Saltwater– Big Red Drum are available in the lower bay ocean. Schools of Reds have been seen cruising between the CBBT and Cape Henry. Casting live bait or jigs is especially effective when encountering these fish near the surface. Large Reds are also being caught from Fisherman’s Island on live crabs. Fish up to 51” have been reported. Large Black Drum are also being caught, but clams work as well as crab for the Blacks. Croaker catches are on the rise inside the Rappahannock, James, and lower bay piers like Buckroe and Ocean View. Shrimp and Bloodworms still have been better. Flounder catches also continue to increase. Most catches are occurring on the seaside of the Eastern Shore. Wachaupregue and Oyster are the most popular areas. Drifting with a squid/minnow combo still produces. Some catches have occurred from lower bay structures like the CBBT and some artificial reefs. Bluefish up to 9lbs have been caught from Buckroe Pier. Puppy Drum are available from many places throughout the bay. Since the interest is Speckled Trout has decreased, many are content targeting Puppy Drum. Many of the same presentations work for the Drum. Mobjack Bay, Lynnhaven Inlet and Rudee Inlet have been good. Offshore charters out of Oregon Inlet are scoring well on Dolphin. Yellowfin Tuna action will crank up soon, and some nice Big Eye Tuna have been caught. Erick Jones of Glen Allen recently boated a 181lb Big Eye.
Freshwater – Right now is an excellent time to target Largemouths on the tidal James and Chickahominy Rivers. Many of the largest bags of the year will occur in May, Spinner baits, and soft plastics usually rule. This is an outstanding time for Blue Cats, as both daytime and night time action can be excellent. The Potomac River is another great option for both Largemouths and Blue Cats. The upper James is improving (conditions wise) but normally the Smallmouths are spawning now, or just finished, so they can be hit or miss. Top water presentations are starting to dominate in lakes like Anna, Kerr, and Gaston. Spooks and prop baits are especially effective. These baits excel in small ponds right now also. The Bluegill/Sunfish bite is on fire in many bodies of water, both large and small. For Shellcrackers, fish on the bottom for bigger fish. Night crawlers and small curly tail grubs are tough to beat. This is an excellent time to take kids fishing. The weather is warm, and the fish are hungry. It’s not uncommon to catch Bass, Crappie, and Sunfish all from one area.