By Guide Chris Craft
Bass: September is transition time at Lake Anna. In the early part of the month, the fish spend the majority of their time in deep water. As the water temps start to cool, bass make a move towards the backs of creeks following baitfish.
Early in the month, concentrate your efforts on brush piles, bridge pilings, deep docks and rock piles. My two baits of choice are a deep diving crankbait or a shakey head rigged trick worm. Do not spend too much time in any one area. If you catch a fish, give it just a few minutes to produce another and then move on. The more water you cover, the better your odds of catching fish.
The latter part of the month will be time to break out search baits like Rat L Traps, Squarebill Crankbaits and spinnerbaits with top water baits fished during low light periods.
Crappie: The specks will be in deep water for most of the month. When the water temps reach the 70-degree mark, they will make a move back to the shallows, normally the last week of September to the first week of October.
Early this month, look for them on bridge pilings and deep brush piles. The best way to catch them is with a small minnow either rigged on a slip bobber or just on a jighead. Once they move shallow, put the minnows away and start fishing up-lake boat docks with a 1/16-oz. jighead and a 2″ Big Bite or Kalin Curly Tail Grub. Once you locate them, you can fill your limit pretty quick.
Stripers: Stripers will be chasing bait in early mornings from the Power Plant to the Splits. You can catch them on Broken Back Red Fins, Paycheck Baits Repo-man and Poppers when they are on top.
After the morning feed, locate the schools of fish with your electronics and drop a Toothache Spoon or a Damiki Vault down to them.
Trolling Bill Norman DD22’s or Cordell Deep Diving Redfins is another great way to catch stripers after the morning feed.
For one of the first times this year, Virginia rivers are largely low and clear. The cooling trend we enjoyed this week should trigger a strong bite from both smallmouth and musky. Topwater baits very effective now as fish continue to look up for damselflies and terrestrial insects. The New, James and Shenandoah should all be red-hot over the Labor Day weekend.
With early high tides, use poppers like Lucky Craft G-Splash and Gunfish walkers on 10-12 pound GAMMA Copoly or 20-pound Torque braid. Buzzbaits also worth a shot. Keep a weightless stickworm on deck to cast to missed strikes. Use 20-pound Torque braid and a Mustad 3/0 Mega Bite hook.
As the tides fall, locate ditches in the grass and use soft plastics. Texas rigged Mizmo tubes, shaky head, and even dropshot will work on the edges and in the cuts. Weightless stickworms Texas rigged can also be used. The key is to slow down. Try big 10-inch worms too.
The key will be to find areas in the grass that create edges. Ditches in the grass are another solid target. Docks are worth a try while the sun is up and the tide is high. Look for docks with 3-5 feet of water underneath.
Use hollow frogs on 60-pound test Torque braid worked on top of grass at every tide and cover water. Mat punching is best with hot days, lots of sun and higher water. Use ½ ounce and heavier tungsten weights to punch through mats.
Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. email@example.com
Fishing with Capt. Art Conway, John Holland had 20 bluegills, 1 shellcracker and 2 bass. Robert Jones had 22 bluegills, 1 shellcracker, 1 redbreast sunfish, 5 crappie, 2 blue cats, 1 bullhead and 1 bass. Tom Porter and Malcolm Turnbull combined for 57 bluegills, 1 crappie, 1 blue cat, 1 gar, and 5 bass.
Upper Potomac River
Smallmouth bass action is good. Best baits are plastic jerkbaits, fished around the edges of cover. Fly fishermen are scoring with poppers around the grassbeds.
Tidewater sections of the river are producing largemouth bass from the blow-downs along the Southern shore and blue catfish, 23-35 pounds, from the outside bends of the river channel.
Good numbers of bass may be taken from the lily pads throughout the upper portion of the river. Catfish action is solid and bluegills are hitting worms.
Bass fishing is good throughout the lake. Stripers are holding in deeper water, feeding at night. Crappie anglers are catching good numbers of fish from the bridge pilings and submerged brush piles back in the creeks.
Bass fishing has been slow but will improve with cooling temperatures. Striper action is also slow, but some fish are feeding on the surface near Clarksville. Crappie anglers are catching lots of fish along the Route 58 Bridge at Clarksville and over deep brush back in Rudd’s Creek.
Smith Mountain Lake
Anglers are catching stripers on large minnows, drifted in the main river channels. Crappie are going for small minnows, fished around boat docks and blowdowns. Bass are taking plastic worms and Sluggos, on points and in the backs of coves.
No action for trout – too hot – but a few bass and lots of catfish are coming to net.