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VA West FoM, 6 APR 2019

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  • VA West FoM, 6 APR 2019

    Well, the 2019 regular season mercifully comes to an end. Closed it out the way I began it - with a wimper. Doesn't matter how good you are at finding fish if you can't execute on the hooksets. Did learn a few things today tho'. More on that in a bit.

    Practice - drove up THUR and and spent the day scouting (bait, water temps and conditions). Ran up to the upper end of the Pawmunkey arm to start. Lots of bait but the water was cold and dirty. Marked lots of fish but couldn't get any to bite. Worked my way down lake to cleaner water and warmer temps over the course of the day. Fish were definitely in a bit of a funk after a few nites of cold temps. As the sun came out and warmed up the water the bite picked up dramatically. Found fish holding on points, transition lanes, on brush, and on chunk rock. Many of the fish I caught had been up shallow for a bit - they were dark and fat. A few had recently come up - pasty, lean, and a little lethargic. C-rig did the most damage for me. Also had bites on a squarebill, a jerkbait, and a spinnerbait. Water conditions drove my decision on where I'd start. As much as I like a little stain I opted for the cleaner water down lake.

    TX day - After a short delay due to fog, pulled up to my first stop and was surprised to see no one in the area. Not even a boat trail or wake anywhere. Started off w/ the jerkbait on a main lake point. Got hung up on some brush and as I idled in I saw fish holding tight to the bottom. After retrieving my bait I quickly pulled back off the point and switched to the c-rig. On my third cast I get thumped. I sweep the hookset and hook up, only to have the leader break on me (there's a lesson on this later). After retying the leader I continue to work the point and adjacent transition lanes w/ the rig. Had 2 more bites - one shakes off at the boat (a lesson on this in a bit) and another leader breaks. After retying this one (another lesson in a bit) I continued working the area to a series of secondary points without a sniff. I spent the rest of the day bouncing from point to point, transition area to transition area working each pretty deliberately w/ the c-rig. Had a total of 5 shake off, including one around 4 lbs right across from the weigh-in site. This one came in all the way to the boat, only to spit the bait back at me before she dove. That is how my day went. That is how my season went. The good news is I have all 5 events in to qualify for the district tournament. Just a matter of getting thru the shoulder surgery and recovery. APR 25th can't come soon enuff for this kid.

    Lessons: 1) If you practice w/ a c-rig, jig, t-rig, or any other slow presentation that makes constant contact w/ the bottom or cover be sure to retie before TX day. Check your line a good 24-36 inches up to be sure you eliminate all (ALL) the nicks and kinks in the line. 2) Fluoro leader material is superb in the c-rig presentation but it doesn't have an infinite shelf life. In fact, if you leave fluoro line in your sled where it's subject to temperature extremes it'll get a lil brittle on you really fast. Keep your line inside where it can be maintained at ~constant temps, conditions; load it up right before you go out. And finally, 3) If you use a heavy weight on your c-rig (say, anything 3/4 oz or bigger) you need to accommodate for line bow. The extra weight is great for casting distance and for getting the bait quickly to the bottom. It also acts as an impediment to drawing up the line. Not accommodating for this line bow will cause you to lose fish (in my case, 5 of them). This isn't something I'd ever thought about. Took a couple of conversations w/ fellow anglers to figure out what I was doing wrong. Up to the last 2 events I'd been using 3/8 oz weights. No line bow issues w/ these lightweight doods. Braided line will likely help since it doesn't stretch. A longer rod (say, 7-6 or longer) will likely help, too. Even then, you still have the line bow to straighten out if you're going to realize a high hook-up ratio. Just a few things to think about. If I've missed something or you have other/better ideas I am all ears.

    Observations: 1) THUR water temps ranged from 51.4 at HPM to 57.2 vic Valentine's Cove. Water uplake was 52.2. SAT - water at HPM was 52.5 (even after the cold rain). Saw 55.5 down lake everywhere I went. 2) Bait was thick up in the Pawmunkey. Lots of striper doods up there. Down lake it was more scattered - small pods here and there, some deep and some shallow. 3) Not all points are created equal. Those points w/ long tapers and steep sides were best this week. 4) Transition lanes w/ sharp breaks (tight contour lines) were best. 5) 8-12' was the magic range for all of my bites. THUR's bites got really aggressive once the sun came out and started warming things up. The bites on SAT were lite and tentative. 6) All of my bites came back at me. None of the fish swam away or to the side. (Another factor to consider when struggling w/ hooksets.)

    I did manage one keeper - a spunky 13"er. Felt good to get a lil stinkage on my hands. I didn't weigh it.

    While the first couple weeks after the surgery will not be a lot of fun I am looking forward to getting this shoulder fixed. Like the hand issue I dealt w/ last year, I can't wait to be able to fish pain-free. Will continue to work the off-hand presentations. Think it'll be important bring balance to casting, retrieving, and playing fish. Believe it'll save some wear-n-tear on this old body. The mark is on the calendar for my return - our district TX is on Philpott on 21 SEP. The FoM VA Cup is in OCT. Won't be 100% but I'll be out there. Should give me a good check on recovery progress.

    peace,
    B
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  • #2
    Hope the shoulder gets healed up soon for ya

    https://youtu.be/ORES2UduoQ8
    Make VAO Great again

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    • #3
      Cool vid - thanks for sharing.
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      • #4
        Nice report 31.

        Take care and you know the drill, follow the doctors/PT Rx...
        Wishin' I was fishin'...
        www.lds.org

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

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        • #5
          Good report 31! Hope the surgery goes well for you and you come back 100%!
          Eric

          2004 Fishers of Men VA-East Division Champions

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          • #6
            Nice report B. Good luck with the shoulder.
            1st Place VA East FOMNTT Potomac River 2006, VA East FOMNTT Big Bag 2006, VAO Frog Only Tournament Winner 2011

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            • #7
              Nice report Brian, it will only get better from here. Hope surgery goes well and you heal fast
              2017 Ironman winner
              2019 Polar Bear winner

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              • #8
                Sorry to hear about your miss fortunes Brian. I know its really frustrating. Tip for you; when working a C-Rig, I try to avoid working the bank or spot at 90 degree angles. I will work them at 45 degrees casting to the rear or in front of me, preferably to the rear. Keeping your leader under 20 inches in length also helps. Good luck with your surgery my brother.
                2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
                2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper


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                • #9
                  Good luck with your surgery. I am 2 months out from a repair of rotator cuff, labrum, and reattachment of a tendon and bicep muscle. Stick to therapy! Missed one week due to work and it tightened up again. Hope it heals quickly and you are back on the water again.
                  Thanks,
                  Jesse

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                  • #10
                    Thanks, DJ. Copy all. Sadly, this will be my 4th one of these. Hoping it's the last.
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