Multi-species Virginia with Andy Bagwell

Living in Central Virginia can be an ideal location for anglers that like targeting many different species. Andy is just such a fisherman who is a multi-species angler. Love the fact that he also targets grass carp, which can be so much fun to battle. Andy also has a great story about some unexpected net help from a fellow angler. Keep reading to see who that net man was.

Your handle is @ifitswims and your pics back up that you fish for a lot of different species. What do you like about living in Virginia for fishing for diverse species?  

The best part of living in central Virginia is that I’m only thirty minutes away from terrific spring migrations of shad and striped bass, an hour and a half from native trout in the Shenandoah National Park, another hour and a half in the other direction away from our nation’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay, and all of it’s awesome inshore opportunities, then only two hours away from getting offshore for billfish. I love Richmond, Virginia!

Lets talk James River catfishing to get things going. You catch some massive James River cats. What are your favorite strategies for flatheads on this body of water?

I love catching big cats on artificial’s!  You’d be amazed how willingly both blues and flatheads will take bucktails, spoons, and rattle traps, especially during the spring shad and herring spawning migrations.

A bucket of live bluegills, or white perch will definitely get the job done too, if you’ve got the time to catch your bait, and remember it’s illegal to keep bluegill from a cast net in Virginia. They have to be caught on hook and line if they are to be used for bait.

You received a citation this year for a trophy largemouth bass. What is your biggest largemouth?

My personal best largemouth was 9 pounds 6 ounces caught on a buzzbait just a few days after my 16th birthday.  I was so excited to actually be able to drive a car to my honey holes instead of my dirt bike that I had custom outfitted to hold my rods and tackle box. Honestly though I’m not a huge bass guy, don’t get me wrong I love em, I just caught so many big largemouth in my youth that over the years I have really begun to enjoy targeting different species.

When you do fishing for largemouth, what are your favorite bodies of water?

Once again, I’m more of a multi-species angler than just a bass fisherman, but I love pond hopping for big bucketmouths. Finding them on larger bodies of water like Lake Gaston, and other larger lakes and rivers can be very challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Another species you have been targeting are grass carp?

Grass carp were a new target for me this past summer, but what a blast!  I haven’t caught that monster yet, but man what a fight.  They remind me a lot of redfish.  Find an area lake that has them, chum em up with some fermented cracked corn, roll up some oatmeal balls in the corn, and have a ball!

You had some unexpected help from someone landing a fish one night from Ben Wallace. What is the story behind that?

Big Ben, his family, and I happen to fish the same lake from time to time. The first time I saw him I recognized him but didn’t want to invade his privacy in anyway, after all fishing is an escape for all of us, then I went tight on a big grass carp and he immediately jumped on the net, and with his long arms, easily scooped up the fish over the dock’s railing.  When I thanked him for his fine “net work”, he replied “Yeah I’ve been known to put a few in the net before.”  I thought that was hilarious!

Lastly, you catch some beautiful native trout. Where are you fishing for them?

I love fishing the Shenandoah National Park and wish I had more time to explore its waters.  I’m not a fly fishing “purist”, and with my poor vision, I enjoy nymphing.  I can actually see the indicator. Being an ECU Pirate, my favorite fly by far is the Purple Haze nymph!

Now that is a good alumni! Thanks Andy for filling us in about your fishing. You can follow Andy on Instagram to see what other NBA star he gets to net his next catch.