I love fishing for blue catfish. The highlight of all my blue catfish trips is fishing for blue catfish on the tidal James River in Virginia. Fishing the tidal James River for trophy blue catfish is unlike anything else. On the James you have a very good chance of catching massive 50+ lb blue catfish. Blue catfish over a 100 lbs are undoubtedly swimming around the James.
However, before you run down to the James River and chuck a line in the water, I would strongly suggest hiring a guide to take you out. In my opinion, the best catfish guide on the James River is Chris Eberwien. I have been fishing several times with Chris and his son (who is a great guide in his own right) and I have never been disappointment.
The best time of year to target monster blue catfish on the James River is January and February. While great fish are always around, the deep winter is when the big boys can be found in large numbers.
My last trip with Chris Eberwien was an epic day of fishing. 54 degree sunny weather in the middle of January was nice enough, but the fish were the real treat.
In an 8 hour trip I landed an 8 lb catfish, a 10 lb, 24 lb, 25 lb, 30 lb, 30lb, 33 lb, 40lb, 41 lb, 46 lb and the big boy was a 69 lb 49 inches long blue catfish. The action was so hot, I had two sets of doubles on the line (a 30 lb & 33 lb and the 41 lb & 30 lb cats). A total of 356 lbs of catfish in the boat in 8 hours. My arms and back are sore! I don’t know whether its from the reeling or lifting or both.