Ivor boy learns fishing from granddad

Published 9:29 am Friday, October 8, 2010

Jayton Billups of Ivor holds a 12-inch long shell cracker he caught while fishing with his grandfather, Jim Billups and Tommy Salmon on Lake Prince on Sept. 19.

WINDSOR—Nine-year-old Jayton Billups has been fishing for as long as he can remember.

His father, Jay Billups of Ivor, started carrying him on short trips at six months of age. These days, Jayton Billups teams up with his grandfather, James “Jim” Billups, and Tommy Salmon, whom the elder Billups has been fishing with for nearly 50 years.

The three have been hitting Lake Prince on a regular basis. On three recent trips, Jayton caught a total of 16 citation shell crackers, including nine from the last trip. These shell crackers ranged from 11 ¼ inches to 12 ¾ inches in length.

The young angler’s mother, Stacey Billups, has sent in the paperwork to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for Jayton Billups to receive an Expert Angler award. Jim Billups said they are now going after the Master Angler award for his grandson.

The Master Angler award is issued for catching citation-size fish in five different species. Jim Billups remembers how much it meant to earn the recognition, and he wants his grandson to experience that same feeling.

Jim Billups likes watching his grandson do battle with fish, and Jayton Billups, who affectionately calls his grandfather “Pa Pa,” loves taking the bite away from him and fighting the fish.

Jim Billups and Salmon said Jayton Billups has to be the most patient 9-year-old they know. Fishing takes patience and persistence, and he has both.

Jayton also likes fishing a small pond near his home, the Blackwater River, and most of all, the James River for croaker. Croaker is his favorite fish to catch. He uses his Browning rod and reel along with a Quantum and a Rino at times.

Jayton Billups’ favorite bait is night crawlers, the bigger the better. He also put together a three-hook rig for croaker fishing, something his grandfather says gives Jayton Billups an edge.

“Jitterbug,” as Jim Billups likes to call his grandson, is also an avid hunter. Last year the youth harvested a 182-pound, 6-point buck during the regular season. This year, Jayton Billups has taken up archery.