Cool water = Hot fishing
The hot summer finally yielded, as wind, rain, and cooler temperatures welcomed us to the Fall. We can look forward to an action-packed season of Trout, Redfish, and Rock.
The best action will be in-shore during October and early November, with the most diversity coming in the early period.
Speckled Trout are the most targeted species. They are primarily found in shallow water, particularly around marshes, areas of hard bottom with grassy flats, and other areas boasting natural structure. Most anglers prefer to cast artificial lures like small jig heads with soft baits, shallow running plugs and poppers. I prefer using lures with single hooks. It reduces mortality when releasing undersized fish. My fly fishing clients, clouser minnows but flies resembling shrimp also work well.
It’s amazing how popular the in-shore fishery has become. As well as my big water charters, I have a large light tackle clientele that charter with me on my smaller boats. With miles of shoreline holding a favorable environment for fish to frequent, options are endless.
Kayaks and canoe rentals are available at Ingram Bay Marina for folks who want to experience fishing solo in a natural environment along the shorelines.
Red Drum (puppy drum, redfish) continue their fall run throughout October. These fish tend to school with the trout in shallow water and are often landed while casting lures inshore for speckled trout. In deeper water, larger drum are often caught while trolling small spoons for bluefish along the edges of the shipping channel. A slower speed of 3-4 knots works well for the larger specimens along the channel areas.
Spot and Croaker are a popular choice among anglers. This fishery, which is currently mixed with Whiting and Grey Trout fades with the close of October. This mix of fish are often found along channel edges during the daytime but can also be found in the shallows during the evening hours. Spot action is good over hard bottom locations boasting oyster beds in rivers and creeks, yet at the mouth of the Rappahannock River there always seems to be an abundance of these tasty little fish.
Nothing stirs the soul of a riverneck like the arrival of rockfish season!
Virginia’s Striped bass (rockfish) season began on October 4th and continues until December 31st. It is now that 3-8 pound schooling fish become available for light tackle enthusiasts in the form of chumming or casting. There are several artificial reefs and wrecks in the region that are very productive. Chumming is the preferred method, yet drifting live spot and casting into surface feeding schools has gained in popularity.
By mid-November, the emphasis shifts to the trolling scene. The larger specimens usually arrive in December. We have experienced a decline in the large cows in recent years and are hoping that the cycle reverses with tighter regulations.
Trolling is performed mainly along the channel edges both in the bay and its rivers. These edges are where menhaden, the rockfish’s primary staple, travel during their migration. Anglers use lures that resemble the menhaden mainly in the form of spoons, bucktails, parachutes and rubber shad. It’s all about the presentation and matching your lure to the size of the food source.
What is the period of greatest growth in a fish’s life?
Answer: From the time you catch it to the time you tell about it.
Regardless of your fishing discipline or tendencies to stretch the truth, action is in full swing this fall.
Fish hard and until next time….Fair winds.