May 29 2016

Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland Saltwater Rundown

By Charlie Taylor

By Charlie Taylor

CHINCOTEAGUE – Good numbers of flounder throughout the Main Channel, in Black Narrows and Queens Sound. A few grey trout are being caught along the shoreline near the mouth of the inlet. Bluefish, to five pounds, are scattered throughout the bays and plenty of cow-nosed rays have arrived. Stripers, from 20-44 inches are taken on peeler crab baits. Offshore, shark action was excellent for blue and mako sharks to 100+ pounds, at the Fingers. Yellowfin tuna are being caught in Washington Canyon. Chopper bluefish and false albacore are providing consistent action for offshore trollers at the Little Fingers. Surf anglers are taking bluefish, along with a few sea mullet, blowtoads and an occasional flounder.

WACHAPREAGUE – Good numbers of flounder, bluefish and pan trout are being caught in the old Coast Guard Channel, while croaker have invaded the inlet. Good flounder action was also to be had at Hummocks Creek, Burton’s Bay and just below Millstone Creek. Outside the inlet, inshore waters are holding good numbers of tautog, sea bass, chopper blues and lots of black drum. Few Bluefin tuna showed up on the 21 and 26 Mile Hills, although false albacore, chopper blues and bonito mackerel kept the anglers busy.

ONANCOCK – Plenty of croaker in the area, with the larger fish being caught in Pocomoke Sound, Cranny Hack and Ditch Back. Mixed in the catches are sea mullet, blowtoads, sea bass, porgy, taylor blues and pan trout. Larger trout are being caught around the Target Ships, Rockpile and Watts Island Light. Best action is in the evening hours on jigs, tipped with peeler crab. Flounder action is excellent, drifting the channel edges on the slacking tide, in 25-35 feet of water, using cut spot for bait. A few Cobia and red drum are thick throughout the area. Watts and Parkers Islands provide good action for speckled trout, along the grassy channels, although the spawning run has not yet started.

QUINBY – Flounder fishing has been good this past week, but catches are littered with throwbacks. The better catches are coming from 8-12 feet of water, near marker 176 and along Quinby Channel. Croaker and sea bass are also beginning to show.

CAPE CHARLES – Fishing for black and red drum is Good. Lots of red drum release citations were issued this past week. Drum catches are centered at Buoys 13 and 16 off Cape Charles and Buoys 8 and 10 off Fisherman’s Island. Good bottom fishing for pan trout, sea mullet, croaker, spot, taylor blues, porgy and blowtoads in the C-10 area. Huge schools of pan trout are located all along the channel edge, stretching from outside the harbor to below Kiptopeke. The pace is slowing for black drum, but some big fish are being taken in the late evenings in the Cabbage Patch. Some red drum are being taken by anglers, bottom fishing with cut bait, just outside the breakers at Myrtle Island and at Latimer Shoals. Surf anglers are taking red drum at Oyster, while one angler managed to hook a tarpon in the surf.

spadeLOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA – Flounder action has been good from Ocean View Beach to Little Creek Jetties. Croaker and “tons of taylor blues” are found at the Fourth Island of the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Black drum are infesting the rock islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, with many release citations being issued. Spadefish have taken up residence at the Third and Fourth Islands. Inside Lynnhaven Inlet, some flounder are being caught just inside the bridge in the Turning Basin. Drifted squid and minnows have been favored. A few pan trout are being caught inside Broad Bay. Spot, two at a time, plus a mixture of pan trout, taylor blues, croaker and flounder, are being caught at the mouth of the York River, around Buoy 22. Larger croaker are being caught above the Coleman Bridge in the shallow water around the mouth of Mumford Creek. Small cobia are making their entrance into the area, with the larger fish not far behind. There are reports of large bluefish, over 30 inches, patrolling the lower Bay.

VIRGINIA BEACH – Offshore, catches consist of yellowfin tuna, gaffer dolphin and wahoo, along with good numbers of white and blue marlin. Best area is south of the Cigar, along the 100 line, in 35-50 fathoms of water, where water temperatures range 72-75 degrees, and just above Triple 0’s, in 60-100 fathoms. Inshore charters are finding limits of stripers and pan trout along the CBBT, while headboats are returning with lots of pan trout, sea bass and tautog. Spadefish are beginning to show at the Chesapeake Light Tower. Surf anglers are taking spot, sea mullet and a few croaker.


JAMES RIVER – Croaker dominate the catches here, with occasional stripers taken from the end of the pier.

OCEANVIEW – Taylor blues are thick at dawn and dusk, while daytime anglers are taking croaker, sea mullet, cownosed rays and an occasional flounder.

LYNNHAVEN – Sea mullet and school stripers are available during the day. Pan trout and croaker are being taken every night beneath the lights, along with a few taylor blues. Casters are catching a few Spanish mackerel. Crabs are beginning to show.

VIRGINIA BEACH – Spanish mackerel, striped bass and taylor blues for casters, while bottom fishing is good for spot, sea mullet, croaker, pan trout and flounder.

SANDBRIDGE – Casters are taking Spanish mackerel and taylor blues, while bottom fishermen are taking spot, sea mullet, croaker, flounder and speckled trout.


MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA – Best action in the area is provided by striped bass, in the chum lines. Most boats are limiting out on fish by late morning. Many fish under the minimum size limit are released. Some good catches of 2-4 pound trout, plus fair numbers of taylor blues are being made on the Southwest Middlegrounds by anglers slow trolling with small bucktails. A few large trout are taking Sassy Shads, fished around the old Target Ships in 18 feet of water on slack tides. A few large trout are being caught on the Tangier wrecks and around the Smith Point Lighthouse. Flounder, to five pounds, are being caught at the mouth of the Little Wicomico River. Taylor blues are being caught at the mouth of the Piankatank River, off Gwynn Island, and near Windmill Point. Croaker fishing is terrific for bottom fishermen using squid strips and peeler crab for bait, throughout the area. The larger fish seem to be found in 40 feet of water. Flounder to five pounds are being caught near Buoy 36. Spot are coming on strong in the area from Buoy R-5 to the White Stone Bridge, in the Rappahannock River, but the most consistent action remains croaker, to 1.75 pounds. Good numbers of spot, with some croaker and trout are being caught off Parrots Island. Spot, croaker, perch and catfish are hitting from Bowlers Rock down to Morattico.

UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA – Striped bass continue to hit trolled baits above the mouth of the Patuxent River, and drifted baits, in chumlines, below the Patuxent River. At Stone Rock, the black drum have not shown up yet, but are expected any day. Croaker are thick throughout the entire upper bay, being caught on bloodworms, peelers and squid. A few pan size trout and spot are being taken at the mouth of the Choptank River. Spot and weakfish are being taken in Tangier Sound on peeler crab. Weakfish are reported in the Eastern Bay. White perch are being caught in large numbers around the rip-rap at the Hart-Miller Island Complex and just inside the mouth of the Chester River.

OCEAN CITY – A few flounder are being taken at the thoroughfare to the back bays. Bluefish, stripers and sheepshead can be taken at the inlet. Surf anglers are experiencing slow fishing, with an occasional bluefish or trout being taken. Offshore, fishing for tautog and sea bass is good on the wrecks. Bluefish and small bluefin tuna are being caught, trolling at the Jack Spot, while chummers are taking large sharks.


OUTER BANKS, N.C. – Higher water temperatures produced a mass influx of taylor bluefish. Excellent catches of Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, jack crevalle and cobia were made from the piers, along with some trigger fish, several amberjack, spot, croaker and a few flounder. Speckled trout are hitting at the Oregon Inlet Ferry Docks, the Northside Pond and the bridge to Manteo. Flounder numbers are increasing at Davis Channel, but many are small. Outside the inlet, Spanish mackerel and taylor blues are scarce, but available. Headboats are returning with pan trout, croaker, pigfish and flounder. Large bluefish, amberjack, king mackerel and cobia are plentiful on the ocean towers. Offshore, lots of white and blue marlin and sailfish releases were registered this past week, south of the Point. Several wahoo and a mako were also landed. The mainstays, however, are the dolphin and yellowfin tuna. A number of Bigeye tuna, to 200 pounds were also taken. Best action is to be had at the Point and between the 060 and 180 line.

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May 29 2016

Virginia Freshwater Fishing Report

By Charlie Taylor

By Charlie Taylor

POTOMAC RIVER – D.C. – Lots of catfish activity in the Fletcher’s Boathouse area, along with an occasional striper. The main channel through the city is showing largemouth bass being taken on plastic lures and crankbaits around the main river bridge pilings. Deep banks with rip-rap on them are also attracting bass. Catfish and carp are available throughout the river. Catfish are taken on clam snouts, cut bait and live minnows, and carp on cut corn and doughballs. Washington Channel grassbeds and dropoffs are producing bass for anglers using buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Shallow crankbaits over the grassbeds and deep-diving crankbaits along the edge of the dropoff will also take some good fish. The Blue Plains area is attracting large numbers of striped bass on early and late high tides. Rattling crankbaits and live white perch are taking the fish.

POTOMAC RIVER – BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE – Main river and tributary creek grassbeds are the focal point of most bass activity. The hydrilla on Blue Banks and Wade’s Bay is holding good numbers of largemouth bass. Other creeks, such as Mattawoman, Chickamuxen, Quantico and Aquia are showing good grass growth as well. Buzzbaits and clear Tiny Torpedos, fished early and late in the day, are accounting for good numbers of fish. Later in the day, fish plastic worms, Senkos and jig ‘n pig in the grass, or Mann’s Baby One Minus or Zoom Horny Toads over the grass. Catfish are taking clam snouts, chicken livers, cut bait and live minnows, particularly around the power lines at the Possum Point Power Plant. Large carp are available on doughballs or cut corn. Crappie will cooperate in deep coves, around brush and submerged structure. Live minnows and tiny jigs are the ticket. Large white perch are being caught in Potomac Creek and at other creek mouths, in vegetation. Better baits are nightcrawlers and cut crab, although lots of perch are being taken on 1/8 oz. spinnerbaits.

OCCOQUAN RIVER – Bass action is fair to good. Best action is early and late in the day on plastic worms and crankbaits. Bass are fairly consistent throughout the river, from the rocks in the back to the grassbed at the mouth. Belmont Bay is giving up lots of scrappy bass on Chatterbaits, Baby One Minus, Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Catfishing is excellent. Plenty of cats in the 10-15 pound class are caught, along with the smaller fish. Cut bait and clam snouts are the preferred baits. Stripers are still present in the river and may be caught on live minnows, bucktails, Rat-L-Traps and Cordell Redfins. Crappie are tough to find, but a good place to start would be Hoffmaster’s Marina docks.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR – Largemouth bass action is on the upswing, with lots of fish in the 2-5 pound class being taken on plastic worms, top-water lures and deep-diving crankbaits. Most of the bass are being taken early, on submerged wood and main lake points, and in the creek channel bends when the sun is up. Catfishing is picking up noticeably. Better baits are clam snouts and cut bait. Crappie are available on minnows and tiny jigs over the main river channel.

BURKE LAKE – Some bass, 2-7 pounds, are being taken from deeper water, downlake, adjacent to the grass beds. Better choices of lures are plastic jerk baits, buzz baits and plastic worms. Better fish are being taken early and late in the day. Crappie action is good from the pier for small fish, but bream action has slacked off. Catfish, 4-8 pounds, are being caught on cut bait and chicken livers. Muskie anglers are getting hit by large fish, but few are being landed.

FARM PONDS – Most of the fish are deep, near the dams. Try topwater baits early and late in the day, particularly a Zoom Horny Toad. While the sun is high, fish plastic worms or nightcrawlers on the bottom, near the dam. Flyrodders will have fun all day long, fishing poppers and small streamers.

POTOMAC RIVER – UPPER – Smallmouth bass are being taken along the banks early and late in the day, on buzzbaits. After the sun rises, fish the main channel with Tiny Torpedos, plastic grubs, small spinners and tiny crankbaits. Channel catfish are thick and biting well on clam snouts, nightcrawlers and live minnows. For sheer enjoyment, take along a can of Niblets corn and fish for carp. There are some real monsters available along the shallow points and muddy banks. Concentrate on areas adjacent to weedbeds.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER – Tidal sections of the river are producing decent catches of largemouth bass for anglers crankbaiting the steep banks and worming the blowdowns. Mouths of small creeks and guts off the main river channel are also producing some bragging size fish. Blue catfish action is good, with anglers fishing cut shad or live white perch in the outside bends of the main river channel. Smallmouth bass activity is great above the city. Better choices of baits include plastic grubs, jig ‘n pig, small crankbaits and small topwater lures.

MOTTS RUN RESERVOIR – Bluegills, white perch and catfish are taking nightcrawlers, fished in shallow water, almost on the shore. Bass fishing is slow. Try large swimbaits on points for Northern Pike.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS – Lots of bream and catfish for most anglers. Skilled anglers are catching largemouth bass and stripers throughout both rivers. Croaker, white perch and catfish are biting well around West Point and in the lower Pamunkey River. Better choice of baits remain bloodworms and peeler crab.

SHENANDOAH RIVER – Lots of catfish and sunfish are being caught on Beetlespins and nightcrawlers. Smallmouth bass are biting well on small topwater lures, plastic grubs and tiny crankbaits. One of the better stretches this week is the area from Alma Bridge to White House. Catfish are active and biting well on clam snouts, nightcrawlers and live minnows. Bass anglers are being surprised by muskies, but reports show none have been landed.

LAKE ORANGE – Crappie fishing is good for anglers using small minnows. Best fishing is near the fish attractors and off the pier, early and late in the day. Bass are taking topwater baits, plastic worms and medium minnows, with best success being at sunup and sundown. Those anglers fishing for walleye in the late evenings, are taking fish to five pounds. Carp anglers, fishing with doughballs are taking fish to 25 pounds.

LAKE ANNA – Largemouth bass fishing is excellent on a summertime pattern. Main lake points near the primary channel and secondary creek points are holding fish. Topwaters, early and late in the day, are responsible for many good fish. Crankbaits or plastic worms and grubs, fished in 8-15 feet of water are the most productive pattern when the sun is high. Lots of smaller bass are being caught on the edges of the creek channels throughout the lake. Striper fishing is sporadic, but the big fish may be found in 15-30 feet of water, where Sassy Shads or free-lining live shad will take the fish. Better areas are Rose Valley and above Hunters Landing, in the Pamunkey. Black crappie are holding on the bridge pilings, where they are taking live minnows and tiny jigs.

JAMES RIVER – Catfish, bream and bass are being caught throughout the city of Richmond. Above the city, smallmouth bass are taking plastic worms and grubs, topwater lures and small crankbaits. Most of the action is centered in the main river channel. Sunfish are thick and are suckers for nightcrawlers and Beetlespins. In the tidal sections, some largemouth bass are being caught in lily pad fields, duck blinds, cypress trees and downed wood in the creeks and creek mouths. Plastic worms, Rats, and other topwater lures are the preferred baits. Plenty of bream and crappie in the creeks, around weedy banks and submerged brush. Catfish to 40 pounds are taking cut bait in the channels.

LAKE CHESDIN – Some nice channel catfish and a few good sized black crappie are being caught. Sunfish are taking crickets. Largemouth bass action is excellent for fish to seven pounds plus. Plastic worms, jig ‘n pig and buzzbaits are the better lures. Most of the better fish are being taken on topwater lures, early and late in the day, and on the outside bends of the main channel when the sun is high.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER – Bass activity is centered around the lily pads and marsh grass. Plastic worms, buzzbaits, small crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the preferred baits. Larger fish are being taken from the dropoffs throughout the river. Plastic worms, deep-diving crankbaits and jig ‘n pig are taking some bass to five pounds in 8-15 feet of water, while Zoom Horny Toads, plastic frogs and swimming worms are taking good fish from the lily pads, and adjacent to marsh grass banks. Catfish action is good on clam snouts, chicken livers and cut bait. A few anglers are taking nice sized gar on live minnows, while fishing for other species.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE – Lots of bass are being taken on live minnows, plastic worms, Jitterbugs, and flyrod poppers. Bream are taking red wigglers, grass shrimp and crickets. Crappie are also taking grass shrimp and minnows. Pickerel are biting well and lots of fish in the 3-5 pound class have been caught. A few catfish are taking nightcrawlers and crab baits. Gar and grindle are taking live minnows.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR – Bass are holding on points and humps, moving up shallow to feed. Crankbaits and plastic worms are the most successful baits. Low light shows them taking topwaters. Shellcrackers have finished spawning and have retired to shady areas in 8-12 feet of water. Nightcrawlers and inline spinners are the choice of baits. Crappie are located in coves in 8-12 feet and along emerging grass beds. Small jigs and minnows will take these fish. Catfish anglers are catching good fish on nightcrawlers and turtle livers. Stripers, 4-7 pounds, are taking bucktails, herring and Zara Spooks.

BACK BAY – Some nice catches of bream in Hellespoint Creek on red wigglers. Nice catfish on nightcrawlers and chicken livers. White perch in fair numbers can be had on minnows and nightcrawlers. Some anglers are taking flounder on minnows. Bass action is excellent in West Neck and Pocaty Creeks, along with bluegill and white perch.

SUFFOLK LAKES – The large shellcrackers are not biting well at Western Branch this year, although lots have been caught at Lakes Prince, Meade and Cohoon. Bass fishing is excellent. Striper anglers are also doing well, and yellow perch are showing in the creels. Bass are hitting well at Lake Smith, along with some crappie, bream and perch.

LAKE GASTON – Bass fishing is excellent early and late in the day. Plastic worms and lizards are the most productive baits on boat docks, while topwaters work best early and late on points. After the sun gets up, fish crankbaits and plastic worms or lizards on stumpy points. Bass are also present in the willow grass on points in the upper end of the lake. Plastic frogs, Senkos and jig ‘n pig are taking the better fish. Crappie fishing is slow. Crickets are responsible for good stringers of bream. The number one catch throughout the lake is catfish. Cut bait, nightcrawlers, chicken livers and live minnows are the preferred baits. Stripers are being caught on trolled Cordell Redfins near the Eaton Ferry Bridge and in front of the dam.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE – Bass fishing is picking up, with best fishing on the points and in the buck brush, using plastic worms. Water level is at 304 and bass are burrowed deep in the bushes. Topwater baits or rapidly retrieved spinnerbaits are best early and late in the day. After the sun rises, pitch or cast grubs and plastic worms with 1/16 ounce weights past bushes, swim the lure back towards the bush and let it drop. Crappie fishing is excellent. Catfish are still hitting well on cut bait. Stripers may be had by trolling bucktails and Redfins, and by freelining live shad. Fishing is best at night and in the early morning hours between Bluestone Creek and Goat Island. A few white bass are being caught by crappie anglers.

BRIERY CREEK LAKE – Bluegill action is super, with crickets and worms, fished 15 feet down producing best. Lots of slot limit bass, with a few good fish, to eight pounds, being taken on plastic worms.

SANDY RIVER RESERVOIR – Anglers are catching a few pickerel and small catfish, along with bream and crappie. Bass anglers are having a tough time.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE – Most of the fishing success on this lake is taking place in the early mornings and late evenings. Stripers 15-30 pounds are being taken on live shad or trolled Cordell Redfins. Bass fishing is also excellent, with most of the fish being caught on june bug colored plastic worms or Zoom lizards in pumpkin pepper/chartreuse. Walleye are taking nightcrawlers.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR – Stripers are being taken both in the river and on the lake, using live bluegills. Crappie are taking small minnows.

LAKE MOOMAW – A few largemouth bass are being taken in 8-12 feet of water on plastic worms. Shad schools are on the surface and trout are starting to roll as they chase them. Brown and rainbow trout to six pounds, are taking live minnows or shad in 30-40 feet of water. Cordell Redfins, fished as surface lures, early and late in the day, are also responsible for some good catches of trout. Catfish are taking cut bait or live minnows. Crappie anglers are taking good fish, along with lots of shellcrackers.

PHILPOTT LAKE – Smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappie and walleye are being caught on Hopkins spoons, live minnows and crankbaits, fished at night. Below the dam, the Smith River is producing for trout fishermen.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR – Crappie are taking minnows and nightcrawlers, primarily trolling. Smallmouth bass are taking spinnerbaits and Roostertails, fished on rocky points throughout the lake. Catfish are being caught on cut bait.

CLAYTOR LAKE – Stripers are still being caught on live alewives. Big flathead catfish are being taken on live and cut alewife. Crappie anglers are fishing at night, using live minnows. Some smallmouth bass are being taken, primarily on live minnows and plastic grubs.

TROUT STREAMS – Most of the streams throughout the state are full. Francis Mill Creek and Gullion Fork Creek, Wythe County, offer good fishing for anglers using Mepps spinners and small copper spoons. Green Cove Creek and the upper portion of Whitetop Laurel Creek, Washington County, provide excellent rainbow trout for fly fishermen using dry flies and nymphs. Passage and Big Stony Creek, Shenandoah County, are affording good catches of brown and rainbow trout.

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May 28 2016

Virginia Will Have A Cobia Season, Tuna Bite Offshore


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

Virginia will have a cobia season this summer. Regulations will be much more restrictive than we are used to. Starting June 1, the minimum size will increase from 37 inches to 40 inches. Anglers will still be allowed 1 fish per person but only up to 2 fish per boat. Only one fish may be greater than 50 inches. Also, gaffs may not be used to land cobia in 2016. The season will be closed after August 30. A mandatory reporting program is being developed. What can be said about all of this is that is better than closing for the summer. Cobia fishing in federal waters will close June 20. These new regulations were as VMRC was willing to go in the face of federal request for state waters closure on June 20. “Request” is too light a word when it is coming from the federal government. But, federal managers have admitted problems with their management plan and acknowledged that most of the burden was being placed on Virginia. So, VMRC came up with this stopgap, very conservative, measure to get us through 2016. Stay tuned, informed and involved, as cobia management is planned for 2017 and beyond. Just one less person showing up to speak at the VMRC meeting or even just one less letter received and we very well may have had the cobia fishery shut down this summer. It was that close.

Cobia are here in good numbers, early this year. More are still on the way but good catches are being made by anglers chumming and by those sight-fishing. The sight-casters are being distracted by large schools of red drum cruising around near the mouth of the bay. Sight fishing for red drum has been kind of epic this week. Big reds are still being caught fishing baits in the seaside surf and on the shoals, especially in the evening hours. Black drum continue to be caught near buoys 10, 13, and 16. That bite will be winding down soon.

The flounder bite is picking up. It is not great but some nice flounder have been caught at the CBBT and some are beginning to be caught at most of the flounder spots. Some decent catches were made off of Grandview this week. Some speckled trout are being caught in the Mobjack, York, and Back Rivers and up on the flats. Croaker fishing has been good up in the rivers. Sheepshead are at the CBBT. Spadefish have arrived at the Chesapeake Light Tower. A few Spanish mackerel have been caught along the oceanfront.

Virginia Tuna!

Virginia Tuna!

Offshore has gone from not much happening except for sea bass, tilefish, and other bottom fish to being wide open. Limit catches of yellowfin tuna have been made from the Norfolk Canyon to the Cigar. Good numbers of dolphin are also being caught. There are a lot of mako sharks around and blue marlin have been encountered. The first bigeye tuna was caught at the canyon.

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May 21 2016

Catches Improving Most Everywhere

By Dr Julie Ball

By Dr Julie Ball

As Memorial Day rapidly approaches the spring saltwater fishery continues to escalate with catches improving most everywhere. Weather is still a challenge, so anglers are taking advantage of any break to investigate this trend.

The biggest news is the early arrival of the highly anticipated and controversial cobia. Not expected until closer to June, to angler’s delight, the cobia showed in local waters almost two weeks ago. And with the pending cobia fishery closure still looming, folks are making the best of the action while they can. Scattered catches of all sizes around the lower Bay are just the beginning as these fish settle in for the season. Most fish are falling a bit short, but several nice fish pushing up to around 50-pounds have also hit the docks lately.


The drum bite continues to draw folks to the Eastern Shore side of the Bay when they can get out. Boats are reporting good catches of big red drum from the breakers and sloughs off the Eastern Shore barrier islands, especially with the recent full moon. Reds are also mixing in with some black drum among the shoals off Fisherman’s Island, Nautilus Shoal and the 9-Foot Shoal areas in anywhere from 10 to 25-feet of water. Black drum is not red hot, and most fish are small, but a few blacks are pushing to over 50-inches recently. Blacks continue to come from the Bayside of the Eastern Shore near buoys 10, 13 and 16, where sea clams and chowder clams are working best.

Flounder action is still picking up, but there is room for improvement in the lower Bay. Folks are catching fish at the CBBT this week, but most of the action is still coming from the more protected areas. Both Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets are still giving up decent hauls of flatfish, with many flatties exceeding 22-inches. On the Eastern Shore, the flounder action out of Oyster is still good, with strips of squid and Gulp baits working best in Sand Shoal Inlet lately.

Snapper and chopper-sized bluefish are still hitting the lower Bay inlets and the CBBT area, with many fish measuring to over 20 and 30-inches recently. Surf anglers are also pulling choppers from the surf lines off the oceanfront. Striped bass are biting in the Bay, with scattered catches of rockfish to over 36-inches coming from the HRBT and the islands of the CBBT.

Croaker continue to delight surf and pier anglers, as small to medium-sized hardheads take squid and bloodworm offerings along the oceanfront, Ocean View, Willoughby and Buckroe areas lately. Some sea mullet are also in the mix. A few grey trout are also still lurking around the HRBT, but remember you can only keep one fish per person.

Anglers working Rudee Inlet and the Lynnhaven River and basin areas are scoring with some speckled trout, along with some nice puppy drum, and croaker. School-sized striped bass are also biting in these same locations.

With seabass season now open, boats making it out are reporting good hauls of jumbo seabass from structures in deeper water. Spadefish should begin showing around the islands and pilings of the CBBT and the Chesapeake Light Tower, but the water needs to warm up more before the fish will respond. Sheepshead are here, with a few nice fish already boated, especially by those targeting drum.

The offshore trolling scene should heat up soon off Virginia. In Carolina waters, the offshore fleet is still enjoying plenty of good gaffer action, with wahoo along with some nice yellowfin tuna. Hopefully, this trend will continue to move north to Virginia waters.

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May 20 2016

Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland Saltwater Rundown

By Charlie Taylor

By Charlie Taylor


CHINCOTEAGUE – Improved catches of flounder with the warmer weather. Black Narrows, Queens Sound and around the Assateague Island Bridge are the better areas. A few small grey trout are being caught around the shorelines. In the surf, taylor blues and a few choppers are being caught on cut bait. Sea bass are beginning to show inside on the bridges and other structure. Outside the inlet, taylor bluefish remain plentiful and wreck fishing for sea bass and tautog is holding strong. Offshore, sharking is very productive, with lots of blue sharks and a few large makos being caught this past week.

WACHAPREAGUE – The “Hills” are loaded with 7-12 pound bluefish, Atlantic bonito and false albacore. The first of the yellowfin tuna were caught this past week in Norfolk Canyon. Wreck fishing for sea bass is good, with some tautog mixed in with the bass. Inside the inlet, flounder fishing is fair, with the better catches being made in front of the Old Coast Guard Station. A few sea mullet and grey trout are mixed in the catches.

ONANCOCK – Speckled trout, red drum and medium bluefish are being caught by anglers, bottom fishing with peeler and soft crab. Best action has been in shallow water around the Pocomoke Sound Islands. Speckled trout are running to five pounds, red drum 20-35 pounds and blues 6-10 pounds. Pan trout are beginning to hit off Gilford. On the western side of Tangier Island, some taylor blues and a few speckled trout are hitting around the Target Ships. Croaker are plentiful throughout Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds, with spot, grey trout, sea mullet, blowfish and porgy mixed in the catches.

QUINBY – Flounder fishing has been fair to good. Bottom fishermen are catching a few spot, sea bass and trout. Several schools of drum have been spotted on shallow bars in the Quinby area, but anglers have not reported any catches.

CAPE CHARLES – The first cobia of the season were caught at the C-10 mussel beds this past week. Black drum action is still strong. Sporadic catches of pan trout are being made at C-10 and just off the Cement Ships. Good catches of tautog are being made at Plantation Light, the C-10 mussel beds and from several local wrecks. Red drum and cobia have moved in the Latimer Shoals area. Bottom fishing is excellent for croaker, small spot, pan trout, sea mullet and taylor blues. Spadefish are reported from Plantation Light, Cherrystone Reef and over the Cell.

LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA – Croaker and flounder are being caught at the Small Boat Channel, and flounder just off Harrison’s Pier. Tautog are in fair supply around the rocks, with some flounder being caught around the First Island and on either side of the Lesner Bridge. Sporadic catches of Spanish mackerel are being made in the area, with the more consistent action being just off Grandview Beach. Cobia have blitzed the area, with fish to 52 pounds being registered this past week. Red drum action is good around the Fourth Island. Flounder action is reported to be good just off the mouth of the Back River and around Fort Wool. Bottom fishing for spot, croaker, grey trout, sea mullet, blowtoads and flounder is good at Buoy Y-9 and just inshore of Twin Stakes, in 18 feet of water. Good catches of flounder are available off Plum Tree Island and on Poquoson Flats. Croaker and spot are thick just off the Bell Buoy. Inside the York River, decent sized croaker, flounder and small spot are being caught. Fair to good flounder action is to be had at the Gloucester Point Pier and surrounding shoreline. Speckled trout action has slowed inside Mobjack Bay, but Spanish mackerel are beginning to show. Amberjack action has been fantastic at the Southern Tower. Chopper bluefish are also thick in the area.

VIRGINIA BEACH – Offshore, decent catches of 30-50 pound yellowfin tuna and gaffer dolphin, with a scattering of wahoo and 100 pound mako sharks, are made by the charter fleet. Best action has been just south of the Cigar. The SE Lumps and Bluefish Alley are holding hordes of bluefish in the 8-18 pound class, with water temperatures in the low to mid 60’s. Headboats are still catching good numbers of sea bass and tautog on the inshore wrecks. Trollers are seeing more Spanish mackerel in their catches, and several schools of cobia have been spotted. Surf anglers are taking a mixture of sea mullet, blowtoads and small spot. Inside Rudee Inlet, fireball rigs, baited with cut mullet, are finding an occasional chopper bluefish.


JAMES RIVER – Croaker provide consistent action, with catches including stripers, spot and flounder. Crabbing is improving daily.

LYNNHAVEN – A mixture of stripers, spot, croaker, flounder, surf perch, sea mullet and a few taylor blues.

VIRGINIA BEACH – Plenty of spot, sea mullet, croaker, flounder, taylor blues and a few trout. Stripers are occasional visitors and Spanish mackerel action is improving.

SANDBRIDGE – A wide variety of fish are being caught, including spot, taylor blues, sea mullet, blowtoads, surf perch, flounder, grey trout, speckled trout, stripers, cobia, a few Spanish mackerel and a load of skates.



OUTER BANKS, N.C. – Pier anglers are taking good catches of croaker, spot and sea mullet, plus a few grey trout and taylor blues. Fair to good action on small bluefish and speckled trout is being found at the Little Bridge to Manteo. Oregon Inlet has a good supply of taylor blues and flounder. Just outside the inlet, taylor blues and some Spanish mackerel are being caught by trollers. This past week saw a strong run of Spanish mackerel and cobia at several of the piers. Offshore, yellowfin tuna provided the most consistent action. Best action is just south of the Point. Mixed in the catches were king mackerel, wahoo and gaffer dolphin. Several white and blue marlin are being taken daily. Chopper bluefish have taken up residence at the 102 Tower and schools of bluefin tuna have been sighted within 10-12 miles of the inlet. Inshore boats are finding amberjack on the towers, along with fair numbers of king mackerel. Trollers, working the mouth of the inlet, are catching Spanish mackerel, taylor blues and the occasional cobia. Headboat anglers are catching croaker, flounder, sea bass, trigger fish and spadefish.


MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA – The cool, rainy spring has caused the trophy stripers to linger in the middle bay area. These fish may still be caught, trolling in the familiar early spring areas. A few schools of large black drum are present in the area as well. “Croaker are about to take over”, at Kruse’s Wharf, who noted that the biggest fish are found in the shallows along the shorelines. Croaker to 24 inches are being caught in 20-25 feet of water around Blackberry Hang. Some spot have also moved in. Good numbers of striped bass are available throughout the area, with only a scattering of taylor blues. Speckled trout continue to show at Dameron Marsh. Grey trout, 16-18 inches, are available just southeast of Buoy 62. Speckled trout and large croaker are being caught by casters working the Hole-in-the-Wall and around the Piankatank River Oyster Reef. Flounder are providing decent action off Mosquito Point and Smith Point Jetty.

UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA – Striped bass are thick in the upper bay. Good numbers are being taken around Thomas Point. Anglers at the Point are also taking a mixed bag of spot, croaker, speckled trout and flounder. Choptank River piers are reporting white perch being caught on grass shrimp. Bottom anglers are taking a mix of spot, croaker, flounder and speckled trout. Trollers are taking some chopper blues near Cove Point.

OCEAN CITY – A few flounder are reported, caught on squid and shiners on flood tides. In the surf, blowfish and skates are the main catch, while offshore, bluefish are showing at the First Lump and the Bass Grounds. Party boats are doing well on sea bass and ling cod.

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