The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
OVERVIEW: Summer is winding down, but as far as the fish are concerned, nothing much has changed. With a few cooler days and a few more rain showers, you can feel that seasons are on the verge of change. Fishing has been very good across the region.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: Bass fishing has been consistent. Anglers are using the usual crankbaits, soft plastics and spinners to catch bass. Early morning and evening are good. Catfish are willing biters on a variety of baits. Kevin Fastabend, fishing with Ellen Killough, reported catching a 19.5-inch smallmouth over the weekend on the upper Rappahannock. They reported a very good bite with many fish landed. Water was flowing and relatively clear.
POTOMAC RIVER: Reel Bass Adventures reports that summer patterns continue to remain steady. Early morning or low light conditions will find good fishing with topwater baits along grass lines. Couple a low light with a low tide and the topwater bite is stronger. You will catch more on poppers, although a buzz bait will produce larger bass. A small white spinner bait worked around grass, pads and wood will draw strikes. Finesse worms slowly fished on creek ledges do well but again, the larger bass will take a jig and craw combo fished in the same areas.
LAKE ANNA: The cooler weather and rain had the bass moving into somewhat shallower waters, but don’t go too far into the creeks as the fish have not moved that far yet. The rain has increased oxygen levels so the fish are active at all depths. Continue to fish main lake points and drop-offs; also fish brush, docks or any other structure with deep running crankbaits. Some fish have been caught in very shallow water using spinnerbaits. Great topwater action in low light conditions. Plenty of stripers are being graphed from Sturgeons Creek up to Stubbs Bridge, many being caught too. Crappie action has been very good, yet the fish are still deep (20–30 feet) and are holding on bridges and very deep structure. Small minnows and 2-inch grubs are working best.
MOTTS RESERVOIR: From the Boathouse, bass anglers are reporting good fishing on bass up to 2 pounds using topwater lures. Soft plastics are also a good bet. Crappie have been active around beaver huts and man made structure in Mine Run and Turkey Cove. Small minnows are working well. Channel catfish are reported all around the reservoir with chicken Liver working well. John Jeffries of Spotsylvania checked in the largest stringer.
LAKE ORANGE: Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997) report that the water is clear with the recent rains and cooler air temperatures the lake is starting to cool off a little with water temperatures in the low 80′s. The fish are starting to show signs of moving out of the deeper water and heading up lake for the fall feed. Largemouth bass are readily taking topwater lures early and late in the day. During the middle of the day, you can catch the largemouth bass schooling on balls of bait fish at the top, as well. Crappie are active
in 8–12 feet of water on small minnows and jigs in brush piles and around the fishing pier. Catfishing is strong throughout the lake with the upper end more productive using live bait and chicken liver.
CHESAPEAKE BAY: The summer heat is becoming a little more bearable as alternating cold fronts become the norm. The fishing trend is still good, with an upswing in the action in several species lately. The cobia bite has finally turned on, with catches improving daily. Sight casters are thrilled with the abundance and size of the fish, with a smattering of citations. Fish ranging from 30 to 40 pounds are cruising in open water in the lower bay and along the ocean front. Chummers and bottom anglers are still catching some decent fish in the usual hot spots with cut bunker. Captain Jake Hiles, skipper of the “Matador” out of Rudee Inlet, said his crew released five tiger and hammerhead sharks measuring over 6 feet over a three-day period. Spanish mackerel are still available off Cape Henry and Sandbridge, but the bite has slowed. Large flounder are still plentiful, with some fish pushing over 7 pounds. Both live baiters and drifters are finding good luck, mostly in the southern portion of the bay. Red drum continue their late-summer trend, with good action around the 3rd and 4th islands of the CBBT, as well as the Nine Foot and Latimer Shoals areas. Sheepshead are still hitting well, with nice fish taking fiddlers, crabs, sand fleas, and clams. The entire span of the Bay Bridge tunnel, as well as the tubes of the artificial islands, are holding fish. Folks are also hooking into lots of keeper tautog in these same areas. Croaker continue to hit in most areas of the lower bay. Hot spots include the MMBT, the CBBT, the Cell, and the concrete ships. Amberjack are still available at the South Tower and Jack Crevelle are also a possibility at the Chesapeake Light Tower, especially later this month. Offshore, scattered billfish and wahoo are still possible, along with some yellowfin tuna and nice mahi. Boats running to Carolina waters are finding a better selection, especially in the sailfish variety. Exceptional catches of sails, along with some scattered yellowfin tuna and bailer and gaffer mahi are the main event for the Carolina fleet this week.
—Compiled by Michael O’Malley