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OVERVIEW: Summer is arriving in earnest, and the heat wave should be back for the weekend. Fish early and late for the best results and most comfort. Keep a sharp eyes for those nasty thunderstorms, which can turn a great day into a scary situation in minutes.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: Catfish and bass have been cooperating. The best catfishing has been at night. The Holloway brothers, fishing near Flintshire farm, reported a great catfish bite, landing fish up to 25 pounds using cut bream. Bass are hitting spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Rich McDaniel and Scott Wallace floated the river from Hole in the Wall to Motts and reported catching more than 30 smallmouth bass and bushel basket of bream.
POTOMAC RIVER: Reel Bass Adventures reports popping frogs worked over grass beds have been producing quality bass throughout the day. The bite is best during early morning and late evening but bass will hit the bait even during periods of high sun. White spinner baits worked over and through the grass result in hard hits. If the grass is too thick to work a spinner bait, pitch a creature bait into an opening in the thick grass. This can be slow but also produces larger bass. For a quick limit, fish a jig worm along creek drops and especially in front of marsh run offs. A 4-inch blue glitter worm rigged on a -ounce jig head has been working well. Snakeheads are in all the creeks. They like all the baits that the bass like.
MOTTS RESERVOIR: The Boathouse reports 87-degree, slightly stained waters. Many bass (1–2 pounds) were being boated. Topwater and soft plastics were the favorite baits. The island area was a top producer, as well as the lilly pads at the berm end of the lake. A few crappie were reported in 12–15 feet of water. Channel cats are everywhere and can be caught on anything; chicken liver is the go-to bait. Bluegills are also easy to target and can be caught just about anywhere on red wigglers or night crawlers.
LAKE ANNA: High Point Marina reports good early morning, top water action until 8–9 a.m. for bass. Stay close to the main lake, mouths of creeks and away from the shoreline. Fish will hit just about any top water lure with good action. As the day heats up, the fish will move to deeper water close to structures and chase crankbaits until lake temps get too high. Mid- to deep-range baits work best. 7.5-inch worms and grubs work well too. Striper start the day shallow and gradually will move to 20–25 feet. Stay in the main lake from Sturgeons to just past the Splits. Trolling gets good around 11 a.m. and is typically good through the hottest part of the day. For crappie, the key is finding them on deep structure. During summer always try the bridges. Small and medium minnows or 2-inch grubs work great.
LAKE ORANGE: Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997) reports the water is stained with visibility around 2 feet. Largemouth bass fishing is excellent with the summer pattern in full swing. Soft plastics are the baitd of choice for the bass bite with top water baits drawing them in during low light periods. Crappie fishing has locked into summer patterns on small minnows with the fish hanging out in 10–12 feet around the fishing pier and fish attractors. Catfishing is off the charts, with numbers of 4–6-pounders being caught. Chicken liver is enticing the catfish bite all over the lake. A few nice walleyes have been caught by the dam in 12–14 feet depths with live bait.
CHESAPEAKE BAY: The saltwater summer fishing action is becoming hot. The folks at Ocean’s East 2 report that plenty of cobia are swarming all over the lower bay, as well as the ocean front this week. Most are 20–30 pounds, but a few larger brutes are also on the prowl. Sight casters are cleaning up. Chummers are finding decent action in the usual hot spots off Hampton and along the Middle Ground area and Latimer Shoal near the mouth of the bay. With clearer water, flounder are on an upward trend again, with limits of fish pushing to around 5 pounds coming from most of the usual haunts. Good action is available around all four islands of the CBBT, where anglers are having good luck with strip baits and jigging. Some nice fish are also coming from the Cell, Buoy 42, Back River Reef, and Oyster. Red drum are still available along Fisherman’s Island and the Nine Foot shoal areas. Spadefish action is still on around the Chesapeake Light Tower and Tower Reef area. The sheepshead action is still picking up along the CBBT, with folks finding nice fish along the entire span on clams, crabs, and fiddlers. Croaker of all sizes are hitting all over the lower bay, and nice sized spot are still biting inside Lynnhaven Inlet, Little Creek Inlet, and along Ocean View. Spanish mackerel action along the Virginia Beach ocean front is impressive, with boats filling their limits with big fish ranging from 18–24 inches. Once the water clears a little more along the ocean front, king mackerel should make a début. Amberjack are showing on wrecks and navigation towers, mostly between 44–48 inches. The Virginia offshore season is heating up, and the yellowfin tuna bite is the main attraction.
—Compiled by Michael O’Malley