Saltwater- Surf fishing along the Outer Banks is improving, much like a lot of other places. Big Red Drum catches are increasing almost daily. That usually means that the bite along the oceanfront, and inside the bay will ignite soon. Surf anglers are also catching Puppy Drum, Sea Mullet, and Blow Toads. Most of the reports are coming from Hatteras Island. Bluefin Tuna are still being caught from many of the chartered boats. Reports of Yellowfin are also coming in. Deep dropping for Tilefish at the Canyon is productive when conditions allow. As the weather continues to warm, look for Croaker catches to begin. Puppy Drum and Speckled Trout have been caught from Rudee Inlet recently, so expect reports from Lynnhaven Inlet to increase.

Freshwater- Shad fishing is increasing daily at a high rate. The 14th street bridge and ares below will become quite crowded in the next month. Shad darts, spoons, and flies in various colors will all work. White Perch will soon be prevalent also. When these species are prevalent in the lower James, so are the Rockfish. However, Rockfish must be released. The Blue Catfish are extremely active, and increasing in size. Fresh bait is not hard to obtain right now. The Shad and Perch migrations have increased the Bass fishing greatly on the James and Chickahominy. Giant Bass are expected almost daily. Shallow movements last longer due to the feeding needs prior to the spawn. Lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits,are just a few of the choices good for aggressive, pre spawn Bass. 20 lb plus bags are common winning weights for tournaments on the James and Chickahominy. Rivers like the Pamunkey and Mattaponi should not be overlooked, as they too, are experiencing shad and Perch migrations. April is perhaps the greatest time to be on the tidal rivers of Virginia. The upper James is at 4.57′ @ the Richmond Westham gauge currently. Levels have been steady, but low, so hopefully things will improve by rising water levels. Many Bass have moved into coves, preparing to spawn on many of the areas’ lakes. 20 + lbs won the most recent BFL tournament on Kerr Reservoir. Anna Bass are still in pre spawn mode, using secondary points and coves as staging areas. The new moon occurred on the 27th, so we could see a major wave of spawning Bass in the next 2 weeks in many bodies of water. Ponds, and smaller lakes like Swift Creek Reservoir and Sandy River may also see a large wave of spawners. Crappie have been extremely active on the lakes and ponds in the area. Many are being caught in very shallow water.

- Stan Cobb

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