Catfishing the Mighty James River

Ready to take some time off and catch some really big catfish?

I mean BIG – not those little five-pounders we’re used to. We’re talking about catching REAL catfish – thirty pounds or more of bewhiskered beasts, climbing all over each other to get at that irresistible smelly bait we’re going to cook up. This is sport-fishing. The Thrill,James River Capital the Challenge, the Chase and yes, – the Addiction. Are you up for it?

You know, when that catfishing hunger strikes, there’s just one place to go for the fix. We’re going to try catfishing the James River in the great state of Virginia. There’re lots of other places like Cape Fear River in North Carolina, the Tennessee River, the Big Muddy, not to mention all the lakes around there but when you’re looking for Catfish Heaven, it’s the James River. For proof, take a look at what’s been pulled out of there recently. Thirty pound channel catfish, sixty pound flatheads, and blue catfish weighing in at over seventy pounds. Somebody hauled a monster blue catfish out of the James which weighed over a hundred pounds and who’s to say that can’t be beat?

Biologists who know these things are saying that the James River catfish population is growing and a thirty to fifty pound catfish is becoming a lot easier to attract and catch.

And they’re there all year round. What are we waiting for?

We’re going to need some special fishing equipment to land those big bruisers because our regular fishing tackle is nowhere near tough enough for fishing the James River. And there are stores at the James which have the rods and all the right tackle we’re going to need. They have professional sport fishermen and guides there too, who’ll show us the best places to find our sport catfish – the big blue. These cats like to lurk in deep water as well as shallow and finding them depends on when we go because the season makes a difference.

Up till now, we’ve been satisfied to fish for catfish locally but fishing the James River is going to be a lot different from our local streams and rivers. We should plan on getting there ahead of time because we might want to go to one of those catfishing schools they have there and get some tips and hints about the best bait and other gear to use.

We’ll need a boat to help land our trophy blue. The best way might be to hire one of the James River guides who have spent their lives on the James. It would save us a lot of time and trouble because they know the river along its full length right down to where it enters the Chesapeake Bay. They’ll know the local lakes and ponds as well and because catfishing the James River will be a new experience, it seems that having a guide with us would be the smart thing to do. Even guides from other areas hook up with the James River guides because it’s a tidal river and you have to keep an eye on the winds, the shallows – and river traffic.

These guides take groups of catfish anglers out on the river all year round and they’ll know the best catfishing spots for “catch and release.” And because they’re the experts, they’ll be able to help us with the best ways to use our new fishing gear.

And when we snag that record-setting hundred and ten pound blue catfish, we’re going to need all the help we can get to land him.

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