Saltwater- The hottest bite in the bay continues to be the Cobia bite. On sunny, calm days, sight casting is the way to go. Cloudy, or breezy days, it seems the Chummers do much better. However, chumming may be more consistent overall. Cobia catches are abundant from the Rappahannock River to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Anglers can expect to tangle with fish from 40 lbs to 80 lbs realistically. The Spadefish action at the CBBT is heavy. Anglers are returning to the docks with good sized Spades and plenty of them. Clam is the preferred bait. Most of the time, they can be seen hanging around the pilings, so finding them isn’t typically difficult, it’s getting them to the boat, as they are scrappy fighters. Also available at the CBBT, are trophy sized Flounder. Live bait presentations, along with Jigging bucktails, account for solid limits and quality fish. Many still prefer to drag strip baits along the bottom behind heavy weights. This method covers water more quickly. Artificial reef areas in the bay are also holding keeper Flounder, just be prepared to deal with Oyster Toads, small Trout, and Croaker. Speckled Trout are being caught throughout the bay for those putting in their time. Many are being caught on topwaters and Bass Assassin sea shads. Ocean anglers are still reeling in quality Yellowfin Tuna and Dolphin. The South Towers are giving up impressive sized Amberjack. Earlier this week, a 180 lb Big Eye Tuna was brought in to the docks. White Marlin are also being caught. Surf anglers along the Outer Banks are dealing with Sea Mullet, Pompano, Speckled Trout, and an occasional Flounder. Bluefish are also being caught

Freshwater- The upper James is at 5.34′ at the Westham gauge and is forecast to rise slightly. This weekend should bring good opportunities for the Smallmouth angler as well as the Flathead angler. A slight stain is usually good,  as the fish aren’t as skiddish. But the river has been messed up for so long, the current conditions should bring excellent results to those who set forward. The lower James and Chickahominy remain excellent despite hot temperatures. Vegetation in the Chick is often the key, as for the James, wood structure is often more targeted. The lower creeks on the James have grass, so patterns similar to the Chick can be good. Night fishing for Cats remains excellent on the tidal rivers, not just the James and Chick,  but the Pamunkey and Mattaponi rivers also. Grass patterns prevail on the Potomac River. Quality Bass can be expected from just about anywhere on the Potomac but the more popular areas are Aquia Creek, Mattawoman Creek, and the Occoquan section. Grass frogs, Senkos, and soft plastics pegged with heavy bullet weights are staples anytime. Kerr lake elevation is at 302.03′ and is expected to fall over the next few days. Current areas such as bridges provide shade,bait and moving water. These areas can become better when water is being pulled for power generation. However, it doesn’t last long. Brush in 12-15 ft of water is also good for Bass, as are rock areas next to deep water. Bridges are also good at Anna and Gaston for the same reasons. Anna Stripers are being caught at night and early mornings at daylight. Live bait is far more productive than any other method. Precise presentations can be made with good electronics and down rigs. Guide Jim Hemby is an expert at both. Crappie can be consistently caught at Stubbs bridge, along with other bridges on Anna. Boat traffic can be extremely heavy, so plan accordingly and get out early. Be mindful of other boaters at all times.

-Stan Cobb July 7th, 2016

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