UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Crocker Takes James River Lead

Michael Crocker stepped to the front of the boat and fished his way to the front of the pro field in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division opener on the James River. Crocker won this event’s co-angler division in 2014 and now the Pasadena, Md., pro has positioned himself well at the other end of the boat with a limit catch of 16 pounds, 10 ounces.

The morning delivered an early round of action, albeit short-lived.

“I got a couple of bites and then it just died on me,” Crocker recalls. “Then, about halfway through the day, I made a change and nailed two really fast. I made another move and nailed another one really quick and that’s all I caught. I caught five fish today.”

Equipped with several years of local knowledge, Crocker doesn’t lack spots to check. Good thing he had options, as he found the James River conditions pretty challenging. 

For one thing, recent rains had swollen the river, but this week’s full moon also brought the flush tides that push the water deep into the shoreline cover on incoming cycles. 

Compounding these factors, the weather system that dumped heavy rains Wednesday and Thursday cooled the water temperature. This, Crocker says, had an adverse effect on the fish.

“The water temperature started at 82 yesterday [Wednesday] and where I was it was down to about 76 today. That makes a difference,” he notes. “They went a little deeper. These are Florida-strain bass and they don’t like that cold water. So I fished a little deeper while everybody else was going shallow.”

Crocker says he started off with slower, targeted presentations and sped up with moving baits throughout the day.

“That seemed to be the key — moving baits and covering water,” he adds.

Although he keeps his bait details under wraps for now, Crocker notes there was a key detail about his most successful presentation: 

“I was using a non-reaction bait in a reaction style and getting the reaction bite that way,” he says. “Same lure; I just sped it up.”

In tidal fisheries like the James, anglers often “run the tide,” or “chase the tide” by moving up or down the fishery to stay with a productive stage. Thursday, however, the east wind blew the tide in and didn’t allow it to go out.

“The tide threw me off today, because it never really went out,” Crocker explains. “That held me off of some of my spots for a while, but when I went into my low-tide spots, I caught them there and it still worked out in the end.”

Part of the field fished the James River, while others made the hour-plus run to the Chickahominy River — a major tributary known for quantity and quality. Crocker combined the two for his leading performance.

“I made the run (to the Chick) to begin with and then I worked my way back to the ramp,” he says. “We had to run a lot of spots and burn a lot of gas today.”

 

Kicker puts Williams atop co-angler division

With a limit that would have pleased 90 of the 95 pros, David Williams, of Fredericksburg, Va., leads the co-anglers with 14-08. Anchoring that effort was the day’s biggest bass in either division – a 6-15.

“My pro treated me well and I got to throw a frog, so I couldn’t ask for anything else,” Williams says. “There wasn’t anything special, just chucking and winding.”

Fishing the Chickahominy, Williams caught his fish by casting to pads and other shallow cover. He caught seven keepers in the opening round, with his big fish biting at about 11 a.m.

Tags: flw-series  james-river  michael-crocker  david-a-brown  headline-story  2015-06-04-james-river 

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