Fishing on the Upper stretches of the James is beginning to come alive. Keep in mind it is still very early in the year and bass are still holding tight in their wintering holes. However, this short warm snap has certainly increased the bite noticeably. Continue using winter fishing tactics with jig n pigs and weighted tube baits. This time of year I personally find the greatest success on smaller tubes and smaller jigs. If the river levels are up, as many of them are right now, focus on the structure along the banks near deep holes. They key is protected areas in deep water, though with the high water, protection trumps depth. A slow rolled spinner bait is sometimes your best option for the higher waters. Some of the biggest fish I have caught were lying behind a big rock on the river bank and crushed my spinner bait the second it hit their hole.
The musky fishing on the Upper James is an entirely different story. This time of year we are getting into the height of the bite. When recent water levels subside, we will be looking at some of the best conditions of the year to be chasing these toothy beasts. Though the conditions will be solid, keep in mind musky fishing is only for the persistent angler. It is more hunt than it is fishing. Patience and persistence combined with the right conditions and knowing where these monsters lurk add up for a near guarantee to encounter one of these beautiful creatures. Fish wooded structure along deep banks and large chunk rock in deep holes. As rain waters muddy the tributaries, fish the mouths of creeks along the clouded water dumping into the main stem. Often times musky will use this clouded flow to ambush an unsuspecting bait fish in the clear water.
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