Saltwater- This week, again, marks another week of outstanding Cobia fishing in the lower bay. Sight casting is taking over as the preferred method. Casting bucktails or live eels to spotted fish has been consistent for fish of all sizes. Many are reporting lots of small fish, but seem to bring back large fish as well. Bernie Drimal of McKenny,Va caught a 55 lber while sight casting on July 18th. Chumming is still productive to those willing to endure sitting still in the heat. Sight casting is a bit easier since the boat is constantly moving. Big schools of Drum are being spotted in the lower bay again, so catches are increasing as they are easier to spot when traveling in large schools. Sometimes just about anything cast in their direction will draw a strike. Flounder catches have been the most common at the CBBT, but some of the artificial reefs are giving up keeper fish for those putting in their time. The reef areas have less current to deal with than the bridge-tunnel, making them easier to focus on select spots. Spadefish continue to provide steady action at the bridge-tunnel. Clams are the bait to use while targeting these hard pulling fish. What many anglers are opting for,is to catch a limit of Spades and possibly Flounder, then go and target the Cobia. Some are pulling this off, especially when ideal conditions are present. The CBBT has also been yielding impressive catches of Sheepshead. Sheeps up to 11 lbs have been boated recently. Good sized Croaker are still being caught inside the York River on Squid and shrimp. Croaker are also thick at the artificial reefs of the lower bay. Spanish Mackerel are being caught along the oceanfront and inside the bay in areas like Windmill Bar. Speckled Trout are being caught on topwater baits and Gulp! plastics in areas like Mobjack Bay, and the mouth of the Rappahannock River.  Farther out in the ocean, boaters are reeling in respectable sized Yellowfin Tuna, Dolphin, & White Marlin. Large Big Eye Tuna up to 300 lbs have been boated this week. The Norfolk Canyon is providing plenty of action for Seabass and Tilefish. Catches from the surf along the Outer Banks include Sea Mullet and Bluefish. This week has been slow for more popular species like Puppy Drum and Speckled Trout. Pier anglers have been catching Spadefish and Bluefish, with occasional catches of Spanish Mackerel.

Freshwater- Ricky Powell and Bubba Johnson won the most recent Priority Toyota Bass tournament out of Osborne Landing on the lower James River. Their winning weight was 21.75 lbs. They also had the big fish of the tournament, with a 9.07 Bass. Many competitors reported catching fish on crankbaits in the mid river section of the James, and in the Chickahominy. Night fishing for Blue Cats is excellent on the lower James. As usual, fresh cut bait is best for giant Cats. Eels and Shad are the most often used. The upper James is low and clear, so early  and late in the day are generally the best times for bigger fish. Grass patterns are key on the Potomac  river. Frogs like the Ribbit frog in white or black is usually a good producer. Heavy weights and small plastics are good for punching through thick grass mats. Topwater baits like Buzzbaits are excellent. Bottom crawling baits like grubs and creature baits excel throughout the day. Kerr lake elevation is at 300.5′ and is expected to fall slightly. Deep crankbaits, Carolina rigged plastics, and 10 inch worms on Texas rigs are taking quality fish consistently. Flutter spoons are working for those willing to throw them. These same baits are working well on Anna Bass. The lower end of Kerr is often better, but it’s Anna’s upper end that is better for tournament winning bags of Bass. The mid lake area has been more consistent for the Stripers however. Live bait presentations dominate all others. This can be a very exact science sometimes, so the use of a guide is recommended for those less familiar with the use of live bait. Boat traffic is heavy on public bodies of water, so please be courteous to other boaters so this resource can be enjoyed by all on the water. The same courtesy should extend on smaller, horsepower restricted bodies of water.

-Stan Cobb 7/21/16

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