Salt Water- Rockfish action is getting better with each day it seems. Reports are coming from more places and bigger fish are being caught. Inside the James, Rappahannock, York, and Piankatank rivers is where many keeper fish are being caught. Structures at the mouths of some of these rivers are providing jigging opportunities, as the fish are holding close to the bottom/structure. The CBBT structures are giving up better catches also, but night fishing is still more productive. Drifting eels is one of the better ways to score bigger fish, especially when water temps have dropped. The eel bite is increasing now, so let’s hope the cooler weather stays with us. Anglers preferring to troll, are fooling fish on tandem rigs, stretch 20′s, and daisy chains. Many fish are being found in the 16-25′ range. Pier anglers at Buckroe are reporting more Rockfish being caught now also. Buckroe Pier is also reporting steady Redfish catches. Redfish are being caught at the CBBT structures also. The CBBT structures are yielding good catches of Tautog also. This will continue to improve as the weather cools. There have been reports of Tautog being caught at Back River Reef lately. Lynnhaven Inlet and Mobjack Bay have been good places for Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum. Better numbers of fish have been reported from Lynnhaven though. Ocean structures have been steadily giving up Flounder, Seabass, Triggerfish, and big Bluefish. Reports from the Avon surf are Puppy Drum, Bluefish, Flounder, and Sea Mullet. At the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, the Mahi bite has been outstanding. Wahoo catches are still happening currently.
Fresh Water- The Smallmouth bite is increasing in the Tidal Rappahannock and the upper James. However the upper James is not tidal, and is low and clear. Overcast days are typically better, but the water temps are becoming ideal for consistent results. Spinnerbaits, crawfish crankbaits, and jigs are what many prefer to throw this time of year. The tidal James doesn’t receive much notoriety for the Smallmouth, but the fish are available. Many prefer to target trophy Largemouth. The many pits along the lower James provide excellent opportunities for quality Largemouth. The Chickahominy is especially known as a trophy Largemouth fishery in the colder months. Truth is, they are both excellent. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and even topwater baits are good now. Some are even starting to throw blade baits now, as they appeal to everything that swims. Crappie catches have gotten better, as they become more predictable. Grass edges with wood cover can be double trouble, as they can represent drop offs in depth. Striper catches has increased in these rivers also. Be aware of the regulations however. Striper activity is increasing at Lake Anna now, as the water temps drop. 4 inch swim baits are great locators, along with topwater baits. Flats with depths of 4-10′ can be especially productive now. Rattle traps along grass lines can produce Stripers and Bass now. These grass lines will also attract the Crappie. Finding the stumps along the grass lines can be the key to bigger fish, both Bass and Crappie. The bridges hold large numbers of Crappie now, and through the winter. Always have a jigging spoon, and/or a topwater bait tied on now , as schooling fish can be encountered at any time and place. The size of the bait can often be the key to success, so starting out with a 3-4 inch bait is good.