The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
OVERVIEW: This is a transitional time and many anglers are putting away their tackle and picking up their bow or getting ready for the cold season. This is a great time of year to experience Virginia fishing from the mountains to the bay.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: Hicks Landing reports the bass fishing has been very good, but the fish are smaller. In most recent tournaments, 1314 pounds of fish can win it. Soft plastic baits and spinnerbaits are working well, and fall colors are producing well. Plenty of big catfish are available. Crappie have not turned on yet. The water is still a little warm.
POTOMAC RIVER: Reel Bass Adventures reports that with the drop in water temperatures, several species are becoming more active. Bass continue to hit top water baits over grass beds. Poppers and buzz baits will draw strikes from aggressively feeding fish. Spinner baits, chatter baits and swim baits worked over and around grasses will also produce. Small rockfish are active, especially at the beginning of an outgoing tide, around bridge abutments and rock piles. They like top water baits, soft plastic swim baits or a lipless crank bait. Most are sub legal. A few redfish continue to strike medium deep-running crank baits around main river points. Blue gill are showing up along grass edges with some being large enough to take a tube bait although more will hit a small action tail grub rigged on a – ounce jig head. Rockfish are all over the place in the river. It just seems like none of them are of legal size. Most are reporting good catches of undersizefish. Puppy drum continue to be active in the river.
LAKE ANNA: High Point Marina reports the uplake region continues to produce the best catches of largemouth bass, especially above the first two bridges in both the North Anna arm and Pamunkey Branch. The lake is slightly low, so there is not as much shallow water cover. Pitch small plastic worms to docks and jig as it falls. Midlake, bass are moving to the backs of creeks like Marshall, Pigeon, Mitchell, Sturgeon and Contrary. Use the same patterns as up lake fish including suspending jerkbaits, soft plastic jerkbaits, and swimbaits. There are stripers breaking just about every morning in all three sections of the lake. Fish have been caught in deepwater at the Route 208 bridge. Most anglers are using live bait and spoons. Lots of crappie are around bridges and docks, as long as you stay in at least 10–15 feet of water. Small minnows and 2-inch grubs work best.
CHESAPEAKE BAY/ATLANTIC OCEAN: With the sizzling billfish bite offshore and excellent inshore prospects, folks should have no problem finding some action. As cobia continue to move out of the bay, sight casters are finding decent action using eels and jigs. Small pods of cobia are also surfacing along the ocean front. Chummers are having some good luck with keeper-sized fish along the lower bay shoals and off False Cape lately. King mackerel are still a possibility trolling around the Chesapeake Light tower and down to False Cape in clean water. A few nice Spanish are still lingering in the same areas, and false albacore are available closer to shore and around the tower, while nice sharks are still a favorite off the ocean front. Flounder action is steady in the lower bay recently. The Baltimore and Thimble Shoal Channels, and the Hampton Bar are productive areas lately. Tautog (3–6 pounds) are also beginning to bite inside the bay, along the CBBT tubes and structure. Good sheepshead action continues in these same areas, where fish up to 10 pounds are mixed in, along with triggerfish. Big red drum (up to 54 inches) continues to spread throughout the lower bay and coastal waters. Speckled trout are still making a good showing within the Eastern Shore Bayside creeks, with Hungar’s Creek and Nassawadax Creek giving up consistent catches of bigger fish. The Elizabeth River speck scene is still on the rise, with plenty of keepers available to about 21 inches. Puppy drum are a reliable target, Bay striped bass season opens Oct. 4. Anglers will be able to keep two fish per person ranging from 18–28 inches. One of the two fish can be 28 inches or larger. The lower bay is experiencing some decent spot action. Chopper bluefish will become active on offshore wrecks soon, with the Triangle wrecks a favorite. Amberjack will continue to circle the South Tower for awhile longer. Fall offshore billfish action is still wide open, with lots of opportunity for multiple marlin releases. Nice dolphin and wahoo are also on the prowl. Scattered catches of yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, and blackfin tuna are also still possibilities.
—compiled by Michael O’Malley