With the water temperature at Thimble Shoal now at 50.9F black drum are starting to show up in their usual haunts along the bayside of the Eastern Shore. Good locations are the Cabbage Patch, near the Concrete Ships, Buoy 13, near the high rise of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, around 36A and off of Cape Charles. Look for boats anchored close together in these areas. Best baits are clam and crab, used separately or together on the same hook.
Our tautog bite continues. Look for them anywhere there’s structure. Popular areas include the CBBT, Back River Reef, the Cell, Tower Reef, the Concrete Ships, Cape Henry Wreck, the Santore, the Winthrop, and the Triangle Wrecks. The best bait consists of crab, clam, or a combination of both.
A few red drum are being caught at The Point in Buxton, near ramps 48 and 55. There are plenty of sharks and skates around. Blow toads and sea mullet are scattered up and down the beaches. Some sheepshead and black drum have also been landed in the Buxton surf. There are reports of puppy drum being caught in the surf as far north as Nags Head, in the Jennette’s pier area.
The Oregon Inlet fleet is continuing to enjoy good yellow fin tuna catches. Out of Hatteras black fin tuna jigging has been hit and miss. Some captains have turned to bottom fishing. They are finding hungry sea bass and some nice triggerfish. They have also picked up some king mackerel and a few wahoo.
Striped Bass Concerns
Concerns about the striped bass stock has prompted Virginia Marine Resources Commission staff to urge for emergency action to eliminate the state’s Spring Trophy-size striper season in the Bay, coastal waters and Potomac River tributaries.
VMCR release, “On April 23, 2019, the Marine Resources Commission will consider an emergency staff proposal to eliminate the Bay, Coastal and Potomac River Tributaries Spring Trophy-size Striped Bass Recreational Fisheries described in Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq. The justifications for this proposal include the status of the coastal striped bass stock that is overfished. This means the spawning stock is low and not biologically stable. Overfishing has been occurring for several years meaning the rate of striped bass removals from the stock has caused an overfished condition. The number of striped bass harvested recreationally by Virginia fisheries has declined markedly since 2010 when 368 thousand striped bass were harvested from all tidal Virginia waters. In 2018, preliminary recreational striped bass harvest is less than 52 thousand fish. The reporting rate for the trophy-size recreational striped bass fisheries has been low and ranged from 37 percent to 50 percent, from 2015 through 2018. All these factors have contributed to the staff proposal for these emergency actions, and section § 28.2-210 of the Code of Virginia authorizes these amendments for the protection of the striped bass resource.The emergency amendments proposed by staff include:1) elimination of the open season for the Bay spring trophy-size striped bass recreational fishery of May 1 through June 15, inclusive, whereby a 36-inch minimum size limit has been in effect; 2) elimination of the open season for the Coastal spring trophy-size striped bass recreational fishery of May 1 through May 15, inclusive, whereby a 36-inch minimum size limit has been in effect; and, 3) elimination of the open season for the Potomac River tributaries spring striped bass recreational fishery of April 20 through May 15, inclusive, whereby a 35 inch minimum size limit is in effect.Staff proposes an effective date of April 29, 2019 for the emergency regulation. If the Commission adopts the emergency regulation, a public hearing on this issue would be requested for May 28, 2019.”