James River Patterns

Discussion in 'VIRGINIA RIVERS TALK' started by tank3544, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. tank3544

    tank3544 New Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    i've been working on a pattern all night to figure out what's going on .. the warmer winter definatly has them off a winter pattern

    i'm basing it off of day and night time temps right now .. here's what i have so far for december and january this year
    quick note: by saying night before i mean the night of the fishing trip

    for good fishing the day must have a catch of 6 or more
    for decent fishing the day must have catches between 2 and 5
    for bad fishing the day must have catches of one or none

    there were 8 really good days
    there were 8 decent days
    and there were 6 bad days

    for the most part there was not much of a connection between the previous day or weeks highs to any of them .. all the temperatures swung widely about from the 30s to the 60s, most in the 50 and 60 degree range

    however there were some stunning connections
    on 7 of the 8 good days the temperature was in the 40's
    on 6 of the 8 good days the previous night low was lower than the one before
    1 good day was in the 30's

    on 7 of the 8 decent days the temperatures were in the 60's
    on 7 of the 8 decent days the previous night highs were higher than the previous night by 5 degrees or more, most being around 10
    1 decent day was in the 50's

    on 4 of the 6 bad days the temperatures were in the 50's
    on all 4 of those nights the previous nights temperatures were warmer than the one before but very close within 7 degrees on all counts
    the other 2 nights the temperatures were drastically colder by 10 degrees or more
    2 bad days were in the 60's
    1 bad day was in the 30's (but by rights was fished by one person half a day)

    so from the data so far:
    a day in the 40's with the previous night being colder within 8 degrees or less the fishing was good
    a day in the 60's seems to be an ok day regardless of night time temps as they swung wildly from 18 degrees colder to 17 degrees warmer
    a day in the 50's seems to be a bad thing .. night time temperatures didn't seem to matter here either

    on the good days in the 40s the daytime temps dropped from the previous day as much as 18 degrees .. most however the day before was in the upper 40's

    most surprising to me was the bad days seem to come on stretches of stable weather within 5 degrees of the previous day

    the decent days don't have much of a pattern .. some were the same as the day before some were drastically higher, some slightly lower

    conclusion? next 40 degree day with a forcasted nighttime temp a little lower than the previous i'm goin fishin! and i need more data haha

    a little addition .. i forgot i was looking at data the 7 days prior the fishing day also

    good days seemed to be associated with a cooling trend

    during a cooling trend a warmer day seems to be decent to poor yet the next cool day seems to be decent to good if it drops back cool again

    poor days seemed to happen when the previous 5 days vary in different directions such as 58 53 56 52 60

    after further analysis of only my data on catches in december and january

    all fish were caught in light or moderate current and a few in pockets off to the side in a no current or eddy area .. ZERO fish were caught in high current areas

    areas that do see high currents only gave up fish when the current speed was only moderate to light, mostly light .. ZERO fish caught at slack tide

    all large fish (40 pounds plus) were caught in at least 22ft of water .. most were caught in areas appoximatly 35ft .. ZERO fish caught below 38ft

    small fish (20 pounds under) were mostly caught near shoreline or in shallower areas approximatly 16ft .. ZERO small fish caught deeper than 25ft

    the shallowest large fish was caught in 12ft of water with a 28ft hole in the proximity .. obviously cruising for food .. this was the ONLY large fish caught below 22ft altho the average depth of large fish was 32ft

    pattern established:
    areas to be fished should be ledges, wing dams, humps, and drops
    wing dams should be between 20 and 35ft at the tip with the ones around 30ft being best
    ledges should have a mid depth flat of between 12 and 18ft on one side with a SHARP drop into 28-35ft of water on the other
    humps should have a surrounding depth of between 25 and 35ft with the hump topping out between 12 and 26ft
    drops were by far the least productive but produced the biggest fish .. drops should start at approx 18 to 30ft bottoming out between 25 and 38ft .. it didn't seem to matter if it was a slow steady or sharp drop

    aside from the pattern one large fish was picked up cruising the middle of a long hole and several fish were picked up using a spring time pattern fishing the shallow sides of inside bends, shallow or mid depth flats, and creeks

    deeper wintering holes have produced very few fish, however areas close in shallow to mid depth areas are producing quite often

    these areas should be fished in a light or moderate current situation .. if these areas are in an area that sees high current it seems best to come back when the tide is at a slower speed

    also the higher the current speed the tighter the fish were caught to structure .. in light current situations fish were caught cruising near wintering holes and above mentioned structures .. the baits on and next to structure caught less fish than rods positioned outside of a 20foot circle around said structure

    most of patterning depends more on barometric pressure and cloud cover than daily temperatures but there is a pattern there .. if i can locate a climatology site that will let me access daily barometric pressure readings without charging me i'll have more data up
  2. jim

    jim New Member

    Jacksonville NC
    Tank,thanks for all the hard work.You earn my pitiful rep points.Try www.weatherunderground.com its a very good site and has lots of data available.It seems the cold days following a cold night are the best.Probably because it concentrates the bait into THEIR wintertime pattern.Warming trends I would think disperse them somewhat.In any case what a great fishery.For all the years I have fished at Santee,I still get this huge feeling of anticipation every time I cast a line into the James.I'll say it again for anybody;The James is the best chance at a 50+ anywhere and on a good day multiple 50s.Thanks again

  3. John Rogers

    John Rogers New Member

    Keep up the good work. If nothing else your data collection and finds a interesting to read.
  4. tank3544

    tank3544 New Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    ok when looking at the barometric pressure i only viewed the days i fished in december and january since i know what time things were caught .. simplifies things

    the shocker? the presure seemed to have ZERO to do with anything

    good days: 1 rising pressure 1 falling pressure .. both days had an average between 29.5-30.0 for the day with the night before on both being approx. 29.9

    decent days: 2 rising pressure 1 falling pressure
    1 had a low pressure of 29.3 and had medium pressure over night of 30.03
    1 had a medium pressure at 29.8 and had low pressure over night of 29.3
    1 had a high pressure of 30.2 and had high pressure over night of 30.2

    bad days: 1 rising pressure 1 falling pressure
    one had an average of 29.8 with a low pressure over night of 29.5
    one had an average of 30.2 with high pressure over night at 30.4

    the trends showed rising, falling, and stable pressure yet there was no connection to good, decent, or bad fishing days

    with all the emphasis put on barometric pressure in fishing i can only assume that either
    a: i don't have enough data
    b: the pressure in my river does not affect the bite as much as temperature

    high pressure days had one good day, one bad day, and one decent day
    low pressure days had one decent day and one bad day
    medium pressure days had one good day and one decent day

    clearly from that there is no pattern, no connection

    when looking at data several days in advance all swung up and down but again there was no connection to anything .. it didn't matter if it was rising 2 days before or falling .. it didn't matter if 5 days before it was rising .. no connection

    i have to reiterate i'm puzzled .. either i don't have enough data or pressure simply dosen't play a key role

    next up: moon phases
  5. tank3544

    tank3544 New Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    okey dokey .. moon phases

    first of all waxing is when it grows from new moon to full moon
    waning is when it shrinks from full moon to new moon

    on the 2 good days
    one had the moon waxing at 35%
    one had the moon waning at 28%

    on the 3 decent days
    one had the moon waning at 21%
    one had the moon waxing at 62%
    one had a full moon

    on the 2 poor days
    one was waning at 1%
    one was waning at 6%

    pattern established
    whether waxing or waning if the phase is around 1/4 complete fishing is good or decent
    full moon didn't make fishing poor as is published everywhere
    if the moon is nearing the new moon phase within 10% fishing seems to be poor

    not enough data really to establish a rock solid pattern but there is one there nonetheless .. in order for a true pattern to emerge i would need to have a report once a week at different moon phases

    conclusion: while the moon phases do seem to have a pattern i would guess they have less to do with it than true weather conditions .. although they do have a more defined pattern than barometric pressure but much less so than temperature

    next up wind: probably won't hit it today my eyes are bugging out
  6. jim

    jim New Member

    Jacksonville NC
    Tank not sure the correlation of the BP to good and bad days can be made.Previous experience and reading would indicate steady pressure usually means so so fishing with the best action coming on a changing situation.One thing that may factor into the situation is that the James is a relatively deep river and perhaps BP doesn't affect the fish when they are concentrated in their deep holding pattern in the winter.Like all studies you will need at least a full year of data to see the shifts if any.Catfish may not be as succeptible to BP as Bass etc.The main thing is that you are gathering the data and attempting to draw conclusions from it.
  7. Catmandu

    Catmandu New Member

    great job of gathering all the info Tank wish i could be out there fishing seeing as how weve had great weather the past week or so i think next year i'll start to keep a journal and see if your info matches i'm currently laid up for another month w/elbow surgery i fish the lower james and chick and do quite well thanks for the reading material while i'm on the mend "tight lines" / steve
  8. tank3544

    tank3544 New Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    heal up quick steve!

    i expect a big turnon here soon!
  9. Paraguayguy

    Paraguayguy Active Member

    Remembering back to Grad school and my Statistics or was that Sadistics class, you need a minimum population, "fishing trips" of 32 to make a reasonable conclusion "90% accurate plus or minus 10%". In a nut shell, Tank, you are correct in that you don't have enough data yet. As a true believer in math and numbers I feel you owe it to yourself and all of us that live vicariously through your posts, You have to take more fishing trips!!!!!. Then tell us about them.;)
  10. tank3544

    tank3544 New Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    is there a reason behind needing 32?

    my wife is gonna kill you!
  11. Paraguayguy

    Paraguayguy Active Member

    Random sampling which is exactly what we have here. You fish when you can not picking only "pretty days". As you said, some warm, some cold, different moons, and ect.

    Statistics work this way. The bigger the sample data, the more accurate the results. Well Duhhhhh!

    Lets look at the Harris polls during a Presidential election. They call randomly and ask 2,000 Virginia voters out of a pool of 1,000,000 voters who they intend to vote for and come up with candidate X will get 52% and Y will get 48%. This results in an accurate guesstimate with a margin of error at lets say 1%. Interviewing more than 500,000 and the result would still be around 52% X and 48% Y. This guesstimate has a .085% margin of error, not a lot of difference so it is a waste of energy, money, and whatever other resource to interview more than the 2,000. Going down with less and less data, logically the margin of error increases. At a data sample population of 32 the margin for error grows to 10% which is just plain to big to come up with a reasonable guesstimate.

    Anything below a data sample of 32 is regarded by Statistics junkies as unreliable. I didn't make the rule but do remember it from 1982 when I took the course and I believe in it wholeheartedly.
    This means there is no escape for you and you must complete the quest for knowledge and share with all of us. :)
  12. tank3544

    tank3544 New Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    ok so 32 is the minimum reliable sampling

    in any case my barometric pressure and moon comparisons are much less reliable since i removed about a half a dozen reports .. they worked ok for temperature but i needed time of day for the others and i can only remember time of day catches if they are in my boat or were reported caught at such and such a time

    i'll have a good half a dozen days at least by the end of winter fishing to help fill the gap .. there's no way i'll get there with just this year's data however

    i may be able to pull data from last year to help .. i'll check that out
  13. tank3544

    tank3544 New Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    continuing with the moon theme for now

    on the 2 good days the moon rose at approx. noon .. it was neither directly overhead or underfoot during fishing completely contradicting all that is said about the moon being at 90 degree angles to you

    of the 3 decent days
    2 days the moon rose at approx 11AM .. again neither had the moon directly overhead or underfoot
    1 day the moon was directly underfoot around noon .. all fish were caught several hours earlier

    on the 2 poor days the moon was directly overhead during fishing
    one day it happened at noon the other at 1pm

    from what i've been reading that directly 100% contradicts everything .. everything i've read says fishing is best with the moon either directly overhead or underfoot at a 90 degree angle .. its at that point for around 45 minutes to an hour .. not so according to the data .. fishing seems to be best when the moon rises between 11 and noon and worst when the moon is at "the best" angle

    onto wind

    2 good days
    one wind from the north 7mph gusting to 18
    one wind from the south 7mph gusting to 18

    3 decent days
    one wind from the southwest 11mph gusting to 24
    one wind from the north 15mph gusting to 41
    one wind from the southwest 10mph gusting to 20

    2 bad days
    one wind from the north 5mph gusting to 18
    one wind from the southwest 8mph gusting to 15

    we all know the saying
    wind from the west fish bite the best - good fishing
    wind from the east fish bite the least - horrible fishing
    wind from the north fisherman do NOT go forth - horrible fishing
    wind from the south blows it in their mouth - good fishing

    wrong again .. altho i must say wind from the east is REALLY bad although i don't have any of those days in my data .. the wind speed on the 2 good days was quite striking although i'm not sure how that could possibly affect the fish espeically with the wind coming from opposite directions .. really no pattern here and the saying dosen't hold up .. no pattern on the wind .. more data needed
  14. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Edwards Missouri
    Tank I had one of my best touneys ever one year with a 15mph wind out of the NE. We caught fish after fish drifting with the wind as it pushed us against the wind blown channel edge and up into a creek mouth. If the wind is blowing at least here on LOZ they are usually biting.