Capt. Chaconas says that low tides around late morning into early afternoon will allow for a genuine topwater bite this week.
Topwaters like poppers and walkers are all good bets. Fish over grass or along marsh or pad edges. Try them with 12-pound Gamma Copoly line. Vary retrieves from continuous movement to adding a few pauses. Hollow frogs on braid will work over thick grass at the lowest tides.
With no luck, abandon the topwaters and go to swim jigs, chatterjigs and Mann’s Baby 1-Minus. Tie these to 14-pound test Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon line. Start with swim jigs with the higher water and crawl through the grass. As the water drops, switch to the chatterjigs and the 1-Minus. At dead low, fish exterior grass edges and with high sun, fish bottom baits.
Good smallmouth bass action is available on topwater lures, spinners and small crankbaits. The tidal sections are producing some good catches of largemouth bass and crappie from the blow downs along the South shoreline from Fredericksburg to Port Royal. Lots of catfish to 20 pounds are hitting cut bait.
The North Fork of the river is productive, as smallmouth bass, rock bass and sunfish are stocking up for the winter. Wading the stretch from Mt. Jackson to Strasburg is highly recommended. Below Front Royal, deeper holes and stretches below riffles are the better holding areas.
The bass are in the fall pattern – shallow during low light hours and deeper when the sun rises. Backs of creeks are holding large schools of shad, where Rat-L-Traps, cast beyond the schools and brought back under them, are taking fish. Main lake grass beds are also holding fish. Crappie are biting well. Surface action for stripers is picking up, while drifting live shad in 14-20 feet of water is also successful. Better areas for the stripers are the Power Plant area, Stubbs Point, Rose Valley, the Route 208 Bridge and the Splits.
The smallmouth fishing from Lynchburg through Scottsville is excellent. The Watkins Landing and Hugenot Bridge areas, above Richmond, are good. The tidal sections are producing good numbers of largemouth bass for anglers fishing the creeks and barge pits along the river. Plenty of 6-10 pound blue catfish are available.
Catfish and bream are being caught on live bait, while bass fishermen are scoring with plastic worms, small spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and small crankbaits. Edges of lily pad fields, particularly near creek mouths, are producing best. There are also plenty of stripers in the river.
Bass are being caught by anglers concentrating on shad schools, near submerged wood cover, in the creeks. Shallow running crankbaits and plastic baits, cast into these areas, will take the bass. White bass are schooled up in Grassy and Bluestone Creeks, but not in large numbers. Stripers are found deep, with the mouth of Nutbush Creek being the most productive spot. Crappie action is excellent on medium minnows over brush piles and in 12-15 feet of water.
Bass fishing is fair, with successful anglers keying on shad schools in the back of creeks and coves, and main lake points. Crappie fishing is very good with small minnows as bait. Stripers are scattered in small schools and are hard to find. Some fish are available between markers 13-30 on the Roanoke Arm and 11-28 on the Blackwater Arm.
Bass anglers are catching a few fish on plastic worms and jig ‘n pig, primarily on main lake points. Catfish are taking minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Trout action is nil.