Forrest Short said kayak fishermen who fished this past week in the Chesapeake Bay, the James or the York River were greeted with a heavy dose of Red Tide. That being said, saltwater fishing was very slow, with only a few reports of small croakers and flounder caught. However, on the freshwater side, things could not have been more productive.
Despite the warm water temperatures, bass, bluegill and pickerel fishing have been on an upswing. Plenty of 4-to-5-pound bass have been caught during the heat of the day in cooler drop-offs, and then they are moving into shallow water in the evening and early morning hours. Bluegill are thriving in the warm water and seem to be everywhere, while pickerel are mixed in and taking anything presented to them. Hopefully things will get back to normal in the bay this coming week, but it is always nice to get away from the crowds, the wind and the tides and pick up some big bass. Middle Chesapeake Bay and tributaries:
Jerry Thrash said flounder fishing turned tough again this week. It was hit-or-miss one day to the next. Croakers are available in the Buoy 42 area and over to Buoy 40A. Over the weekend in the winds, there were croakers to 12 inches caught off a dock, along with small speckled trout, spot and puppy drum. Spot averaging a half-pound are being caught off Gwynn's Island, Butler's Hole and the Spike. The first reported yellow-bellied spot were caught around New Point on Sunday. Spanish mackerel and bluefish were hit-or-miss from Windmill Point south because of the huge areas of red tide coming down the Rappahannock and affecting the waters out beyond R1 and south to Gwynn's Island and the Hole in the Wall.
Lower Bay, Hampton Bar, York & James River & coastal/offshore updates:
Ken Neill said that offshore, it is billfish and more billfish. If you need meatfish, there are plenty of dolphin around. Dolphin are showing up everywhere. There have been some good catches as close as 10 miles to Virginia's coastline. The marlin action is mostly around the 100-fathom curve. A few yellowfin tuna are being caught. Generating a lot of excitement are the bigeye tuna that are tearing up the occasional spread. Some wahoo are also being brought back to the dock, so there are some meatfish out there to round out the excellent billfish action. Tilefish and sea bass are available for the bottom-bouncers out there. Amberjack are at the South Tower and Chesapeake Light Tower, and can be found on wrecks in between the two (that is a lot of structure). Cobia fishing remains excellent. Sight-casters are catching tons of fish. When conditions hamper sight-fishing, chumming has been very productive. York Spit has been good to chummers. Anglers looking for cobia continue to find schools of large red drum roaming the lower bay and in the coastal waters. Spanish mackerel are falling to trolled spoons in the bay up to the Windmill Point area. Flounder fishing is very, very good, with limits of keepers being the norm.
Beaverdam Park: The park supervisor said the lake is at full pool, slightly stained and has a water temperature of 85 degrees. With the arrival of a little more moderate weather, it is hoped that the extreme heat has departed and the fishing at Beaverdam will pick up. The cooler weather is beginning to improve the conditions, as we are getting reports that the bass are beginning to move to shallower water during the cooler periods of the day. But folks' best fishing still will be in deeper portions of the lake while fishing with rubber worms and crank baits. Anglers fishing from the pier are having good luck while fishing in the morning and evening. The last night of night fishing will be held Sept. 3, as the main entrance of the park will be open until midnight.
Mid-Chickahominy Lake: Jill O'Brien-Jones at Eagles Landing said largemouth bass continue to be the most active. Although there is no particular pattern, bass have been caught deep and shallow, around grass beds, wood, and in the duck weed. Smaller fish have provided most of the action.
Lake Maury: Preston Loving said the lake is at full pool, fairly clear and has a water temperature of 85 degrees. Anglers seeking panfish have provided the only reports this week, as the bream and crappie anglers continue to catch fish under the Warwick Boulevard bridge and around the Lion's Bridge.
Little Creek Reservoir: The reservoir manager said the repairs to the ramp were booked for Thursday and today, so call before arriving this weekend. There weren't a lot of fishermen, but lots of fish were caught. Striper fishermen had a good week, with fish measuring up to 34 inches reported.