The water temp along the Virginia Beach ocean front is up to 62 degrees. In May, look for the best bite to come from black drum, bluefish, flounder, grey trout, red drum, sea bass, speckled trout, striped bass and tautog. The offshore, boats will be targeting tilefish, sea bass and maybe the first tuna.
Black drum like squid, crab, fresh cut fish, clam, shrimp and metal jigs like diamond jigs. They’re bottom feeders and usually located near and over underwater obstructions like wrecks, reefs, rocks and rough bottom areas. Look for their numbers to increase inside the Bay around the CBBT, the Concrete Ships and the Cabbage patch.
Bluefish are caught by trolling and jigging around schools with spoons, tube eels, metal squids or surface plugs. They are also caught on the bottom using fresh cut baits, like menhaden, mullet or spot.
Flounder love live baits, like spot or small mullet. They will also go for frozen minnows, fresh strip baits, cut bluefish, shark belly, squid, a minnow/strip combination and artificial bucktails. They are caught drifting rigs along the bottom from a boat, or casting from beaches and piers. The best early catches usually come from seaside inlets on the Eastern Shore. A favorite spot and methods is trolling small bucktails dressed with strip baits along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
Grey trout are caught on artificial lures like bucktails, lead jigs with plastic tails, metal jigs, live baits like spot and small mullet, peeler crab, and squid. Anglers Jig or cast artificial lures to schools of fish on the bottom or suspended just above the bottom. Look for them near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in deep water near the island rocks, especially the 4th Island and along the channel edge. Occasionally you can find them in the Eastern Shore seaside inlets. Along with puppy drum and speckled trout Captain Todd Beck, Knot Wish’n Charters caught a few grey trout at Rudee Inlet this week.
In May look for large red drum schools to show along the ocean front. Their numbers will increase on the shoals around the CBBT, the Inner Middle Grounds, Latimer Shoals, the Middle Grounds and the shoals off Fisherman’s Island. Drum seem to feed best from dusk to dawn, though they are taken around the clock. A popular angling technique is anchoring and chumming over the shoals. The preferred bait is crab. You want to remove the top of the shell and cut the crab into two pieces. Run the hook through a leg hole and then into the meat of the crab. You can also use fresh chunks of menhaden or spot.
Smaller puppy drum can be taken in local inlets and rivers on a multitude of lures, bucktails, top water plugs or spoons. Look for them along marshes, oyster beds, jetties, or pilings. Live fiddler crabs and shrimp are deadly.
Sea bass season reopens May 15 and runs through May 31 and again June 16 through December 31. They are caught using squid, crab, cut fish, clam, shrimp, diamond jigs fished over wrecks, reefs, rocks and on rough bottom areas. VBSF sponsors Rudee Tours and Aquaman Charters will be running sea bass trips.
Speckled trout are caught on artificial lures, peeler crabs, small spot, mullet, live shrimp. The best spring method is with peeler crabs fished near shore of marshy or grassy areas on flooding tides. Good fishing spots are inside Rudee Inlet, Lynnhaven Inlet, Little Creek Inlet. Mobjack Bay area and on the Eastern Shore bayside.
The Chesapeake Bay striper season reopens May 16 and runs through June 15. The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length. The maximum size limit is 28 inches total length. The daily possession limit is one fish per person. You should find them mixed in with your puppy drum and speckled trout catch.
The recreational tautog fishing season closes May 16 through June 30.
Offshore sea bass, blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, snowy grouper, black belly rose fish and dogfish are available this time of year to Virginia offshore deep droppers. Make sure to keep up with seasonal regulations for each.
The head boats at Rudee Tours are now running, Half-Day trips: primarily for croaker, flounder, occasional small shark. 3/4 Day trips for tautog, smooth/spiny dogfish sharks and black sea bass. Full Day trips for bluefish, flounder and black sea bass. And 17-Hour Deep Drops for black sea bass, blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, snowy grouper, blackbelly rosefish, dogfish sharks. Black sea bass season opens May 15th. VBSF sponsor Aquaman Charters will be running similar trips this month.
In a bit of dock news, there’s a rumor that Long Bay Pointe Marina will have ethanol free gas very soon. 87 and 90 octanes as well as their usual diesel, stay tuned!