Virginia Bass Anglers

Angler Profile: Chris Peaden

Virginia's Chris Peaden
Virginia’s Chris Peaden

Today’s Angler Profile is with Chris Peaden. Chris is a Virginia kayak angler who sure know how to catch ’em. In the interview, we talk all things fishing with Chris.

How did you go about picking your user name of VA Basshole for your IG and your YouTube page?

My IG name just kind of happened really. I think it started when I sent a picture of a nice bass, that I’d just caught, to a buddy. I was kind of rubbing it in that I was out fishin’ and he wasn’t. He texted back and called me a basshole instead of the other.

I thought it was funny and that kinda stuck. A few months later, when I decided to create my IG page, basshole popped in my head. It makes me chuckle like a 12 year old every time I say it out loud, so I used it.

I grew up in Milton, Florida and that’s where I call “home”, but I’ve been a resident of Virginia since 1999. I added VA to Basshole, to narrow down what area I’m fishin’ from. Cali, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia…..those guys/gals are catchin’ big fish, but folks should know that we’re catchin’ nice fish here in VA too.

What do you consider your 3 favorite fishing memories?

#1 – Fishing on the backside of one of my favorite lakes. Pulled up in a little cove behind an island. There’s a big log that crosses the end of the cove. It floats, but too big to move. I’m using that log to brace my kayak while I fish some of the brushy overhang along the shoreline. Sure enough I make this stupid cast about 15 yds into a blown down tree and sure enough that dang bass was right there waiting. 20 pound braid all tangled in the trees and I start pulling.

The branches were weak and most of them broke off. Somehow the hook was set and I start working this fish out of the cover. It’s a tangled mess of rotten branches below the surface and the fish is trying to dig in. I manage to get it out away from the shoreline and have only one obstacle left. It’s a Y shaped branch coming out of the water about 14 inches, facing away from me and my line is running right down the middle of it.

The fish was pulling hard keeping tension on the line so I couldn’t flip it over to unsnag it. I try to bring the fish through the Y, but no luck. She’s too big. I just keep tension on the line and try to figure out how to get my kayak over that log so I can get to that fish. I tried for 20 minutes, while the fish is over there resting and storing up energy to attempt an escape. Meanwhile I’m sweating to death, trying to do everything one handed and both arms are on fire! My adrenaline rush was gone and now I’m just pissed.

I finally work and get over the very end of the log, and I’m there! This beautiful bass, 5 feet away….just gotta reach….I’m right there…..she starts thrashing around…a big splash and boom! She was gone!! I had a nuclear meltdown. Broke a perfectly good rod and some other things. Opened my book of profanity and read every word out loud. Anyone within a mile of me probably thought I was a maniac. Got the best laugh on the paddle back at how ridiculous the whole scenario was.

Still makes me laugh everytime I think about it, I’m usually pretty mellow, but I really wanted the satisfaction of landing that fish!! Would have been one of my best catches! I fish that exact spot every time I’m out there….haven’t hooked a fish there since.

#2 – We moved to Texas when I was 5 and lived there for about 2 years. We rented a house on an old farm. There was a huge lake full of largemouth bass about 200 yards from our back door. I had this old lure called a “Lucky 13” and an old Zebco push button combo. I’d be out there every day catching bass like crazy. I’d sit in school itchin’ to get home and get to the lake.

I was a little kid, and I outfished my Dad and all of his buddies. I did it with that one lure! That lake is where I learned to fish and it’s where I caught the fever. I’ve had it ever since.

#3 – Finally would have been from this past February. I’d been fishin’ out at another one of my favorite local lakes. It’s relatively shallow and the water was gin clear. I was throwing off a point around some deeper water and I heard a few big splashes behind me, around some cover, that lined the shore. I turned and skipped a weightless worm about a foot from where I’d seen the last splash and let it sink.

I’m foolin’ around with my anchor line while the worm sinks. After I let it soak for 30-40 seconds, I start to reel in the slack and feel some tension. Feels like I’m hung up, but I see my line start to move a little bit. It’s a fish!! Just as I go to set the hook, I feel it pop right out! So I twitch the worm, give the reel a few turns and see if she comes back. Nothing!

I start reeling the worm back toward me, it’s about 4 feet away and about 2 feet below the surface. I can see it, clear as day. Next thing I know, there’s a bright white flash…and the worm is gone! Rod bends almost instantly and the the fight ensues. The fish comes right across the nose of my kayak and heads for the deeper water…almost snatched my arm off! My drag is creaking and I’m just holding on, hoping she’ll tire so I can get her back to me. I finally do and work the fish safely to the net.

Think she weighed 4.12 and 21.5 inches long. It was just really awesome to have such clear water and watch it all unfold in front of me.

Chris Paeden Ready to Launch His Kayak

Chris Peaden Ready to Launch His Kayak

When did you specifically get into kayak bass fishing?

I started kayak fishing in 2015 when I purchased an old Pelican 10 foot sit on top off of Craigslist. It was all new to me, so I just got out on the water and got after it. Figured it out as I went along. I caught more largemouth the first day than I had the previous 12 months combined. I was addicted!

Every time I launch my kayak, I feel like a kid who’s going on an adventure! I can take that kayak anywhere on that body of water that I want, for the most part. I can scoot through some skinny water to get to a honey hole, or pull up on the shore somewhere and enjoy my lunch in the shade.

As for bass fishing there’s just something about being right on top of the action. Watching a huge bass come streaking out of cover to devour your lure, getting drenched as the fight to keep her on the hook plays out…I have a front row seat! You just don’t really get to experience that standing on the deck of a boat.

What kayak do you own?

I just recently sold my original kayak to a guy for his son, so now I have two. An Ascend FS10 sit inside and I recently added an Ascend FS12T.

The 12 is my main kayak now. I like it because it has more room and it’s a lot more stable than the sit in. I’ve had it out in some pretty rough water several times this year and it did well. It also has a lot more gear/storage options than the other. Best thing is that it gets me to the fish!

The cons would have to be its weight. It can be kind of a bear to fish out of on really windy days without being anchored. An anchor trolley is a must. Although I can stand and fish from it, I can’t do it comfortably, so I don’t do it often. It has its design flaws like many others do, but what can you expect for 650 bucks?

I’ve been watching the the “high end” kayak market for a while. When I’m ready to make the leap to a kayak that I’ll have for a long time, I’d look for it to have a certain set of features. Right now the one that really grabs my attention is the Titan 10.5 Propel. If I were to make the leap today, that would definitely be the one. Right now my plan is to figure it out and hopefully have a new Yak in the water by next spring.

How has 2018 gone so far for you?

2018 has been pretty solid for me so far. I’ve had the opportunity to catch some big fish and spend a lot of time on the water. As of May 2018 I am working on an impromptu streak. I’ve been able to catch at least one largemouth bass every month for the last 29 months. The original goal was 12, then 24 months kinda just happened, so I’m just seeing how long I can go now. No pressure.

I’m also currently competing in my first fishing tourney. It’s a month long online tourney for the total length of your top 5 bass. I’m currently in 8th out of 18 and struggling to put nice fish on the board. Last month I slayed them and caught huge fish on dumb luck. This month I can’t catch a break. Either way I’m fishin’ so it’s all good.

There have been so many great days this year, so it’s really hard narrow them down. Best day would be when I caught the 4.12 pounder in February. She was the only fish that day and I was pretty satisfied with that.

Virginia Bass Fishing

Virginia Bass Fishing

What are your favorite Virginia kayak bass fishing lakes/rivers?

Lonestar Lakes Park in Suffolk, Virginia is one of my favorites. There are 10 or so different lakes out there to choose from, so there’s a lot of variety. Couple of spots have brackish water which is a bonus. You can hit one lake and catch striper, largemouth bass, speckled trout, red drum and catfish…all in one day. My kayak adventures began out there, so I kinda consider it my home turf. I’m usually out on one of those lakes twice a week, if not more. Lonestar will always be one of my favorite places to fish. It’s been good to me.

Another would be out in the Back Bay area of Virginia Beach. Some of those little creeks hold some beautiful Florida strain largemouth. Conditions on the bay can be tough and can turn in an instant. When conditions do line up though, you better be ready! Sit in one spot and pull 5 or 6 solid fish out of the same hole! Move up 20 yards and do it again. Catching 20 plus fish on a 35 degree day, with a 20mph north wind, definitely puts Back Bay in my top 2 favorites.

What are your favorite bass fishing methods?

I’ve really become primarily a finesse fisher. Finesse fishing a weightless green pumpkin worm into some cover is my bread and butter. Nothin’ beats skipping that worm into a tiny spot, way back and seeing that ripple on the water as it settles. Start reeling in some slack, feel a slight tick, tighten the line, feel that thud and boom!! Fish on!!

I do use other techniques, based off situation, but finesse fishing works consistently for me. Keys to success are just patience. When I think I’m fishing slow, I always have to remind to fish slower…that’s when I start catching quality fish.

The other would be what my buddy Matt calls, “Time on the water”. People think I’m always fishin’, probably because, I am! My better half is a long distance runner, she’s always running and she just recently knocked 15 minutes of her PB marathon time. She’s puts her time in and has had great success. Same mindset with fishing. I can’t catch fish if I’m not out there trying. Conditions don’t have to be perfect for me, I’m still out there consistently. Some days 5 hrs of fishing might only net one fish, but if I’m lucky, it’s THE FISH!

You gave a great review to a worm from Buddah Bait Co. What worm was this?

I received a pack of Buddah Bait Swagger tail worms in a monthly tackle box last year. It’s a fantastic worm….smells like garlic and dill pickles to me! I threw one on one day when the bite was slow and the bass just started smashing it!! One worm was catching bass after bass and it was holding strong.

Eventually the first worm had the tail ripped off and had just taken a beating. Fish were still getting after it though. I eventually used the whole pack as the days of fishing passed. I started looking for them online and couldn’t find them anywhere. I emailed the company and explained that I wasn’t looking for anything free, just wanted to know where I could get more of those worms. An hour or so passes and I get an email from the owner of Buddha Bait Co. He says they are just prototypes and may be available in the Fall.

Fast forward 9 months and I get an email from the owner again. He’s like “Hey man, heads up, Swagger tails are up on the site”. I just thought that it said a lot about a company, when the owner closes the loop 9 months later. Great owner and solid products. Gotta respect the follow up!

What plans do you have for your YouTube channel?

Well, up until recently my videos have pretty much been over the shoulder shots of me reeling in fish. Probably pretty boring to everyone but myself. I’ve never really interacted with the camera/audience. I originally joined YouTube to have a place to upload videos for friends and family to watch. I really started recording video, so I could relive a particular day of fishing and see things that I’d missed in the moment. Found out that I enjoyed editing the videos and started uploading them.

If folks watched them, cool. If not that was cool too. Now I figure if I’m gonna upload, I should probably try to be a better channel host.

I’ve found that 95% of the channels I follow on YouTube are folks who interact with the audience. I plan to incorporate that into more videos this year.

It takes a lot of time to go through video from 10 or 12 hrs of fishing. It’s tough if I’m fishing a few days in a row. I am gonna try to upload on a more consistent basis though. Especially if I see that folks are watching. I have hours of video saved, but probably less than half gets uploaded.

I’m definitely not out to sell anyone anything. If I talk about a specific product it’s because it did or didn’t work for me. I learn things from the folks I follow, so hopefully other folks might learn something from me.

Working on a couple of fishing trips to the south western part of the state. Hopefully I can get some quality footage to upload then. Also, it’s saltwater season here in Coastal Virginia, so I’ll be adding some of those adventures as well. Who knows, maybe I’ll give away a new reel or something cool if I hit 100 subscribers.

Thanks so much Chris! Awesome stuff. I will be watching on YouTube and Instagram to enjoy your Virginia fishing.