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Chickahominy River, 22-26 JUN 2021

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  • Chickahominy River, 22-26 JUN 2021

    This was our final regular season FOM event for 2021. My partner and I have been on a fairly good roll this year - we're finding fish quickly. Now it's just a matter of finding a few more quality fish. We were stoked about this trip because the tides were going to be favorable for this event. The best of the outgoing and incoming tides were right in the middle of the day, giving us the time we needed to get into position and exploit the best of the water and fish we found. The weather even cooperated this trip - fall-like temps and humidity for WED-FRI. The summer weather returned in time for SAT tho'. No shortage of humidity but the cloud cover held the temps down a bit.

    Practice. We spent WED and THUR running the river, essentially from the confluence w/ the James to the bay outside Rockahock, hitting major channel swings, pad fields, docks, and ledges along the way. By the end of the day on THUR we had pinpointed a short list of places that were holding fish in numbers w/ a few quality fish mixed in. We also visited a handful of areas that we knew had a history of attracting better fish but did not fish these hard. As we compared what we learned from practice w/ what we knew from our previous trips, it didn't take long for us to build a game plan for the TX. We planned on hitting three areas - two from our practice and one from history - on SAT. Our practice taught us enough to profile fish movements during the various tide stages so we had someplace to go during each phase of the tide cycle. And we were on some quality fish.

    Tournament. Our first stop was a short run from launch (Rockahock), a well-defined ledge outside of a large pad field. This particular ledge is a bit of a community hole so we were pleasantly surprised to see no one on it as we approached. The tide was about half way out when we got there so the plan was to sit tight and let the outgoing tide bring the fish to us as we worked the break and pad edges. The first hour was a little slow (except for the catfish bite) but it picked up steadily as we approached the sweet spot of the outgoing tide. Once they started biting, it took us about 30-40 mins to boat a small limit. Our 5th fish was a solid keeper - it weighed 3.87. We continued to cycle around ledge and pad edges during the remainder of the outgoing tide, making a couple of small upgrades. Once the tide was flat low we ran down river about 5 miles to another channel swing we had worked in practice during incoming tides. We weren't there more than 20 mins before we hooked up on another solid fish - this one was 3.25. After this bite played out we jumped back up river to our starting area and worked it over using the same approach as before - cycling thru the ledge, the pad edges, and the pad fields. We managed one more solid upgrade before calling it a day. Our 5 weighed 12.05.

    Observations: 1) WTs were a mixed bag - saw 78* at launch on WED around noon; 75* the following morning (THUR), rose to 79 in a couple spots by the end of the day; 72* on FRI morning, rose to 80 by the end of the day; and 75* on SAT morning, rose to 81 by the end of the day. 2) Water color was the usual tannic/coffee color but had some cloudiness to it in places. The bite was better in the cleaner water. 3) Pads are in great shape but the SAV appears to be a little slow in coming in full. Found lots of it during practice and the tournament but it wasn't as thick as previous years. Found two types of SAV - hydrilla and something that looked like a long-leaf Bermuda. The fish were relating to the hydrilla. 4) The one thing we failed to account for during our practice and prep was the super tide we had on SAT. We noticed the full moon (hard to miss - it was spectacular) but it never dawned on us to look into the details of SAT's tide levels. If we had done this, we would've made some adjustments to our start. For one thing, we would've spent some time inside the pad fields targeting cypress trees, laydowns, and the inside edges. We also would've spent more time working the pad fields. I share all of this because the height of the tide was such that it never really drew the fish out from the pads. A few of them came out, as evidenced by our catches, but they didn't come out in the numbers our history on this river system told us they would. (I added super tide schedule to my tidal river checklist when I got in on SAT nite.). 5) A SK 1.5 and c-rig accounted for most of our fish. No surprises on colors - shad patterned cranks, greens for plastix. No frog fish on TX day. We did have a couple bites punching the pad fields but didn't hook up on any of them. 5) Hard cover was key. If your bait didn't touch wood, rock, or submerged junk you didn't get bit. Our best fish came as my partner shook his crankbait free from a stump. As soon as the bait started moving again the fish inhaled it. This happened a number of times on TX day. 6) Wish the bass had been as active as the catfish were. Had a number of bites on soft plastic presentations that felt like bass strikes, only to be disappointed when they started rolling half way to the boat. Some of the cats were pretty good sized. Rat bastages.

    Our study and prep shift to the James River, the site of our regional championship. My partner and I have some history on the James (including making the run to the Chick). Definitely a boost to confidence fishing familiar water but we aren't taking anything for granted. We'll get plenty of work in before the event. All in all, a good 2021. Lots of progress as a team and with respect to catching in general. We picked up on a lot of things to work on this off season. From my view, the learning part is the most important. Anything we can do to expand our understanding of fish and their habitats helps us when it comes time to fish.

    peace, B
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  • #2
    Sounds like a fun day of fishing, glad you guys on some fish.

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    • #3
      I thought that was you and your short shorts I saw out there Saturday :)
      Make VAO Great again

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      • #4
        good job to you and Brad on a successful campaign. Just gotta think sometimes...What would Dave do? lol (private joke)....Gosh, the beauty of the Chick and if you love flipping and frogging, its like HAFH.
        cheers,
        Steve

        2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
        Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.

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