Early, Memorial Day Weekend Fishing Outlook

bluefish

Paige II Charters

This Memorial Day weekend, we at Virginia Beach Sport Fishing (VBSF) would like to take a moment to honor and remember the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Their courage and dedication will never be forgotten. As we enjoy our time on the water, let’s remember the freedoms we have because of their service. We wish everyone a safe and peaceful Memorial Day weekend.

spanish

Now is when our inshore fishing starts peaking!

Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish, are feeding along the Virginia Beach oceanfront and in the Bay. Try trolling small spoons like the 0S Drone or Clark behind a small planer for the Spanish.

Cobia, are now along the oceanfront and in the lower bay. They are attracted to live eels, spot, menhaden, mullet, large spoons, buck tails, plastic eels, swimming plugs, or cut bait.  They often hang around buoys and other structures. Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle usually has Blue Crabs and live eels available.

Red Drum, the bite continues along the oceanfront and in the lower bay. Latimer Shoal, at the mouth of the bay, is a hot spot for 25 to 50 pound feeding red drum. Trolling spoons or bucktails over and around the shallows or anchoring nearby and fishing fresh cut spot, menhaden, or blue crabs are the best methods.

Black Drum, the season has been outstanding. Continue looking for them along the shallow channel ledge running from Fisherman’s Island to Cape Charles. Good spots are Kiptopeake, the Cabbage Patch, and the Concrete Ships.

Sheepshead, numbers are increasing and fish will be available through September. The best baits are fiddler crabs, sand fleas, or clams. The average size fish is 3 to 8 pounds.

Spadefish, should be available any day, if not already. They usually bite well for a few of weeks, but then become less aggressive.

Flounder and Croaker, the bite is slow, but hopefully, it will pick up soon.

Virginia Beach Pier, anglers are catching a few Spanish, some bluefish, roundhead and skates.

Virginia Offshore Bluewater, it’s time for it to heat up. The water temps are in the low 70’s and bait is everywhere, but so far boats are only finding a few scattered tuna, mako, and a few dolphins.

Remember to follow all local fishing regulations and practice catch and release to help preserve the fish populations for future generations. Happy fishing!

 

VBSF RUDEE INLET CHARTER BOATS 2024
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Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/05/23/early-memorial-day-weekend-fishing-outlook/

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

seabass

Sea Bass Season Is Open! Nice catch!

The Black Seabass season reopened May 15th. The bite has been very good; with several boats catching limits of jumbos. The Triangle Reef and Tower Reef are popular spots. Sea bass will bite squid, crab, fresh cut fish, clam strips, shrimp or diamond jigs.

Knot Wish’n, First Cobia Release of The Season!

Red drum are in their usual spots and now Cobia are joining them. This week a couple of boats caught both. Cobia will hit just about anything you put in front of them.  Live eels, spot, menhaden, mullet, large spoons, white buck tails, plastic eels, swimming plugs or cut bait. Look for them around buoys and other structure, like the islands and pilings of the CBBT. Captain Todd, Knot Wish’n Charters released his first Cobia of the season this week.

black drum

Nice Black Drum! Caught on Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle Blue Crabs near Fishermans Island!

The spring Black Drum bite has been excellent. The best action is coming from Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where fish are being caught seaside and bayside. Some have topped 50 pounds, but the 20 to 25 ponders are best for the table. Blue crabs, whole clam, peeler crab, whelk, peeler crab/clam sandwich, buck tails and lead head jigs are all good baits. The AquaMan Charters crew got in on the Black Drum action this week.

Black drum

AquaMan Charters, Black Drum

bluefish

Paige II Charters, Bluefish

Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish are being caught along the oceanfront, in the Bay and inside inlets and creeks. The Spanish will hit very small spoons like the 0S Drone or Clark pulled behind a small plainer or inline weight. Captain Craig Paige, Paige II Charters and crew got in on the Bluefish action.

Sheepshead are showing up on CBBT pilings. They can be caught by fishing fiddler crabs, mole crabs or clam tight against the structure.

Flounder fishing inside Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets is picking up, some nice keepers have been caught. The best flounder baits are buck tails dressed with a Gulp or a minnow/squid sandwiches fished on a Sea Striker Fluke Killer.

The Puppy drum bite remains good inside Lynnhaven. And Blues have been popping up as well.

Virginia Beach Pier anglers are catching Spanish, Blues, Roundhead, Trout and Skates.

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, fishing is picking up! It’s time to round up some fresh bait and hit your favorite fishing spot!

 

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Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/05/18/virginia-saltwater-fishing-report-28/

NOAA FISHERIES NEWS: Recreational Tilefish Permitting and Reporting Requirements

News Release: If you own or operate a private recreational vessel and target blueline or golden tilefish from Virginia northward, you must have a private recreational tilefish permit and submit a trip report within 24 hours of completing a trip (even if HMS species were also targeted). These requirements extend to for-hire or commercial vessels when fishing in a private recreational capacity.

In summary:

Recreational Tilefish Permit: Private recreational vessel owners targeting blueline or golden tilefish from Virginia northward must have a permit.

Reporting Requirements: A trip report must be submitted within 24 hours of completing a fishing trip, detailing the number of anglers, time spent fishing, and tilefish count.

Permit Application: Permits can be obtained through the NOAA Fisheries’ Fish Online website.

Learn More: Additional information is available on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s website regarding tilefish permitting and reporting.

This bulletin from NOAA Fisheries outlines the necessary steps and requirements for recreational tilefish fishing in the specified region.

LINK:  USNOAAFISHERIES

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/05/14/noaa-fisheries-news-recreational-tilefish-permitting-and-reporting-requirements/

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Outlook

red drum

Truly A World Class Fishery!

Large schools of Red Drum continue to migrate along the coast on their way to their breeding grounds in the Chesapeake Bay. Schools popped up along the oceanfront this week, anglers were able to sight-cast to them. If you don’t find a school on the surface, your best chance at landing one of these beasts is to anchor up near shoals. The north end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel near Fishermans Island or Poquoson flats are good locations. Black Drum are still a good possibility in the same area. A released Red or Black Drum measuring 46 inches or more qualifies you for a Virginia State citation award. Captured Black Drum citation is 80 pounds.

spanish mack

Spanish At The Virginia Beach Pier

Large Bluefish have shown up just about everywhere. And Spanish Mackerel numbers are on the rise. Try trolling or casting to schools near inlets, along tide lines and over coastal wrecks. Anglers on the Virginia Beach and Buckroe piers caught both Spanish and Blues this week. So far, the Spanish are averaging between 1 and 2 pounds. A much larger class is on the way.

tautog

Dr Neill getting In on some late season Togging

Tautog action continues to be good. Catches along the CBBT and on Bay structure remains steady. There are only a couple days left in the Virginia season, it closes at midnight the 15th.

Our upcoming Cobia season should be a very good one. A few have arrived along the Virginia Beach oceanfront and large schools are migrating along the OBX on their way to the Bay now. Anglers to our south have been sight-casting Cobia and Drum swimming together. Virginia recreational Cobia regulations are as follows: 40-inch, total length, minimum size limit; 1-fish daily possession limit or 2-fish-daily vessel limit, whichever is more restrictive; only one fish per vessel per day may be greater than 50 inches in total length; an open season of June 15 through September 15; and gaffing is prohibited.

As nighttime air temperatures start remaining above 60 degrees the inshore flounder bite should heat up … it’s off to a good start with most of the big fish coming from the inlets and tidal marshes on the Eastern Shore barrier islands. Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle is reporting a few flounder catches inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Generally large baits will catch larger fish, especially in deeper Bay water.

Sheepsheads are starting to arrive at the Bridge Tunnel. Their numbers will peak in June, and they will hang around until September. They love fiddler crabs, sand fleas or clams fished up against the pilings. Most fish are in the 3-to-8-pound class, but the state record is 20 pounds, 12 ounces.

Speckled trout are scattered in the marshes along the lower Chesapeake Bay and on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Look for them in the surf and inside inlets, near marshes.

Spadefish should start showing anytime now. The good bite will occur in June. They will be available all summer.

Now is a great time to hit the water, and as June approaches, things will only get better!!

 

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Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/05/12/virginia-saltwater-fishing-outlook/

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Forecast

blurfish virginia beach

Steven and nice Bluefish at Cape Henry

Bluefish made an incredible showing in shallow water this year. Some nice sized fish were landed this week!

Spanish Mackerel can’t be far behind! Soon the tidal rips east of the CBBT will be a great place to hook up with both.

It’s time to restock your boats tackle drawer, Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle has Spanish Mackerel kits in stock waiting for you.

red drum

Ken Neill and a nice Puppy Drum

Red and Black Drum arrived on the Bay shoals and flats a couple of weeks ago, and there’s more on the way. Schools of Drum and now Cobia are migrating along North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Many of these fish will join schools already in the Chesapeake Bay. If you want a chance at encountering one of these schools and get in on some world-class fishing but don’t own a boat, no problem? One of these fantastic VBSF sponsors can help.  AquaMan Sportfishing, High Hopes Sportfishing, Knot Wish’n Charters, Paige II Charters 

Some nice, speckled trout have been caught in the Sandbridge surf and off the Virginia Beach Pier. Virginia Beach Pier anglers are also catching some Spot, Roundhead, Gray Trout, Rays, Skates and Blues.

Trout, Puppy Drum and Bluefish are available inside Rudee Inlet. They’re also in the shallow waters of the Western Branch of the Lynnhaven River and Linkhorn, Broad Bay.

Flounder catches continue improving as water temps warm, especially around Wachapreague and Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore. Flounder are also showing up in our local inlets (Rudee, Lynnhaven, Little Creek) and along the CBBT.

Large Sheepshead should be arriving in the Bay.

Tautog action continues to be good, especially on ocean wrecks. Catches along the CBBT and on Bay structure are steady. There are only a few more days left in the Virginia season, it closes May 15th.

Offshore anglers will be cranking up Black Seabass, Blueline Tilefish, Golden Tilefish, Snowy Grouper, Black Belly Rose fish and Spiny Dogfish. The Seabass season reopens May 15 and runs through July 15. Blueline season is May 15 through November 15. A Rudee boat ran south and found some Tuna last week.

OBX, NC

Cobia

Avalon Pier

The Cobia schools have made an appearance south of Hatteras, off Ocracoke! And big Red Drum schools are showing in the ocean, near inlets.

The Trout and Blues are in the surf and in the sound.

The offshore fishing remains steady with great Dolphin and Tuna catches! A few Blue Marlin have been released.

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Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/05/05/virginia-saltwater-fishing-forecast/

The Fishing Forecast: A Cool Spring So Far

flounder Rudee inlet

As the spring season unfolds, the waters of Virginia’s coast have been picking up with activity despite a recent drop in temperature.

Last week, Rudee Inlet’s water temperature held steady at a brisk 56 degrees, but that didn’t prevent anglers from picking up some big Bluefish (some tipping the scales at an impressive 10 pounds), along with a few large Speckled Trout, Puppy Drum, and some keeper-size Flounder.

The shallows inside Lynnhaven Inlet continue to be a hotspot for Trout and Puppy Drum, with anglers now also reeling in keeper-size Flounder.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) and the shoals near Fisherman’s Island will become the focal point for those targeting large Drum. Weather conditions have not been conducive for hunting Red Drum schools on the surface due to chop and clouds.  Black Drum catches last week saw a slowdown, attributed to less-than-ideal weather conditions.  Hopefully that changes this week.

Over on Virginia’s Eastern Shore around Chincoteague and Wachapreague, doormat Flounders have been making a splash. Surf anglers there are also having success with Black Drum, Bluefish, and Stripers, adding to the excitement.

Tautog fishing remains rewarding on the bridge tunnel islands and coastal wrecks. With the season drawing to a close on May 16, anglers have a narrow window to pursue these great tasting fish.

trout

Dr. Neill

Not to be outdone, the Peninsula is holding its own with anglers catching Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum in the shallow waters of Mobjack Bay and the Piankatank River. Boat docks and piers are proving to be fruitful spots for these catches.

OBX, North Caolina

tuna

Sea Breeze Charters

While the weather might have dampened the spirits of beachgoers, the fishing community found a silver lining.

At the Point in Buxton the Red Drum are biting, providing anglers with steady action. These fish are a prized surf catch for their fight and size.

Blowtoads, Trout, and Bluefish are being reeled in on all the beaches.

The Sound is producing sizable Bluefish, some Trout, and Puppy Drum.

The offshore boats, that braved choppy seas, have been rewarded with bountiful catches of Yellowfins (OI) and Dolphins (Hatteras).

As we move deeper into spring, the promise of warmer waters and the potential for even more impressive catches looms on the horizon. So, grab your gear, check the tides, and head out for what could be the next big catch of the season. Happy fishing!

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Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/04/28/the-fishing-forecast-a-cool-spring-so-far/

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

Nice Puppy Drum, Dr Neill

As the days grow longer and the waters of Virginia warm, anglers are in for a treat with the variety of fish coming into season.

Tautog fishing is currently at its peak. These guys hang in and around underwater structures, wrecks and the rock islands protecting local bridge tunnels.  With the Virginia season drawing to a close on May 15th, now is the time to go.

Anglers targeting Togs are already picking up Sheepshead. Their numbers will increase in May and peak in early June. The best baits are fiddler crabs or mole crabs, fished very close to structure.

Large Red Drum are feeding on the shoals at the mouth of the bay, near the north end of the CBBT.  Next month, as the water warms and the number of fish increases, anglers will begin having success sight casting along the ocean front and near the islands of the CBBT.  Smaller Puppy Drum are available in the shallows inside Lynnhaven, Rudee and Little Creek Inlets and in rivers. Dr. Ken Neill picked up some nice pups this week (pictured top).

For those seeking Black Drum, the shallow channel ledge from Fisherman’s Island to north of Cape Charles is the place to be. Here, you can spot boats huddled together in prime fishing spots like Kiptopeake and the Concrete Ships.

Knot Wish’N Charters

Flounder, speckled trout and bluefish are starting to bite inside local inlets.  The best flounder catches are still coming from Wachapreague, Oyster and Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore. A few flounders have been caught along the CBBT. Pictured is one Knot Wish’n Charters picked up inside Rudee Inlet, where the water temperature was 64 degrees. Numbers will continue to improve as the water warms.

Virginia offshore anglers can target sea bass, blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, snowy grouper. It’s crucial to stay updated with the seasonal regulations. The Black Seabass season runs May 15 through Jul 15; and again, July 27 through Dec 31. Tuna fishing is heating up to our south in North Carolina, it won’t be long now.

OBX, NC

tuna

Sea Breeze Charters

OBX offshore Yellowfin fishing was outstanding this week. Pictured is a great catch made on board the Sea Breeze, with captain Ned Ashby.

Trout fishing on the beach had been good at dawn and dusk. There have been Puppy Drum, Puffers and Sea Mullet landed as well.

Sound side there have been reports of nice sized Trout.

They are catching Puppy Drum in the sound as well. Cut bait and Johnson’s gold spoons have been productive when targeting Puppy Drum.

As the days grow longer and the waters of Virginia and North Carolina  warm, anglers are in for great fishing!

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Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/04/21/virginia-saltwater-fishing-report-27/

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report. Drumroll Please!

red fish

Lynnhaven Reds! Brady Behrman

The Bay water temperature is approaching that magic 60-degree mark! It’s 57.4 °F at Thimble Shoal.

Puppy drum, Speckled Trout and Bluefish are getting hungry inside the inlets and rivers. The Puppy Drum bite has been especially good in the backwaters inside Lynnhaven  Inlet.

Tautog fishing remains excellent. Look for them around underwater obstructions, wrecks, reefs and rocks. Many anglers like to piling hop along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Blue crabs or fiddler crabs are the best bait, but some are caught using clam or whelk.

Drumroll please …… the Dogwoods are blooming, the water temp is hitting 60, it’s time for a little drumming!  Black Drum are being caught along the shallow channel ledge running from Fisherman’s Island to north of Cape Charles. Good spots are Kiptopeake, the Cabbage Patch, the Concrete Ships, as well as the highrise and 2nd & 3rd Islands of CBBT. Running tides, late afternoons and evenings and full moons are considered the best time to fish for them. Whole clam, peeler crab, whelk or a combination is the best bait.

red drum

PSWFA Club member Dennis, 48 inch Red!

Red Drum, averaging 25-50 lbs. are starting to arrive on the shoals at the mouth of the Bay. Latimer Shoal and the shallow water near the northern section of the CBBT are good spots. Their numbers will continue increasing into May and action will peak in early June. Trolling spoons or anchoring on top of the shoal and setting out lines are the best methods. When anchored, short shank hooks or circle hooks work well with cut baits like fresh crab, spot or menhaden.

Flounder numbers are on the rise in seaside inlets. Some nice catches are coming from Wachapreague and Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore. Drift fishing with live minnows, or fresh strip baits fished behind bucktails is a good method. Live spot or small mullet are best for big fish in deep water around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

OBX, NC

The waters around Nags Head and Hatteras Island are seeing a lot of activity as anglers report successful catches. In the sound, Trout are biting well, while the surf in Nags Head is seeing a few Trout along with Bluefish and Drum. Over on Hatteras Island, particularly in Rodanthe and Avon, there’s an abundance of Sea Mullet and Blow toads, with Red Drum and Bluefish also making a strong showing.

It’s a promising time for fishing enthusiasts.

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Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/04/14/virginia-saltwater-fishing-report-drumroll-please/

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

virginia beach fishing

As the winds calm down over the weekend, anglers in Virginia are gearing up for what seems to be an exciting fishing window. The Tautog, known for their strong fight and delicious taste, are biting well around the islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT). Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle is well-stocked with Blue Crabs, a favorite bait for these rock dwellers.

speckled trout

The speckled trout, a prized catch for their beautiful markings and fighting spirit, have made an appearance in various inlets, including Rudee Inlet, Little Creek Inlet near Pretty Lake, and the shallows inside Lynnhaven Inlet. These areas are hotspots for anglers looking to catch theses speckled beauties.

Not to be outdone, Puppy Drum are making their presence known in Lynnhaven Inlet, particularly around docks where they can be found looking for prey. Their smaller size compared to the mature Red Drum makes them fun on light tackle.

bluefish

Rudee Inlet is also seeing action with medium-sized Bluefish and an occasional, impressive-sized Striped Bass. The water temperature in the inlet was 53 degrees Sunday moring according to Knot Wish’n Charters, which seems to be to the liking of these fish. As it moves closer to 60, action should pick up.

Night fishing is proving to be fruitful for those targeting Stripers in the rivers, with the best success reported near lights that attract baitfish and, consequently, the predatory Stripers.

Flounder enthusiasts have reason to celebrate as these flatfish begin to show up inshore. The Eastern Shore of Virginia is currently the hotspot for early-season Flounder fishing. Anglers should note the new regulations for 2024, with a mid-season change in minimum size requirements to ensure sustainable fishing practices.  This gives Virginia anglers a unique opportunity to enjoy the pursuit of these fish while adhering to conservation measures. Virginia’s regulations are far more lenient compared to neighboring North Carolina, where recreational flounder fishing has faced significant restrictions. Last year NC had a two-week season, with a one fish per day limit. And it could be stricter this year.

OBX North Carolina

Over the past few days, the sounds have been particularly generous, offering up a healthy number of Trout. Anglers also reported successful catching, ocean side on the Avalon Pier.

Surf fishing has been fruitful, with Stripers being landed up north. Moving down south, from Frisco onward, Puppy Drum are making a splash. The southern beaches have plenty of Blow Toads and Sea Mullet.

The weather hasn’t been cooperating with the offshore guys. But better conditions are in the forecast.

Tight-Lines to all!!

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VBSF LYNNHAVEN INLET CHARTER BOATS 2024

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/04/07/virginia-saltwater-fishing-report-26/

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report Easter Week

black drum

52 inch Black Drum release citation from Fisherman’s Island for Jonathan Hughes – Long Bay Pointe

As the chill of winter begins to thaw and the waters of Virginia’s coastline warm, anglers gear up for an uptick in fishing. Early April marks the beginning of a vibrant fishing season, with Tautog, Black Drum and Flounder being first up.

Anglers are starting to find Black Drum along the Eastern Shore. Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle registered their first Black Drum release citation March 30th, it was caught and released near Fisherman’s Island by Jonathan Hughes. Look for them to show near the Concrete Ships, the cabbage patch and some of the favored Striper haunts like the 36A Buoy and the High Rise of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Surf anglers are finding them in the surf on the Barrier Islands.

Flounder, known for their delicious taste are showing up in seaside inlets on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  Wachapreague especially, will become bustling with activity as the Flounder season kicks off. The world-class fishery there is renowned for its peak season from April through June, drawing anglers from all over in pursuit of the perfect catch.

Tautog, or ‘Tog’ as they are known, are another early April favorite. These fish are notorious for their strong fight and ability to hide in structures such as wrecks, reefs, and rock pilings. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is a particularly popular spot, where the Togs are known to congregate over the tubes and around the numerous pilings. The allure of Tautog fishing is not just in the challenge they present but also in the reward of their rich, flavorful meat. Virginia’s coastline is dotted with nearshore wrecks that serve as excellent habitats for Tautog. The Concrete Ships, Cape Henry Wreck, The Cell, and Back River Reef are among the many inshore spots that offer good Tautog fishing. Further offshore, the reefs around the Chesapeake Light Tower and the Triangle Wrecks provide more adventurous anglers with the opportunity to land a significant catch.

Al Byrum with a nice Speckled Trout release inside Lynnhaven Inlet – Long Bay Pointe

Not to be overlooked, the Trout and Puppy Drum are also making their presence known in the shallows. These species are particularly fond of cut Shrimp and Crab, and their activity in the backwaters provides a perfect opportunity for those looking for a more relaxed fishing experience.

OBX, NC

The Outer Banks of North Carolina has been experiencing strong winds and swells that have impacted surf fishing activities. However, as conditions improve, anglers can look forward to the return of a variety of fish, including Speckled Trout, Shad, Puppy Drum, and Blow Toads. Meanwhile, soundside fishing remains a popular alternative, offering opportunities to catch Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum. Shad have been caught at the  Little Bridge.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice to the sport, Virginia & NC’s coastal waters in early April have something to offer everyone. With a variety of species to target and an abundance of fishing spots to explore, it’s no wonder that this time of year is marked on every fisherman’s calendar. So grab your gear, set out on the water, and Happy fishing!

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/03/30/virginia-saltwater-fishing-report-easter-week/

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

Steve Maddox

As the chill of early spring lingers over Virginia, anglers are finding that the cooler weather has slightly tempered the pace of fishing. Puppy Drum are showing some active presence in Rudee Inlet, Little Creek, and Lynnhaven Inlet. Connie at Long Bay Pointe reports Trout and Puppy Drum are hitting cut Shrimp and Crab back in Lynnhaven,  on the shallow flats.

Flounder enthusiasts have reasons to be optimistic as well, with some successful catches reported within the inlets.

The Bay water at Thimble Shoal has climbed to a brisk 50.5 F, creating ideal conditions for Tautog fishing. With crabs now readily available, they serve as the bait of choice.

Looking ahead, as the warmth of the season returns, it’s anticipated that Black Drum catches will surge along the Eastern Shore, with activity expected on both the oceanside and bayside.

Sea Breaze Charters

Further south on the OBX of North Carolina, Trout fishing remains steady, while Striper fishing continues to reward anglers. The northern beaches are seeing an uptick in the surf, yielding Dogfish, Skates, Blow toads, and Black Drum. The southern beaches are seeing sizable Black Drum, Puppy Drum, and Sea Mullet. Notably, the Point has been the site of the first citation Red Drum of the season.

Offshore, the Bluefin Tuna bite is holding steady, and there’s an air of anticipation among anglers as they await the uptick in Yellowfin Tuna activity.

For those with a passion for saltwater fishing, this time of year is filled with promise and potential. Whether braving the cooler temperatures for the steadfast Tautog or awaiting the warmer ocean currents that herald the arrival of Black and Yellowfin Tuna, the waters of Virginia and North Carolina offer a rich tapestry of angling adventures. Stay tuned for more updates as the season progresses and the catches continue.

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/03/24/virginia-saltwater-fishing-report-25/

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

As spring unfolds, the aquatic landscape begins to stir with life. The water temperatures on the flats and in the shallows is currently in the mid to upper 50’s, inching ever closer to the pivotal 60-degree mark. This subtle warming heralds the arrival of various fish species to the inshore waters, offering anglers some exciting opportunities.

Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle reports that Trout and Puppy Drum have been making appearances in the back waters of Lynnhaven Inlet. Meanwhile, Knot Wish’n Charters has found success with Puppy Drum in Rudee Inlet.

For those with a penchant for Tautog, also known as Blackfish, now is an opportune time to target this structure-loving species. Renowned for their preference for rocky habitats, Tautogs can be found around wrecks, reefs, and other robust bottom structures. Notable locations for Tautog enthusiasts include the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT), where the tubes and numerous pilings serve as popular haunts for these fish. The surrounding islands, covered with rocks, create an ideal environment for Tautogs to thrive. Additionally, the Concrete Ships—sunken vessels that now serve as a brakewater and fish sanctuary —offer excellent cover for these fish. Other prime spots include the Cape Henry Wreck. The Cell, near Hungars Creek on the bayside of the Eastern Shore, and Back River Reef. Anglers should note that Tautogs are territorial; finding them concentrated in specific areas is common. If you find yourself without a bite after 30 minutes, consider relocating to another spot—anchoring and re-anchoring are part and parcel of successful Tautog fishing. Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle will have Blue Crabs for bait available Monday.

The Flounder bite is also gaining momentum around Wachapreague and Chincoteague. Some catches have been reported in Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets as well. Effective lures include soft plastics like Gulp or other flounder-specific designs, preferably in colors that mimic their natural prey. Live bait such as minnows or shrimp can be particularly enticing for Flounder.

Lastly, we’re excited to report the first Black Drum catches in the Chincoteague surf this season. As scent feeders, Black Drum respond well to baits such as crabs—both fresh and frozen—with blue crabs being especially effective. Shrimp and cut mullet are also reliable choices to attract these robust fish.

Outer Banks NC

OBX Fishing enthusiasts, take note! Recent catches off the Avalon pier have included a couple of Red Drum, signaling the start of an exciting season. As water temperatures rise in the coming weeks, expect to see an increase in activity both in the surf and off the piers. Southern beaches are already reporting catches of Puppy Drum, Black Drum, and even a few Sea Mullet, and of course Blow Toads.

For those preferring the sound side tranquility of the Little Bridge area, Shad reports are coming in. Additionally, Trout, Puppy Drum, and Stripers are being consistently caught on the sound side.

Offshore fishing is still seeing action with Giant Bluefin. Captain Ned Ashby on the Sea Breeze, along with a crew from Japan, is currently showcasing their impressive stand-up tackle.

Stay tuned for more updates and tight lines!

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/03/17/virginia-saltwater-fishing-report-24/

Virginia Anglers: What to Expect in the Coming Weeks

As the days grow longer and the weather warms up, Virginia’s waters come alive with fishing opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, there’s something for everyone. Let’s dive into what awaits you.

Tautog Action (March)

By the end of March, tautog enthusiasts can rejoice! These hard-fighting fish are known for their tasty white flesh and challenging fights. Anglers are already catching them at the islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnels.

Flounder and More (April)

As April arrives, the tautog action continues, and flounder join the scene. These flatfish are excellent table fare and put up a good fight. They show up in the Eastern Shore VA inlets first.

Big Black Drum (Mid-April)

Mid-April brings the arrival of big black drum. These behemoths can weigh over 100 pounds and provide an unforgettable battle. Prepare your heavy tackle and get ready for an adrenaline-pumping experience.

Bluefish and Gray Trout (April-May)

Bluefish and Gray Trout make their appearance during this period. Bluefish are voracious predators, while gray trout offer a delicate flavor. Both species add variety to your catch.

Flounder Bite and Speckled Trout (May)

The Flounder bite continues to improve, and Speckled Trout become more abundant. Target these species in the estuaries and tidal creeks for a rewarding day on the water.

Large Red Drum (Late May)

By the end of May, large Red Drum migrate into the lower bay. These powerful fish are known for their bull-like runs and impressive size. Don’t miss the chance to tangle with one of these giants.

Peak Season (Jun)

June is the month when everything peaks—both inshore and offshore. Cobia, Sheepshead, Spadefish, Spanish Mackerel, Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, School-Size Bluefin Tuna and eventually Billfish.

Whether you’re surf fishing, fishing off a pier, fishing the Chesapeake Bay in a boat, or venturing further offshore, Virginia’s waters will not disappoint. We’ll have the latest reports here at VBSF.  So, grab your gear, check the regulations, and get ready for an unforgettable fishing season!

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/03/08/virginia-anglers-what-to-expect-in-the-coming-weeks/

Virginia March Fishing Outlook

Ken Neil, Puppy Drum

As the days lengthen and temperatures rise, the fishing action will start heating up. Here’s what anglers can expect.

Puppy Drum (Red Drum) Action Inside Inlets: Puppy Drum are becoming more active inside some of the inlets. These fish are responding to the increasing daylight hours and the warmer water temperatures. Anglers should start finding them in depths less than 10 feet. Keep an eye out for these feisty fighters as they move shallower in search of prey.

Ken Neil, Speckled Trout

Trout on the Horizon: As spring progresses, expect an uptick in Trout catches in the same areas. The spots that are producing Puppy Drum will likely yield Trout soon. Whether you’re casting from shore or a boat, Trout fishing should be rewarding.

Tautog Season Approaching: As water temperatures climb toward the 50-degree mark, Tautog catches will increase. These hard-fighting fish are known for their tasty white meat. Look for them around rocky structures, bridge tunnels, wrecks, and artificial reefs.

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/02/29/virginia-march-fishing-outlook/

Enhancements To Gwynn’s Island Artificial Reef

Gwynn Island Reef is located approximately 60 miles north of Lynnhaven Inlet.

The Coastal Conservation Association of Virginia and Maryland, non-profit organizations dedicated to the conservation of marine resources, recently partnered with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to improve the Gwynn’s Island Artificial Reef Site, a popular fishing destination in the Chesapeake Bay.

The project involved deploying 54 reef balls and 250 pyramids, totaling more than 24 tons of reef material, onto the reef site, which is located about a mile offshore from historic Gwynn’s Island on the western shore of the bay, near the mouth of the Piankatank River. The reef balls were built by students from Chesapeake Academy, CCA Maryland members, and other community volunteers at Tackle Cove Outfitters on Virginia’s Northern Neck. The concrete pyramids were donated by Kinsley Construction in York, PA, and transported by the Ocean City Reef Foundation and Capt. Monty Hawkins.

The reef material will provide additional relief and structure to the site, which already contains a variety of structures, including concrete igloos and stacked tire units. The new material will create habitat for oysters and other marine life, which will in turn attract forage and game fish, enhancing the recreational fishing opportunities for anglers. The project was also supported by the Building Conservation Trust, CCA’s national habitat restoration initiative that funds projects on all three coasts.

The Gwynn’s Island Artificial Reef Site is one of the many artificial reefs that VMRC manages in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The artificial reef program aims to create and maintain productive fishing grounds for the benefit and enjoyment of the public, as well as to mitigate the loss of natural reef habitat due to development, pollution, and overfishing. The artificial reefs also serve as research and education platforms for scientists and students to study the ecology and dynamics of the bay.

The Gwynn’s Island Artificial Reef project is part of CCA’s Living Reef Action Campaign, a flagship habitat and education program in the Chesapeake region that since 2015 has engaged thousands of students and community members in hands-on experiences that inspire stewardship of the bay’s marine resources. CCA plans to continue working with VMRC and other state and regional partners to revitalize fish habitat and improve recreational fishing in the bay.

For more information about CCA, visit their website. For more information about VMRC’s artificial reef program, visit their website.

If you plan to trailer your boat, here are several boat ramps close to Gwynn Island Reef:

Gwynn’s Island Boat Ramp on Wharf Creek. It’s located off Route 233 next to Seabreeze restaurant in Grimstead, VA. This ramp offers a wide single lane ramp, courtesy docks, and about 21 boat trailer parking spaces.

Morningstar Marinas at 249 Mill Point Rd, Hudgins, VA, 230763. It’s a full-service marina.

Smith Point Marina at 989 Smith Point Rd, Reedville, VA, 225394. It’s located on the Little Wicomico River, just 5 minutes off the Chesapeake Bay where it is joined by the Potomac River.

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2024/02/18/enhancements-to-gwynns-island-artificial-reef/