Chesapeake Angler Magazine
Virginia Fishing Reports – July 2008
The lastest Northern Neck Chesapeake Bay Saltwater Fishing news and advice from Capt Rick Lockart plus Missy Fike's Freshwater Fishing Report for the Neck and Northern Virginia. Also available are the archived reports back to 2006 for those wishing to track or review trends.
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Virginia Saltwater Fishing Reports
By Captain Rick Lockart
Saltwater fishing in Virginia really starts to heat up in July, even with the season for striped bass being closed; however, for many the fishing will start to become specialized, not just general. Cobia will start to show in many regions of Virginia’s Bay as well as continuing to be found in the Atlantic. Spadefish, which started somewhat slow in June, will be a favorite target of many anglers. Drum, both red and black will be spread throughout the Bay. Speckled trout will found from Rudee up to Smith Point.
Many will be hoping for a return of the sheepshead and triggerfish, several species of shark will be targeted, amberjack make a strong showing, flounder continue as a favorite, bluefish are plentiful, black seabass are found around the wrecks, Spanish mackerel are no longer strangers, and grey trout, croaker, and spot are caught in their usual haunts. Offshore, yellowfin tuna, along with an occasional bluefin and bigeye, are found. Dolphin become a favorite, while wahoo and both white and blue marlin start to show. In the southern reaches, a sailfish or two will be caught. With all this at our beckon call, we will allow our neighbors to the far north their time with our striped bass, all the while knowing that they will return in the late fall.
Eastern Shore Inshore Capts. Mike Handforth (757-336-6861) and Charlie Koski (757-336-3528) add to the aforementioned list of species by targeting sea mullet (roundheads) and blowfish (sugartoads) as well as flounder, bluefish, croaker, gray trout, and spot. Offshore, Capts. Bill Letora (301-898-5603) and Len Bucta (717-552-0691) will be fishing for tuna and dolphin.
Tidewater Most all of the species of fish mentioned in the introduction will be available to the Tidewater fishermen. Capts. Ron Bennett (757-681-4744) and Max King (757-650-3176) will concentrate their efforts on spadefish and flounder. Capt. Kenny George (757-548-6991) will target the sheepshead and cobia, as well as the flounder and spadefish, while Capts. Jim Brincefield (410-867-4944) and Steve Wray (757-237-7517) will offer trips for spadefish, flounder, and cobia, plus offer the opportunity to go offshore for tuna and dolphin.
Lower Peninsula Capts. Jerry Olson (757-288-1081) Capt. Chandler Hogg (757-876-1590) will be making their services available for spadefish, flounder, and cobia. Capt. Bill Mershon ( 757-870-7265) will fish primarily the York River for croakers.
Middle Peninsula The middle and upper reaches of the Bay do not find the variety of fish that is available to the lower Bay fishermen. The numbers of fish available to be caught are numerous, however. Capt. Don Bannister (804-776-0629) Capt. Jerry Thrash (804-725-3889) and Capt. Glenn Hubbard (804-337-6357) will be fishing the eastern channel primarily for the flounder and croaker that are available. Occasionally a large red or black drum will take the hook, and gray trout and bluefish are often found within their creels. Cobia are not out of the question either. Capt. Ed Lawrence (804-693-5673) targets spotted sea trout and puppy drum (redfish). Capts. Bill Bailey (804-776-0255) and Ian Bailey (804-776-7129) prefer to fish the western side of the Bay and the Rappahannock River for croaker, flounder, gray trout, and spot. Capt. Bob Reed (804-435-9785) targets spadefish and flounder. Spadefish can be numerous at the Range Light, the Cell, and Wolftrap Light. Other captains may be willing to fish for them. Check www.fishva.org for the captains available in the Middle Peninsula.
Northern Neck The Northern Neck finds captains that either fish Maryland waters, Potomac River water, Virginia waters, or a combination. Both the Potomac and Maryland waters continue to lend themselves to the chumming of striped bass. Bluefish are often mixed into this equation, and croaker and gray trout, along with the occasional red or black drum are caught by the bottom fishermen. Captains that fish the Potomac and Maryland waters include Hunt Burress (804-333-5567), Leroy Carr (804-453-4050), Danny Crabbe (804-453-3251), Chuck O’Bier (804-529-6450), and David Rowe (804-529-6725). Virginia waters do not allow for the targeting of striped bass; however, bluefish, croaker, Spanish mackerel (later in the month), flounder, gray trout, spotted trout, and the occasional drum will more than make up for their absence. Capt. Roy Amburn (804-453-4265), Capt. Ferrell McLain (804-453-9069), Capt. David Fisher (804-453-2548), and Capt. Alfred Fisher (804-580-4342) are all able to make your fishing experience in the Northern Neck a pleasurable one.
We have just experienced one of the hottest June’s (temperature-wise) ever in the state of Virginia. As a result of these hot temperatures, you should expect July’s fishing to follow suit.
Virginia Freshwater Fishing Report
By Missy Fike
In July the fish are in their summer patterns. The best time for fishing will beat at daybreak. Topwater lures work well for largemouth bass at daybreak and then as the morning progresses switch over to plastic worms. The striper will be in deep holes in the lakes and respond well to live bait. The catfish will often times follow down below the striper and will feed on the dead or injured baitfish that the striper hit at and miss.
Lake Orange, Lake Curtis, Lake Phelps, Motts Run and Hunting Run the fish are in their summer pattern and the fishing will be best during low light. Topwater is good early in the morning for largemouth.
The Upper Rappahannock River fish the deep holes for sunfish, smallmouth and redeye. Best bait to try are jerkbaits, spinners and live bait. Live bait such as crickets, crayfish and hellagramites also work well.
RW’s (804-529-5634) reports fish will be in their summer pattern. Fishing early mornings before the heat sets in is essential. Use topwater lures at daybreak and artificial worms as the morning progresses on largemouth bass. Crappie will be deep biting on small minnows, jigs and nightcrawlers.
Hellman’s & Son Supply (540-967-2364) reports that striper will be schooled up and can be found in the deep holes around the lake. The best bait to use is live bait and pencil poppers. The best time to go is early morning. Largemouth bass also will be hitting early mornings and also late evenings off the structures and points of the lake.
Surfside Bait and Tackle (804-730-2238) on the James River the largemouth bass will be hitting on top water baits in James, Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers early morning. Plastic worms, 4” – 10” will work well. The catfish will be biting using cut bait such as bunker or menhaden and eels. The smallmouth will be in deep holes biting on small crankbaits that look like perch or crawfish.
Mike at Riverside Camp Grounds (804-966-5536) reports that there will be lots of catfish this month. They will be biting well on nightcrawlers, cut bait and clam snouts. Bream fishing will really active and hitting well on crickets and nightcrawlers. Largemouth bass slow down. Many go up in the creeks. A lot that will be caught will be in the 1 – 2lb range off of plastic worms and popping frogs. Slow topwater baits will work well at daybreak.
In the Virginia Beach area during press time at Little Creek Reservoir Park the stripers were in 15 plus feet of water in the 9- 12 lb range, hitting on live herring. The yellow perch were biting on minnows and small jigs near structures in depths of 15 feet. The chain pickerel will be biting well on minnows, spinner baits and soft plastic type baits in the back coves. The Largemouth have been seen in about 8 – 10 feet of water but anglers have had a challenge getting them to hit. The reservoir is close to full and the visibility is clear.
Rusty from Buggs Island Bait and Tackle (434-374-8934) reports that the catfish will be at the upper end of the lake, from the mouth of Blue Stone Creek up into the rivers. The crappie will be in about 12’ – 14’ of water around the bridge pilings and deep holes. The largemouth bass will be plastic worms and topwater lures, early morning and late evening. The striper will best be caught trolling using spoons and bucktails.
Marvin from the Tackle Box (434-239-1710) Catfish will be biting using cut bait or goldfish. The largemouth bass have been hit or miss. The smaller ones seem to be biting really well and the larger ones seem harder to get. Early morning is best time to go and later in the evenings. The largemouth will be hitting topwater lures and plastic worms. The perch should be coming back off the beds around the second week of July. The crappie can be found most everywhere on the lake in 10 – 12 feet of water. Minnows work well on the crappie.