60 Degrees, Drum Roll Please!

Knot Wish’n Charters, Rudee Inlet

The first black drum were landed in the surf on Virginia’s eastern shore last week. Look for good catches to develop bayside near the Cabbage Patch, the Concrete Ships, near Buoy 13, the high rise of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, around 36A and off of Cape Charles. Best baits are clam and crab used separately or together.

Bay water temperature at the CBBT has reached the upper 50’s. Red drum usually show up by the time it hits 60 ….. and big red drum reports are already coming in! Their numbers will peak in May. Look for them around the islands, on the shoals at the mouth of the bay, Latimer Shoal, the shallows and near the northern end of the CBBT.

Flounder are starting to show up inshore. The best early season action usually occurs in the seaside inlets on the Eastern Shore. A few short flatties have been caught inside Rudee Inlet already. Remember large baits catch large flonder.

Some trout have been caught inside Rudee Inlet. Captain Todd and crew on the Knot Wish’n landed a couple this week. Captain Todd said the water temperature inside Rudee is 60F now.

Rudee’s Inlet Station Marina, 17 1/2 pounds!

Tautog fishing remains good. Look for them around structure like the CBBT, Back River Reef, the Cell, Tower Reef, the Concrete Ships, Cape Henry Wreck, the Santore, the Winthrop, and the Triangle Wrecks. Best baits are crab, clam or a combination.

OBX, NC

Bluefish, sea mullet and blow toads are scattered along Hatteras Island beaches. A few big drum and large sharks have been caught at the point.

The piers are catching blow toads, shad, trout and bluefish.

Nate Howard and crew from Virginia Beach, with Release Sport Fishing Hatteras, NC

Offshore, captains sailing from Oregon Inlet are finding plenty of hungry yellow fin tuna … and dolphin numbers are on the rise. Down in Hatteras boats are catching LARGE black fin tuna over the offshore rocks. Sharks have been a problem, taking many fish before they can be boxed.

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2019/04/12/60-degrees-drum-roll-please/

Black Drum Are Arriving

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.

OBX, NC

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.”

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2019/04/05/black-drum-are-arriving-in-the-bay/

Virginia Tautog, Carolina Red Drum

Wes Blow

As water temperatures rise our tautog bite is picking up.  The water temperature is up to 49.1 degrees at Thimbles Shoals. Ocean wrecks usually produced first, but now the bite has moved into the bay. Look for taugs 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. Wes Blow and Captain Craig Paige (Paige II Charters) both got in on the action this week.

Paige II Charters

Down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina red drum have been caught at the point and near ramps 48 and 55 in Buxton.  As many as ten per day have been reported to local tackle shops. There are plenty of sharks and skates around. Blow toads and sea mullet are scattered up and down the beaches.

The Oregon Inlet fleet has been returning to docks with limits of yellow fin and now a few mahi are in the mix. There continues to be some giant blue fin around.

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2019/03/25/virginia-tautog-carolina-red-drum/

Good Tuna Bite Off Oregon Inlet

The Sea Breeze, with Captain Ned Ashby

It may be the slow saltwater season in Virginia … but it’s a great time to pull the cover off the boat and get things ready to go. Anglers have been hitting local flea markets and tackle shops for fresh line or a new reel or two.

It’s a different story in North Carolina. Things are really picking up offshore on the OBX’s …  March is tuna time! … There has been an outstanding blue fin tuna bit off Oregon Inlet. The commercial guys did well and now the charters are collecting their one per year limit. Anglers from around the world show up to charter and take advantage of the limit. The yellow fin and black fin tuna bite is also picking up, limits have been caught recently. Some large mako sharks (in the 300 lb class) have crashed baits as well.

The short Virginia black sea bass season has ended and lots of scientific data was collected. Don’t forget, if you were issues a special permit you must report even if you didn’t catch or fish. If you don’t you may not be eligible to participate next year. March 15th is the deadline for reporting your activities under this permit. Reports can be conveniently reported through the online Virginia Saltwater Journal (https://www.vasaltwaterjournal.com).

Virginia anglers have lots to look forward to over the coming weeks. By the end of March we should be enjoying some good tautog action. Atlantic mackerel will also be available. Local charter captains are taking advance booking for taugtog trips now, so if plan to go you should contact one asap.

As April rolls around the taug action will continue and flounder will become a possibility.

By mid April the big black drum roll in. Bluefish and gray trout will also be a possibility. The flounder bite should continue improving and speckled trout will become more numerous. By the end of May plenty of large red drum will have made their way into the lower bay.

In June everything starts to peak, inshore and off! Black drum, red drum, cobia, croaker, flounder, gray trout, round head, sheepshead, spadefish, spanish mackerel, speckled trout, small striped bass, mahi, yellow fin tuna and school size blue fin tuna.

Lots to look forward to!

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2019/03/10/good-tuna-bite-off-oregon-inlet/

Black Sea Bass Season A Success

News, Sea Bass Update – We’ve just wrapped up a very successful February Black Sea Bass Recreational season. The success is due in large part to your cooperation with VMRC staff in gathering information on this popular fishery. This information is vital since the Marine Recreational Intercept Program (MRIP) which typically gathers recreational catch and effort data is not conducted during Wave 1 (January – February).

Your phone calls each morning allowed staff to coordinate vessel intercepts as you returned to the dock. This allowed us to collect biological samples from over 1200 of your fish, in addition to the catch and effort data anglers reported (to date) from 109 private, charter, and headboat trips.

Now that the season is over please note the following permit requirements:

March 15th is the deadline for reporting your activities under this permit.

Reports can be conveniently reported through the online Virginia Saltwater Journal (https://www.vasaltwaterjournal.com)

The captain/vessel operator is responsible for reporting for EACH trip for all anglers onboard his vessel.

If you targeted black sea bass but were unsuccessful, your trip is still important and you need to report your information as well.

Those permittees that did not fish at all for black sea bass during this February fishery are also required to report “no activity” prior to the deadline.

Failure to meet these requirements by March 15th could result in you not being able to obtain a permit for the 2020 fishing season (Chapter 4 VAC20-950-10, section 45E).

If you have already reported all your trips, thank you very much!

Virginia is one of the few Atlantic Coast states allowing this February Black Sea Bass Season. We hope to continue our participation in the future with your continued support and cooperation. Call 757-247-2200 if you have questions or concerns.

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2019/03/02/sea-bass/