Saltwater- The Red Drum bite has heated up considerably over the last week. Anglers fishing the shallow areas of the Eastern Shore are reporting Reds in the 40-52 inch range. Crab is usually the bait of choice for the big Reds, but fresh cut bait works well also. Setting up among the breakers is often the key to getting bit, but is also dangerous, so “learning the ropes” with experienced anglers or guides is a great idea. The Black Drum are also being caught, but not with the frequency that the Reds are. Another species increasing in action along the Eastern Shore is the Flounder. A Squid /minnow combo nation is an old favorite among locals. Puppy Drum and Speckled Trout catches are on the rise in shallow areas such as Lynnhaven Inlet, Mobjack Bay, Rudee Inlet, and Little Creek. Many of these anglers prefer to throw artificials such as Gulp! swimming mullets and shrimp , Bass Assassin sea shads, and flukes on light jig heads. May is typically one of the best months for Specks. There have been sporadic reports of Croaker being caught in some areas of the lower bay. Piers, such as Oceanview, and Buckroe, have been some of the places. Reports from anglers fishing the York River have been slow. Tautog fishing remains excellent at the CBBT, but time is running out to keep these tasty fish. The Tautog season closes on May 1st. Reports from the charter boats out of Hatteras and Nags Head are that the Yellowfin Tuna are plentiful right now. An occasional Wahoo shows up at the docks when the Tuna boats return. Big Bluefish continue to get caught along the beaches of Nags Head, Buxton, & Frisco. Metal jigs and spoons are very popular. Surf anglers using cut bait are reeling in Drum, Bluefish, and Sea Mullet.
Freshwater- Before the heavy rains came down, anglers were enjoying a wide variety of catches along the lower James River, which is typical for this time of year. White Perch, Bass, Giant Blue Catfish, and sizable Rockfish. The Rockfish must be released for now, as the season is still closed. This weekend, conditions will probably be quite tough for river fishing due to the rising water and higher levels from the rain. The Chickahominy River will often remain clear through heavy rain , due to the many swampy areas of the upper Chickahominy,which catches much of the sediment. The area lakes will rise accordingly, but may not be as tough to deal with as the rivers. Lake Anna has a small watershed, so muddy/high water may not be as much of an issue, as with Kerr and Smith. These lakes have been outstanding lately, but this may calm them down a bit. These lakes will usually offer ares of clean water to fish due to their size and depths. Many of the Bass in our lakes are going through the spawn still, but there could be some post spawn conditions also. Staying small may be the answer for success this weekend, by targeting smaller ponds that clear up faster and receive less runoff. The Bass and Crappie could be far enough from the spawn to resume feeding again more frequently. Try topwater baits for Bass. Crappie may be starting to school up again. Look for the Bluegill/Shellcrackers to turn on now.
- Stan Cobb