Lower James River fishable for an out of state newbie?

Discussion in 'VIRGINIA RIVERS TALK' started by jconna, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. jconna

    jconna New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    PA
    Hello.....I've been going back and forth between trying the Lower James, or the Santee in SC. I still have no idea what I'm doing yet.....Just looking for a good 4 day weekend with a good chance of getting into some fish. Completely catch and release, I just don't want to go through all the planning and go somewhere to get skunked for 3 days straight. Is the James fishable for someone unfamiliar with the area or river? Is it fishable from a 14' Jon with a 9.9 or am I going to get sunk? I am hopeful to make the trip around the May/June timeframe but I'm very flexible there too if there are other suggestions? Sorry if that's alot of questions....I'm just trying to gather some initial information so I can at least try and narrow down the river that I want to hit. Thanks

    Jeff
     
  2. JPritch

    JPritch New Member

    Messages:
    1,852
    State:
    Lynchburg, VA
    The James is a hot river, and definitely fishable for somebody not familiar with it, provided you know what to look for. However, I personally wouldn't feel too comfortable with a 14' Jon and 9.9 on the back in that river. There are certain spots you may be able to fish, but you would be missing out on alot of fishable water due to the small boat. Between wind and wake, it would be a rough ride at times and potentially dangerous.

    And your timeframe of May/June, you would be arriving at the slowest time of the year due to the spawn. The bite slows down alot.

    I know it's costly, but perhaps you could get a guide and I guarantee you'll get on some fish.
     

  3. jconna

    jconna New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    PA
    Thanks Jpritch......I appreciate the info. Sounds like hauling my Jon down is out of the question on that river......That's OK and why I asked though.....I want to have fun (and be able to go to where the fish are), not worrying about drowning.

    The guide sounds like a pretty good idea actually, but I think I would only be interested in that for the first day....After that...I'd probably look to rent a boat for the remaining days. (If possible) I'm sure that first day with a guide would be a tremendous learning experince also. Probably well worth the money.

    OK....So if not May and June.....Any suggestions? Earlier, later? Excellent months? And again....Thanks!
     
  4. justlearning

    justlearning New Member

    Messages:
    202
    State:
    VA
    It's hard to beat Nov and Dec in IMHO....go back and pull up the reports under Virgina Rivers Talk and compare them.....Good Luck!!

    Jerry

     
  5. reddcat

    reddcat New Member

    Messages:
    86
    State:
    Virginia
    Huge fish can be caught year round on the James but you have a better chance of sucess from nov. thru april.
    The river is fishable from a 14' johnboat but you have to be more careful where you fish.
    Almost all my big fish were caught within 5 miles of the landing and if you are out and the wind gets up you may not get to fish where you want to.
    Contact me on cell and ill try to give you a better idea on the when and where. bruce 804-627-2493 cell
     
  6. ITSBIGT

    ITSBIGT New Member

    Messages:
    28
    State:
    VA
    Launch from deep bottom or osbourne and stay ayway from jordan point because it can get rough there real fast..I have a Lowe 1440 with 9.9 I used before I got my new boat and it did fine just a little slow...just keep that life jacket on
     
  7. blacksheep

    blacksheep New Member

    Messages:
    175
    State:
    NC
    I agree with Thomas, stay away from Jordans Point. (big water, can get rough) Osbourne Landing is a good starting point for a newbee with bait. (A marina there.) BAIT is the key here. Fresh cut shad is what you need. Most people get it with a gill net or a cast net. Deep bottom launch area is the most common place to get bait. Fish the banks at structure and keep moving. Use big tackle. Good Luck....
     
  8. muzkrat

    muzkrat New Member

    Messages:
    399
    State:
    va.
    In my opinion the Santee is highly overated. They have fished the Santee hard over the years and the guides down there do not like to CPR. You still hear about a big hawg from time to time but not as often as in the good old days. you could try the chic. you would be fine there in a 14 ft boat or you can rent boats at the campground. i am still a newbie on the james so can not advise you there but these others have given good advise to heed. not a place to take lightly. have fun and be safe.
     
  9. jconna

    jconna New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    PA
    Thanks everyone!! Looks like I'm going to move my plans up a little bit. It sounds like I'll have better luck March or April so that's my new timeframe. I also think that I might just look at renting a boat for the remainder of the days after my guide. I want to be able to fish good water and not be limited by my boat. So questions:

    1) I think I've decided to go with a guide for my first day
    2) Will renting a boat open up my opportunities considerably?
    3) Any suggestion on where to rent a boat?
    4) Suggestions on cabin rentals / campsites, etc
    5) Can I buy bait or will I need to catch it? Casting nets are illegal up here so I've never used one before. Hate to waste half my time trying to figure that out.

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm excited for the trip though, and it looks like things have moved up a little bit giving me less time. I need to get all of these things figured out and reserved if I'm going to make this happen. Thanks in advance....Jeff
     
  10. kmcalester

    kmcalester New Member

    Messages:
    1,340
    State:
    Kansas City
    With my other half being from The Gum Springs area I hope to try the James myself, and might even get down to NC since I have family there.
     
  11. justlearning

    justlearning New Member

    Messages:
    202
    State:
    VA
    March or April so that's my new timeframe. I also think that I might just look at renting a boat for the remainder of the days after my guide. I want to be able to fish good water and not be limited by my boat. So questions:

    1) I think I've decided to go with a guide for my first day
    Jeff if you use a guide don't wait to long to setup a date....Spring is a busy time.....I like Hugh Self

    2) Will renting a boat open up my opportunities considerably?
    I hope someone makes a response on renting a boat....have not heard of of any boat rentals.
    3) Any suggestion on where to rent a boat?
    ?????????????

    4) Suggestions on cabin rentals / campsites, etc
    I had the idea I wanted to rent a cabin on the James....but did not run across any on the net....hope someone responds. On my website a few of the hotels for Chester and Hopewell are listed......I have heard of efficiencies but have not heard any reports on them

    INTOWN SUITES PERDUE SPRINGS
    2601 PERDUE SPRINGS DR
    CHESTER, VA

    23831-2125
    Phone: 804-706-9320
    URL: www.intownsuites.com

    Homewood Suites by Hilton Richmond-Chester

    12810 Old Stage Road
    Chester, Virginia
    United States 23836
    http://www.findlocalhotels.com/hotel/11279357/homewood_suites_by_hilton_richmond-chester.html

    5) Can I buy bait or will I need to catch it? Casting nets are illegal up here so I've never used one before. Hate to waste half my time trying to figure that out.
    A gill net would be the way to go...it's hard to beat fresh bait....I've heard Jordan Point Marina sells frozen shad and also FISH TALES BAIT & TACKLE in Hopewell.


    Jerry
     
  12. JPritch

    JPritch New Member

    Messages:
    1,852
    State:
    Lynchburg, VA
    If you go with a guide day one, ask if you can catch extra shad for the rest of your trip. Or you can find out who will be on the river and meet up with that person and I'm sure they will be glad to share. There is also a guy by the name of Neil Renouf, he runs a shop, and if you give him a call a day or two in advance, he can catch fresh shad for you and have it waiting at his store.

    I couldn't find a boat rental outfit on the James anywhere. I looked long and hard before I bought my boat.
     
  13. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    I found a place that rents pontoons on the Chickahominy, but nothing else yet.

    Here is a link and I have no idea how far it is from Hopewell and Deep Bottom.

    http://www.riversrest.com/find.htm
     
  14. justlearning

    justlearning New Member

    Messages:
    202
    State:
    VA
    Thanks Shawn...I've stayed there several times....in fact week before last was my last stay....but didn't have any idea they rented toons.......I wanted to carry my daughter and grandkids & of course her husband....to the James but didn't feel my boat was larger enough with the kids.....

    The times I stayed there it was nice.....in prime season.... it' s hard to get a room there unless you make reservations several months in advance....

    Jerry

     
  15. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    How far is it from Hopewell and Chester. Will my 20 footer do it? I heard you talking about 5 footers and that's a tad rough for me.
     
  16. justlearning

    justlearning New Member

    Messages:
    202
    State:
    VA
    Shawn..5 foot swells with the wind 17-20 MPH ..maybe more if it's a west wind against the tide....but if the wind is not over 8-10 not to bad....it's big water from Hopewell down....a 20 ' should be fine if you have any width....

    Now if you wanted to stay at the River's Rest you might just want to trailer the boat there..... it's some where around 10-12 miles from Deep Bottom to Jordan Point....from Jordan Point to the mouth of the Chick by water...around 25-28 miles ....then another 10 - 12 miles up the Chick to the River's Rest.

    Straight down 5 about 35 miles....you have to make a left hand turn at Wilcox Neck Rd.....it's 4 a way intresection..but easy to miss the turn...an old store on the left hand corner....after the turn just watch for the Marina and Blue Heron Signs..... If you get to the Chick..before making the turn ..gone to far.......

    Jerry

     
  17. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    Little too far for me as I suspected. Any places like THAT close to Dutch Gap Landing?
     
  18. jconna

    jconna New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    PA
    Thanks again for all the contrubutions from everyone. It looks like a good ways to get anywhere from the marina at Chickahominy. Last question and then I need to do some serious thinking I guess? It doesn't sound like the James is going to work out for me very well without a good boat and I doubt I'll talk my uncle into my hauling his pontoon down. I know that I'm not going to get into the big cats I may on the James, but any idea what the fishing is like on the Chickahominy? General area I'd rent the boat. That really sucks that there isn't somewhere closer to the good fishing. Sounds like a business opportunity to me ;)
     
  19. JPritch

    JPritch New Member

    Messages:
    1,852
    State:
    Lynchburg, VA
    On the VDGIF website, I count 26 citation blues from the Chick in 2006, compared to over 700 on the James. It's for the most part bass and crappie water with alot of eating size cats.

    Give a definite date on when you're coming down and I'm sure you could hook up with somebody on the site.
     
  20. cataholic999

    cataholic999 New Member

    Messages:
    25
    State:
    virginia
    It sounds like Deep bottom is the place for you. Lots of bait and smaller water. The area id more protected from the wind. There's no need to go down river below hopewell. There are all the big cats you want between hopewell and the 95 bridge. I jus caught a 70 the other day in that area.