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LAKE ANNA: 82 miles – Not many decent bass reports are coming out of Anna now and one wag suggested that it’s caused by too many anglers also being hunters. “They’re sitting up in their deer stands right now,” he said. Either way, Lee Martin, of Warrenton, Va., caught a 6-pound, 15-ounce largemouth on a Shad Rap lure during a VA-outdoors weekend series tournament here. He and His father, Larry, won the contest on a nasty, cold day. By the way, crappies and catfish are biting if you can find time to get out of your tree stand.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles – Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries biologist John Odenkirk said the upper river is still a bit high, but the smallmouth bass are taking various lures, including crankbaits in the mid-river rocks above Fredericksburg, while a surprising number of beautiful smallmouth bass — along with largemouths — are hooked below the historic town. A recent small-club tournament that came out of Hicks Landing showed the winning stringer consisting mostly of smallmouth bass in the 3- to 4-pound range.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – Go after crappies if the bass won’t cooperate. Live minnows, as well as small 1/16, even 1/32-ounce jigs, darts and grubs do the job. Catfish are always possible and they like bottom-fished worms, minnows, clam snouts or cut pieces of fish.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – The concession has been shut down until spring 2012. Crappie catches will be good this weekend and live minnows probably will outperform small grubs and jigs. Catfish are taken on clam snouts. The bass fishing has been a bit slow, but will perk up when the largemouths adjust to cooler water temperatures.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Our lakeside reporter, Marty Magone, says the bass fishing has been poor for some reason, but a few good largemouths are caught on crankbaits and Carolina-rigged plastic worms. The crappie bite is improving in up to 8 feet of water at bridge abutments, rip-rap dropoffs and brush (if you can find any). Clam snouts and liver baits are always good for catfish.

KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles — Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) can provide a water condition report. Crankbaits, lipless rattle baits and slow-rolled spinnerbaits are drawing strikes from bass. The water is still high, but in good enough shape for fishing, with water temperatures staying around 60 degrees. The Clarksville area of the lake has been turning up blue catfish, but a lot of people come down here for the crappies. All you need do is drop a minnow or white hair jig under a slip-bobber and you’ll catch dinner.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) There’ll be some bass caught in the river’s side pockets and feeder creeks, but the big attraction when it cools down is a character known as blue catfish. They grow big here and the Dutch Gap area appears to produce good bites most any day.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – River’s Rest (804-829-2753) will provide the latest water conditions. The bass are biting. Use surface poppers and buzzbaits when the warms up and a cloud cover remains. Plastic stick worms, such as the Zero or Senko, are working well in shoreline cover, and the crappies like minnows or small darts and jigs under a bobber. If you like catfish, some big specimens are inhaling cut fish slabs.


SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Dick Fox, of Front Royal, says, “The river is normal and very fishable, with a water temperature of 48 degrees. You’ll’ find a few decent-sized smallmouth bass on grubs, tubes, maybe a deep crankbait, but this week hasn’t been easy.”

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – Look for the bass to hang out in deeper than normal water around docks, creek points and rock beds. Crankbaits and slowly-fished plastics can turn the trick. The striper catches weren’t the best last week, but they’ll turn on, especially if you slow-troll a Redfin or Sassy Shad lure.

UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles — Look for smallmouth bass in mid-river rockbeds and stone ledges. A weighted tube, grub or short plastic worm can draw strikes, but I also like to use a 1/4-ounce crawfish color, long-lipped crankbait.


MARYLAND: 165 miles to Ocean City — Sue Foster, of the Oyster Bay Tackle Shop (410-524-3433) in Ocean City, agrees when we say that the earlier parts of the week have been terrible as far as the sportfishing was concerned. “The wind blew, and then the wind blew some more, and then it rained.” said Sue. said “Hopefully, we’ll get some stripers moving [through] soon,” she added and reminded all near-offshore fans that the sea bass fishing can resume now. It has been closed to fishermen.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – As the wind slowly subsides, Julie Ball ( says that the Triangle wrecks and general area is giving up large bluefish up to 17 pounds. Trollers and jig bouncers connect on the big “choppers.” Sea bass season is now open and they’re biting. Bluefin tunas might soon show up in the Triangle area. The Eastern Shore’s barrier islands could give up some big red drum, ut it’s hit and miss as these shallow water fighters are heading south. A few offshore boats have reported catches of snowy grouper, golden and blueline tilefish, as well as blackbellied rosefish. Fishing phenom, Dr. Ken Neill, said large red drum are being caught along the beaches and from the piers of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

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