Friday, April 21, 2017

21 April - I finally make it on the water.


Click on map to enlarge.

After a long delay I decided to see what I've been missing. Several people have been doing great things so It was time to chase some bass. The water was high and on the muddy side and a strong SW wind didn't help with the boat control. I usually do well on breezy days fishing the windy shoreline. Today was the case in point. The best structure to fish in Back Bay is deep in the reeds and cattails with jigs and plastic during high water. I started with a Chigger Craw, Texas rigged, and a weightless Swimming' Senko. Cast way back into the trash and jig the bait up and down. You dredge up a lot of junk but that's the price you pay to reach the fish. I ended the day with 13 bass from 1-0 to 3-10. A couple were hard to get out of the weeds and I lost three or four due bad hook sets or the hook was fouled with five pounds of milfoil. With 13 bass boated, the top five were: 2-5, 2-6, 2-10- 3-5, and 3-10 for a total of 13 pounds 15 ounces. A great way to start the new season.

NOTE: Email me at vbfishguide@gmail.com for a link to my new 2017 Launch Guide.

HD trip video is on my YouTube Channel.
http://tinyurl.com/VBfishguide

Saturday, April 15, 2017

2017 Launch Guide is now available!


Get yours today.

Well I finally got the 2017 Launch Guide put together. There are some major changes from last year, some good, some not so good. My biggest disappointment is the closing of West Landing Marina. Those of us who can't paddle 10 miles a day anymore will not be able to reach Godfrey Creek, Cow Creek, or Haynes Creek, some of my favorites. You could get there by launching at page  "07 - Upper North Landing River" in the guide, but it would be a stretch, and it's closed on Sundays. 

The new launch area at Horn Point.

The good news is there has been some major changes to the "15 - Horn Point Launch" and "14 -  Back Bay NWR Contact Station Launch". As shown, they have added rip-rap to protect from erosion, a nice new sandy beach, and planted some native grasses along the shore line (still very small plants but should grow fast).


BBNWR - Still under construction in March, but you get the idea.


While we lost the ramp at West Landing Marina, we gained a new ramp at Pungo Ferry Landing.  As usual the city has done a bang-up job with the project. I understand from Parks & Rec as funds are available it will be expanded to add a swimming beach on river and other amenities. You can still launch at the small beach in the cul-de-sac but that old boat is still there and it can be a challenge to get past all the mooring lines he has out across the water.
The new launch at Pungo Ferry Landing.

Another addition to help the paddler, is a second local water gauge installed by the USGS on the Beggars Bridge Creek bridge. A check on the gauge before you leave home might save you a trip. The link to that as well as the gauge on the North Landing River can be found on the left side of this page under "Fishing information". So that's it in a nutshell. There are still more than enough launches in Virginia Beach to satisfy most paddlers, so to get your 2017 Launch Guide, email me at:

Monday, March 27, 2017

27 March 2017 - First trip of the year.


Click on map to enlarge.

For the first trip of 2017 it was a very slow day until the last ten minutes. The water was on the low side and very muddy. Visibility was only about 6". I started with plastic, a Chigger Craw, when the depth was over a foot, but because it was so shallow I had to rely on the wake bait, a top water, and a shallow running crank. The wind picked up around 10 and boat control became a problem, so I gave into the elements and headed for the ramp at about 1. As I made the last turn into the ditch by the road, I got a tremendous hit on the wake bait. The good old swamp donkey tipped the scale at 6-1 so the day wasn't a total loss. Sure wish it had been a bass.

I probably won't get out again until next week or so. I'll be doing a lot fewer trips this year because of other commitments, so the videos will suffer the most, but I'll at least do a blog entry for every trip. Thanks for watching.

Monday, January 2, 2017

1 January 2017 – The year in review.

2016 BASS OF THE YEAR - 5-0

Well it turned out to be a great year. 2016 will go down in the books as the year the bass fishing turned around, at least for me. While I’ve cut back on the number and length of trips this year, the quality and quantity of fish caught per trip was a vast improvement over previous years. Looking back on the last couple of years I guess I’m getting better at catching. With about twice the number of fish caught at half the number of trips, is it a sign I’m beginning to figure this thing out, or am I just getting luckier? Anyway, from what I've read and heard it looks like everyone had a better 2016 they the miserable 2015. Things sure turned around this year.

Here’s a sample:

2016 - 52 Trips, 418 Bass  =  8.04 bass/trip
         33 over 2 pounds
         15 over 3 pounds
         3 over 4 pounds
         1 over 5 pounds (5-0)

2015 - 95 trips, 416 Bass  =  4.40 bass/trip
         36 over 2 pounds
         4 over 3 pounds
         1 over 4 pounds
         0 over 5 pounds

2014 - 116 trips, 625 Bass  =  5.39 bass/trip
         58 over 2 pounds
         8 over 3 pounds
         12 over 4 pounds
         2 over 5 pounds (5-5, 5-1)

It seems like every year has it’s own bait that is a killer, and the hottest newcomer of 2016 was the Whopper Plopper. While I didn’t get in on the feeding frenzy until late in the year, a lot of folks did really well with that horribly named bait. For 2015 the Chigger Craw was my favorite bait. In 2016 the Senko was the go to bait for the majority of my quality fish, but near the end of the year I experimented with BIG baits like the Strike King King Shad, Megabass 4.25”  i-Jack Wake Bait, and the Rapala 5.25” BX Waking Minnow. These monsters surprisingly still caught smaller fish with big attitudes, but when the big ones hit, it was crazy cool. In my opinion nothing beats a surface strike. What will be the magic bait for 2017? Guess I’ll just have to start where I left off in the fall and see what happens.

So that about warps it up for 2016. In 2017 I’ll probably slow down a little more. The older you get the harder it is to drag all that heavy gear around but I’ll still be out there giving it my best. Hope to see you on the water. Paddle over and say hello, it doesn’t bother me a bit. Happy New Year and thanks to all who serve.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

16 November – I’m still alive and paddling.


Click on map to enlarge
After a month long break, I’m back on the water. I did do a couple of trips to a favorite spot but didn’t post the results. I have to keep a few spots to myself. It was to beautiful to stay inside today and I haven’t been to West Neck in six months or so and today looked like a good day to give it a try. Obviously I haven’t been missing much because from the dock talk as I launched and how the day went it’s been slow on West Neck Creek. I started the day with a dead battery on the rear camera and had to switch it to the front to make at least a halfway decent video. Next the depth finder died, apparently another dead battery. By the time I was on the water things were not looking very good, then on the tenth cast or so, a nice 1-12 was landed on the 3BD so maybe the outing will be a success after all. I should be so lucky. For the next three hours it was two dink bass and a dink pickerel, not the best but it beats a skunk. I might try another trip if I feel in the mood the weather co-operates, but look for a yearend blog entry around New Years. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for watching. 

HD trip video is on my YouTube Channel.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

19 October – Why you should watch your topwater baits.


Click on map to enlarge.

I’ve been getting reports of some good action on Lake Tecumseh this week so I loaded up and was on the lake by 8:30. It was a case of “You should have been here yesterday” and I never had a tap for the first 2 hours. I tried all sorts of baits including top water, wake baits, spoons, and plastics and finally got a good pickup which landed a 3-8 bass. Things were looking up. An hour later a dink ingested the Whopper Plopper and that was it bass wise for the day. Only other action today was a bluegill on a 3DS. Anyway, the three pounder made the trip worthwhile.


About thirty minutes into the morning I was throwing a big Strike King 4” Wake Shad when an Osprey tried to grab it but I was able to jerk it away at the last minute. About a year ago I had a Kingfishers try to get a Pop-R and he was so persistent I had to quit using it, but this was the first time an Osprey dove on my bait. If I hadn’t been watching it could have been a nasty mess.

   
video
To close for comfort.

The hurricane damage to the lake was extensive. There is a 10 – 20 foot strip of rotting grass that was blown up on the southern shore and has begun to stink to high heaven.  I’m afraid it will be spring before that shoreline will be fishable again. The edge of the mat is fishable but the smell will deter some folks. The rail tram that lifts boats into the lake from the canal can't be used. It's under a ton of grass. Things are tough all over.    

Now that's attitude!