FRESHWATER Lower James River Mike Ostrander of the James River Fishing School, (804) 938-2350, reported catches by: Mike Dunleavy , 9, and his father, Mike , Richmond, landed 10 flathead catfish up to 25½ pounds, along with a few smallmouth bass; Steve Miklandrick , Chesterfield, caught nine flatheads up to 21 pounds, along with a few bluecats and a channel cat.
Corey Mullins caught eight flathead catfish ranging from 12 to 19 pounds fishing the Pony Pasture area. All fish were caught on live bluegill.
Wednesday night mini-tournaments will begin next week on the Pamunkey River from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, call Nathan “Sweetpea” Dowdy at (804) 795-2139.
L.E. Rhodes of Hatchmatcher Guide Service,(434) 286-3366, reports the Upper James is in great shape with water temperatures pushing 80 degrees.The fishing continues to be good. We are seeing and catching a lot of two- to three-year-old fish, which bodes well for the future of the fishery. By throwing maller baits anglers will catch smaller fish, but by upsizing baits they can bring in fish of 15 inches and larger. Fly fishermen still are having success with baitfish and streamers. Topwater bugs are producing now as well.
James River Runners, (434) 286-2338, also reported the river is rounding into good shape for fishing. Temperatures are on the rise, and clarity has improved. The best fishing will be near banks with undercuts, near island areas and near eddies behind visible rock formations. Best lures for smallmouth are Yamamoto split-tail grubs and other rubber/plastic baits, floater-diver Rapalas, white and chartreuse spinnerbaits and other shallow-dive crankbaits. More up-to-date information on the Upper James can be obtained on the Web at www.jamesriverrunners.com.
Little Creek Reservoir
Walter Elliott reported the following catches: Kay Adams , Ashland, shellcracker to 11 inches; Bud Foster , Ashland, 25 shellcrackers to 11 inches; David Stacy , Sandston, yellow perch to 13 inches; Scot Stacy , Richmond, striper to 6 pounds, yellow perch to 12¼ inches; Bob Johnson , Richmond, striper to 11 pounds, 14 ounces, largemouth bass to 3 pounds, 2 ounces; Stewart Hershberger , Buckingham, 25 Sunfish up to 1½ pounds; Darryl Hall , Richmond, 25 sunfish up to 1.1 pounds; Greg and Shirley Rose , Prince George County, 25 shellcrackers to 12 inches; Fletcher Whitley , Hampton, yellow perch to 12¾ inches. Shellcrackers have been the hot fish for the past week. Anglers using night crawlers and red wigglers have been catching fish up to 1½ pounds. Largemouth bass in the 3-pound size have been hitting on plastic worms and crankbaits. Chain pickerel are biting on minnows, crankbaits and soft plastic baits. A few stripers have been reported with the usual live baits as the bait of choice. Yellow perch are biting on small minnows and jigs. Water remains at close to full pool and is clear.
Barbara Williams at Whippernock Marina, (804) 265-5252, reported the following catches: Jeff Glass , Prince George, largemouth bass to 6 pounds, 3 ounces; Doug Gleason , Chester, largemouth bass to 6 pounds, 3 ounces; Robbie Williams , Dinwiddie, largemouth bass to 6 pounds, 4 ounces, 22 inches; Bert Gibson , Amelia, largemouth bass to 6 pounds, 4 ounces, 22½-inches long.
Jill O’Brien-Jones of Eagles Landing, (804) 966-9094, reported midweek individual bass tournament results: f irst: Mike Martinez , Lanexa, three fish, 8.30 pounds (also big fish, 6.02 pounds); second, Casey Woodfin , Sandston, three fish, 7.19 pounds.
Bream and shellcrackers still lead the catch list with a number of limits caught. Crappie are more difficult to locate, however a dozen to ¾ pounds were caught by Scott Willis . Frank Mayes and fishing partners from Colonial Heights went home with several catfish to 6 pounds and a nice stringer of bream. Frank Brown Jr. , Richmond, and his father Frank Brown went home with a nice stringer of small bass and bream. All species are active. Bass appear to be moving into a pattern: pulling out of the hot creeks and moving to wood, under the grass, lily pads and duck weed and should move to the deeper holes with all this heat. Pike continue to be active with catches to 2.6 pounds this week.
Other notable catches: Ditto Long , Mechanicsville, bass to 5.70 pounds, 21 inches; Tripp Lawson , Highland Springs, nine bass to 6.1 pounds, 24 inches.
Captain Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475, reported that panfish in Chickahominy Lake were becoming active last week. Crappie were scattered as individuals and small schools along weedbeds and minor creek mouths and on wood cover extending into deeper water. A few yellow perch were along weed lines, especially near creek mouths. Crappie and yellow perch were hitting small swimbaits and small live minnows, and were numerous enough to justify dragging a few minnows on bobber rigs behind the boat while working along the emergent weed edges for other species. Bluegill and shellcrackers continued to appear around shoreline weedbeds and wood cover. Spawning groups should reappear during the full moon period later this month. Bluegill and shellcrackers were hitting well on wet flies fished on a dropper below a surface bug and on live crickets, worms, and Berkley Gulp baits on slip bobber rigs. Pickerel, bowfins, and a few bass were on weedy flats throughout the lake, and were hitting live minnows and lightly-weighted plastic worms. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Bruce King had 10 crappie to 12½ inches, two yellow perch, two bass, a bowfin and four bluegill. Malcolm Turnbull had 66 bluegill, three shellcrackers, a bass, and a crappie. Gary Lambert and Craig Kinsley had two bass to 2 pounds, six crappie, 19 bluegill and a shellcracker.
Guide Glenn Briggs reports the summer pattern for bass has arrived, and that means deeper water with Carolia-rigged plastics or crankbaits. Briggs reports a decent topwater bite in the morning and recommends Z-Pops and Slim Dogs. Not a lot of topwater action for stripers, so trolling has been best between Stubbs Bridge and the Splits.
Buggs Island Lake
Guide Tim Wilson reports the lake level to be 300.9 with temperatures near 80 degrees. The upper lake is still slightly stained, but clear water is the norm for the vast reservoir. Wilson is doing best in the 10-18 feet level, with Carolina-rigged plastics during much of the day, but a good topwater bite is possible early. Wilson is working Nutbush Creek and main lake in the Clarksville vicinity. Stripers are moving steadily toward the dam so anglers should use sonar to find them before they fish.
Chickahominy Anglers, Pamunky River Tournament: first: Mike Elswick and Jill O’Brien-Jones , four fish, 7.32 pounds (Elswick had big fish at 2.85 pounds); second: Ed Potts , Chester, four fish, 5.42 pounds.
Joshua Jackson , 12, caught a 7½ pound largemouth bass in a private pond in Chesterfield County using a live minnow.
The next Pamunkey River mini series tournament will be held on Sunday. For more information call Phillip Arnold at (804) 530-4665.
Ken Neill reported cobia have arrived in force and more have been spotted in the ocean headed towards the fishing grounds. Spadefish are being caught at the Cell, Wolftrap, the Chesapeake Light Tower, and along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. A lot of small gray trout can be found at the Concrete Ships and near the high rise of the CBB-T. The red drum bite continues to be strong. Black drum are being caught by anglers targeting red drum on the shoals and by anglers casting jigs at the islands of the CBB-T. Offshore, there has been good action on gaffer dolphin in the Triple 0s area. Some billfish have been encountered in the same area. Yellowfin and bluefin tuna can be found on the Fingers and bluefin tuna are also on the inshore humps like the Hot Dog, 26 Mile Hill, and 21 Mile Hill.
Captain Billy Pipkin, (804) 580-7292, reported fishing is going well in the middle and lower Bay this week with a diversity of species hitting the rails. The Reedville Bluefish Derby had more than 200 boats competing for the largest rockfish and bluefish last weekend. Rockfish were plentiful and covered a wide range from 5 to 35 pounds. Bluefish were more sparsely located with most weighing 2 pounds or less. The largest blue tipped the scales at more than 11 pounds with the nearest contender being 7 pounds lighter.
Striped bass fishing ends in Virginia on Wednesday. Fishing is peaking this week and is offering anglers a chance at fish in the 24to 28-inch range. For those anglers wishing to continue striped bass fishing, a road trip into Maryland waters will result in limits as well.
Bluefish action is picking up each day with a scattering available from the Asphalt Pile Reef, the Buoy 62 channel edge, and the S.W. Middle Grounds. These 2-pound fish will soon take to surface feeding and in the next few weeks should be available in greater numbers.
Croaker fishing is on the rise as large fish are becoming more abundant. The eastern channel edge from the Cut Channel up to Smith Point has been holding good numbers of these tasty fish. The eastern side at the “1GW” outside of the Great Wicomico River has been providing these fish also. In many cases, it is necessary to cull through several fish to make a larger grade. The RN2 Buoy is a good location to try for a mix of sizes up to 19 inches. Anglers have found good-sized schools of croaker below Tangier Sound this week. Evening fishing offers the opportunity for anglers to fish off of the shore or from docks. Croaker migrate into shallow water at sundown and provide great action for those who don’t mind braving the mosquitoes for a while.
Gray trout are showing up in more catches this week. These fish have increased their presence in the lower Rappahannock River. They remain a small 12 to 14 inches in the river, yet their larger comrades have taken residence at the Cell and Target ship areas during the spawning period. Evening or early morning fishing is best in those locations.
Flounder have moved northward this week with more frequent catches being found at the lower cut channel, the east side of the shipping channel above Buoy 62, and atop the hill east of Buoy 68. Long strips of squid and even similarly shaped cut menhaden are bringing legal fish (over 17 inches) into the boats.
Queens Creek Outfitters, (804) 725-3889, reports spadefish are everywhere but are very finicky on the bite. On the Cell, many big fish choose to just push baits around to the frustration of anglers, but experience shows that the bite will turn on at some point. Water temperatures flirt with 70 degrees, still chilly for this time of year. Queens Creek weighed in three spadefish citations this week, all from Wolftrap light. The flounder action is building at Buoy 40, 42 and the Cell. Speckled trout dropped off this week with none reported in the Piankitank yet.
Deepwater croaker are showing in good numbers closer to home as fish have shown north to the Cut Channel Range Light and impressive numbers have been seen east of the Cell. Surf fishermen on Gwynn’s Island and Mathews public beaches saw good catches of croaker, some spot and stripers and a few gray trout.
Loretta Hughes Smith of Toano, while fishing with her son Johnnie Hughes of Gloucester, landed a 7-pound, 8-ounce flounder at Buoy 40 on squid with minnow. Although she has fished for years, this was Loretta’s first citation of any type. Johnnie caught a 6-pound, 6-ounce flounder. Ted Newton , Chesterfield, caught an 11-pound, 10-ounce spadefish, and David Crittenden , Chesterfield, landed a 9-pound, 6-ounce spadefish.
Jimmy Melton of Glen Allen caught an 8-pound, 14-ounce flounder and a 23-inch flounder about a mile below the Cell. He was trolling with croaker cut bait.
Leonard Nuchols reported big cobia are being caught at Cape Point where Dano Krahling of Fredericksburg landed an 87-pound citation on Monday. (Krahling didn’t have a cooler big enough for his fish, so he tied it on the tailgate of his SUV and headed for the tackle shop. However on his drive off the beach his cobia fell off, unknown to him. He was fortunate that an honest angler was a short distance behind him and put the cobia in his truck and caught up with him at the tackle shop for the weigh in). Rich Donner of Yorktown landed a 51-pound cobia for a citation and John Mortensen caught a 20-pound cobia. Cape Point also is still producing some big drum where four were caught Monday night. There was a 42-pound cobia caught on a white Glass Minnow lure with a pink stripe on one side and a green stripe on the other side. Anglers continue to have good success catching good numbers of blues with the Glass Minnow lures along with some Spanish mackerel. Most of the big cobia are being caught when the anglers kayak the bait out into deeper water. Boat anglers report seeing plenty of big Spanish mackerel just ½ mile off Cape Point.
The Hatteras beaches report cobia, blues, Spanish mackerel and pompano. Ocracoke Island reports a few big drum, cobia up to 82½ pounds, blues, Spanish mackerel, flounder, speckled trout and gray trout. The northern beaches report cobia, blues, Spanish mackerel and sea mullet. The southern beaches report pompano, sea mullet, Spanish mackerel, blues and cobia. The offshore boats out of Hatteras Inlet report dolphin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, king mackerel, blue marlin and white marlin. The inshore boats are bringing in cobia, gray trout, Spanish mackerel, blues and big drum.
Fishing out of Pirates Cove in North Carolina aboard the Papa Mac, Tony Pace caught a 700-pound blue marlin 44 miles off the coast. Pace fought the big fish for almost four hours and the boat wound up 60 miles out in the ocean
Compiled by Walt Amacker