Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pig Wrestling

     After last weekends Smallmouth trip so successful, Alex and I were itching to get back out after 'em. The water level and flow continued to drop, while the clarity got better and better all week, so when we both got off early Thursday there was no question how the afternoon would be spent. We loaded the Stealths and hit the James in search of a citation Smallie. 

     The afternoon started out slow with no love from the fish. We were working the same areas that had been productive a few days before, with the same lures, but were not getting the same results. As the sun began to sink in the sky, I started to become less optimistic and thought we both might leave with the dreaded skunk. As often is the case, just when you think your day is over, you feel that subtle bite, the line comes tight, and your whole attitude changes in an instant.   

Such was the case today and I was rewarded with a fat 18" Smallmouth.
     With a new found sence of confidence, we continued our drift back towards the ramp. It didn't take long for my Jig n' Pig to get crushed again. I could tell right away this was a heavy fish and he began to strip a little drag as he tried his damnedest to get away.

     I thought I had my paper Smallie when he finally surfaced, but he came up a just short @ 19.5". I was still pumped to have caught a new personal best Smallmouth Bass- in fact, every trip out here I had stepped up my PB. Alex wasn't as lucky and ended the day without a bite, but with plans already made to get back out there Saturday, he knew he'd get another chance.


      The plan for Saturday was to meet up with Rob Choi and continue the search for a citation Smallmouth. He had morning plans for a YakAttack rigging party, and Alex had some daddy duties, so we figured we'd be doing good if we launched around 12 or so.... that was the plan anyway. After dealing with a flat tire, (Alex's wife's, not mine) we launched around 3 and headed up river to meet up with Rob. We only had a few hours til the sun went down, so we wasted no time in getting down to business.  
                                                                             Photo Credit: Rob Choi     

 We were all confident we would find the fish, but after hours of fishing, we were within sight of the launch, and my confidence started to wane. It seemed as though the change in conditions mandated that we change our tactics, and at some point Rob made his way out to open water, I moved out to slightly deeper water, and Alex continued to work the shoreline. Just as I'm starting to think the day is over, I just barely hear Rob say Whoa! As I turn to look I see a big ol' Smallie come flying up out of the water and Rob shout WooHooo! By the time I paddle to him, he's landed the fish and its a PIG.
                                                          Rob's new personal best Smallmouth @ 19.5"
As it turns out, this fish had crushed a spinnerbait and skied twice- it seemed as though the fish had finally gotten active. All was not lost yet, so Alex and I quickly tied on similar colored spinnerbaits and went back to work. I made about 5 casts, backlashed, and popped it off.... DAMNIT! All hope I had of catching a lunker was gone.

      After sulking for a few minutes, I grabbed a rattletrap and  started throwing it around just to pass time- I figured I might as well keep casting even though I had already come to terms with the idea of a skunk. I found a good eddy, posted up and figured I would kill the last 30 minutes we had before the day was over. Much to my surprise, it wasn't long before my slow rolling rattletrap stopped dead in its tracks and the fight was on

                                                         18.75" Chunker! Photo Credit: Rob Choi

The day ended shortly there after. Alex was unable to get that skunk off his back for the second trip in a row, but vowed he would be back for revenge. As we packed everything up I couldn't help but be amazed that even though we aren't catching great numbers, we were consistently catching trophy class fish with most between 4-5lbs. Had I know this great fishery was in my back yard, I would have spent alot more time out there, but rest assured that will change.

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