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Interview with Delaware's Bass Fisherman, Josh Rhoades
There are guys that you when see their Instagram page, you just know they know how to fish! Josh Rhoades from Delaware is one of those guys. Josh knows how to catch big bass, both smallmouth and largemouth. He provides a lot of great information including some of his favorite fishing destinations in New York.
GFN: Your Instagram photo page is bass after bass that make me drool. How long have you been fishing and what was your first big bass that you caught?
I have been fishing since I was 5 or 6 with my dad but it was mostly for panfish, catfish and saltwater. I started really getting into bass fishing about 7 or 8 years ago. Once I got the bass bug it probably took me a year or two and lots of time on the water to catch my first 5 pounder, which is a good fish for Delaware waters. After that first 5 pounder it really pushed me to keep fishing and trying to learn as much as possible about the sport.
GFN: You list your favorite co-angler as your beautiful girlfriend, Mikayla. There is a shot of you both on the front deck in Alexandria Bay that is fantastic. What makes fishing with her so special?
Everything about it. We both simply love being on the water regardless of if we are catching them or not, and doing that together just makes it even better. She is anxious to learn everything about the sport and I really enjoy sharing what I know with her.
GFN: You have fished one of my favorite places in the world, the 1000 Islands. What are the keys for you to catching big St Lawrence bass?
We just recently got back from our first trip to the 1000 islands region and it is now both of our favorite places as well. Since I have never been there I studied maps before the trip and figured the fish would be deep in the 25'-35' range because of the water temps. Once we got there we ran around to my waypoints started drifting shoals and current breaks in that depth range. 99 percent of our fish were caught on drop shots using 1/2 oz weight and either a Yamamoto shad shaped worm or a zoom Z drop.
GFN: What are some of your other favorite New York waters to fish and why do you like them?
I fish Oneida every year and that place is just loaded with fish, it just does not have many of the bigger smallmouths in the 5lb class. I also fish a couple of the eastern Finger Lakes fairly regularly as well. And if you time it right you can just absolutely wreck quality smallmouth all day long with a shot at some really big fish in the mix.
We also fish eastern Lake Ontario every fall and that place is unbelievable. The smallmouth push shallow and feed on everything they see before winter comes and it makes it really fun. That trip is my favorite because almost every fish you catch is in the 4lb class and there are a lot of 5 and 6 pound fish there as well.
GFN: What are your favorite waters closer to home?
My home state of Delaware is riddled with small shallow ponds and lakes where I learned how to catch largemouth. Those places are great if you only have a few hours to get out.
I fish the Upper Chesapeake Bay fairly regularly but that place can really be a hit or miss and in the summer months the boat traffic can get crazy.
My favorite local place right now is probably the Conowingo Reservoir which is on the Susquehanna River. It holds both largemouth and smallmouth and it's a pretty diverse fishery. I have spent the last year really trying to figure it out and have only just started to barley understand it.
GFN: What is you bass rig? And what do you like most about that boat?
I have an older 97 Stratos 18.5ft boat with a 150 Evinrude on it. It's rigged with a 36 volt 101lb thrust Minn Kota and I have 2 Lowrance 9" Gen 3 sidescan units on it. It's my first real bass boat and it has treated me well. It has been everywhere from North Carolina to Canada and has caught big fish in all those places.
My favorite part about the boat is definitely the Lowrance units, without them I would be lost. I go to a lot of places I have never been before and they really help navigate the water and find the fish.
GFN: I noticed that you are mostly a fan of your baitcaster rods and reels. Why is that? When do you pull out the spinning rod?
Yes in my local waters when fishing for largemouth I like to target the heaviest cover I can find and the baitcasters are the way to go. I only really break out the spinning gear when I'm targeting smallmouth with drop shots, grubs and tubes.
GFN: How many tournaments do you fish? What is the tournament that you are most proud of and why?
This year I really cut back on tournaments so I could focus on traveling more to new places and learn as much as possible about all different types of fisheries. I'm probably going to end up with a little more than 15 tournaments this year including my club events and local opens.
My proudest moment is probably when I fished the qualifying event for the Delaware BASS Nation state team on the Potomac River. The top guys in the state fish the qualifying event to earn a place on the State team for the BASS Nation and from there you compete as a team in the divisional tournament. I went down there just wanting to learn something about the river and from the other competitors but ended up qualifying for the State team.
GFN: Out of the many bass (laregmouth or smallmouth) waters that you have fished, which one do you feel that every fisherman and fisherwoman should put on their bucket list?
I'm going to cheat and give you one for each species. I definitely fell in love with the St. Lawrence River and the 1000 islands region for the smallmouth. I like it a lot because the current really puts those fish in predictable places and I think it produces quality fish year round.
And for largemouth I really enjoy fishing Shaeron Harris Reservoir down in North Carolina. That place has some real giants in it and is loaded with quality fish.
GFN: Thank you Josh for the interview. Keep up the great fishing as we will be watching. Check out Josh and Mikayla's latest catches on Instagram.