May 11 2017

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Lots Of Drum. The First Cobia and Spadefish Have Arrived


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

The first cobia and spadefish have arrived in the Chesapeake Bay. Only Spanish mackerel are left of our summertime arrivals and there will be reports of them soon. We will have to wait until June to keep any cobia in Virginia.

The bay’s drum run is going full bore. Red drum are episodic spawners. There are new drum every year but occasionally we have a very successful spawn which results in tremendous puppy drum fishing. We must have had one of those spawns or two because puppy drum are being caught everywhere: in the rivers, creeks, inlets, from the fishing piers and around the grass beds on the flats. A lot of smaller black drum are also being caught. Both big red and black drum are around also. Schools of big red drum have been encountered in the Bluefish Rock area and the occasional large black drum has also been caught on the western side of the bay. For the most consistent action for large red and black drum, the shoal areas near the mouth of the bay are the place to be.

Some big sheepshead have been caught. The first were by anglers targeting black drum near the CBBT. Striped bass of a variety of sizes are being caught in the bay, up in the rivers, and along the seaside of the Eastern Shore. Look up the regulations for where you are fishing. Striped bass regulations are especially tricky this time of year.

Bluefish are around in good numbers with small blues being caught throughout the lower bay. Some of the bluefish are not so small. Choppers up to almost 15 pounds have been caught along the coast with some making it into the inlets and up in the bay with some big bluefish being caught places like Poquoson Flats and in the Mobjack Bay.

In addition to the puppy drum, some speckled trout are being caught on the flats, in Back River, up in the James, in the York and the Mobjack. Good numbers of flounder are around with many being too small to keep. There have been some nice catches made on the Eastern Shore.

Bottom fishing has produced some spot, a lot of small to medium croaker and some really nice catches of sea mullet.

Offshore action has been good out of Oregon Inlet for yellowfin tuna and a number of bigeye tuna have been caught. More dolphin are joining the catches. Virginia boats have begun to get in the action as the tuna water has moved into range with both yellowfin tuna and bigeye being brought back to the docks. With the opening of sea bass May 15, there is more interest in offshore bottom fishing.





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