The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
OVERVIEW: The recent rainfall has led to some flooding and muddy water. The weekend fishing could really be affected by all the rain, but with the long holiday weekend, many people should be on the water.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: Chris Hicks reports good fishing for those brave enough to face the wet weather. Water temperatures have remained much cooler than usual because of the rain, which has meant the big catfish are biting well all day. Use fresh bait and you may hook a monster. Bass fishing has been good. Most anglers are using soft plastics.
POTOMAC RIVER: Good top water action is found in grass beds during low light and low tide according to Reel Bass Adventures. Buzz baits, frogs and poppers all work. Wacky rigged stick worms fished weightless are the second choice. The wood pattern continues to produce good bass on finesse worms or small jig and craw combo’s. No one color seems favored. Shallow running, chrome/blue crank baits worked along spatterdock fields in creeks catch nice bass as will a white/chartreuse chatter bait or spinner bait. Catfish are plentiful. Croakers are being caught downriver, along with a few spot. Some larger white perch and rockfish are also being caught. Trolling at dusk and dawn with bucktails is a good bet. Chumming is also working.
LAKE ANNA: Jim Hemby of High Point Marina reports that stripers are schooling chasing baits to the surface early in the morning and on cloudy days then sounding to depths of 25–40 feet, making live bait fishing and trolling very effective. Schools can be found from the Splits down to the dam in the main lake regions of the lake. Stripers will chase 2-inch bait fry to the surface advertising where they are making top water action the key in low light times of the day. Larger fish are below the schoolies. Jump fishing can be fun but shut down your motor at least 100 yards away in order not to spook the school. Do not encroach on other fishermen who are working the fish. Trolling can be very productive especially when the sun gets bright and the schools break up. Put your lures at the same depth the fish are holding. Bass are in summer patterns and predictable in their feeding habits. Early in the morning it is hard to beat working primary points nearby deep water with topwater baits. Once the sun gets bright, bass will retreat back to the depths using stumps, rock and brush piles, bridge pilings and ledges as cover. Use deep diving crankbaits. Crappie have moved to deeper water and are feeding heavily on 2-inch bait fry. Structures in 15–30 feet can hold schools and should be fished vertically using your depth finder to keep you on your target. Night fishing can be excellent for crappie.
LAKE ORANGE: Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997) says the water is stained with 3–4 feet of visibility with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees. Largemouth bass and crappie have positioned themselves in their summer patterns. They can be found in 10–15 feet during the day, moving shallow during low light periods. Largemouth bass are taking soft plastics, with some fish being caught on top water baits early and late in the day. Crappie fishing remains strong although the warmer temperatures seem to have them moving to deeper brush piles and fish structure. Small minnows are the bait of choice. Catfishing is strong all over the lake on chicken liver and night crawlers.
CHESAPEAKE BAY: One of the top targeted species on the rise is cobia. Both chummers and sight casters are reporting double-digit hook-ups of solid 30- to 40-pounders, but huge fish are still slow to make a showing. With clearer water dominating the lower bay lately, flounder action is finally picking up. At the Bay Bridge Tunnel, the first and fourth islands are producing for drifters, while those working the bridge structure with jigs and live bait are also finding good numbers of nice 5–6-pound keepers. The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that the ocean front Spanish mackerel bite finally opened up this week. Most red drum catches are now becoming incidental by-catches by anglers targeting cobia. Black drum hook-ups are coming from around the four artificial islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, but remember that black drum require extra time while reviving these large fish in order to increase their survival rate. Four-pound spadefish are still biting well at the Chesapeake Light Tower and near shore wrecks. Sheepshead action is on the upswing, with several over 10 pounds boated from the CBBT complex recently. Decent croaker are lurking around the James River Bridge, the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, The Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel, and off Ocean View. Croaker are also up for grabs within Rudee Inlet, along with spot, nice puppy drum and some speckled trout. The offshore scene continues to hold good opportunities, but the stiff wind forecast for this weekend could keep many boats closer to shore. Some yellowfin tuna are around, with a few brutes pushing to over 70 pounds thrilling crews. Catches of gaffer mahi are improving, with a few fish over 20 pounds. Scattered mako sharks are also making things interesting.