Chesapeake Bay: There’s still plenty of Rockfish inside the bay and its tributaries, but it’s catch and release only within bay waters. Tandem rigs and Mojo’s are responsible for the bigger catches that we’re hearing about. Some sizable Rockfish have been caught inside the Rappahannock over the past week. Cary Bowmer and Brendon Hanley of Richmond boated a very nice 45” Rockfish from the Rappahannock River last week. The fish weighed 41lbs, 12ozs on the Green Top scales. Interest inside the bay will likely decrease, as many prefer to keep their catch, or at least have the option. The CBBT is a reliable location right now, no matter what presentation you prefer. Action inside the Elizabeth River is still strong as ever for Speckled Trout. The various hard baits by Mirro lure are by far, the most preferred. As the water temps fall, many opt to size down to the Mirro Dine model. Tautog are another species often targeted in the winter months. These fish are very structure oriented. If crab is available, use it.
Ocean: Cape Henry is already receiving a lot of pressure from Rockfish anglers. Reports are inconsistent right now. Some are reporting good success, while many have been skunked. Rudee Inlet is a popular place, but so also is Oyster on the seaside of the Eastern Shore. Nice Seabass are being caught from ocean wrecks and structures. Rudee Inlet is also reporting some recent catches of Bluefin Tuna. Know the regulations on these fish before targeting them, as hefty fines can be imposed to violators, whether intentional or not.
Freshwater: Strong catches of Bass continue to happen on the “cold side” of Lake Anna. Nathan and Ben Kendrick of Mechanicsville won this past weekend’s winter Tx out of Sturgeon Creek Marina with 18+lbs, 17+lbs was 2nd place. Expect to catch Bass on jigs, blade baits, swim baits, and jerk baits. Guy Davis of Spotsylvania recently caught a 7lber. Stripers slowed down just a little, but mainly because of the lack of anglers willing to endure the weather. The mid-lake region is turning on better now. Live bait is preferred, whether it’s Shad, Herring, or minnows. Casting swim baits and blade baits are also productive. Buggs Island Lake elevation is at 293.03! This is an excellent time to scout the lake for structure and or cover. Tidal Rivers like the Chick and James are yielding good sized Crappie currently. Bass fishing has been fair to decent recently. Silver Buddy’s and lipless cranks are producing now. Blue Catfish are also quite active now, and through the winter. Fresh Shad can be a challenge to obtain, but well worth it, if you’re after trophy fish. The upper James received some much needed rain, but not many anglers are talking about it. It is often now through February when the biggest Smallmouth get caught. Live bait is especially effective in the clear water. If there’s a slight stain to the water, fish often move shallower and become much more active. Swift Creek Reservoir has been yielding some high quality Bass and Chain Pickerel lately. Jerk baits and Alabama rigs are hot.