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Chick River, 24-26 JUN 2020

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  • Chick River, 24-26 JUN 2020

    Spent three days on the Chick last week - 2 days of getting reacquainted, followed by our final FoM event of season. The Chick did not disappoint but my execution did. More on this in a minute. Always love fishing this river. Don't know that VA has a more scenic estuary. The prospect of catching a monster doesn't hurt.

    First of all, going in the middle of the week was fabulous. A handful of rec boats but most were attentive, courteous. Activity started to build as we went thru the day on FRI but it was mild compared to weekend activity. We did have one near miss w/ a dood in a bow rider. We were fishing a spot on the outside of a turn in the channel as he came into the turn wide and focused on texting. I managed to flag him down in time for him to slow down. After a brief exchange (I didn't use a single dirty word, I'm pleased to report) he idled off safely, quietly. He did not take me up on my offer to assist him w/ removing his head from a dark, smelly place.

    Practice: We had the perfect tide scenario for tournament day - outgoing from blast-off thru ~midday. Our plan going in was to run the tide so we spent WED and THUR looking for pods of active fish. We focused on pads, the little bit of grass we could find, docks, and ledges. We found fish in all the usual places on a variety of baits - frog, jig, plastics, squarebill, spinnerbait, and punch baits. No real big fish but plenty of solid keepers. We used THUR to fine tune our plan, taking time to scan some new water as we hopped from stop to stop.

    TX day: We drew #23 (out of 36) and made a short run to a hard channel swing w/ a large pad field. We had a couple of good blow-ups on frogs but failed to hook up. I noticed bait fish flitting around the shallow water so I switched to a fluke and started working outside edges and gaps in the pads. As I'm working my fluke my partner hooks up on our first keeper (frog). I followed shortly w/ another solid keeper on the fluke. After that area played out we motored down river to a pad area adjacent to a large marsh w/ lots of drains. I alternated between moving baits, the fluke, and the frog while my partner worked his frog and the punch bait. Keeper #3 inhaled his punch bait as he dragged it across a pad. Had a couple more blow-ups on the frog before leaving. From there we motored back up river to a place we'd both fished in the past - adjacent to a hard channel swing, well defined ledge, pads and grass close by, lots of submerged wood/brush/wrecks. We arrived in time to fish the best part of the outgoing tide. We boated our next 2 keepers in short order, including our best fish of the day - a chunky 5 lb'er. Shortly afterwards I hooked into a beast. I mean this fish was strong enough to turn the nose of the boat as it ran out into the channel. I felt the fish starting to rise slowly, like it had tired out. Nope. It did a power dive on me and somewhere in the process came unbuttoned. It must have smarted some because I had a good sized chunk of fish cheek on my hook. I never saw the fish but it would've dwarfed the 5 lb'er. Shortly after that I had another one break me off. My partner threw into the same spot (a large cypress stump) and he, too, was broken off. We managed to bag a few more fish on a plastics after that, giving us a chance to cull up a bit. As soon as the tide was finished running out the bite died. We ended the day w/ 5 fish for 10.67.

    Observations: 1) The water was its usual tannic color but a bit cloudy still from recent rains. Maybe 3' of viz at best. Some places it was a foot. WTs ranged from 78* at launch (Rockahock) to 84.5 at the end of the day on FRI. 2) Tides on all 3 days were exceptionally high. I'll guess the rain was the culprit - the James was running fast and high when I drove over it on WED AM. To give you a point of reference, at high tide water from the river was spilling over the dam into Chick Lake. At low tide much of the marsh and pad areas were still under 12-36" of water when they're usually mud flats. 3) Frogs produced the most fish. Plastics produced the better quality fish. We had a few bites on spinnerbaits but nothing that helped our cause. 4) Pad fields with sharp breaks close by were best.

    With this event my partner and I have enough points to go to the regional championship in SEP (Potomac River). This is a place we both know well and have had some success on. We performed pretty well as a team, considering most of our season was spent in lockdown. We'll get a few days on the Potomac before the regional. That oughta give us the time we need to finer tune our effort.

    I still need to work on execution - on hooksets, on watching my line, on paying attention to activity in and around the areas I'm fishing. I missed some fish I should not have. It's all about paying attention. If you expect to win or place you have to perform at a high level. Places like the Chick are not known for giving very many second chances. You have to make the most of every bite you get.

    peace,
    B
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  • #2
    Ribbit....
    Make VAO Great again

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    • #3
      Dang bud...next time you're in town let me know.
      Wishin' I was fishin'...
      www.lds.org

      https://www.instagram.com/lundeerik/

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