CHESAPEAKE BAY – Trophy Rockfish season opened on 5-1 for the Chesapeake Bay and it’s Va. tributaries. 1 fish at a 32”minimum can be kept, but must be reported to the Va. Saltwater Journal. Rockfish over 32” are being caught in good numbers inside the James, Rappahannock, and York Rivers. The Potomac River season opened earlier as Maryland regulations govern the Potomac. We’ve heard of nice fish coming from the Potomac lately. Some local Green Top customers report 35” fish from the James River, in fact, Steve Knox of Richmond caught a monster 70+lb Rockfish from the James just below Richmond on April 30th. Catches of Croaker increase every day from inside the bay. Good areas as of late are the HRBT, the JRB, Buckroe Beach, and Ocean View Pier. Bloodworms, squid, and shrimp work well. Speckled Trout anglers know May to be one of the best months for trophy fish. Top water baits are beginning to work, and soft plastics are a staple to trout anglers. Live bait is hard to beat for trophy fish anytime. Popular areas include Lynnhaven Inlet, Mobjack Bay, and Poquoson Flats. The inlets on the bay-side of the Eastern shore are also Trout hot spots. Keeper sized fish are also coming from the Hampton River. Flounder catches are also on the rise in the lower bay, but many prefer to target them on the Oceanside of the Eastern Shore.
OCEAN – As mentioned previously, many anglers are targeting Flounder inside the seaside inlets of the Eastern Shore. Minnows with a squid strip is an excellent offering. Gudgeons, or mud minnows, can be caught fairly easy in the shallows of these inlets. But, catches of keepers remain inconsistent for now. Big Red Drum catches continue to rise along the barrier islands of the Eastern Shore. Crab of any variety is especially good. Twilight is often the best time to fish for Drum. Offshore boats are finding Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, and Dolphin. Garry Oliver of Fishing unlimited in Nags Head reports a good Speckled Trout bite at the little bridge in Manteo, and also inside the sound.
FRESH – Bass fishing on the lower James and Chick remain good. It’s been taking 19-20lbs to win any given tournament. Spinner baits, Senkos and other soft plastics pitched to cover often yields good Bass. Catfish, Rockfish, Shad, and White Perch are still inhabiting the lower James, providing many angling opportunities for varied success. The upper James is looking good and fishing good for Smallmouths and Flathead Cats. Live bait excels for Cats, and a wide variety of lures are working for the Bass. Crank baits, spinner baits, and Senkos are just a few baits that are working well. Trophy Bass hunters are targeting spawning Bass at known lunker holes such as Briery Creek and Sandy River Reservoirs. Anglers can expect to catch both spawners and post-spawners just about everywhere now. The bigger lakes like Anna, Gaston, and Kerr are providing the same conditions. Wacky rigged worms can be especially good now. land locked Stripers in area lakes have been fickle lately. Live Shad and Herring are the best bets. Some good catches have been reported from Dike 3 on top waters lately though. Expect increased catches of Bluegills and Shellcrackers now and the next few weeks, as they begin to spawn. Live crickets, worms, and small minnows can provide exciting action for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Post spawn Crappie can often be seen breaking the surface feeding on insects now, making them very vulnerable to small offerings, such as 1”-2” grubs on light jig heads.