Jul 29 2014

Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman Weekly


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA


Spearfish and three whites for High Hopes 7/29/2014

It is clear that striped bass populations have been in a downward trend since the epic fishing we had several years ago. Due to this, we expect to see much stricter striped bass regulations in 2015. Most welcome this but there is a question about it being done fairly. Planned reductions are being based on the 2013 season, a year in which Virginia took a 14% reduction while other states did not. A question being asked to the ASMFC is that why is not 2012 being used as the baseline so all states share equally in the catch reductions instead of piling on the Chesapeake Bay region, adding to the 14% reduction that was just taken here. The ASMFC will meet in Alexandria, VA on Aug. 5: www.asmfc.org .

The CBBT remains the flounder hotspot with limit catches being common and some true doormats being caught. The flounder bite is pretty good at all of the normal flounder spots but it is the CBBT where the best catches are being made. Good catches are still being made inside the seaside inlets, on Hampton Bar and inside the York River. Big sheepshead are also being caught at the CBBT along with triggerfish and spadefish.

Triggerfish, spadefish, flounder and some nice sea bass are being caught over some of the coastal wrecks. Hop around a bit until you find a wreck that is loaded. Trolling small spoons over and around these wrecks will produce catches of Spanish mackerel and small bluefish. Spanish mackerel can be found along the oceanfront and throughout the lower bay.

Cobia fishing remains excellent with both sight fishing and chumming being productive. While chumming, big red drum are not an uncommon by-catch. Sight casters are finding schools of big red drum and jack crevalle while searching for cobia near the mouth of the bay. Puppy drum remain active on Poquoson Flats and up in the shallows inside the rivers, inlets and in the Mobjack Bay area. Speckled trout have been a by-catch in this fishery. The speckled trout season reopens on August 1 but remember that the bag limits have changed to 5-fish with only one of which may be 24 inches or longer.

Offshore, the billfish bite is good and there are dolphin being caught. Yellowfin tuna are not a consistent catch but there are some tuna around. Overnight boats have caught a few swordfish and there is still the possibility of a bigeye tuna, especially at the Washington Canyon and points north. The best of the billfish bite has been around the Triple 0s area.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/07/29/peninsula-salt-water-sport-fisherman-weekly-18/

Jul 26 2014

Weekly Virginia Sportfishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

Once again, the weather continues to make a statement, as severe thunder storms pummel the Hampton Roads area. The excessive rain could muddy Bay waters, as well as influence the local salinity levels.

Flounder is still the hot species right now. Anglers are thrilled with the steady upswing in the overall flatfish trend over the past few weeks, with the fishery arguably the best it has been in years. The quality of the fish is very good, with limits coming from most lower Bay hotspots lately. Many flatfish are ranging around 3 to 7-pounds with some fish going over 8-pounds this week. The best results are coming from live bait offerings and jigging along bridge pilings, over the tubes at the 1st, 3rd, and 4th islands, and the High Rise areas of the CBBT. Within Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets, flounder pounders are filling limits with fish ranging to around 23-inches, while the flatfish action is steady along the both the Bayside and the seaside areas of the Eastern Shore right now.

Challenging weather conditions are overshadowing cobia sight casting efforts, but boats making an effort are rewarded with some solid catches, still mostly averaging in the 30 to 40-pound range. A few bigger fish are also responding to offerings, with some fish pushing to over 50-pounds hitting the dock. Chummers are still finding fish while weeding through sharks, with a few bruisers pushing to over 60-pounds in the mix this week. Both Latimer Shoals and the Nine Foot Shoals are producing for those anchored and chumming, while the Baltimore Channel area and the Virginia Beach oceanfront areas are producing for top water casters.

Big red drum are still providing some decent summer action as they school in lower Bay waters and along the shorelines off the Eastern Shore and Virginia Beach. Pods of black drum continue to circle the islands of the CBBT, but interest is nil with the excellent flounder and thriving cobia bites.

Spanish mackerel continue to dominate the trolling scene along the oceanfront off Virginia Beach. This week, the best catches are coming in 40 to 45-feet of water, about two to three miles off of Rudee Inlet. Quickly trolled small silver or gold spoons on small planers will do the trick. Most of the fish are nice-sized, ranging from 18 to 22-inches, with plenty of Taylor bluefish also in the mix.

Some big sheepshead are taking bait around the Bay Bridge Tunnel structure this week, with both clam and fiddlers working well. Plenty of greedy triggerfish will also take your bait in these same areas. Spadefish are still available at the Chesapeake Light Tower, the Tower Reef, on nearshore and inshore wrecks, along the CBBT, the Cell, and Plantation Light, with some fish ranging to around 6 to 8-pounds.

Croaker are a mainstay, with small to medium-sized hardheads hitting most everywhere from the HRBT to the CBBT. The area off Kiptopeke State Park is also a favorite location lately, with sea mullet also in the mix. Anglers heading to Oyster are finding good croaker action, with most fish in the medium size range, with a few larger fish starting to show lately. Spot are also biting along the oceanfront, the southern shores of the lower Bay, as well as near the Bay Bridge Tunnel. A few keepers sized spot are also hitting within Lynnhaven Inlet. Puppy drum ranging up to 25-inches are responding in most lower Bay shallows, along with some speckled trout, which become legal again at the end of the month.

Tarpon anglers are enduring the wrath of the recent storms and stiff winds. Most reports from the backwaters of Oyster on the Eastern Shore are indicating good battles with big sharks and massive Southern Rays while awaiting elusive silver kings lately.

Deep dropping is still a good choice, with decent blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, blackbellied rosefish, and nice grouper on the menu. Black seabass are also available on many inshore wrecks and deepwater structures. Amberjack are still available on several offshore wrecks and at the South Tower, but take plenty of bait, and plan for a hot day in July.

The Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation’s 12th Annual Wine, Women & Fishing (WWF) fundraising event goes underway August 16 -17 at Southside Marina in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation’s 12th Annual Wine, Women & Fishing (WWF) fundraising event goes underway August 16 -17 at Southside Marina in Virginia Beach, Va.

Offshore, the brief tuna surge last week left bluewater trollers wanting more. This week, only very scattered catches of tuna is a disappointment. Although the billfish bite is heating up, most boats are still only releasing a few white marlin, with a smattering of blue marlin and sailfish making things interesting. Some big dolphin are showing here and there, with mako sharks still a possibility.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/07/26/weekly-virginia-sportfishing-rundown-13/

Jul 23 2014

Outer Banks Fishing Update


By TH Spangler

The Oregon Inlet offshore fleet continues to find good dolphin and yellowfin tuna action trolling ballyhoo. Some days have produced excellent wahoo numbers, with some hoo’s topping the 40 pound mark. Boats are encountering plenty of billfish, releasing blue and white marlin and a few sailfish. Amberjacks are hovering around nearshore structure and taking an interest in live baits and artificial jigs.

Boats fishing from Hatteras Inlet are enjoying some excellent bill fishing right now. They are also bringing home limits of dolphin, a few wahoo and some blackfin tuna. Those stopping to bottom fish are catching sea bass, tilefish and triggers.

Capt Reid Robinson on the "Devereux"fishing out of Silver Lake on Ocracoke Island caught this nice dolphin.

Capt Reid Robinson on the “Devereux”, fishing out of Silver Lake on Ocracoke caught this nice dolphin.

Nearshore action has included red drum, cobia and amberjack within 10 miles of the beach. Anglers have been sight-casting bucktail jigs and drifting live baits at the towers with success.

Trolling around the inlet is producing catches of bluefish and spanish mackerel when the water is clean. They are also catching some specks and puppy drum on plastics. Bottom bouncers are catching some sea mullet, spot, croaker, flounder, and other bottom feeders.

The pier action was a little slow over the weekend. Avalon reported a few spot, sea mullet, spanish, blues and puppy drum. Nags Head pier anglers caught some blues and spot. Anglers fishing Jennette’s pier caught a few spot, bluefish and spanish. The Outer Banks pier report included spot, sea mullet and blues.

Anglers casting artificial lures like Gulp baits from the Nags Head/Manteo causeway reported some good speckled trout action recently. Some croaker and spot are falling for bottom rigs baited with shrimp and bloodworms.

Soundside boaters are still catching good numbers of puppy drum. Speckled trout and bluefish are also in the mix, and all are falling for soft plastic lures and live baits.

Surf anglers are catching sea mullet and spot on bottom rigs in the surf along the northern beaches. The best baits are shrimp and bloodworms. The water temperature at the Duck research pier is 73.2 F. Some pompano, bluefish, and puppy drum are in the surf mix south of Oregon Inlet. Anglers fishing at ramp 44 and 43 on Hatteras Island are catching mostly sea mullet. Ramp 38 saw some croakers, spots and bluefish. In the Avon area anglers are catching sea mullet, pompano and bluefish. Ramp 44 saw some flounder landed. The water temperature on the south side at Frisco is 81.7 F.

Ocracoke anglers are catching puppy drum, black drum along with scattered catches of sea mullets, bluefish, pompano, and spanish mackerel. Offshore boats departing Silver lake are catching lots of spanish inshore and dolphin offshore.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/07/23/outer-banks-fishing-update-5/

Jul 23 2014

Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman Weekly


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

july-flonder2Flounder fishing was excellent this week, especially at the CBBT where catches of limits were the norm. Some boats reported catching over 50 flounder in an outing. Other than the CBBT, flounder are being caught in the York River, off of Cape Charles, the Cell/buoy 42, Hampton Bar, Deadman’s Hill, inside the seaside inlets and all of the other flounder spots but it is the CBBT where the best catches are being made. Sheepshead, spadefish and triggerfish are also being caught at the CBBT.

Spanish mackerel are being caught along the oceanfront and throughout the lower bay. While trolling for Spanish, keep a lookout for cruising cobia and schools of big red drum. Big red drum continue to be the occasional by-catch for anglers chumming for cobia. Puppy drum are available up in the shallows most everywhere with some great fishing on Poquoson Flats this week. Cobia fishing has been very good this year and remains so. Both chumming and sight-fishing (when conditions are good) are producing a lot of cobia.

Offshore catches are consisting mostly of billfish and dolphin. Yellowfin tuna will show for a few days and disappear again. Some wahoo are being caught and there is the possibility of a bigeye tuna but it is dolphin and white marlin that are being consistently good. If the tuna are not cooperating, dropping down to the bottom will produce good catches of tilefish in depths about 50 fathoms. Amberjack are available at the southern towers.

Club tournaments: The PSWSFA Triple Threat (Red Drum, Black Drum, Cobia) Tournament will end on July 31. The Don Forman Cobia Tournament will run the entire month of August. The free Youth and Ladies Croaker and Flounder Tournament will begin on July 12 and run through July 27 when there will be club picnic and awards ceremony at Dare Marina, 6 PM.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/07/23/peninsula-salt-water-sport-fisherman-weekly-17/

Jul 20 2014

Weekly Virginia Sportfishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

The recent cold front brought some mild relief from the heat this week, but breezy conditions could hinder some fishing efforts over the weekend. When boats can get out, inshore species are providing good action, while the offshore bite is once again showing promise.

Paige II Charters

Paige II Charters

The flounder scene is at the top of the list right now, and with good reason. Anglers continue to experience very good results with solid catches of respectable flatfish. Live bait and jigs worked on lower Bay structures and along the CBBT are attracting strikes from flatties ranging to around 4-pounds, with several fish pushing to over 7-pounds lately. The 1st and 3rd islands, as well as the High Rise areas are the most productive spots along the CBBT this week. Within the basins in Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets, flounder enthusiasts are finding takers ranging up to about 22-inches. Folks also continue to find consistent results near the Cell, Buoys 36 and 38, Back River Reef, as well as the backwaters on the Eastern Shore.

Cobia action is still noteworthy, with anglers reporting up to a dozen or more hook-ups on outings. Plenty of rats ranging up to around 30-pounds are responding well to offerings from sight casters in lower Bay waters, and along the ocean front lately. A few larger fish are also cruising about; with some fish pushing to over 50-pounds boated this week. Chummers are scoring with fish using bunker, live eels, and live croaker fished on the bottom. The best locations for chumming lately are the seaside areas of Fisherman’s Island, the Nine foot Shoal, and Latimer Shoals. Boats targeting sharks are having very good luck with a variety of toothy species ranging to around 4-feet or more, especially off the oceanfront area.

Red drum are still schooling around the mouth of the Bay and off the Virginia Beach oceanfront, especially off Sandbridge. Black drum are available around the islands of the CBBT, but the interest is low with other species to target right now.

Spanish mackerel continue to hit well along the Virginia Beach oceanfront, with nice fish taking trolled spoons in 15 to 30-feet of water. Most mackerel are ranging from 20 to 24-inches this season, taking small silver and gold spoons trolled on planers and in-line sinkers. Taylor bluefish and small false albacore are also mixed in with the Spanish.

Sheepshead are still active, with some days better than others. Fish ranging from around 10 to14-pounds are taking fiddler crabs and clam presented along the Bay Bridge Tunnel complex. Plenty of greedy triggerfish are also available in these same areas, as well as on most inshore wrecks and reefs. Nice-sized spadefish are still providing good catches on near-shore wrecks and along the entire span of the CBBT. Most spades are a nicer class of fish lately, ranging to around 6-pounds or more.

Puppy drum and spot are still providing solid action within most lower Bay inlets and shallows, along with speckled trout for release action. Speckled trout will become available to keep again at the end of this month, but check the regulations carefully. Croaker continue to bite squid and shrimp most everywhere in lower Bay waters, as well as the backwaters of Oyster, with most hardheads averaging up to around a pound.

Tarpon anglers targeting silver kings out of Oyster on the Eastern Shore are put off this week with easterly winds, but the hunt will resume as the winds calm. Plenty of big sharks and huge pesky rays are also taking offerings in the same area.

Amberjack are biting at the Southern Towers, where anglers are finding good numbers of pups, with a few bruisers in the mix. Deep droppers will focus more on the bottom if the offshore trolling does not continue to pick up. Nice blueline tilefish, scattered golden tilefish and big black-bellied rosefish are hitting near the Canyon edges.

The bluewater action has been slow, but things are starting to look up this week. Several boats are encountering big yellowfin tuna ranging to around 70-pounds, and a few big eye tuna pushing to over 150-pounds off Virginia this week. Decent numbers of mahi and mako sharks are also available, with frequent white marlin releases rounding out catches. Hopefully the bite will continue on this trend for boats fishing the Virginia Beach Invitational Marlin Tournament next weekend.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/07/20/weekly-virginia-sportfishing-rundown-12/

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