Hurricane Florence Surely has stirred up our local salt waters, but now that things have settled down – it’s spot time.
A local favorite, the Norfolk spot are located throughout the bay and its tributaries now. Yellowbellies are beginning to show in the lower parts of the rivers, and are moving to ocean side locations. By late September, these hefty spot become very numerous as they pack into inlets, hang on bars and line structure near lower bay seaside areas.
Croaker are also are showing in the same areas. Look for the big croakers to line the edges of the bay shipping channels and settle in deep holes near Lynnhaven Inlet. Speckled trout, puppy drum, flounder and bluefish are inside Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets this time of year.
A couple of days before the blow, there was some outstanding cobia fishing. Boats were finding large schools with dozens of fish on the surface. Anglers were casting live eels and large bucktails to them. Don’t forget the Virginia cobia season closes the end of the month.
King and Spanish mackerel had made a good showing before the storm. Anglers were encountering them along the coast, close to shore. Red drum were still hanging around the lower bay and along the Atlantic shoreline as well.
When anglers return to the water sheepshead should still be available around the pilings of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and spadefish around the buoys.
Offshore the Mahi-Mahi action was excellent before the storm. The question is, will they still be available after the blow? Also our blue and white marlin season was heating up. It will be interesting to see how the churned up water has affected their location. Offshore deep droppers had been landing some nice golden and blueline tilefish prior to Florence. Good fishing should still remain.
On Wednesday, Hatteras Island reported bluefish up and down the beaches with plenty of small trout also biting. Buxton had some sea mullet, small pompano and croakers. Frisco had a puppy drum run and so did The Point. Decent size bluefish along with croaker and spot were caught north of the Inlet. Michael Harsh reported the Spanish were thick in Corolla along with good size blues and small trout.
Sound Fishing: The Little Bridge on the Nags Head/Manteo causeway reported a nice mix of trout, stripers, spot, bluefish and croakers
Pier Fishing: Avalon had puffers and bluefish.
Nags Head: Nice size Spanish.
Jennette’s: Black drum, bluefish and Spanish. Eight drum were released.
Outer Banks: Nothing but grass, but they caught 4 big Drum yesterday.
Inshore Boats/nearshore: No report.
Offshore: The boats are back in the water, hoping to sail on Friday.
A few Hatteras boats finally make it out to the Gulf Stream after Hurricane Florence. One Blue Marlin was released. A few Wahoo were caught along with dolphin. William Scott of PA had a 42-pound wahoo citation release. Bottom fishing catches included sea bass and amberjack. The captains reported a big swell Wednesday morning although it calmed down throughout the day. Inshore parties were keeping busy with over-the-slot drum releases and a good bluefish bite.
The South River Fly Shop reports that the South River in Waynesboro “definitely got a good scrubbing, but it was only out of the banks in a few places.”
“It looks like it’s going to be about a week from now before the river gets back to fishable flows. Everything is so saturated that it is not dropping. We usually don’t recommend fishing above 300 cfs and the level on Thursday is still over 1100 cfs. There were plenty of holdovers all summer so there will be some big feral holdovers surprises for some of the folks who come out after the 1st of October when the stocking resumes.
Capt. Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service reported that Chickahominy Lake mid-day water temperatures were in the high 70’s in the main lake on Wednesday . The lake level was about 4 inches above the top of the dam.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Tom Porter had 32 bluegill, 1 shellcracker, 9 crappie, 1 white perch and 1 blue cat.
The Muddiest Year
Capt. Chaconas says that the Potomac has had more high muddy water this year than ever before.
Last week, tides were 3-5 feet higher than normal. This pushed fish well into unreachable areas. This week, morning low tides will position fish at the deeper ends of docks, the ends of lay downs, drops and edges, as well as any grass patches.
At lowest tides, try moving lures. The water will be a bit stained still. Try 1/4-ounce Mann’s Classic spinnerbaits, gold blades and white skirts on 12-pound test Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon line. Crawl slowly over available cover, snapping from grass or deflecting off hard cover. Keep blades just out of sight, especially in low light conditions. Blades work better when reflecting light.
Anglers are scarce, but smallmouth bass are hungry and active. Striper anglers are taking good catches of fish around Port Royal. Trolling river humps during daylight hours and casting to tidal rips in low light conditions provide the best action. Cut eel baits are producing a few catfish to 30 pounds, both above and below the Route 301 Bridge.
Petty muddy and little fishing pressure. Most anglers are concentrating on getting ready for hunting season. Maybe next week?
Striper anglers are catching fish by trolling Sassy Shads, bucktails and Cordell Redfins, particularly around Jett’s Island. Hopkins spoons, jigged near cover or over the main river channel, are also taking some fish. Largemouth bass are being taken by anglers fishing main lake points with deep diving crankbaits, live minnows and plastic lures in 8-14 feet of water. The creeks are also producing some bass on Carolina-rigged plastic worms.
Crappie anglers are doing well on live minnows, small Beetlespins and tiny jigs.
Lots of striper action on Cordell Redfins, Rat-L-Traps, peelers and bloodworms. Most of the fish are running 2-5 pounds, with an occasional 9-10 pounder. Bass action is good upriver, with lots of bass, 2-3 pounds, being caught on 1/8 oz. spinnerbaits and plastic worms, at the mouths of creeks, and dropoffs with wood cover. Crappie and bream are taking live minnows and nightcrawlers. Yellow perch and catfish are taking live minnows, grass shrimp and cut bait.
Water level is at 308 feet and still rising. Striper fishing is fair, with most fish being caught in the area from Buoy 10 to Clarksville. Live bait is the preferred method. Below the dam, stripers and catfish are being caught. Bass fishing is good with most fish taken in the back of creeks and coves on Rat-L-Traps, small spinnerbaits and plastic baits. Crappie action is also good with minnows fished on wood structures in 6 to 10 feet of water.
Smith Mountain Lake
Bass are hitting shad-colored crankbaits and small spinnerbaits around the baitfish schools in the creeks and coves. Best patterns involve riprap, boat docks and dropoffs into 30 feet of water. Stripers are starting to move upriver, with good numbers being caught on live shad suspended at 15-20 feet. Bucktails, fished off deep mud banks on the outside bends of the river channel, are also taking fish.
Anglers are catching smallmouth bass, yellow perch and crappie. Trout to 15 inches are also biting.