Jul 25 2015

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown

By Dr Julie Ball

By Dr Julie Ball

A cold front rolled through this week, bringing some welcome relief from the heat. With a decent forecast for the weekend, plenty of anglers will hit the water.

The flounder action in the Bay is still productive if you put in the time, with some respectable flatfish to show. But the best action is still coming from the nearshore and inshore wrecks, where anglers are cleaning up with limits of nice fish averaging from 22 to 24-inches lately. Jigging with Gulp baits, metal jigs, or fresh stripped bait are good methods for wreck fishing for flounder. Some keeper seabass will also take these offerings on the same wrecks. For the Bay flounder hotspots, jigging and live bait are most effective right now, with both techniques are working around all four islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, with the average flattie averaging around 20 to 22-inches. Anglers drifting with strip baits and minnows are also lucking into good numbers of fish near the 4th island, the Hampton Bar, the Thimble Shoal Channel. Both Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets are also giving up a few keepers lately.

Cobia continue to provide very good action, with more of the larger fish making a showing this week. Chummers are still scoring with keeper sized fish using chunks of 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 shoal, but the trash fish and sharks continue to harass chummers. Sight-casters are finding some incredible catches, with brutes pushing to over 70-pounds landed this week. Pods of cobia are starting to form near the mouth of the Bay, and more fish are starting to favor buoys, making easy targets. Red drum are also schooling around the mouth of the Bay, with reports of schools also showing off the Virginia Beach ocean front.

Spanish mackerel are still the word on the trolling scene along the ocean front, but these flashy fish are also hitting within Bay waters. The bigger Spanish are coming from shallower water on small spoons trolled at a fast clip, with most ranging from 16 to 21-inches. King mackerel continue to emerge, with scattered catches of fish off Sandbridge showing some promise for a good season. Sharks still have folk’s attention as boats drift with chum slicks off Virginia Beach, especially at night for these toothy fish. Some of these sharks are pushing to well over 6-feet long.

Sheepshead are still biting well along the CBBT structure, with more fish beginning to move to the tubes of the artificial islands. Triggerfish are still biting in many of these same areas, with some fish pushing to over 3-pounds, especially on some of the near shore wrecks. Spadefish are still available at the Chesapeake Light Tower, the Tower Reef, the CBBT, and several inshore wrecks. The 4th island of the CBBT was particularly productive this week.

Bottom bouncers are flocking to Oyster to get in on the popular croaker run, as the size of the hardheads increase. Within lower Bay waters, croaker are still everywhere. The area off Kiptopeke State Park is still a favorite location, while some nicer croaker are also coming from the Inlets lately. Sea mullet are also lurking off Kiptopeke.

Tarpon are active on the Eastern Shore, with several hook-ups and a few suspected landings keeping tarpon hunters happy in the back waters of Oyster.

Amberjack are still an easy target at many offshore wrecks and the Southern Towers, while anglers may also luck into a few jacks at the Chesapeake Light Tower. Deep dropping is going well, with good hauls of the usual blueline tilefish, black bellied rosefish, and an occasional grouper with a side catch of nice seabass.

Offshore, the billfish bite is improving daily, with good numbers of white marlin and a several blue marlin crashing spreads this week. Boats using live bait are catching the most billfish. Further south, crews are also finding a few sailfish. Some nice yellowfin tuna and big eye tuna are scattered around, and wahoo are becoming more common. Some big dolphin are showing here and there, along with many surprise shark encounters.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/07/25/virginia-sport-fishing-rundown-30/

Jul 23 2015

Saltwater Sport Fisherman Report


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA


Even though we have not reached the prime time yet, billfish action remains very good with good numbers of blue marlin and a lot of white marlin being caught. The occasional sailfish also joins in. The Triple 0s area has been good for normal trolling while the Norfolk Canyon area has been live-baiting central. Dolphin catches have been scattered. Some yellowfin and bigeye tuna are being caught in the Norfolk and Washington Canyons but if you are lucky enough to hook a tuna, you have to get it past the sharks. Some yellowfin and dolphin have been caught more inshore at the Fingers and even closer in at the 26-Mile Hill and at the Hot Dog.

Amberjack are at the southern towers and amberjack and jack crevalle can be found over some of the wrecks closer to home. There have been some crevalle in close to the beach and on into the bay. A few, really nice king mackerel are being caught along the oceanfront in just enough numbers to catch anglers’ interest. Good catches of Spanish mackerel and small bluefish continue to be made along the oceanfront and throughout the lower bay.

Spadefish can be found at the Chesapeake Light Tower but better catches are being made over some of the coastal wrecks and at the CBBT where big sheepshead are also being caught. Flounder fishing is pretty good at the CBBT and flatfish are being caught at areas like Hampton Bar, Back River Reef, Deadman’s Hill and off of Cape Charles. Some of the best catches are being made around the ocean wrecks. The Tower Reef and the Triangle Wrecks have produced limit flounder catches over the past couple of weeks.

Cobia fishing remains excellent with good catches being made by both chumming and sight-fishing. Running the buoys has become more productive and I can personally attest that while trolling for a king mackerel, you are much more likely to catch a cobia right now. They seem to be everywhere in the lower bay and along the oceanfront. The prime location has been the Eastern Shore side of the bay. Big red drum continue to be caught, mostly by anglers looking for cobia. Tarpon are inside the barrier islands of the Eastern Shore.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/07/23/saltwater-sport-fisherman-report-4/

Jul 22 2015

OBX Off-Road Vehicle Management Meetings Scheduled

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is holding public scoping meetings to consider changes to the Seashore’s Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) special regulation as it relates to morning opening of beaches, extending the length of fall and spring seasonal ORV routes, and modifying the size and location of vehicle free areas. Public scoping will help inform the development of alternatives that will be analyzed in an Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA will be prepared in response to the Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2015 (Public Law 113-291) pertaining to the Seashore’s Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Management Plan.


The five public meetings are scheduled as follows:

* August 5, 2015, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. – Ocracoke School, 1 Schoolhouse Road, Ocracoke Island,
NC 27960

* August 6, 2015, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – McKimmon Conference &Training Center, 1101 Gorman Street, NC State University Campus, Raleigh, NC 27695

*August 10, 2015, 6:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. – Cape Hatteras Secondary School, 48576 Hwy 12,
Buxton, NC 27920

* August 11, 2015, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Hilton Garden Inn, 5353 Virginia Dare Trail,
Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

* August 12, 2015, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Embassy Suites Hampton Inn, 1700 Coliseum
Drive, Hampton, VA 23666

Additional information on the Public Scoping and EA process will be provided in advance of
the public meetings. More information can be found on the Seashore’s webpage at: http://www.nps.gov/caha/parkmgmt/2015ndaact.htm.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/07/22/obx-off-road-vehicle-management-meetings-scheduled/

Jul 18 2015

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

Key Dreams Charters

Key Dreams Charters

The summer fishing trend is in full swing, with good catches happening most everywhere inshore. On the other hand, the bluewater action could use some improvement. The offshore fleet is working hard for their catches lately, but this trend should improve when the billfish become more plentiful in a few weeks.

Inshore, limits of respectable cobia continue to keep anglers content. These fish are certainly easy to come by as they are easily spotted cruising in lower Bay waters. Most cobia are ranging around 30 to 45-pounds, with scattered 60 to 70-pounders in the mix.

Steady action is keeping chummers on their toes, but this activity is still hindered by trash fish and bothersome sharks. The best locations for chumming are the seaside areas of Fisherman’s Island, the Nine foot Shoal, and Latimer Shoal. Red drum are also providing top water action as they school around the mouth of the Bay, especially near the Baltimore Channel.

The flounder scene experienced an upswing in the abundance of fish this week. Many boats are limiting out with nice sized flatties, with many averaging around 4-pounds or more. Anglers dropping live bait and jigs on lower Bay structures and inshore wrecks are finding responsive fish, especially around the 1st, 3rd, and 4th islands at the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Within Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets, flounder enthusiasts are finding good catches ranging to around 20-inches recently.

Paige 2 Charters

Paige 2 Charters

Sheepshead action is still very good, with fish ranging between 10 and 13-pounds taking fiddler crabs presented along the Bridge Tunnel complex, with few sheep coming from the Seagull Pier this week. Plenty of greedy triggerfish are still available in these same areas, with some fish weighing over 2-pounds. Spadefish are schooling at the Chesapeake Light Tower, on nearshore wrecks, and along much of the span of the CBBT. Most of these fish are ranging between 3 and 5-pounds. Inshore wrecks are also harboring some nice seabass and flounder.

Spanish mackerel continue to hit very well off the Virginia Beach ocean front, from Rudee Inlet to Sandbridge. Captain Jake Hiles, skipper of the Matador from Rudee Inlet, reports the fish are holding in anywhere from 15 to 30-feet of water lately. Plenty of Taylor bluefish are also mixed in with the Spanish. Some king mackerel are available in the same areas, with scattered rumors of hook-ups. Shark fishing is still very good in this vicinity, with some big sharks common lately.

Bottom bouncers are having a good season, with croaker hitting most everywhere in lower Bay waters and inlets. Small to medium-sized spot are also making a showing along the ocean front and Rudee Inlet, with sea mullet rounding out catches, especially on the Eastern Shore side of the Bay near the High Rise section of the CBBT and the Concrete Ships.

The tarpon scene on the Eastern Shore continues to develop, but not many are talking about it. Sliver kings have been sighted, with some hook-ups and jump-offs reported recently.

Deep droppers are still pulling in good numbers of tilefish, rosefish, wreckfish, and grouper, along with a smattering of seabass near the Norfolk Canyon edges. Amberjack are ready for action on several ocean wrecks and at the South Tower. Jigs and live bait work well for these powerful fighters.

On the offshore scene, some wahoo, yellowfin tuna, and nice bigeye tuna are around, but huge sharks are making it difficult to get the tuna to the boat. Some decent mahi are also hitting, with a few gaffers weighing in at over 25-pounds caught this week. Some boats are catching mahi along weed lines at around 20-miles off the coast, and false albacore are making a good showing near the Fingers and other inshore sea mounts this week. Some billfish are showing up, but the bite is still happening for mostly live-baiters.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/07/18/virginia-sport-fishing-rundown-29/

Jul 16 2015

Saltwater Sport Fisherman Report


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

Flounder fishing is good. It is very good if you are in the right spot. Good catches are being made at the CBBT. Some very impressive catches are being made around most of the coastal wrecks. The Tower Reef area has been a very good flounder producer this week. Flatfish continue to be caught in the bay are places like Hampton Bar, Bluefish Rock, Back River Reef, Deadman’s Hill, in the York River, and at 36A.

Ruth McCormick

Ruth McCormick and some nice flounder!

Cobia fishing remains excellent with double-digit catches not being uncommon. Most of the fish are in the 40-something inch range with smaller and larger cobia being caught. Both sight-fishing and chumming are effective and more fish are being picked off of the buoys. Boats looking for cobia along the oceanfront and near the mouth of the bay are also finding schools of big red drum and some large jack crevalle.

Amberjack are around the southern towers for a sure bet. Some have been caught over wrecks closer to home and the Chesapeake Light Tower would be a possibility if you can get there when there are no divers or a fleet fishing for spadefish. Spadefish are at the Light Tower and over the structures of the Tower Reef. They can be found over most of the inshore wrecks and at the CBBT where you will also find big sheepshead.

Spanish mackerel fishing is good along the oceanfront along with small bluefish. Both are also being caught throughout the lower bay. Some big king mackerel have also been caught along the oceanfront. For a real challenge, you can go chase tarpon on the Eastern Shore.

Some nice dolphin catches have been made in as close as 20 miles off of the beach. A bit further than that, places like the Hot Dog, 26 Mile Hill, and even the Triangle Reef area are producing dolphin just about as well as the offshore areas. There have been some bluefin tuna and plenty of false albacore on the inshore hills. Out closer to 100 fathoms, there are some yellowfin tuna around but not really in numbers that you can fish on. Some wahoo are being caught and dolphin are out there too. The best bet remains the billfish bite where the catch is mostly white marlin but there are decent numbers of blue marlin around and there is the occasional sailfish.

For the most sure thing, go shark fishing. It does not matter where. They are everywhere.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/07/16/saltwater-sport-fisherman-report-3/

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