Hellgramites Are Everywhere in Virgina!

Discussion in 'VIRGINIA RIVERS TALK' started by flathead willie, May 30, 2006.

  1. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Hey guys, Hellgramites are all over the place right now and starting to come up on the banks. I got more than a dozen last Thursday just turning over rocks on the bank of the James. I did real good with them bank fishing Smallmouth including one Smallie that was 18 1/2 inches long.
    If you don't have a seining net, I was at K Mart yesterday and they had the 4' nets on sale for less then $10.00. Anywhere you find shallow fast water, you can get all the hellgramites you want along with Madtoms and Crawdads.
     
  2. flemflamman

    flemflamman New Member

    Messages:
    25
    State:
    va
    How do you use one by yourself?
     

  3. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    It's tough by your self unless the stream is small enough to tie the net to roots and branches on both banks. You really need two people. I tie stakes or PVC pipe on both ends and while someone holds it upright, I get upstream with a clam rake (patato rake) and turn over rocks. Maybe you can find another fisherman nearby to help and split the bait with them.
     
  4. AllenM

    AllenM Guest

    ok... this may sound dumb, but what the heck are hellgramites and Madtoms?
     
  5. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Allen,
    Hellgramites are the larvae stage of the Dobson Fly and can be found under rocks in the water this time of year. They migrate out and burrow under rocks along the banks until they turn into Dobson Flys. Madtoms are small catfish that get no bigger than about 4" and also spend much of theit time under rocks. They are great bait for bigger fish. both can be caught with a small sein net,(weights on the bottom, floats on top) in fast moving streams and rivers. My net is 8' long & 3' high. There are pictures in the thread, Hellgramite Season in the Catfishing section under Catfish Baits.
    P.S. The only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask!
     
  6. Scott Daw

    Scott Daw New Member

    Messages:
    2,002
    State:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    can you catch a bunch, & freeze them for late in the season?
     
  7. flemflamman

    flemflamman New Member

    Messages:
    25
    State:
    va
    So Willie thanks for the tips in your part of the james what makes a good looking spot. How deep of water and shady or sunny side of boulders?

    Thanks
     
  8. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Hey Tom,
    The water depth doesn't matter on the upper James. In most places the average depth is about 2'7". I caught a bunch of Smallmouth in a foot or so last week. I hit them on the downstream side of boulders or any other obstruction. Fast moving water is usually the best for them. In deeper water, look for them along banks that drop sharply into the water and around snags (trees in the water). Right where fast water hits slower water is always productive for them and for channel cats. Under the small dams we have up here is a great place if you can get to them.
    As for freezing Hellgramites, I've never tried it but i would think they would get soft and be difficult to keep on the hook. They would work best right now because it's a "Match the Hatch" kind of thing.When they are plentyful, that's what the fish look for.
     
  9. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    I'll try to load the picture of the Smallmouth I got on a Hellgramite last week.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. fish4anything

    fish4anything New Member

    Messages:
    5
    State:
    Virginia
    Reminds me of when I was young. My dad use to get a kick out of making me hand him the hellgramites. He always got a laugh out of me getting the fire pinched out of me. But you are right when they are in season the are some of the best smallmouth bait there is. We use to use them on the New River all the time. Only problem was they could really latch on to any rock they came in contact with.
     
  11. flemflamman

    flemflamman New Member

    Messages:
    25
    State:
    va
    Ha!

    That is the same kinda luck I had with em... pinch and snag!!!!!

    Although they are awesome bait I just never got the hang of using em and did just as good on a minnow but now that Im the DAD im going to give em another go around.
     
  12. buddah

    buddah New Member

    Messages:
    1,622
    State:
    Pennsylvania Wi
    I really enjoy using helgramites but I'll tell you a secret... I switched to a real good artificial helgramite ,and as skeptical as I was, I don't think I missed a fish! (Susquehanna smallies)
    :big_smile:
     
  13. Brushy Bill Roberts

    Brushy Bill Roberts New Member

    Messages:
    128
    State:
    Spencer Indiana
    Can you post a link for that artifical helgramite you mentioned?
    Those things are like carmel popcorn to a smallmouth.
    Thanks,
    Brushy Bill
     
  14. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    We have a local guy that sells them in stores around here. i don't know the name but I'll try to find out. they work pretty well but not as good as the real thing because they don't have the scent. I've got several in my box.
     
  15. catfishkatmando

    catfishkatmando New Member

    Messages:
    494
    State:
    Salem, WV.
    Say Brushy Bill I have sen them in K-mart for sure and maybe wal world and there is a web site also
     
  16. kayakgeek

    kayakgeek New Member

    Messages:
    50
    State:
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Here is the link to Case Plastics.
    http://www.caseplastics.com/ProStaff.htm
    Great looking stuff. Just stocked up for an upcoming New river float with my daughter.
    She came to me a couple of weeks ago and said Dad, take me fishing and camping before I go off to college in the fall. I almost fell over. :big_smile:

    Someone told me to make sure you cut or clip off the small pinchers on the back end on those Hellgramites. Keeps them from grabbing the bottom and rocks and snagging your line.