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Old 08-13-2019, 08:14 PM   #1
Fairtax4me
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Default Fishing kayaking camping trip

My fishing buddy and I went on an adventure over the weekend to find a spot we’ve talked about getting to for a few years now but just haven’t been able to make it happen. Finally we got a good weather weekend and had the right river conditions and had the time to spend two full days on the water. We’ve both wanted camping trip with the kayaks, so we loaded up gear and coolers with two days of food and drinks and headed for the upper James river.

We left around 4:30am Saturday morning and arrived at the ramp where we put in about 6. Got the kayaks loaded and in the water, cracked a beer and started paddling. We needed to go about 4 miles upstream to get to our destination and luckily the first half of that is mostly a lake so it was just like paddling anywhere else. When we got to some of the real river current further upstream it became a bit more difficult but still not terrible. There were a few small rapids that were too shallow to paddle through so we hopped out and pulled the kayaks through those to get to the other side.

We made a few stops along the way and caught some fish but not quite what we were looking for until we got to a hydro electric station that’s along the way. I managed to get three nice smallmouth in the 2.5 to 3 pound range there in the heaviest part of current coming out of the turbine house. It took several different lures to find the one they wanted to eat, but once I found that I kept getting consistent bites on it the rest of the day.

We kept going from there and our final stop was maybe another 3/4 mile upstream and through a boulder field with lots of narrow channels and heavy current. I picked off a few more decent bass along the way and my buddy did the same by following the pattern of swimming a small crawfish jig in the heaviest current areas. We had to get out and pull the kayaks through shallow rushing water another three times in this last stretch before we got to “the spot”.

Oh and what a spot it was! We made it there around 3 in the afternoon. Immediately found a perfect spot to set up camp, and then proceeded to fish the base of the Holcomb Rock ***. We both racked up some good catches between fishing the *** and the high current chutes of water running between the chunked up rocks in the 100 yard stretch below the ***. Between the two of us we had somewhere around 30 total catches by the time we stopped for dinner about 8pm.

Spicy sausage, potatoes, beans, and a couple beers for desert. After we cleaned up we headed back out in the dark to fish for another hour or so. I caught one more, my buddy got two and had one very good fish shake loose. We never saw what it was, but we suspect it was a large catfish by the way it was acting. About 11:30 we decide to hang it up and head for bed.

6:00 next morning I woke to the train horn as it approached the level crossing on the other side of the river. It was just becoming light out, and that means top-water time! Tried a couple different lures and finally got bit on a hollow body frog, my favorite! Caught two decent bass and missed another and then headed on foot up to the corner of the *** to see what I could get there... Jackpot!! Biggest smallmouth of the trip on the hollow frog just after sunrise! 3.9lbs and 19.5” long! That’s what we came here for! There was no huge blow-up strike, the fish just slurped it under. The fight was on as soon as I set the hook, the fish immediately went airborne almost 4 feet out of the water! I only had limited space to work with between rocks and a tree trunk that was washed up in the corner but managed to keep the fish out of the obstacles and land it after what seemed like a small eternity and several other jumps.

My buddy caught a few more decent fish and I got one more in the 2lb range on the frog before the sun hit the water and we broke for breakfast. Kept it simple with some instant oatmeal and some fresh peaches, and topped it off with a nice cold brewski. We hopped back in the kayaks and spent another few hours owning and wading around the *** again and the areas within a few hundred yards downstream. Picked off a few more bass but the sunlight seemed to shut them off. The few we caught were in shaded areas, and then we knew the fun part was probably over. We stopped again to pack up camp, grabbed a snack, and took a quick dip in the river. We fished the *** once more, and caught one more good bass each, about 2.5lbs, then started the journey back about 2:30pm. We fished our way back down stream through the boulder field and picked up a few smaller fish along the way, and once we were clear of that the bite was gone.

We tried a few more spots along the way downstream but couldn’t get anything to bite, except I lost a small swimbait to a Muskie. Way cool because I got to see the strike, but the 8lb line had no chance against those teeth! That was the end of the action, and the start of the long paddle back to the put-in. Fun part was, the wind shifted on us, coming out of the east... pushing us back upstream. We finally make it back to the parking lot just before 8pm. Load up and head for home. We left from my buddies house, so that’s where my car was. Once we get back there it’s another 30 minutes to transfer my cooler and gear back into my Subaru, load the yak on the roof and get it strapped down. I finally make it home at 11:30, thoroughly exhausted.

Last edited by Fairtax4me; 08-13-2019 at 08:29 PM.. Reason: All those *** are supposed to say “d a m”

Asked a drunk talking to a horse:
"Why the long face?"
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:31 PM   #2
Mooncarter
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Default Re: Fishing kayaking camping trip

Sounds like that was a fun trip up the James and back FT!

Great story and photos. You should be writing for Field and Stream, or the like.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fishing kayaking camping trip

More pics

The two in the same pic are one small fish I caught and then dropped the lure back in the water. While trying to get a pic of the first a second grabbed the lure and ran off with it and I had to grab the rod to keep it from dragging it off into the river! Caught that one too, and got a two for one pic out of it! neither was more than about 10” long but they’re still fun to catch, especially on an ultralite rod!
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fishing kayaking camping trip

Sounds incredible! Great pics!!
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Fishing kayaking camping trip

Sounds like a fun trip
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fishing kayaking camping trip

very cool nice place Wow thanks for sharing
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Fishing kayaking camping trip

Looks like fun! Nice pictures.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: Fishing kayaking camping trip

Beautiful pictures and nice fish!
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:38 AM   #9
Fairtax4me
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Default Re: Fishing kayaking camping trip

Thanks guys! It was one heck of a trip for sure!

Typed all of that on the phone last night and decided to wait to do some editing and try to get the pics to show up right, looks like I missed the time deadline on the edit button.
***
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: Fishing kayaking camping trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairtax4me View Post
Thanks guys! It was one heck of a trip for sure!

Typed all of that on the phone last night and decided to wait to do some editing and try to get the pics to show up right, looks like I missed the time deadline on the edit button.
***


This forum is super weird about that. I think people should be able to edit their posts at any time like some of the other forums I use.
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