James River Tackle Co. owner Donnie Bell notes the tidal James River was receiving very little fishing pressure as very few tournaments were held in January orforthat matter, this month. He said it’s a good time to go get yourself a mailbox-sized bass. The river is stained and water temperature was around 40-43 degrees at the late-January W2 deadline. Bell told W2 that as long as the water stays relatively clear anglers can expect to catch tidal James bass on jerkbaits, pig-n-jig and shaky head. Expect water temperatures to creep into the high 40’s at some point later in the month.
Bell suggests fishing the barge and gravel I pits, creek mouths and warm water outlets if you visit this month. He says he really doesn’t go past Hopewell from Osborne, and that you can do pretty well around Dutch Gap. Crappie fishing on the tidal James is very good now. You can still catch them in the Barge Pit up near the power plant~ right up on the sunken boats and barges using jigs and minnows. LakeChesdin was a little high but not too cold by mid-January.The water temperature was 43-44 degrees.
Bass are in the mid and down lake region this month as they follow schools of gizzard shad. A three-inch Keitech swimbait is the bait to use when you find these fish. Try some flutter spooning and blade baits in 18-22′ of water where schools of bass, striper, crappie and perch are feeding on bait and often revealed by sea gulls. Bell notes fishing in the Appomattox switcvh over to lithium River can be pretty good in late February as many bass overwinter in it, off the James River. One of his favorite tactics is pitching a creature bait to wood on deep banks on a warm afternoon. Google Earth the Appomattox all the way up to Colonial Heights and note some good fishing areas to try this month. Check with Bell on launch ramps and current river conditions.
– source: Woods & Waters mag –