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Courtesy of Matt Miles
Glenn Busch of Lynchburg used a fly rod popper to fool this dandy smallmouth bass while fishing with guide Matt Miles on the James River.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
There are a couple of ways to target muskellunge.
One approach is to arm yourself with a burly fishing rod and reel and a bunch of lures the size of your neighbor’s pet ferret.
Then you wear your body out casting those monstrosities all day long, making sure to execute a perfect figure eight at the end of every cast because, if you don’t, that’s the cast that will produce the day’s single muskie follow.
This strategy will yield an occasional muskie.
Or you can go smallmouth bass fishing.
With so many bass anglers on the rivers, naturally they are going to tangle with plenty of muskies. Conditions have been better than usual for those accidental catches this summer. Robust river flows in the New and James have allowed bass fishermen to throw bigger, noisier lures than usual. Bass like them, and so do muskies.
Bass fishing has been great at Claytor Lake. And terrible at Claytor Lake.
“One day it will be on fire,” said Mike Burchett at Rock House Marina. “The next day its like, where’d they go?”
Dropshot rigs with Roboworms and wacky-rigged Senkos are pulling some fish from around docks, Burchett said. With water temperatures dropping into the mid-70s, surface action is picking up.
Dale and Keith Reynolds won the lake’s Tuesday night tournament with a five-fish bag weighing 10.47 pounds.
Striper fishing has been OK but catfishing has been slow.
At Smith Mountain Lake, Dewayne Lamb at Captain’s Quarters Marina reports that big soft plastics are still catching bass after dark, with fish about 15 feet deep. Surface action is also picking up. Stripers are still gathered around main lake creek mouths, with schools at depths of 30 to 50 feet. Downlining bait is the best tactic.
Tom Brown at Orvis Roanoke (345-3635) said poppers are taking bass on the James River.
The lower New is flowing pretty hard but has decent color and is fishable for smallmouths and muskies. Pressure is pretty light because many anglers are not willing to fight the high water.
The upper New above Claytor Lake remains stained.
Brown said terrestrial flies are working OK for midday trout on the Jackson River tailwater.
After a slow summer, flounder action is finally good in the lower Chesapeake Bay, with the best action around the third and fourth islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
Weather Journal70 Thursday to ice Sunday?