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Aug 05 2017

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Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

By Dr Julie Ball


Temperatures are beginning to shift into the eighties as we transition into the late summer fishing scene.

Cobia came on strong this year, making this summer one of the best cobia seasons seen in a few years. Large pods of fish are cruising along the surface as they prepare to exit Bay waters. These fish are easy targets for sight casters as they present in open water, with many pushing to well over 60-pounds. This pattern will only improve over the next several weeks as fall approaches. While chumming is still an effective method, shark intrusions can make cobia hook-ups a challenge.

Red drum are still making an impressive appearance this year, as schools continue to provide excellent casting action. Schools of bull reds are still roaming in the lower Bay, especially near the 3rd and 4th islands. Puppy drum are also providing good action in the shallows, where pups pushing to around 30-inches were caught as a by-catch by speckled trout anglers this week. Speckled trout are becoming more active, especially within the backwaters of the Eastern Shore and Lynnhaven Inlet.

Croaker are everywhere right now. The larger hardheads are coming from the deeper areas north of the 3rd island of the CBBT, around the MMBT, Back River Reef, and the Cell, with many fish pushing over a pound. The better numbers of croaker are available off Cape Henry and along the Baltimore Channel. Anglers fishing Oyster are still filling coolers from the back waters. Spot are making a good showing in the area, with nice fish hitting within Rudee, Lynnhaven, and Little Creek Inlets on bloodworms. Nice sized sea mullet are also still available near the concrete ships and Fisherman’s Island Inlet.

Good Flounder Action On Key Dreams Charters

Flounder action will remain steady though the month, with nice fish ranging to around 6-pounds filling limits from all over lower Bay waters. Live baiters are experiencing good results all along the Bay Bridge Tunnel, especially near the tubes at the 1st, 3rd, and 4th islands. Jigging along the pilings and tubes near the islands is also working well. The lower Bay inlets are also hosting some keepers, with some flatties ranging up to 22-inches caught in both Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets this week. Decent flatfish are also a good option on inshore and offshore wrecks in August and through the fall. Nice keeper-sized seabass are also available on many of these same offshore structures.

Spanish mackerel action has been great this season, with very nice fish providing good action from the middle Bay on out to Cape Henry. Small gold and silver spoons are the best lure for these fish. King mackerel anglers are still waiting for the king bite to materialize, with not much to show yet.

Sheepshead are hitting along the Bay Bridge Tunnel structure, with most catches pushing to over 10-pounds lately. Decent spadefish are still available along the Bridge tunnel and around the islands, using clams as bait. Big triggerfish are also hitting in these same areas.

Tarpon sightings and hook-ups on the Eastern Shore are always hush-hush, but scattered releases and a barrage of sightings are keeping anglers interested.

Amberjack are still available on offshore wrecks and at the Southern Towers, and deep dropping action is still good for boats running out to investigate the floors along the Canyon edges. Blueline tilefish, grouper, blackbellied rosefish, and nice seabass are available for the taking.

Offshore, billfish action is finally heating up. More flags are flying as white marlin numbers build for those boats opting for the live-baiting technique, which has become a popular method for early season billfish. A smattering of blue marlin, sailfish, and spearfish encounters are also rounding things out. One boat also scored with a 475-pound swordfish using daytime fishing techniques. Lots of dolphin are also around, along with some scattered yellowfin tuna, and wahoo.


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