Oct 17 2014

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

We are now well into the fall fishing season, with plenty of good fishing opportunities for anglers in most any venue along the Mid-Atlantic.

Inshore, many anglers are focusing on the improving speckled trout bite. Although many of the specks are on the small side, enough of keepers ranging mostly from 18 to 21-inches are keeping anglers content. Some gator-sized trout are also crashing baits, with some fish pushing to over 30-inches caught this week. Most any style jig or lure, and most any color combination seems to work right now, although top water lures are attracting the most strikes. The most consistent action is happening in Rudee Inlet, Little Creek, Lynnhaven River, Back River, the Eastern Shore shallows, the Poquoson flats, and the Elizabeth River. The bigger fish ranging to over 5-pounds are coming from Rudee Inlet, Little Creek Inlet, and the Elizabeth River this week. A few nice-sized puppy drum are also around in the same areas. Surf and pier anglers are also enjoying a run of speckled trout, with reports of trout hitting in the surf from Fort Story to Sandbridge.


Although the red drum bite in the surf off of Sandbridge and the Wildlife Refuge slowed up this week, some nights are still producing 5 or 6 fish for anglers waiting it out. The best offering is still fresh cut bait, with fresh spot still the number one enticement. Big reds are a still a possibility for boats along the ocean front, along the Eastern Shore shoals, and near the islands of the CBBT, but the bite is slowing down. Some bruisers stretching to over 50-inches along with some nice puppy drum, were released this week by anglers bottom fishing with cut bait near the 3rd island of the Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Boats trolling along the ocean front are finding some Taylor bluefish, along with some keeper-sized Spanish mackerel. King mackerel are still a possibility, but finding clean water and suitable water temperatures is a challenge. False albacore are also showing up in schools from the beach out to the Chesapeake Light Tower.

Striped bass are becoming more active, but the water is still too warm for the bite to really take off. Casters are scoring with schoolie-sized rockfish between 18 to 22-inches in most lower Bay tributaries and inlets, as well as along the Monitor Merrimack, the James River Bridge, the HRBT, and the CBBT. The bite is particularly good at night along the light lines, with lots of snapper bluefish rounding out most catches in the Bay.

The inshore tautog activity is generating more interest as keeper-sized fish continue to snap at offerings on most any lower Bay structure and along the CBBT. Blue crab is the top bait for limits of fish pushing up to around 6-pounds lately. Sheepshead are still around, but most catches are occurring as a by catch for tog enthusiasts. Deeper wrecks will also earn more attention as more species exit the area, with some nice tog and ample numbers of respectable triggerfish available. Seabass are also on these same structures, which are now available to keep with the season reopening the 18th this month. Chopper bluefish should show up any day now on the offshore wrecks.

Anglers are finding some cooperative fish, but the flounder bite is sluggish due to the muddy water lately. The flatfish are plump right now as they fatten up in preparation for their migration offshore. Some of the deeper water wrecks are giving up a few decent flatties mixed in with shorts.

Spot reports are hit and miss in the lower Bay, but surf and pier anglers are still catching good numbers of nice-sized spot in Rudee Inlet and off of Sandbridge, although all the lower Bay inlets are still hosting a good range of nice spot. Some croaker are still hovering near the CBBT, especially near the bend at the 3rd island, the HRBT, as well as in the lower Bay inlets.

Deep droppers are finding good sized tilefish and rosefish along the edges of the Norfolk Canyon when they can get out, with several tiles exceeding 10-pounds.

The wind is a factor lately offshore, keeping many boats closer to shore. The wahoo action is slower this week, with the bite moving further to the south. Bailer and gaffer mahi, false albacore, and a few yellowfin, blackfin, and bigeye tuna are also hitting for trollers when they can get out.

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