CHESAPEAKE BAY – Flounder action is definitely improving as warm weather increases, as does the number of anglers seeking them. Live baiters are faring better right now with Gudgeons and Silversides. Lower bay structures are starting to produce, but shallow areas are attracting more fish. Speckled Trout anglers are also seeing better shallow action inside areas like Mobjack Bay, The Rappahannock River, Back River, and Lynnhaven Inlet. However, the numbers of Puppy Drum continue to increase in these areas also. Gulp! baits seem to be catching just about everything right now. Notable catches of Tautog have been coming from inside the bay lately. The CBBT structures are a big focus for those seeking Tautog. Crab has become more accessible, which is the preferred offering. Croakers have reportedly been showing up in nets of commercial fishermen, but hook and line anglers report very few catches. This will change soon.
OCEAN – Tautog catches are still strong on ocean structures; where catches of 13lb+ fish are being made. As mentioned earlier, Togs are also showing up inside the bay. Flounder anglers are mostly focusing on the seaside of the Eastern Shore. Wachapreague and Oyster are popular areas. Drifting live bait has been taking the better fish. Action in Nags Head has been slow, but Hatteras and Ocracoke is harboring warmer water. Red Drum, Sugar Toads, and Sea Mullet have been caught. Offshore boats are finding a big variety of fish, just not a lot of 1 or 2 species. Tuna, Wahoo, Tilefish, and Dolphin are just some of the species caught lately.
FRESH – The big feature locally is of course, the Shad run taking place currently in the James River. This annual run is a much awaited event every spring. Fly fishermen and light tackle anglers can all enjoy these hard fighting fish. Flies, spoons, and darts are the most used presentations. Color preferences can change daily, so stock up on as many as you can. The run is very strong now, so get out there! The White Perch run is also very strong right now. Bloodworms, night crawlers, minnows, and cut bait will catch the Perch. Stripers can also be quite active with all the different species of bait to choose from. Some huge Cats inhabit the James, so you might want to step up your tackle when targeting them. The upper James can sometimes get overlooked with much of the focus on the lower James, but the Smallmouth action is strong, and a very good option now as the river conditions are favorable. Spinner baits are a good option right now. The Potomac River has really come around this week, as 25+lbs won a 3 hour tournament on the 10th. Rattletraps, Chatterbaits, and Jigs are some of the main offerings. Local lakes like Anna, Sandy River, and Briery should start to produce spawning fish any day now. Pre-spawn patterns still exist, but many anglers are starting to search for beds. Crappie fishing is outstanding in these lakes now. Local ponds are nearing 70 degrees with the recent warm weather, so look for a big movement of spawners soon. Small male Bass are aggressive and numerous in the shallows. The bigger females haven’t made the very shallow movement just yet.