Chesapeake Bay: Rockfish catches are being reported from all over the bay now, with 50lb+ fish becoming more common. The CBBT structures are producing quality fish from those casting lures, and using live bait, such as Eels, pitched or floated by the pilings. Eeling at areas such as Plantation Light and Kiptopeake is also productive. Mark Bednar and Alec Woolfolk recently boated a healthy 49lber. Bobby Wells of Glen Allen hooked up with 22 fish in 4 days, the biggest being 45lbs. Anglers fishing just outside the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers are having steady success with 40-50lb fish also. Stretch baits and Mojos are taking more fish in these areas. So basically, the entire bay is turning on now. Tautog are a good option to enhance the cooler after catching limits of Rockfish. The CBBT structures are the most popular and perhaps the most productive for Togs. Crab is by far the best bait, but clam will work in a pinch. Speckled Trout continue to draw anglers inside the Elizabeth River and Lynnhaven Inlet. Be aware of the limit changes effective 12-1. Only 5 fish may be kept by each angler and only one fish over 24” allowed. Mirro lures seem to be the hottest bait, but soft plastic swim baits are also effective.
Ocean: Rockfish are coming from the Cape Henry and VA Beach area, but action is scattered. Rudee Inlet is still holding Trout and Redfish. Offshore charters ran into some Yellowfin, Blackfin, and some Wahoo. Deep droppers can expect a steady bite from Tilefish and Rosefish.
Freshwater: Weights were down from last week for Bass from the Lake Anna Winter Bass Series, 14.76lbs won, with 2nd place at 13.75lbs. Bass are being caught on a variety on presentations, but crank baits and swim baits seem to be the most consistent. Many are targeting the Stripers here, especially in the mid to upper regions. Swim baits are good for casters, and live Herring and Shad is best for live baiters. Surfacing fish can be encountered at any time. Bridge pilings are good for limits of Crappie. The Lower James continues to improve for huge Blue Cats. Cooler water temps and even winter time temps seem to bring out the bigger fish consistently. For tidal Largemouth, fishing flats and current eddys with lipless cranks can be dynamite. A jig and pig combo is often better for bigger fish. The upper James is still low and clear, making big fish hard to catch. Live bait is often the best method for success. We need a soaking rain to improve conditions for a good Smallmouth bite. Crappie remain a good option for pond fishing, especially after the warmer days we’ve had recently. Bass can also be surprisingly action in ponds this time of year.