Gene Mueller’s Fishing Report

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LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – The earlybird gets the worm, or rather gets the bass. It can be done even in 100-degree heat. Start early and finish before the lunch hour. Cast craw baits or Senko-style worms around brush and waterlogged wood. You’ll connect. Of course, the bluegills and catfish are not nearly as picky. Worm baits can get both.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Call concessionaire Darrell Kennedy, of Angler’s Landing (540-672-3997) for the latest water conditions. Catfish are guaranteed if you use clam necks or cut fish pieces on bottom rigs. The bass can be a different story, but they can be caught if you patiently work soft plastics around any waterlogged obstacle, especially if deep water is nearby that the bass can “cool” off in.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Lakeside resident Marty Magone said the downlake areas of Gaston will be tough for fishermen because of a current weed eradication program that isn’t helping the bass’ willingness to chase a bait. They’re dumbfounded by it all. But in the uplake stretches, stripers and largemouth bass are going for jerkbaits, early hour topwaters. If it’s only bass you prefer, a fat worm, like the Senko and Zero, will draw hits.

KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles — Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) Bass, catfish and crappies are yours if you arrive very early. The heat has been oppressive and it’s generally the earliest morning and latest evening hours that produce the best results.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) Most of the catches point to blue and flathead catfish. They’re not going to stop taking tasty bottom baits, such as whole bream or cut herring. The bass fishing has not been very good.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – Check with River’s Rest (804-829-2753) for the latest conditions. Forget the noontime hours if it’s bass you want, but working a craw or finesse worm along marsh drops and the insides of the upper river’s many waterlogged trees and branches can yield results.

WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Front Royal’s Dick Fox said, “I fished the river hard over the past seven days, caught plenty of smallmouth bass, but the bigger ones are hard to find. The river is below normal levels, water temperature is around 78 degrees.Use small buzz baits, inline spinners and small Senko type baits. They’re working for us. Best areas are the deep pockets behind fast water.”

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – It’s the night fishing that produces the best striper results right now as they rockfish cruise shoreline shallows after sundown in search of food. Most of the large- and smallmouth bass show signs of feeding at daybreak. be there, if you can, and fish points, shore dropoffs and feeder creek mouths with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and soft plastics.

UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles — This river, famous for its smallmouth bass all along the eastern U.S., hasn’t turned up the numbers of fish one normally expects. If no more rains arrive, the river will give up some “brown” fish on tubes, jigs, spinners and the like, but overall successes aren’t the best.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles – Sue Foster of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City says the water temperature in the close-in ocean parts is 75.7 degrees and the fishing is pretty much the same as it was last week. Lots of small flounder, but occasional 18 to 20 inchers can be found. Surf anglers find a few sand sharks, skates and young bluefish. Lots of little stuff is available in the backwaters and inlet that the vacationing kids enjoy. She says you should buy a baggie of artificial bait called FishBites, which is cheaper than buying bloodworms, although bloodworms are still tops when it comes to attracting bites from kingfish. Use a high/low weighted bottom rig with fairly small hooks and feed small pieces of either bait onto the barbs. By the way, bluefish come into the Ocean City Inlet nearly every night and the Oceanic Pier offers fairly decent croaker catches. Offshore blue-water boats find tuna, some marlin, dolphin (mahi-mahi), sharks and closer in bluefish. Headboats still concentrate on sea bass.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) reports that the Atlantic inlets up and down the Virginia coastline offer large Norfolk spot, croakers, even a few puppy drum and bluefish. The same inlets and adjacent bays occasionally also provide an amazing sight as exotic tarpon surface in those waters and a few lucky anglers actually hook one now and then. Dr. Ball also said that amberjack are taken by anglers who make the long run to the Southern Towers. But there’s other offshore action as well. “Deep-dropping [baits] is good, with nice blueline tilefish, black bellied rosefish, seabass, and a smattering of grouper hitting well,” said Ball. Meanwhile, the tuna bite is still good. A mixed bag of 30-pound class yellowfin tuna, scattered bigeyes, and bluefin tuna is possible. “Many of these fish are more inshore, with the Fingers producing well,” said Ball. The chance for marlin and dolphinfish is good.

For additional outdoors news visit www.genemuellerfishing.com

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