BAY – Speckled Trout are still the main focus within bay waters right now. The Elizabeth River, by far, receives the most attention this time of year. Hard baits, like the Mirr-o-lures, Mirr-o-dine, and Lucky Craft pointers are good search baits and are taking the majority of keepers, but soft plastics like Bass Assassin and D.O.A lures continue to produce. Trolling can sometimes be more productive when water temps are in the 40’s, like they currently are. There have been some reports of Shad being caught in the Norfolk area, along with some Rockfish. However, Rockfish season in the Bay is still closed.
OCEAN – Seabass season is closed as of Feb 28th. Tautog season is still upon us, and they are willing participants if you can get to them with favorable weather conditions. Clams and shrimp can be good alternatives to crab, which can be difficult to find now. A few reports state some Puppy Drum inside Rudee Inlet. The Bluefin Tuna action remains slow still.
FRESH – Tidal Rivers are a good choice right now, as the spring runs of Yellow Perch increase. The most reports are coming from the Chickahominy River, but action has been inconsistent. Look for the Rappahannock to turn on soon, as well as the Potomac. Shallow flats in feeder creeks can be especially good on the Rapp and Potomac. Blue Catfish seem to perk up nicely when the Perch invade the rivers. 60lb+ fish are common. Bass fishing on the tidal rivers is increasing also. Silver Buddy’s, jigs, and crank baits are good right now. Now is typically a great time for Trophy Smallmouth on the upper James. Water temp remain in the low to mid 40’s, so live bait will often out produce lures in the cold water, but can also save the day when mainly using lures like jigs and jerk baits. Reports from Kerr and Gaston have water conditions stained to muddy, making fishing tough when water temps are as they are. Locating the clearest water is often the ticket. Lake Anna continues to produce nice Bass every week, and will increase as March arrives and traffic increases. Local smaller lakes are also producing big fish now, like Kenny Wright of Midlothian, with a nice 71lb 11oz hawg from an Amelia County lake. 13 year old Peter Davis of Chester nailed a hefty 8lb 6oz Largemouth from a Hanover County Lake. Chain Pickerel have turned on nicely at Swift Creek Reservoir. Several fish over 41lbs were reported. Congrats to Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss. for winning the Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake in Oklahoma. He was using Jackall jerk baits and crank baits. He also caught fish on football jigs. Pros in the top 5 were using Storm Wiggle Warts, Rapala scatter raps, and Strike King Jerk baits. Local Va. angler Josh Wagy finished 16th. Way to go Josh!