Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Waters Out To The Towers.
By Dr. Julie Ball
VBSF.net fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach
Fishing reports are starting to sound more like weather reports lately. But this past week, the Mid-Atlantic coast was afforded a brief break. This break allowed hundreds of boats to shoot down the coast to warmer Carolina waters in search of bigger fish. The good rockfish action awaiting those committed anglers made it worth the trip. Fish ranging from 20-pounds to over 60-pounds gave anglers a work out.
This flurry of big striped bass activity occurred just in time to make the famous Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout a huge success. The Rockfish Shootout, the striped bass tournament that trumps all other rockfish tournaments, paid out over $145,000 this year. The top seven boats were awarded cash prizes, with the top honors going to “Daddy’s Dream” with a 3-fish weight of 111.7-pounds. VBSF sponsor the “Wave Runner” out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center took second place with 110.75-pounds of fish, while the crew of the “Bay Custom 3” came in third with 100.35-pounds. Classic trolled rockfish spreads fared well, with some boats reporting dozens of fish hitting most any type of trolled lure. Schools of some very nice striped bass are accessible within the legal 3-mile limit lately; with at least two fish reportedly in line for challenging the current North Carolina state record of 62-pounds!
Locally, speckled trout and puppy drum are basically the only game in town. Anglers who made it to the Elizabeth River this week found mixed results. Boats sitting in the Cove with live bait are catching a lot of fish, but most are ranging only up to about 21-inches. According to speckled trout guru Captain David Hester, the larger specks are scattered this week, so anglers are finding the fish along the River in water ranging in anywhere from 3 to 12-feet. But those who put in the time to find the fish are catching good numbers of speckled trout ranging from 3 to over 12-pounds this week. Different lures worked with a slow retrieve are enticing the most strikes right now. The first ICW Speckled Trout Shootout, hosted by the Norfolk Anglers Club, will take place this weekend. Puppy drum measuring to around 30-inches are also making a good by-catch in many of these same areas within the Elizabeth River.