Sep 26 2014

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

Wind, wind, and more wind seems to be the only consistent report over the past few weeks, with little indication it will change anytime soon. But as we embrace the official start of fall this week, the cooler air and water temperatures mark the transformation to the cold water fishing season.

Cobia are still a possibility, but not for long. Anglers are encountering a few fish when they can get out between blows. Look for fish mostly in pairs and small pods along the ocean front, as well as circling buoys as they make their way south.

Although some fishing shuts down with windy conditions, red drum thrive in these settings. And as expected, with the recent unyielding northeasterly blows, the late season drum bite is picking up momentum. Boats taking advantage of activity around the islands of the CBBT are releasing some reds measuring to well over 48-inches. Surf and pier anglers are thrilled with the recent movement of bulls into the wash along Sandbridge, with several big drum coming from the Little Island Fishing Pier this week, with best action happening at night. The preferred bait is fresh cut spot and mullet for these trophy fish. Nice sized puppy drum pushing up to around 30-inches are also taking bait in these same areas. The red drum action along the shoals and barrier islands along the Eastern Shore is also still going strong this week.

Puppy drum are still a sure thing in many local inlets, shallows, and along inshore and coastal shorelines. Fresh cut mullet, jigs, and peelers are all effective offerings lately. Speckled trout continue to show escalating activity in the Eastern Shore creeks and the Elizabeth River, while Rudee, Lynnhaven, and Little Creek Inlets are also showing an increase in action this week. A few of these trout are weighing up to 6-pounds.



Spot also become more active in lower Bay waters with northeasterly winds. Anglers continue to experience good spot action, with some big yellowbellies caught this week in lower Bay Rivers, near the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, off Ocean View and Little Creek, and within Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets. Surf and pier anglers fishing the from the Virginia Beach oceanfront piers and from the rails in Rudee Inlet are filling coolers with nice spot this week.

Croaker are hitting in many areas in the lower Bay, including the Hampton Bar, around the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel. The lower Bay inlets are also holding some nice hardheads, where fish raging up to two-pounds are hanging around the Lesner Bridge lately. Medium sized fish are also available off the concrete ships at Kiptopeke and along the Bay Bridge Tunnel, with sea mullet in the same areas, as well as in Magothy Bay.

Flounder are difficult to target in lower Bay waters with the windy conditions and dirty water. A few flatfish are taking drifted baits off Kiptopeke and near buoy 36A, but anglers are working hard for their catches, so protected inlets are a good choice right now. Offshore and inshore wrecks will also produce keeper flounder when boats can find a window, along with big sea bass and triggerfish. Unfortunately, you will have to throw the sea bass back since they are out of season for now. Tautog are also back on the menu, but reaching areas to fish for them is difficult. A few smaller fish averaging around 3-punds are taking bait in the Bay around the CBBT this week for some boats braving the elements. Good sheepshead action continues in these same areas, where fish up to 10-pounds are mixed in, along with big triggerfish.

Striped bass will become the next fall species of interest as the Bay striped bass season opens on the 4th of October. Schoolies will take top water plugs at all the bridge tunnel complexes, especially at night in the light lines.

King mackerel are still a good possibility trolling off Virginia Beach, and down to False Cape, where a few decent kings were boated this past week. Some Spanish mackerel are still hitting in these same areas, but the action is slow. False albacore are also available closer to shore, along with a variety of sharks and snapper bluefish. Amberjack are still available at the South Tower, but not for long.

Deep droppers are scoring with good catches at the Norfolk Canyon when they can make the run, with the usual bag of blueline tilefish, barrelfish, and black-bellied rosefish keeping anglers content.

The offshore marlin bite is wide open, but the problem is getting offshore to get in on the action. Once the weather allows, billfish could provide some of the best action of the season. But some experts are concerned that the recent blow could push these fish out, ending the bite. Wahoo action is on the rise, and should continue into October.

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Sep 26 2014

Outer Banks Fishing Update


By TH Spangler

In recent days anglers from Duck to Nags Head have been finding slot and larger red drum along the northern beaches. Most are being caught using shrimp and cut bait fished on the bottom. Some taylor bluefish, spot, croaker and sea mullet are mixed into the surf catch.

Anglers fishing from the little bridge on the Manteo Nags Head causeway are reporting some keeper speckled trout and croaker. Most of the trout are being caught using artificial baits like Gulps. The croakers are hitting bottom rigs.

Excellent fishing for Randy Watts and crew on the Release. Gaffer dolphin, blackfins, wahoo and three sailfish. Also had a 300 lb blue marlin within 30 feet of a release when he pulled off.

Excellent fishing for Randy Watts and his crew on the Release. Gaffer dolphin, blackfins, wahoo and three sailfish. Also had a 300 lb blue marlin within 30 feet of a release when he pulled off.

Anglers on the piers are looking for drum. The Avalon Pier is reporting some red drum and spot action. The Nags Head Pier is reporting drum. Jennette’s is reporting some drum, one going 40 inches yesterday. And the Outer Banks Pier is reporting drum action in the wash.

Boaters working the sound from Manteo to Oregon Inlet are catching plenty of speckled trout and puppy drum on Gulps and other soft baits on jig heads. Popping corks are also working.

Anglers bottom fishing around the inlet are reporting plenty of spot, croaker, bluefish, gray trout and flounder.

Spanish mackerel and bluefish are feeding in the ocean around Oregon Inlet; boats are catching limits trolling Clark and Drone spoons. Weather and sea conditions permitting, anglers should find some large red drum and cobia cruising just off the beachfront as well, anglers can sight-cast to them when spotted.

The Oregon Inlet offshore fleet managed to get out last Monday despite the high winds. They brought back yellowfin tuna and dolphin. They released a few blue marlin and white marlin. One boat out of Pirates Cove reported a grand slam. A grand slam is a white marlin, a blue marlin and sailfish on the same day.

Below Oregon Inlet surf casters are catching nice red drum near Rodanthe. Sea mullet, pompano, and spot are also available. There has been a good red drum bite in the sound behind the tri-villages, with the best action coming at night using cut bait. Anglers fishing the sound are catching plenty of flounder and speckled trout during the daylight hours.

The Rodanthe Pier reports a variety of fish. Bottom fishermen are catching pompano, sea mullet, spot, puppy drum and gray trout on shrimp, bloodworms, and cut baits. Bluefish and spanish mackerel are hitting Gotcha plugs and other casting lures when the water’s clean.

Puppy drum and bluefish are in the surf from Buxton to Hatteras.

Hatteras Inlet boaters are finding plenty of red drum and a few flounder. Spanish mackerel and bluefish are feeding around Hatteras Inlet and along the beachfront, use trolled Clarkspoons and small drone spoons to catch them.

The Hatteras offshore fleet is still catching plenty of dolphin and wahoo. The Marlin bite was excellent Thursdays. Congratulations to Hatteras Fever II for a Double Grand Slam, 2 Blues, 6 Whites and 2 Sails! In addition to the billfish, dolphin and wahoo’s there were some nice blackfin tuna landed.

Water Temps
Duck Surf Temperature: 72.3 F
Fishing Center Sound Side Water Temperature: 73.0 F
Frisco Surf Temperature: No Report

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Sep 24 2014

Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman Weekly


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

Striper season is just around the corner and they are waiting for you!

Striper season is just around the corner and they are waiting for you!

The main fishing news this week is the wind. Persistently windy weather has made it difficult to find days to fish. Inside the inlets and in other protected areas, spot, puppy drum and speckled trout are being caught. There have been some flounder caught with the CBBT and around some of the coastal wrecks being the best locations when it is fishable. Flounder continue to be caught up in the bay in all of the normal flounder locations. Some keepers were caught off of the Buckroe Fishing Pier and some nice flounder catches were made up in the York River this week. Cobia fishing should be about over when we get back out on the water. There were some nice catches made during lulls in the wind over the past week so there may still be a chance at a straggler. Red drum are providing good action at the CBBT where live and cut baits are producing drum from just small enough to keep on up to trophy fish over 50 inches long. Sheepshead remain available at the CBBT where tautog action is picking up. When the wind calms down, tautog will become more active on all of the wrecks and reefs inside of the bay. Small to medium-sized bluefish have made a good showing throughout the lower and middle bay. A few big king mackerel are being caught by boats working the oceanfront. Red drum, some false albacore and sharks are also being caught in this same area. The coastal wrecks are holding a mixture of sea bass (closed), triggerfish, flounder, tautog and bluefish. Amberjack and jack crevalle are a possibility at the Chesapeake Light Tower and amberjacks will still be hanging around the southern towers. When boats have found a weather window to get offshore, billfish action has been very good. That bite will be winding down soon. Wahoo are around in good numbers and that bite should just get better. Dolphin are available and tuna fishing should get better.

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Sep 20 2014

Weekly Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

Dominant northerly winds continue to cool water temperatures, encouraging the fishing trend to transition into the more fall-like patterns common for this time of year.

Inshore, cobia are still around, but not for much longer. The cool weather pushing through this weekend will likely mark the end of most of the action, but a few stragglers can linger on for a week or so.



In the meantime, red drum will likely pick up the slack as they continue their reign in Virginia waters through October. Catches of big reds are occurring most everywhere in lower Bay waters, with some of the best action happening along the lower Bay shoals, the Eastern Shore barrier islands, and near the islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Boats presenting both cut and live bait are scoring with fish pushing up to around 50-inches lately. The continuing northeasterly winds this weekend will likely contribute to the escalating action. Surf anglers have tangled with a few bulls from the surf lines along Sandbridge recently, but the bite will continue to heat up from Sandbridge to the Wildlife Refuge over the upcoming weeks. Nice puppy drum are also coming from the Little Island Fishing Pier lately.

Puppy drum are very active in lower Bay shallows, inlets and creeks, and the surf off Dam Neck, Sandbridge, and the Eastern Shore Barrier islands. Lynnhaven, Rudee, and Little Creek Inlets are giving up good numbers of pups on fresh mullet this week. Speckled trout catches are also improving, with good numbers of healthy trout coming from Hungar’s Creek, and Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets. Many specks are exceeding 5-pounds, lately. Expect this trend to take off over the next month.

Spot action has been decent so far this season, but with the northeasterly wind conditions lately, the bite is hot. Plenty of nice-sized spot, with many fish ranging up to around 12-ounces, are biting along the southern and western sections of the lower Bay, and along the Oceanfront. Both Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets are also very productive right now, with anglers reporting catches of “two at a time” on bloodworms this week. The Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel are also favorite spot areas. Taylor and snapper bluefish are also hitting in these same areas.

Croaker are active in many lower Bay locations, with good catches ranging up to around 2-pounds taking bait in deep water areas from the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel to the Bay Bridge Tunnel. The lower Bay inlets are also holding some nice hardheads.

Flounder continue to gather at the mouth of the Bay, where fishing can be hit and miss, depending on the weather. Most folks are concentrating more on inshore and offshore wrecks when they can get out. Seabass and trigger fish will also fight for your offerings on these same structures, but seabass become off limits on September 21st for about a month. Tautog are also around on many of these structures, and these fish become available to keep again on the 19th of the month. Remember you can keep three tog per person, stretching to at least 16-inches. Sheepshead are still lingering along the structure of the Bridge Tunnel, along with some nice triggerfish.

Spanish mackerel are still available along tide rips off the shorelines off Virginia Beach on small spoons, but this action has slowed. King mackerel are also still taking both live bait and trolled lures off the Beach area. The largest smoker of the season, weighing in at 34-pounds, was caught on live bait last week. This bite can last through October. False albacore, bluefish, sharks, ribbonfish, stray mahi, and passing cobia are a few other possible species that may respond to your offerings.

Most folks are not interested in amberjack since there is plenty going on offshore, but AJs will likely hang around the Southern Towers through the end of October. Deep droppers continue to find nice bounties of bottom fish in water ranging from 300 to 700 feet of water. Big blueline tilefish, barrelfish, black bellied rosefish and jumbo seabass continue to provide the primary catch.

The billfish bite sky-rocketed offshore last week, but the problem is finding a fishable day to get out between fronts. When the fleet can get out, boats from Ocean City to Virginia Beach are partaking in the best marlin action of the season, as boats fly riggers full of double-digit flags. White marlin are the main event, but scattered blue marlin, sailfish, and roundscale spearfish are also in the mix. Gaffer and bailer dolphin are still around, along with some nice wahoo, and the occasional bigeye tuna. The swordfish scene could heat up as the waters cool.

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Sep 17 2014

Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman Weekly


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

Most have given up on cobia and have moved onto other fish. There are still some cobia to be caught though, and there were some nice catches this past week. Big red drum are receiving a lot of attention now. Schools of red drum are being encountered by sight-fishermen. More red drum are being caught fishing around the islands of the CBBT. Some black drum are also being caught.

deerPuppy drum, speckled trout and striped bass are being caught in the shallows from the Mobjack Bay to the James River. Flounder are being caught at the CBBT and around some of the coastal wrecks. Anglers targeting flounder at the CBBT and at the HRBT had to deal with an influx of bluefish this week. Bluefish in the 1-4 pound range are plentiful throughout the lower bay. The striped bass season in the bay will open on Oct. 4.

The coastal wrecks are holding sea bass, sheepshead, and triggerfish. Tautog will become more active over nearshore wrecks and structures inside the bay as the waters cool. The tautog season opens on Sept. 20 while the sea bass season closes on Sept. 22.

Spot fishing is good. Coolers are being filled in most of the rivers on the western side of the bay. The Piankatank and York Rivers have been particularly good. Good catches of spot are also being made inside of Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets.

Some big king mackerel are being caught along the oceanfront on out to the Light Tower. False albacore and there are still some Spanish mackerel being caught in this area. Trolling over and around wrecks and other bottom structure is productive.

Offshore, the billfish bite picked right back up as the boats were able to get back offshore. Dolphin are still being caught but not in the numbers they were a couple of weeks ago. The wahoo bite is heating up.

The Grafton Fishing Supply Spot Tournament will be held Sept. 27-28. You need to be registered prior to fishing and you must bring your spot to Dare Marina by 2 PM on the 28th. Following the weigh-in, there will be an awards ceremony and club picnic.

The Don Forman Cobia Tournament was won by 12-year-old Hayden Head of Seaford. Hayden caught his 55 pound 8 ounce cobia while fishing with his father, Capt. Jorj Head. Wes Blow, of Newport News, took 2nd place with a 35 pound 1 ounce cobia. The tournament was sponsored by Bishop Fishing Supply. Capt. Rick Wineman was the Tournament Director.

There will be more strict striped bass regulations in 2015. Just how strict and how much of the burden will have to be borne by Virginia’s anglers versus those of other states is being discussed now. There will be an ASMFC meeting in Virginia to discuss these issues: September 22, 2014, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, 4th Floor Newport News, Virginia.

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