Updated: July 18th, 2019 by Stan Cobb
(Next Update: July 25th, 2019)
Saltwater - This has been an outstanding season for Spanish Mackerel. Folks are using Drone spoons on diving planers, and in line sinkers. There were Mackerel over 30 inches caught last week along the oceanfront, and inside the bay. Popular spots inside the bay are bar areas, such as the lower and upper ends of a shoal. Elevation lines can be a key to success. Many times, schools of Mackerel will be spotted by charter captains, out searching for Cobia The Cobia action is still very good, and should improve as we enter the heart of the summer season. Live eels, bucktails, dressed with plastic trailers, and live Croaker, are the offerings most utilized. Big schools of Drum are becoming a little less common over the last few days, but always be on the lookout for these schools, as they can provide incredible action and entertainment for all on board. Some real monster sized Drum have been boated this season. anchoring up at the edges of shoals, is a popular plan for those chumming, and drawing in the fish. Chum can also be used to target Spadefish, to ignite the bite, so to speak. Frozen clam chum is nasty stuff, but very effective. Good reports of Flounder are being reported from inside the bay. The CBBT, the Cell, and artificial reefs are all producing Flounder. The areas of Chincoteague and Wachapreague are producing steady catches of Flounder. Reports of Tautog catches are being reported from the islands of the CBBT. Fresh crab is the preferred bait for Tautogs. Things can get interesting while fishing around the bridge tunnel area. For instance, Green Top pro Austin Rush caught a long nose gar, which is a freshwater fish. Boats traveling out to deep water, are returning with Tilefish, and Seabass. Some of the shallower wrecks and structures are holding Seabass, and Flounder. The offshore charters are returning with Yellowfin, Dolphin, Wahoo, and Big Eye Tuna. A few King Mackerel are being caught also. Inshore boats are catching Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel, and Red Drum. The surf bite along the Outer Banks is producing Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, Sea Mullet, and Bluefish.
Freshwater - During these hot days of summer, seeking out moving water is a good option. Wading in the non tidal sections of the James can be entertaining and refreshing. Seeking out the Smallmouth is a fun endeavor. Topwater baits tend to work better early and late in the day, but overcast days can be excellent for surface action. Targeting the edges of current or whitewater, is a smart choice while wading. However, be safe and wear a flotation device. Those navigating the upper sections in boats often target ledge areas with bottom crawling lures, or live bait. Many times though, fish will be right against the bank, especially if there is substantial depth to the water. Soft plastics on Texas rigs are excellent for this. The tidal rivers offer excellent opportunities for angling on these hot days. Bass don't need to go deep with the current present, so shallow cover is always important. The vegetation along the Chickahominy River is targeted by many savvy anglers. Topwater frogs are a great way to trigger any size Bass, but some days, these baits tend to draw up the larger Bass, no matter the conditions. Wood cover tends to be better on the James, but should not be overlooked on the Chick or Potomac. Seeking out the grass is often the key to success on the Potomac, where quality catches are occurring now. The limits tend to be better during evening tournaments, as the low light levels and setting sun, can trigger the bigger bites. It's also easier on us anglers. The lake and pond bite tends to be better early and late in the day, but using live bait can even the odds during the heat of the day when fish move to areas of current, like the submerged channels. This is especially true for the landlocked Stripers. The best bites don't always occur during the night, but night time angling should not be dismissed. The night bite can be outstanding for both the Stripers, and Bass. Fishing at night can be productive for Crappie also. Using submersible light to draw in bait is a great tactic. This is a popular tactic at Kerr Lake, where big Crappie are prevalent. If choosing to fish at night, please be safe and follow the proper procedures for boating. Know the waters in which you choose, and let your position be known by displaying the proper lighting. Keep flotation devices out at all times, or better yet, worn. Having a rope tied to a throw able cushion is a smart choice.