Going Fishin'

Going Fishin'
Red Sunset

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Place Out of Time

Marilyn and I pointed our Explorer south on I-79 recently to visit Britt and Leigh Stoudenmire in Pembroke, Virginia.  Britt and Leigh operate the New River Outdoor Company (www.newriveroutdoorco.com), offering canoe and kayak rentals, guided fishing trips and secluded cabin rentals.  I had first fished smallmouth with Britt in April 2010.  This time, Britt wanted to demonstrate the post-spawn bite on the New River and James River.

The New River is anything but new.  Britt explains that geologically, the New is the oldest continuous flowing river in the US, carving an unusual south-to-north path through the Appalachians from east side of the mountains to west side.  It's smooth stretches are interrupted with substantial solid rock rifts extending the width of the river creating foaming white water.  Jet boats run small sections, but inflatable self-draining rafts are required for long distance float trips.

Day One on the New started off with Marilyn catching a smallmouth on her first cast.  Bass in the 8 to 13-inch range came almost at will.  But boasting-size bass seemed to be holding back - except for Marilyn's magic bait.  Fishing a 3" black tube that had been tied on her river smallmouth rod since an outing in March, she caught not only smaller fish but all the respectable bass over 17 inches...until thunder ringing across the valley forced us to make for the take-out point with haste.

On Day Two, Britt and I took a page from Marilyn's playbook, with each of us tying on a black tube.  It was the right choice for me as I rallied somewhat from Day One using a new Get Bit Stream Tube on a 1/8-ounce head.  Britt switched often, between a tube, soft jerkbait and hard jerkbait.  Marilyn continued her run on large smallmouth with the same black tube which somehow she had not lost to snags the previous day, claiming it was the 6-pound Gamma Edge that saved her bait time and time again.
 Right after lunch, a major approaching storm front kicked bass into a feeding frenzy.  It was all I could do to keep up with the camera while Marilyn and Britt caught doubles.  Britt even caught two bass on one lure at the same time!  Bigger bass began chowing, too , with Britt and I finally each scoring smallmouth in the 19 inch range.  But we didn't want to leave the hot bite and paid the price with a good soaking before we reached the take out.

Next installment: The James River