The latest edition of Winners Circle catches up with Jody Queen, winner of the Hobie BOS event on the New River. Queen gives a little bit of insight to what his winning patterns were on the New, some advice for people not used to fishing rivers, the winning bait, and some cool info on what he is doing when he’s not fishing.
About Jody Queen
Jody makes his home in Bluefield, West Virginia, a town of about 10,000 people. Like a lot of West Virginia, most of the community is in, or related to someone involved in coal mining. But not Jody. Jody Queen is a resident artist and Vice President of Gary Bowling’s House of Art, at which he spends his time bringing culture to a depressed area that otherwise may never see true artistic expression, especially in gallery form.
GBHOA “provides resources to Appalachian artists and shares our over-the-top, must be seen to be believed vision with all who enter our doors.”
Queen focuses his artistic talents mostly in photo-realistic pencil drawings.
Being an artist allows him to spend time on the water pretty often without the constraints of a normal, corporate job. In fact, the number of days he hit the water to fish in 2018 is estimated at a little over 200.
The New River is only about a 45 minute drive from Jody’s house so it’s no surprise he is familiar with both the New and river fishing in general. I asked him what advice he might have for someone who doesn’t river fish but wanted to get started.
Queen recommended starting with the rivers seams, the edges of an eddy, and start there. Many times fish will be schooled up on the seams. He did say that at times those fish may all be smaller however. The bigger fish are smart and don’t venture out as much into the middle of the river. To find those bigger fish, you have to get tight to cover. Bank undercuts, big trees, grass beds, and other major structure will usually be hideouts for those savvy smallmouth. And don’t be afraid to throw shallow.
Jody shared with me that he caught 12 keepers during the Hobie event on the New River and six of those were in knee deep or less water against structure.
As a tackle pack rat, I asked Jody what baits he liked to throw and he surprised me. He only throws about three baits when he hots the river. He usually starts the morning with a topwater bait like a buzz bait or Whopper Plopper. If that bite doesn’t produce, he will throw a jig or his favorite, a Z-Man Jackhammer with a Z-Man Razor Shad trailer, all in Green Pumpkin color. The Jackhammer was the bait that sealed him the victory last weekend.
For river fishing Jody leans on his Bonafide Kayak fleet. For the event on the New, he used an RS117 decked out wit YakAttack accessories. His rods and reels are a mixture of all the things he likes. For reels he likes a Lew’s Tournament MB, or the 13 Fishing Concept A or C. For rods he uses 13 Fishing Muse and Omens unless he is throwing a Cashion rod which he recently discovered.
Jody is not just a river rat. He fishes all over the country and in some big water too. When he does that, he’ll pair one of his Bonafides up with a Torqeedo electric motor which allows him to cover a lot of water, especially during the crucial prefishing times.
When Queen needs to replace a rod, reel, or get some new Z-Man products he hits up the Harley family at Fishing Online based in Pennsylvania. I know John and Bri personally and they run a great online store as well as a local tackle store if you ever make it up to PA.
When we talked about sponsors, the names of Bonafide, YakAttack, Fishing Online, and Torqeedo came up and then Jody surprised me. His other sponsor is Landcruiser Restorations out of Belle Plaine, Kansas. If you were at the 2018 KBF National Championship you might have seen Jody with a completely restored 1985 Toyota Landcruiser. It was mint!
Jody Queen and I have crossed paths several times over the years but never had the chance to sit down and chat for a while about life and the pursuit of smallmouth. When we finally did, our conversation could have gone on for hours. He’s a great artist, a great angler, and a really amazing resource for the sport of kayak fishing. I am better for knowing him.
If you’d like to follow Jody, all of his adventures, and art check out the following links:
Gary Bowling’s House of Art on Facebook
Jody Queen on Facebook
Jody Queen on Instagram