next weekend, assuming we don't get a drizzle that floods out the James.  If anyone has suggestions for a newbie, let me hear from you.  I've been fishing from the bank but I have a Native Ultimate kayak if I would have better luck getting my paddle wet.

Cheers - SRM

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