Nothing like striper fishing on the James in July!
Dave Vladimirou, friend of the program and topwater angler extraordinaire, sent me this picture on Sunday night. It’s the smaller of two schoolie stripers he caught in downtown Richmond as the sun went down. Valdimirou was actually out after smallmouth bass. He parked at Diversity Park on the south side of the Mayo Bridge and walked upstream along the Floodwall to the train bridge. He rigged up a wacky worm on some six-pound test and “cast across to a little pocket where I thought a smallmouth would be waiting.” Nothing bit in that fishy-looking pool, so he began reeling the worm in quickly, dragging it across the surface.
That’s when the first striper hit. “It was awesome,” he said, though he wasn’t quite able to bring it in.
Valdimirou quickly switched to “the biggest topwater lure I had” — a skitter pop. On his first cast, a striper broke the line. He soon landed a 5-pounder and then the smaller fish (pictured). He also hauled in a nice largemouth before calling it a night.
Valdimirou said he’d heard that some schoolie-sized stripers will stay in the area until the fall before returning to the Bay, but catching them on the topwater in the middle of July is still a rare occurrence.