Chesapeake Bay – The most consistent bite throughout the bay is the Puppy Drum. Quality fish are being caught on a wide variety of baits such as Gulp! baits like shrimp and swimming mullets. Live and cut bait such as crab is also excellent. Lynnhaven Inlet is a hot spot right now, as is the MMBT and Mobjack Bay. Flounder action is as good as it has been all summer, with the CBBT receiving the most pressure, and also producing the most fish. Cobia seem to be on the way out of the bay, so most catches are occurring in the ocean. A few fish are still hanging around the CBBT area. Large Red Drum are still cruising inside the lower bay. Surf anglers along Fisherman’s Island and the Eastern Shore are anxiously awaiting with live and cut crab. The CBBT structures have been producing quality Drum lately. Artificial reef areas are also attracting Drum. Tautog season starts on September 19, where anglers can keep 3 per person and a 16” minimum length. Look for the Speckled Trout bite to increase greatly any day. We’re already hearing of some increased action.
Ocean – As mentioned earlier, many anglers are having better luck for Cobia along the oceanfront and mouth of the bay. Live bait should be at the ready when targeting these fish. Ocean wrecks are yielding quality Flounder and Seabass. The White Marlin and Blue Marlin bite remains wide open. Seasoned vets are seeing the best bite in years. Dolphin catches are also good offshore. Red Drum are showing themselves at some OBX piers and surf, so the Sandbridge surf action will increase soon. Rudee Inlet is getting better for Spot and Flounder.
Freshwater – The upper James is a bit low, but still good for those targeting Smallmouth and Flatheads with live bait. Live Sunfish work well for both. The lower James is producing bigger catches of Blue Catfish lately, which will continue to increase as the weather cools. Catfish anglers are also catching Rockfish in the river, but they must be returned for now, as the season opens on October 4th. Spinner baits and small cranks are working better for Bass right now on the lower James. Grass frogs are still working well on the Chickahominy. Bass fishing is still a bit tough on the Potomac River. Senkos and Grass frogs are working well here. Bass are starting to move shallow in area lakes like Anna, Gaston, and Kerr. Look for defined channels in the backs of creeks to turn on as baitfish migrations take place. Top waters, lipless cranks, and shallow cranks are excellent early fall search baits. Stripers are also on the move in these lakes. Look for increased shallow movements. Live bait on side planers and down lines are tough to beat. Area ponds and small lakes are providing steady action for Crappie and Bass. Occoquan Reservoir in Woodbridge has been outstanding for Largemouth Bass. 6 fish limits over 20lbs are common. Swift Creek Reservoir is a good local option for Bass,Crappie, and Chain Pickerel.