The upper section of the region, near Hog Island, is brackish water. In addition to spot, croaker, white perch and rockfish, anglers will find large channel catfish. The brackish creeks hold largemouth bass, bream and more big catfish. Moving down river, the water becomes saltier and affords anglers a wider variety of salt water fish. In addition to the aforementioned species, flounder, grey trout, bluefish are encountered more frequently as the salinity increases downriver. Speckled trout and puppy drum are also found, at times, in the lower James. Lower river spans like the James River Bridge, Monitor-Merrimac and Hampton Roads Tunnel offer anglers some of the best action in this area. Big croaker, grey trout, bluefish and flounder are all found around these structures. Rockfish congregate along the bridge pilings in November and December. Daytime trolling for these pinstripes has been productive for the last few years. Often nighttime action is even better. Rockfish are more surface-oriented after dark and casting top water baits like Windcheaters or Zara Spooks can be deadly. From May to October, jigging these bridge pilings with plastic-tailed grubs can be productive for large grey trout after dark. Large croaker are abundant all over the lower James from April to early October.
Surry Nuclear Power Plant Discharge Canal - Located at the Surry Power Plant facility on the James River. A popular spot with local anglers, especially during the colder winter months when warm water discharge from the plant keeps fish active even in the coldest months. Rockfish and some behemoth-sized catfish are caught here by anglers fishing cut shad on the bottom. In light of the tragedy at the World Trade Center, security has been heightened here. Check with plant security regarding access changes before entering the property. The plant is located just east of Chippokes Plantation State Park off Rt. 10.
Chippokes Plantation State Park - Located in Surry County southwest of Hog Island. The park has cabin rentals, campground, swimming pool, picnic area and hiking trails. The brackish waters surrounding the park hold both salt water and fresh water species. Anglers catch croaker, spot, white perch, big channel catfish and rockfish from the river shoreline. Lower Chippokes creek has largemouth bass, bream, crappie, channel catfish and pickerel. Fishing with peeler crab or cut shad will attract the big cats as well as croakers and rockfish. There are no ramp or boat rental facilities here, shore fishing only - (757) 294-3625.
Tyler's Beach - A public ramp area located at the terminus of Rt. 686 from Rt. 10. Action on big croakers has been good during spring and early summer from the shoreline. Take Rt. 676 from Rt. 10 to Rt. 686.
Fort Boykin Park - A Isle of Wight County facility on the James River near Smithfield. Expect similar angling action as that found at Tyler's Beach. There are no ramp facilities here. Take Rt. 673 from Rt. 10, then Rt. 705 to the park.
Ragged Island Wildlife Management Area - A state nature preserve located on the James River directly across the river from Newport News. Anglers can fish the shoreline from the south end of the James River Bridge downriver for about 3 blocks. The preserve also has a long trail over an extensive salt marsh with a pier extending into the river. The area can be productive for spot, croaker with trout, rockfish, bluefish and flounder caught from time to time. The preserve can be reached from U.S. 17 at the south end of the James River Bridge.
Pig Point - This is a public access area adjacent to the campus of Tidewater Community College. Large croakers, spot, grey trout, rockfish and bluefish are caught from the pier and the rocky shoreline to the right of the structure. Pig Point is located at the terminus of Rt. 135 from U.S. 17.
Norfolk Naval Base - There are a number of piers located on the base that offer surprisingly good fishing for all species found in the lower James river. However, all military bases in the area are currently in high alert status and this base, like all others in the area, are closed to civilians until further notice. The Churchland Coast Guard Station is another good location for pier jockeys. Again, it is closed to the general public due to heightened security concerns.