Hometown Adventures: Fishing

Published: Jul. 19, 2018 at 4:47 PM EDT
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Caitlin Francis is enjoying Hometown Adventures at Smith Mountain Lake all summer long.

This time, Caitlin’s tackling the sport of fishing!

Travis Patsell, is the owner and captain of Cats N Stripers Fishing Charter at Smith Mountain Lake. He’s been fishing forever, and turned it into his career.

“You don’t normally get mad at your boss… but I do love it. It’s just a passion is what it is, I love every minute I’m out here,” Patsell said.

Capt. Travis went out early to scout some spots, plus he’s using the technology on his boat, and his lifetime of experience.

“I just been fishing all my life, my mother’s dad, my pawpaw got me into fishing….I’ve been loving it ever since, and it’s grown and grown all my life,” Patsell said.

He took us to the old Strawberry Banks campground area because he had some luck there the day before. It was the first spot we hit, and we did see a few fish up on the monitors, but nothing to get us excited, so Capt. Travis says we’re moving to the next spot.

“A good fisherman is one who experiments. Trial and error,” he said. “Come on babies, show up for me…this wind might change up a little bit from what we did yesterday too.”

He talks to the fish, and he says he’ll play some music for them when they need a little extra encouragement. Old school country, even some Drake. And we finally find a spot where we see enough fish moving around to stop.

“Summertime is schooling time. Even though school’s out, school’s in for the stripers,” Capt. Travis Patsell said.

He baits the lines, lines go in, and then, we wait. We moved around several times, and eventually got several bites!

“Once you find the fish, it’s usually game on as you seen.”

We couldn’t throw one fish back in the water, it was already going to die. Capt. Travis says the combination of hot lake water and the fight of reeling him in stresses fish out, but normally, with most big fish, catch and release.

“I’m all about protecting the big fish, that’s not just for stripers, that’s for all big fish. Trophy fish, always release. Catch and release is big on me. The smith mountain striper club is doing great trying to promote catch your limit and quit, go fish for something else, go swimming,” he said.

But he says even though sometimes it takes a while to find those sweet spots, the reward of hooking one nice fish, even if it’s just to throw it back, is worth it.

“Just smiling, you aint never seen just a grin. And that for me, that’s what makes all this worth it.”

For more information about Capt. Travis Patsell’s fishing guide, Cats N Stripers, visit his website at: or call him at 540-580-3487 to set up a guided charter.

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