The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
OVERVIEW: This one of the best times of year for fishing in Virginia. Don’t make that mistake. Rivers, ponds, lakes, streams and the Chesapeake Bay all have a variety of fish just waiting for you.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: Hicks Landing reports bass fishermen are doing great. In a recent tournament, the winning five fish stringer was over 20 pounds of fish. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastics are working well. Fall colors seem to be the best bet, but white and chartreuse work as well. Catfish are plentiful for the few who are targeting them. The crappie bite is improving dramatically. Try more than just minnows right now. The crappie can be fickle and each day seems to be different. Jigs, spinners and minnow should all be used. Upriver, this is one of the best times of year to catch a trophy smallmouth bass. Try a float trip on the river and you will be awed by the fishing and scenery.
POTOMAC RIVER: Reel Bass Adventures has found the fishing to be slow. The grass pattern produced very little and hard cover patterns were only slightly better. Some bass were located by using small deep diving crank baits and tubes around rocky areas. Some small striper action was evident around bridge pilings and bulkheads. A top water popper produced early and a swim bait worked for a late morning bite. Some of the creeks are starting to give up some crappie. Downriver, the rockfish are beginning signs of schooling up. Birds have been seen working some bait pods, but nothing steady has materialized yet. There have been steady reports of small rockfish being caught in shallow water on bucktails.
LAKE ANNA: McCotter’s Guide Service reports that with water temperatures in the 70s (and dropping) throughout the lake we are poised to enter the next phase of annual fishing patterns here on Lake Anna. Once the water drops into the 60s you see a lot of fish movement. Striper are moving into the upper portion of the lake to feed on massive schools of threadfin shad. The “hot zone” will soon be above the second bridges in both branches. Currently, however, the schools are from The Splits up to the first two bridges, around the Power Plant, Dukes Creek and Dike III. Multi-arm rigs with
3-inch baits are working well now, too. Largemouth bass are less prone to be caught in the shallows when the water drops into the 60′s, though they will feed heartily in the shallows, usually in the mid-afternoons. The backs of mid lake creeks often hold herring then and the bass school up and corral them for a buffet-style smashing. You can also catch fish in the upper, flats sections of the lake using baits that allow you to cover a lot of water like a spinnerbait or lipless crankbait. Crappie have been on docks, shallow brush piles and rocks in the upper section of the lake. The average size will get larger and the fish will slowly move toward deeper
and deeper holding areas, including bridge pilings until the water falls into the low 50s when they will begin to school off shore and follow threadfin schools.
CHESAPEAKE BAY: The late-season red drum action continues to sizzle, and these fish are seldom deterred by fronts or muddy water. Surf and pier anglers are elated as the drum run continues to provide very good catches of fish pushing to over 48 inches from the surf lines of Sandbridge and the Wildlife Refuge. Surf anglers are reporting multiple catches of fish on fresh mullet, bunker, and spot. Big drum are also ravaging pods of bunker in open water along the oceanfront, near the 3rd and 4th islands of the CBBT, as well as off Fisherman’s Island. Scattered pods of cobia pushing to over 50 pounds made easy targets for those making the run to the oceanfront before the blow. Reports of king mackerel skying in open waters accented the excellent king bite this past week. Several smokers ranging from 20–40 pounds were boated from Rudee Inlet to False Cape. Both live baiting and trolling with plugs and spoons are working well. Inshore species are drawing more interest, with speckled trout at the top of the list. Most of the fish are ranging between 18–20 inches. Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets are providing good speck action, along with most of the usual Bayside flats and creeks. Puppy drum are also taking lures intended for trout within the inlets and the Elizabeth River. Spot are still providing good results in Rudee Inlet and along the shorelines, where anglers are scoring with big spot on bloodworms. The early striped bass season is still heating up. Anglers are finding school-sized fish around 22–25 inches while casting top-water plugs at the rocks along the islands of the CBBT. The best flounder catches were coming from channel edges and shoals within the lower Bay. Decent-sized sea bass are taking up the slack, along with good trigger fish catches. Seabass become off limits after Oct. 14 for a few weeks. Not many have ventured to the deep waters due to the recent wind, but once the seas calm, the action could be good. Look for yellowfin tuna and wahoo to be on the loose, with marlin and swordfish also a possibility.
—Compiled by Michael O’Malley