Joey VanDyke of Fingeance Sportfishing Charters said the striper action is really good in the lower Roanoke Rive, and it continues to get better. VanDyke has been fishing from Jamesville downriver to the edge of Albemarle Sound and is finding good numbers of fish in many locations. He said the stripers are staging in deeper holes along the river as they work their way upstream to spawn. They rest and feed for a few days and, as the river rises, head upstream again.
"I'm typically working along about casting distance off the bank and watching the fish finder," VanDyke said. "When I see a good mark, I spin the boat around and have my fishermen cast to the spot. There have also been days when I put out a trolling spread and trolled until we had strikes, then stopped and casted. Both work to find fish."
VanDyke said his trolling spread consists of several Yo-Zuri Deep Diver lures staged at different distances behind the boat. This puts them a slightly different depths, but all close to the bottom.
"Most of my fishermen like catching fish by casting, and it certainly keeps them more involved in the fishing," VanDyke said. "When I mark fish or we have a strike, I check the bank quickly and get a landmark to get back to the spot. I position the boat off the spot about a half cast distance and have the fishermen cast past them to the bank and work the baits back out to the fish."
Van Dyke (252-475-0402) said it is imperative to fish along the bottom. The retrieve is slow, just barely jigging the bait off the bottom a few inches.
With recent rains and runoff, VanDyke said the river is running pretty hard and there is a strong downstream current. Stripers are holding in the deepest holes, and it takes a deep-diving lure or a heavy jighead to get down to them. He uses a ½-ounce Meat Hog jighead with a 5-inch chartreuse/pink Z-Man StreakZ jerkbait or a chartreuse Hawg Jawz jerkbait.
VanDyke said there are lots of fish in the river right now and fishermen are catching and releasing enough in a day to be tired. Striper regulations on the Roanoke River include a slot of 22 to 27 inches that must be released for brood stock. Keeper fish must be between 18 and 22 inches or longer than 27 inches and only one of two fish per fisherman may be the larger size.