May on the tidal James River can be as productive as it gets for multiple species including striper, blue and flathead catfish, hickory and American shad, white perch, largemouth bass, the list goes on. Water temperatures should be getting close to the spawning range for catfish so the bite will be fast and furious until the river is consistently above 74 degrees. Like a switch the bite will die and the spawn will be on. Trophy class rockfish will be scattered throughout the river. Anglers will want to use white bucktails and a grub trailer casting around rocks and jetties.
Bass fishing on the tidal James River has been outstanding this spring according to James RiverTackle Co. owner Donnie Bell. Bass will still be in little cuts where they can get out of current and spawn. ln the turns in the creeks. Chippokes and Wards Creeks are particularly good. Bell notes by the end of the month you’ll want to switch over to buzzbaits, small crankbaits. and creature baits for post spawn bass. He is now stocking more bass tackle than ever at his Hopewell shop, just blocks from· the boat ramp at Hopewell Marina.
Over on nearby Lake Chesdin, W2 Pro Staffer Red Fisher says the lake reached 60 degrees early last month and the shad moved into the creeks. A nice pre-spawn feed began with bass, striper and saugeye all feeding on gizzard shad. For May, Fisher says most bass will be post spawn and guarding fry around boat docks and shallow vegetation. Anglers can target them with wacky-rigged worms and soft plastic jerkbaits. By the end of the month there should be a strong morning buzzbait and frog bite developing in creeks like Namozine, Cattle and Whipponock. Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and crankbaits are good during the day on Chesdin.
The James RiverTackle Co. Sunday Series tournaments kicked off March 25 and 34 teams fished. Nathan and Anthony P. won with a 16.88-pound limit anchored by a 6.25-pound lunker. Marshall S. and ChristopherW. were second with 16.61 pounds. The teams will next fish May 20 and then June 10. All events launch from Hopewell Marina. Let’s not forget the annual shad run up the James continues this month.
source: Woods & Waters mag