Chesapeake Bay – The Cobia bite is still active in the bay, but most agree that they are on their way south. At the south end of the bay lies the CBBT, which is a great stopping place for many species of both baitfish and game fish. Sight casting the pilings and buoy markers can be productive. The CBBT is also an outstanding place for Flounder. September often yields the biggest Flounder of the year and the bridge-tunnel can be exceptional. Squid/minnow combinations are good for numbers of keepers, but live Spot can be the ticket for trophy sized Flounder. Jigging buck tails is another productive method for Flounder of all sizes. Wire lining over the tubes is an old school method still very much alive. The Spot bite is increasing throughout the bay, but the Rappahannock has had the best reports lately. The size of the Spot being caught now are the biggest of the year. The Colonial Beach area of the Potomac is another good area for Spot. The York River and the MMBT have been good for Croaker. Hard bottom areas inside Mobjack Bay are also good. Mobjack Bay and the Poquoson area are good places to target Puppy Drum and Speckled Trout due to the abundance of aquatic grass. Topwater baits and Gulp! baits are strong producers year after year. Popping corks have also been hot.
Ocean – As mentioned earlier, Cobia have been showing up in the ocean waters more frequently. Sight casting is still effective, but buck tails can be cast farther, and right now that can be more important due to the skittish nature of Cobia in the late season. The White Marlin bite has been outstanding! Boats out of Rudee and Oregon-Inlet report good catches almost daily. Over the weekend, limits of Dolphin and Wahoo were reported out of Oregon-Inlet. There were also some good catches of Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna. Deep dropping is still good for Tilefish, Rosefish, and Seabass. Inshore boats from N.C. report Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, and Puppy Drum.
Freshwater – The James and Chickahominy rivers remain productive for Bass despite the recent string of warmer weather. Grass and pad patterns remain productive, but never overlook hard cover. These tidal rivers along with the Mattaponi and Pamunkey continue to produce trophy sized Blue Cats. Fresh bait is critical. The upper James is low and clear, so long casts and smaller lures is often the ticket under these conditions. Topwater baits should be employed both early and late. Decreasing daylight hours trigger baitfish movements to cooler temps often located at the backs of creeks in lakes line Anna, Gaston, Kerr, and Sanely River, just to name a few. Smaller baits are typically more productive. Spooning under Shad schools can also be a good option on bright sunny days. Smaller lures like 4inch swim baits are good for landlocked Stripers this time of year, but live Herring will often save the day. Pond Bass are mostly stuck in summer patterns still, but look for changes soon, despite this warm weather. Buzzbaits are notorious for Big Bass in late summer/early fall. Crappie and Bluegills should not be overlooked, as many times they aren’t so finicky as Bass.