Chesapeake Bay – Cobia are still the big interest of many saltwater anglers as the bite remains very good. Sight casters have done very well this week, perhaps better than the bottom fishing anglers. However, those bottom fishing using chum have enjoyed steady action, but be prepared to tangle with sharks. Eels and live baitfish are utilized by both types of fishing. 50inch + fish have been common lately. Giving the Cobia competition for popularity is the Flounder. Limits of solid keeper fish are being reported from many parts of the bay. As usual, the CBBT remains the top producer of larger fish. Live bait and stripbait are often used on 3-way swivels either dragged or dropped vertically. Jigging bucktails with strip bait or Gulp! baits over bottom structure is another method most often used. 36A, The Cell, and Back River Reef are also good areas. Some big Red Drum are being encountered by Cobia anglers, by both sight casters and chummers. Many times they are aggressive feeders, so many offerings are swallowed up quickly. Shallow bays and rivers that have grass are attractive to Redfish and Speckled Trout. This type of fishing is much like Bass fishing, so many of the same methods and lures can be used successfully. Topwater walkers are excellent, as are 1/4oz jigs with soft plastic grubs and Gulp! baits. Fly anglers are attracted to these shallow flats, and many times more successful. Triggerfish, Sheepshead, and Spadefish are all prevalent at the CBBT also. Shallow bars with sharp drops at river mouths are attractive to many fish, but especially Spot, Croaker, and Sea Mullet, which are all excellent table fare. Along these drops are good for Spanish Mackerel. Most gamefish prefer harder bottoms over mud bottoms, so good electronics are helpful.
Ocean – Offshore anglers are finding Wahoo, Dolphin, Yellowfin Tuna, and Big Eye Tuna. A 185lb Big Eye was caught this week. White Marlin and Blue Marlin are also being encountered in bigger numbers. Inshore anglers along the oceanfront are finding Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, and Puppy Drum. Ocean temps in Nags Head are hovering around 75°. Surf and pier anglers can expect to catch Sea Mullet, Croaker, Spot, and Pompano. Rudee Inlet is producing Flounder, Puppy Drum, Spot, and Trout.
Freshwater – The James and Chickahominy Rivers continue to yield impressive catches of Bass, as another 20lb+ limit won the most recent Priority Toyota Bass Tournament out of Osbourne Landing on the James River. Grass patterns come into play along the Chick and lower creeks of the James. Soft plastics and grass frogs are excellent, as are sinking stick worms. Crank baits are a favorite on the main river and creeks on the upper tidal James. Giant Blue Cats continue to provide steady action on the James, Potomac, Pamunkey, and Mattaponi. Night fishing for these brutes is much more productive. Fresh bait is another plus. The upper James remains low and clear, so fishing for big Smallmouth can be challenging right now. Early and late in the day provide better opportunities typically. A buzzbait can be excellent for big Smallmouth during these times. Tidal Bass fishing on the Potomac remains tougher than previous years. 15+lbs is a normal winning weight for single day tournaments. Grass patterns have been more stable than hard cover lately. Hard cover such as rocks and brush are holding quality Bass in lakes such as Anna and Kerr. If you can find grass, it’s worth fishing, no matter where you are. Use live Shad for better results on stripers in landlocked lakes. Jigging spoons can also be employed successfully on Stripers, as well as Bass. Bridge pilings deep brush are holding Crappie consistently. Small to medium minnows can be used to catch all species anywhere, but are really good for ponds and small lakes. This is a great method when taking kids fishing, as they are often more interested in just “catching”, rather than fishing. Red Wigglers and night crawlers are also good baits for catching anything.