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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Fishing with Capt. Bob Reed aboard (insert your boat name)

A good day fishing is tough to beat, but there’s a lot to know about fishing in Rivah country. Fortunately, there are also people who know a lot about fishing.

by Renss Greene

From left, Dennis Garvis, Tom Barany, and Stu Polhamus enjoy a great day of fishing at the mouth of the Rappahannock with Captain Bob Reed on a Bob-A-Long your-boat charter.

One such person is Bob Reed, owner of Bob-A-Long your-boat charters. To hire Reed, you only need a boat and a will.

“What we are is good fishermen,” Reed said. “Everything can be wrong and we’re still going to catch fish. A positive attitude. That’s the most important thing. It’s a beautiful day out on the creek, out here with mother nature, just sucking it all in.”

For $150 a day, Reed will show you where and how to fish, and he’ll bring all the rods, reels, bait, and tackle you’ll need. He even cleans the fish. Whether you’re an old hand or a complete newcomer to fishing, Bob Reed’s the man to have along.

“It’s always a learning experience,” Reed said. “They learn the techniques, they learn where to go, where the fish hide. They can bring as many people as they want and I’ll accommodate. I bring the bait, all the tackle, and they drive the boat.”

In fact, he says, many people who have learned what they need to know keep coming back.

“I thought I’d have somebody, I’d show them what to do, and I’d never see them again,” Reed said. “But the people that go out with me keep coming back. In fact, I had one guy that wanted to go every Friday.”

Reed got into charter fishing after retiring from working for the treasury department.

“I retired from the federal government in ’97, and the first thing I did was go down to Solomon’s Island (Maryland) and got a job as a mate to learn this kind of fishing, charter boat fishing,” Reed recalled. “I worked with a guy down there for three years, then I moved to Deale, Maryland, and worked another three or four years, and I got tired of that area because of the traffic. We decided to move south, and found this place. We love it down here.”

After looking around the Northern Neck, Reed settled in Kilmarnock.

Bob Reed on his boat, motoring away from his dock on Dividing Creek.

“I feel real fortunate to find this place,” he said. “I was working on the charter boat, got tired of the confusion there, and asked where I should look. One guy said ‘look down at Mathews.’

Well, Mathews is fine, except the whole county is underwater in springtime,” he joked.

He got his captain’s license and spent some time as captain of his own charter boat. He operated two boats before he decided that maintaining a big boat was more work than he wanted to do in his late 60s.

“You get tired of painting boats,” he said.

A man he had worked with suggested your-boat charters, and he decided to try it out.

“A lot of it is, people buy a boat, and they want to learn how to fish, and they learn they like it,” Reed said.

This year has been an unusual year for fishing. A cold winter and late spring means migratory fish are late getting to the area. When the fish do come, though, fishermen will be busy.

“Although the water temperature is going up, fish are late coming,” Reed said. “All of July will be good. August, September.

Bob Reed casts a line near the mouth of Dividing Creek.

“When the fishing gets good I go out three or four times a week,” he added. “Now’s when they should be booking. What’ll happen is, we’ll start getting reports of spadefish, and I’ll put pictures in the paper, and then I’ll get booked up real quick.”

Reed knows the waters from Maryland to Virginia Beach, and can guide anglers through all those waters.

“A lot of customers are on the Corrotoman, and a lot of times they can’t transport their boat, so we just fish in the creek, the Corrotoman, Carter’s Creek,” Reed said. “If the boat is transportable, then I’ll give them options of where we can go to catch fish.”

And once you start to learn about fishing, you’ll be glad you had him along. Tidewater fishing isn’t like fishing in ponds or streams. Reed says there are many factors to take into account, and a network of charter captains and fishermen telling each other where the fish are.

“The thing I try to get across to people is this isn’t like fishing for largemouth bass,” Reed said. “Largemouth bass, you can go to a pond pretty much year round and catch fish. When you’re Tidewater fishing, there’s more involved. You’ve got the tide, number one. You’ve got open water, and you’ve got the migration of the fish.”

Don’t get discouraged, and try to learn the area, what fish are here when,” he said. “It’s a good area.”

Reed says he feels fortunate that he gets to do what he loves.

“You meet some interesting people,” he said. “All different classes, all different types of people. I can honestly say, I’ve never had a bad trip.”

Charter captains are people with an eye for the sport, both now and in the future. Last year, an association of charter boat captains lobbied to reduce fish limits to make sure there would always be fish to be caught. Reed says, to him, “fishing is addictive.”

posted 07.01.2014

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