Aug 19 2017

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

By Dr Julie Ball

Only a few more weeks remain until school starts again, and the crowds abruptly thin out. And as we cruise towards the close of the summer season, good opportunities remain for local anglers.

Offshore, it is what bluewater anglers have been waiting for: the first run of billfish of the season. Late to come about, the marlin are making up for lost time as several boats proudly display riggers overflowing with release flags just in time for the beginning of the local billfish tournament circuit. White marlin are showing in the biggest numbers, along with some blue marlin and scattered sailfish. Live-baiters are taking the lead in the quantity of releases, but conventional trolling is also effective. Dolphin and some yellowfin tuna are also a possibility, along with bigeye tuna and big wahoo.

Some nice action on the Headboat Rudee Angler!

The cobia bite has been good this season. And as the summer winds down, more fish are gliding along the surface in the Bay and along the ocean front, making easy targets for sight casters. Fish can also be found circling navigational buoys, with some big fish available. Chummers sitting on shoals in the lower Bay are still having some success. Big red drum are also a welcome by-catch for cobia hunters as reds also roam about much of the lower Bay and ocean shorelines.

Flounder anglers are finding enough keepers to hold their interest. Anglers using live-bait and jigs are finding luck in the southern portion of the Bay, where flatfish are hitting mostly along the CBBT structure. Local inlets are giving up some keeper fish, with several fish ranging up to 21-inches caught recently in both Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. Some decent flatfish can also be found on inshore and offshore wrecks, along with nice keeper-sized seabass.

Along the Virginia Beach ocean front, trollers continue to score with big Spanish mackerel, and a by-catch of bluefish. Small gold and silver spoons trolled quickly are the best lures for these fish. Smoker king mackerel are also a possibility along the coastlines. Plenty of toothy sharks in Virginia’s coastal waters will also continue to provide some interesting catches.

Sheepshead anglers continue to find good catches on the bridge pilings of the CBBT as well as over the tubes of the artificial islands. Spadefish are also still lingering in these same areas and near the Tower Reef, but not for long. Trigger fish are everywhere near structure in lower Bay waters, with a few fish pushing to four-pounds caught near the 3rd and 4th islands recently.

Some puppy drum are hitting within skinny water locations in the area, with the better action happening in Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. These juvenile reds will hit a variety of baits, with fresh cut mullet and Gulp mullets the top choices lately.

Northerly winds can jump-start the spot run this time of year. Spot are available in the usual hot spots on the southern end of the Bay, inlets, and along the Beach ocean front. Local piers are reporting good spot action on a moving tide, along with a smattering of decent croaker. This panfish action will pick up over the next few weeks.

Tarpon are still available in the back waters of Oyster, where reports are hard to come by. Big amberjack are still lurking among the legs of the Southern Towers as well as on several offshore wrecks. Deep dropping is good off Virginia, with nice blueline and golden tilefish available to keep anglers happy.


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Aug 12 2017

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

Offshore, anglers are targeting billfish with major tournaments happening each week. Mostly white marlin are being caught but good numbers of blue marlin and some sailfish are also being caught. Non-tournament anglers slow-trolling live bait have scored the best catches of white marlin so far. Dolphin can be encountered and some decent catches are being made on the inshore hills. There are some yellowfin tuna around and the occasional bigeye tuna is being caught. Wahoo are also available but right now, it is mostly billfish. More anglers are experimenting with daytime dropping for swordfish. They are having success and some impressive swords are being brought back to the docks. Offshore bottom fishing is producing good catches of golden and blueline tilefish.

Paige II Charters

The coastal wrecks are holding flounder, sea bass, triggerfish and some big sandtiger sharks. Spadefish can be found over most of the wrecks. Triggerfish, spadefish and flounder catches are also good at the CBBT where big sheepshead can also be found. It has been an excellent summer for Spanish mackerel. They are being caught along the oceanfront and throughout the lower bay.

Cobia catches remain excellent. Both chumming and sight-fishing are producing fish. Anglers in the lower bay and along the oceanfront are mostly sight-fishing. Those trying to chum are dealing with seems to be a record number of sharks. The mid-bay chummers are not having the shark problem. Anglers looking for cobia are also running into big red drum occasionally.

Puppy drum and speckled trout are available in all of the normal grassy area. This fishery will pick up as we move into fall. Another historical fall fishery is the spot. Good numbers of spot have been around this summer which means we should have a good spot September.



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Aug 05 2017

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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Jul 22 2017

Hot Virginia Weather Hot Fishing

By Dr Julie Ball

The hottest days of the year are making outdoor activities a challenge lately, but fishing can be good if you can bear the heat. And with a decent forecast for the weekend, plenty of anglers will hit the water.

Cobia continue to provide very good action for sight-casters most everywhere in the Bay, with more large fish showing up this week. Chummers are still scoring with keeper-sized fish, but the trash fish and sharks are relentless.

The red drum action is hot right now as pods of big drum school around the mouth of the Bay and off the Virginia Beach ocean front. Casters are thrilled with easy catches of fat fish, making great props for summer photo-ops. Boats targeting sharks are having good luck with a variety of toothy species ranging to around 4-feet or more, especially off the oceanfront area.

Good Action On Paige 2 Charters!

The flounder action in the Bay is still very productive, with some respectable flatfish to show. Jigging and live bait are most effective, with both techniques working around all four islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, with the average flattie averaging around 20 to 22-inches. Anglers drifting with strip baits and minnows are also lucking into good numbers of fish near the 4th island, the Hampton Bar, and the Thimble Shoal Channel. Both Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets are also giving up a few keepers lately. Good action is also coming from nearshore and inshore wrecks. Jumbo seabass will also take offerings on the same wrecks.

Big Spanish mackerel continue to dominate the trolling scene along the ocean front, with some citation-sized fish boated lately. Some catches of Spanish are also occurring within Bay waters, especially around the islands of the CBBT. King mackerel are here, but the bite has not taken off as of yet. But the bait is here, just not the clean water.

Sheepshead are still biting well along the CBBT structure, with more fish beginning to move to the tubes of the artificial islands. Triggerfish are still biting in many of these same areas. Spadefish are still available at the Chesapeake Light Tower, the Tower Reef, the CBBT, and several inshore wrecks. The 4th island of the CBBT was particularly productive this week with some respectable fish using clams as bait.

Bottom bouncers are gathering in Oyster to get in on the big yearly croaker ritual, as the size of the hardheads increase this week. In lower Bay waters, croaker are still everywhere, and size varies with the location. The area off Kiptopeke State Park is still a favorite location, while some nicer croaker are also coming from the Inlets lately. Sea mullet are also still lurking off Kiptopeke and the concrete ships.

Tarpon are active on the Eastern Shore, with some reported hook-ups keeping tarpon hunters happy in the back waters of Oyster as long as they can endure the blazing heat and biting flies.

Amberjack are still an available at many offshore wrecks and the Southern Towers. Deep dropping is going well, with good hauls of the usual blueline tilefish, golden tilefish and an occasional grouper and side-catch of nice seabass. The newest state record Golden Tilefish was recently approved at a respectable 58-pounds.

Offshore, the billfish are beginning to show, with a few blue and white marlin responding to live bait this week. Further south, crews are also finding a few sailfish. Catches of yellowfin tuna and big eye tuna are scattered, but some decent yellowfin action is happening near the fingers now. But the bluefin tuna bite at the fingers has cooled. Some big dolphin are showing here and there, along with some wahoo.


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Jul 20 2017

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

I have been appointed to another term as Associate Commissioner of VMRC. I have also been appointed to serve as a Commissioner of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission. During my first term at VMRC, I expect that I stirred up as much grief for the Commissioner and the Governor’s office as any Associate Commissioner ever has. From fighting to get VMRC to make the unprecedented decision to go against the federal government to keep our cobia season open to very publicly saying anglers could just not buy a Virginia saltwater fishing license to let Richmond know that we were not happy with the way our license money was being used. That was picked up in national publications and it did get Richmond’s attention. So, when I was contacted by the Governor’s administration about my willingness to serve another term and to serve on the PRFC I asked about it and was told that the VMRC Commissioner recommended my appointment. I asked the Commissioner why and he said something like raising a ruckus on occasion is not a bad thing. We have a sneakily good Commissioner at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

The bluefin tuna that were hanging on the Fingers seem to have moved on. They have been replaced by yellowfin tuna in the 40-pound class. Dolphin and some wahoo are also being caught at the Fingers. More billfish are showing up out around 100 fathoms. There are amberjack at the southern towers. Spadefish are at the Chesapeake Light Tower and over most of the coastal wrecks. Triggerfish and flounder are also on the wrecks.

Spanish mackerel are being caught along the oceanfront where schools of big red drum and cobia are also being encountered. Some nice flounder are being caught at the CBBT. Big sheepshead are on the structure as are spadefish and good numbers of triggerfish. Spanish mackerel are all over the lower bay as are cobia. Some of the better cobia catches are being made up in the bay near Windmill and even further but they are everywhere. Flounder are also everywhere and flounder fishing is the best it has been in several years. The best catches are from structure like the CBBT and the coastal wrecks but drifting the historic bay flounder spots is producing fish. Some nice flounder are being caught in the York River.

Puppy drum and some speckled trout continue to be caught on the flats and in the York, James and Back Rivers. Wherever there is some eelgrass. Big red drum can be found anywhere in the lower bay but the most likely near the mouth of the bay and on the Eastern Shore side of the bay.

The PSWSFA Youth and Ladies Croaker and Flounder Tournament is currently underway and will continue through the end of July. There is no registration fee. Ladies and children under the age of 16 are eligible if they are club members or if they are fishing with a club member. Winners are determined by the weights of the heaviest flounder and croaker. Weigh your fish are any weigh station and use the regular club entry form. The awards for this tournament will be given out (along with the awards for the Spot Tournament) at a club picnic at Dare Marina on September 24.

At the August 15 PSWSFA meeting, we will have Stan Simmerman talking to us about swordfish, mainly because he is infatuated with the things. Meetings are free and you do not need to be a member to attend: .



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