Having fished the Reservoirs in GA for several years, I am use to throwing the cast net and using shad. Since my company relocated me here (Richmond) a few months ago, I have fished Anna and Chesdin (successful at both) but the James River hold's new challenges. My fist attempt this Saturday was disastrous to say the least. I was relegated to using eels since I couldn't locate bait. I am still having nightmares about those creatures...
Are the threadfin and/or gizzards holding in the same places one would think? (small feeder creeks etc). Where would I throw to catch Menhaden?Any help to a novice (but determined) James River striper fisherman would be appreciated. I really want to throw the cast net and use bait that won't give me bad dreams?
The latest article of field and stream has a good article on the james river. Its not about stripers though. Blue cats similar to stripers in size if not bigger. It does mention gizzard shad in feeder creeks.
I hated using eels as well. I then started to put them on ice for 1 to 2 hours be for I went fishing and it calms them down a bit. I also found that using the slider for the weight is a tangle in the making. The most important things when fishing with eels is to keep all the slack out of your line for this is when they seem to tie the most knots. I hook them through the bottom lip and out an eye and always leave them on the hook and put them back in the cooler with ice let your leader hang out of the lid. As for as other bait in the rivers are concern Bloodworms, Shedder Crab(good luck finding this time of year) Bunker, Grass Shrimp will work. I will use a homemade perch rig with 2/0 hooks top and bottom with beads to fish all but the bunker chunks while I throw an eel on a 5/0 to 6/0 hook. The main problem with fish anything other than eels in the river is you catch a ton of eels and junk fish in the meantime and the eels you catch will give a lot more nightmares than the eels they give you for bait lol.