Yes, it’s melt-your-boat hot around here. Afternoon storms have been plenty. The weeds are in full growth mode.

There’s too much to do.

But it’s also one of the best fishing times of the year and all of our summer species have arrived to play.

And you find yourself with enough time off to go fishing.

To heck with the rest of it all. Hit the water. It’s got a lot to offer.

By the way, that’s me with my first citation-worthy amberjack. It was caught some 40 years ago while fishing with Dr. Jim Wright, his son David and a bunch of their friends on a trip to the South Tower.

Amberjack are still on the angling menu and can be found around most coastal structures. You know, towers, wrecks, artificial reefs. The same places where you can find triggerfish, spadefish, tautog, bluefish and, yes, some really hungry shark.

Deeper waters are yielding tuna, wahoo, some billfish and once again, shark.

Those smart enough to enhance the way-offshore experience are taking some time to bottom bounce for plentiful blueline tilefish – along with some golden tilefish and other tasty bottom dwellers.

Trollers working closer to the coast are finding bluefish, Spanish mackerel and lots of ribbonfish. Don’t sell the ribbons short, they’re quite tasty. Near-shore wrecks are giving up good numbers of flounder, as are the usual locations along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and the numerous inlets in the region.

Those anchoring or drifting can expect a good number of shark, including dogfish – another species that shouldn’t be sold short. When allowed to bleed on ice, they’re some of the best tasting fish we have to offer.

No longer a secret, but still not overly popular with the average angler, is the tarpon. More known to hang out with bull shark and rays in the backwaters of Oyster on the Eastern Shore, this species is being caught from piers, along some shorelines and in the North Carolina sounds.

Speckled trout and puppy drum have continued to offer ample opportunity in all of the inlets, along the shores and in the Elizabeth, James, Nansemond and York rivers. Look for specks in good numbers in the Carolina sounds, and well.

Schools of big red drum can be found just about everywhere and the smart angler has a few rod-and-reel combos at the ready.

Cobia catches have been good, especially for sight-casters working the bay and along the coast.

The CBBT is also yielding excellent action for sheepshead.

Waters throughout the region are holding croaker and spot, but that action won’t really pick until the early fall.

Surfcasters are catching just about every expected species. Red drum catches will be better at night.

Freshwater and tidal creeks continue to be good for largemouth bass, but the action has been best in the grasses of Back Bay and Currituck Sound.

Bluegill are plentiful in the same waters and can be taken along most shorelines. But the bigger panfish have staged in deeper waters of 10 feet or more.

Deeper traps like sunken trees and docks are holding crappie.

Look for blue catfish in most lakes and tidal waters, especially in the deeper holes.

Whatever fishing you decide to do, bring plenty of water to drink and all of those other things you need to stay as cool as possible.

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