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LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – The crappies have begun to cooperate more this week. Largemouth bass and channel catfish catches also have perked up.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Darrell Kennedy runs the Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997), but the concession has been shut down until spring 2012. Meanwhile, the upper lake’s bass will look at a shallow to medium depth crankbait, even quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps. Catfish will inhale clam snouts or liver strips up and down the lake channel.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Look for good bass fishing even if it rains. The uplake creeks that offer shorelines with adjacent deep dropoffs can be very fruitful for crankbait and plastic worm users. Some of the upper lake’s flats are great for topwater popper lures that the bass like — occasionally also a couple of stripers.

KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles — Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) can provide a water condition report. The large blue catfish like slabs of herring bait on the bottom, not all that far from Clarksville. The bass fishing can be very good now as the largemouths are in a feeding mood and will look at anything that resembles a worm, crawfish, or baitfish. Crappie chances are steadily improving.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) Heavy rain will raise river levels, what with runoff from up above Richmond. But chances are it won’t mess up the weekend because the big blue catfish are beginning to roam about Dutch Gap and the Appomattox River mouth. Some fair bass catches are had by boaters targeting backwater coves and brush-laden pockets.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – River’s Rest(804-829-2753) will provide the latest water conditions. Good bass and catfish hookups are yours this weekend even if the rain came down today. Shoreline trees have held good numbers of bass and crappies.

WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Dick Fox, of Front Royal, said, “Now is the time to hit the Shenandoah. The river is a little high, with a slight stain and a water temperature of 58 degrees. We have been catching good numbers of 12 to 15 inch smallmouth bass, with a few 17-inchers mixed in. Black tubes have been best for us, but many other lures will catch the bass right now. The bluegills are very active and the crappies are also biting.” Fox also caught a 6-pound-plus largemouth bass on a tube. Big largemouths are a rare find in this river.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – Lots of bass and striper activity, especially during overcast periods. The rockfish hammer a trolled Redfin lure, or Sassy Shad, although some can be jigged up with Hopkins jigging spoons or Kastmaster jigs once you locate a deep school on your depth finder. The largemouth bass are available in rock beds, stickups and fallen trees inside feeder creeks, mostly near the mouth of the creeks. Crankbaits, plastic craws, and spinnerbaits score.

UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles — Look for good smallmouth bass catches made with small crankbaits, fringed tubes, soft jerkbaits, even topwater poppers — if the rain didn’t mess things up.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 165 miles to Ocean City — Sue Foster, of the Oyster Bay Tackle Shop (410-524-3433) in Ocean City, said, “The great bluefish bite slowed way down as winds gusted from the west at 30 m.p.h.” However, Foster also mentioned that as soon as the wind died down, the fish started biting again. In addition, the tautog and flounder bite is good and there’s welcome news for everybody: The stripers are starting to show up now. Offshore fishing came to a halt during the recent squalls.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – Dr. Ken Neill, whose boat, the Healthy Grin, travels offshore more than most, said, “We ran out to the Triangle Wrecks [and] had the place all to ourselves. The chopper blues have arrived. We caught big bluefish on the troll and by jigging. We also caught some false albacore. We used to keep them for bait, but now everyone is eating the bait.” Dr. Neill’s wife says false albacore taste as good as tuna sushi. In other action, the sea bass fishing has been shut down through the rest of October, but offshore flounder anglers are hooking sea bass left and right — and they’re releasing them. Dr. Neill also said that triggerfish are caught on coastal wrecks. Not much can be reported in the distant offshore waters because few boats have ventured out. By the weekend, it will be possible to find tunas, wahoos, (even swordfish if you stay out overnight). Elsewhere, North Carolina boats running east of the Outer Banks are finding dolphin, yellowfin and blackfin tuna, also good numbers of wahoo.

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