It's not as effective since you're really limited in available bank spots as the fish move from one day to the next. There is alot of private land and inaccessible land lining the James. That's not to say you can't catch nice fish, because you can.
If there is a spot to bank fish on the james thats productive its been kept a secret. Sure you have guys in downtown Richmond that live on that bank and do catch big ones but I mean they are there 24/7. All I do is keep looking. I've been to Dutch Gap a few times but I think I was there too early in the season. I'm going to really start working that area, I haven't given up. But yes a boat would really help. Now you can drive to Charles City to the Wilcox wharf and catch some good eaters consistantly but there is heavy competetion on that pier.
I'm also going to work the Robious Boat landing area, they have 3 nice fishing platforms, its the upper james so I'm going to try for some flatheads, also I'm not giving up on the area around Pony pasture and Huguenot Flatwater, I want to try some night fishing there. So all and all there are alot of areas to explore for me still.Good luck
Ok having been fishing since I could walk and only having a boat for the past 4-5 years, I have done plenty of looking for good spots to bank fish. I am just posting this for info only I do not encourage going to some of these places. Some are worse than others and I will give a very brief overview of info.
At osborne Landing I have fished that pier a bunch. I have had most of my luck at night and most times if they have the lights on in mid/late summer striper used be there in numbers. Small ones mostly but I have seen a few larger ones. Know of plenty of blues caught from the pier. Wha I think is a better spot is the bank on the oposite side of the mouth of the landing. Where you see all the boats parked. There is a little strip of land right on the river. I have fished right off that in my boat even and had luck.
PROBLEMS. I personally have never had any issues but have been told by others that the owners of that marina dont care for people fishing there much and will ask you to leave.
Shirley plantation. I have never been asked to leave this place but have had many times a person stop and say we shouldnt be there but we could fish for this time and to have a nice night. There were trespass signs last time I went. It was worth it when I didnt have a boat we caught lots of 20 -25 lb fish and a few striper from time to time. Small fish bit frequent on chunk eels.
The mouth of this smaller sand bar type cove (not to the main river) but into the back cove is the most productive spot. It gets shallow in the entrance but right on the main river/bargepit side is a great spot especially in summer at night. We have hooked fish in what I believe is 2-3 foot of water because they thrash the top as soon as the hook is set. All around that sand road in the picture is good and if your really stupid the concrete pier is great fishing with deeper water.http://maps.yahoo.com/;_ylc=X3oDMTE...aw--#mvt=h&lat=37.333612&lon=-77.260548&mag=3
Down around browns island in the deeper holes most of wich you can wade or put in a small boat to get to a bobber with a minnow floated through deeper holes will catch some smaller cats and sometimes some up to 15 or so lbs. Also I have caught smallmouth doing this especially in the slack pockets behind rocks. Remember to wear a pfd while wading some rocks are slippery and if need be you could easily swin your rod and floating bucket of minnows to find better holes.
I have had Great times and good fish doing this. In typing this I am remembering some of these and will probably find myself doing some wading or a float this year the upper James can be a blast.
Good luck in the search for better holes and bigger fish. I hope this info will help someone.
Get a kayak and build a little platform on a piling. Every time you go oout you can tie up to the piling and sit on the platform. You can fish from the islands, and points and other hard to get to areas.
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