The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
OVERVIEW: With the possibility of the first major tropical storm or hurricane, high temperatures and unsettled weather, nobody really knows what to expect for the holiday weekend.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: The heat seems to have dampened the spirits of many anglers. A few are reporting good catfish at night. Catfish are an easy target but anchoring up and sweating through the day is not much fun. Bass fishermen are also having luck when they give it a shot. Get up early before the sun gets on the water and avoid the jet skis and river runners for the best fishing.
POTOMAC RIVER: The early morning, low light top water bite remains strong over flooded grass beds in creek bays. A top water popper has been the most productive bait for this pattern. Once the sun gets high, switch to hard cover like downed trees, wrecks or rocks where creature baits will produce bass of good quality. The marsh runoffs during an outflowing tide are still a good place to collect a few bass with jig worms and finesse worms or a small deep-diving crank bait. Blue gills are off the beds but are still located in the spawning areas. They like a small fly rod popper in white or black.
LAKE ANNA: High Point Marina reports early morning fish have been caught this week in grassy water. The upper end of the lake seems to be the most productive. Later in the day fish can still be caught on points, drop offs, and ledges. Use a dark colored worm 7.5 inches or larger, or deep-diving crankbaits (14–18 feet). Most of the crappie are holding on deep structure and bridge pilings. Use 2-inch grubs or small minnows 15–20 feet deep. The stripers are in the main lake from the splits down to Dike 1 in 20–30 feet of water. Trolling with live bait is the best method. Free lining herring or jumbo minnows also work well.
LAKE ORANGE: Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997) reports stained water with temperatures in the mid 80s. Crappie are on mid lake structure feeding on small minnows. Largemouth bass can be found on the upper end schooling on small baitfish. Bass are being taken on lures that match the size of the bait fish. Catfish also seem to be on the upper end of the lake, as well. Fish a little deeper for the larger bream with red worms.
CHESAPEAKE BAY: Cooperative winds are allowing more boats to get out with improving results. Most anglers are still taking advantage of the good cobia action. Both chummers and sight casters are enjoying good activity, with reports of limits of fish ranging from 30–70 pounds. The hottest areas are still Bluefish rock, the Inner Middle Grounds, the Nine-foot shoal, and Latimer shoal near buoys 13 and 16. Fresh cut bait such as bunker and live bait are working for chummers. Flounder action continues to pick up. At the Bay Bridge Tunnel, the 3rd and 4th islands are producing for drifters, while those working the bridge structure with jigs and live bait are also finding good numbers of nice keepers (5–6 pounds, with a few over 7). Red drum are still biting along Fisherman’s Island and the Nine Foot Shoal areas for boats setting up to bottom fish. Most red drum catches are now becoming incidental by-catches by anglers targeting cobia. Black drum hook-ups are possible from around the four artificial islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Spadefish are biting at the Chesapeake Light Tower, over near shore wrecks and around the islands and the high rise area of the CBBT this recently. Sheepshead action is still on the rise, with several fish over 10 pounds boated from the CBBT complex. The Spanish mackerel bite from Cape Henry to False Cape is good lately, with boats filling their limits with nice fish (16–25 inches). 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 available within Rudee Inlet, along with spot, nice puppy drum, and some speckled trout for release action. The folks at Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle report that lots of nice pups to around 25-inches are taking peeler crabs fished on the bottom in Long Creek this week. Amberjack are responding for boats as they swing by the Southern Towers while searching for tuna lately. Deep droppers are still doing well, finding good bounties of blueline and golden tilefish, wreckfish, grouper, blackbellied rosefish, and nice seabass mixed among them. The offshore yellowfin tuna bite slowed significantly this week off Virginia. A few bigeye tuna over 100 pounds are saving the day for a few lucky boats. Scattered gaffer mahi are offering some variety, with mako shark encounters also making things interesting.