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A Lot Of Catch and Release Now

striper picture

There are still a few big stripers hanging around the bay, but it’s all catch and release now. The capture season closed midnight Dec 31st. Most of the big fish … a few over 50 pounds … are falling for live eels fished by those launching out of the Cape Charles, Kiptopeke VA area. The best action has been between buoys 38 and 42. That’s about a 25 mile run up the bay from Lynnhaven Inlet.

bay map

The IGFA has a “release world record category for stripers”. It will be interesting to see how many anglers get involved. This could be a boost for local sport fishing businesses. With striper numbers down and new regulations in place it might popularize catch and release fishing and keep anglers busy during the closed season. Qualifying for the release world record is labor-intensive. Along with an IGFA fee, anglers must fill out a two-page form; take pictures of the rod, reel and net; and supply a line sample, the hook used and information from witnesses. The fish’s length has to be photographed on an official IGFA measuring board and everything has to be notarized. For more information you can visit the IGFA website.

There have been some nice trout landed recently by those fishing their secret spots. But good luck getting them to tell you where that is!!

Tautog fishing has been good on the ocean wrecks. And there are plenty of seabass there also, but unfortunately the sea bass season is closed as well.

When fishing offshore be on the lookout for big bluefins. Watch for working birds and signs of bait fish.

If you are without a boat and interested in whale watching, several sponsor boats offer whale watching trips throughout the winter.


Around OI there have been some puppy drum and black drum caught. Angers fishing around the bridges for stripers reported little action.

A few nice trout have been landed in Buxton at the jetty.

The big news is the arrival of big bluefins off Hatteras.


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Winter Fishing Action In Virginia

Hope everyone is enjoying a great holiday season!

Local angling is officially entering the winter season. We still have a few days available in our sea bass and bay striper season. Both close midnight December 31st. After that it’s all catch and release.

This time of year hearty anglers turn their attention to wreck fishing. Tautogs will be the main focus, but look for some flounder and bluefish to be caught as well. Dr Ken Neill and crew fished the wrecks recently. Action was good. They caught limits of jumbo sea bass, bluefish, tautog, almaco jack, triggerfish and some red snapper. Snapper in Virginia at Christmas are unusual.

Depending on how harsh our winter gets speckled trout will continue being a possibly. On warmer sunny days I’ve seen them warming themselves over boat ramp concrete. While they are still hungry they move very slow in the cold water. So slow your retrieve to a crawl.

Offshore deep droppers will continue catching tilefish at the Norfolk Canyon. Swordfish are still available to those targeting them. Look for tuna in any warm eddies you run across. On the ride out and in watch for bird activity, this time of year giant bluefins can show up anywhere there’s schools of bait fish.


Boats fishing out of Oregon Inlet are catching yellowfin. One boat limited recently.

Surf anglers on Hatteras Island are catching some trout, black drum and puppy.

Next Report January 15th

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It’s Striper Season! Specks Still Around

rock fish

Large rockfish are moving out of bay tributaries and into the Bay. Look for them on the Eastern side of the Bay. Anglers are drifting or slow trolling eels near Plantation Light and along Cape Charles. Mann’s Stretch 25’s and tandem rigs are also effective. School-sized rockfish are available for anglers casting along the bridge pilings and the artificial islands of the CBBT.

Tautog are still available on structure, but the bay water temperature has dropped to 49 degrees. Ocean wrecks will probably produce best now. Fiddler crabs and quartered blue crabs are the preferred baits.


Speckled trout reports are still coming in from Long Creek. Mirr-O-Lures and swim baits are working well.

Jumbo sea bass are available on many ocean wrecks. Seabass become off limits at the end of the year, when the season closes. Some big bluefish could show near the same structures. Flounder can also be found around offshore structures. Fresh strip baits are best flounder. This is the time of year boats are on the lookout for bluefin tuna rolling. They have been off the Morehead City North Carolina coast for several weeks.

When boats can make it out to deep drop they are finding good numbers of tilefish and sea bass.


small rock fish

Surf anglers are catching big red drum, black drum, puppy drum and sea mullet. School sized rockfish are being caught trolling soundside along the Manns Harbor Bridge.

Offshore, when weather permits the tuna and king mackerel fishing has been excellent. Look for giant bluefins to start showing up off Hatteras any time.


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The Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series makes a return to Hampton on Saturday, January 11. The 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. event will be held inside the Mary T. Christian Auditorium at Thomas Nelson Community College.

George Poveromo – Host of George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing on the Discovery Channel, and Contributing Editor for Salt Water Sportsman, will headline the program, along with co-host, Ric Burnley – Noted light tackle inshore and offshore angling authority and regional editor for Salt Water Sportsman!

The annual eight-stop nation-wide Tour is presented by Bass Pro Shops.

Joining Poveromo and Burnley will be:

Captain Kevin Perry – Veteran Rudee Inlet-based pro with over 30 years experience in fishing the lower Chesapeake Bay, including its oceanfront and offshore waters, with Afishinado Fishing Charters!

Captain Zachery Hoffman – Premier authority on catching cobia in Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Beach waters, as well as trophy flounder, tog, sheepshead and striped bass, with Salt Treated Fishing!

Rob Choi – Noted kayak angler and authority on catching trophy sheepshead, flounder, cobia and red drum in and around Chesapeake Bay!

Dr. Ken Neill III – Noted authority on fishing Virginia’s coastal and offshore waters and holder of the Virginia State Record tautog of 24-pounds, three-ounces, aboard his vessel – Healthy Grin!

Susanna Musick – Marine Recreational Specialist in the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Services at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science!

Captain Mike Goodwine- Renowned Florida-based guide who specializes in catching trophy redfish, sea trout, flounder and tripletail with Blackneck Adventures Fishing Charters!

Harry Vernon III – Premier South Florida-based offshore trolling, live-baiting, and bottom fishing authority!

Captain David Wicker – Wilmington, North Carolina-based king mackerel tournament pro and specialist at using marine electronics to locate and catch more fish!

Captain Alan Wenzel – South Florida-based authority on offshore live-baiting and trolling as well as conventional- and deep-drop bottom-fishing!

Topics for the Hampton seminar will focus on inshore, near shore and offshore fishing, all saltwater and all related to the region. Featured species to include red drum, trout, flounder, tautog, striped bass, sheepshead, cobia, tilefish, dolphin, wahoo and tunas.

The Seminar Series begins at 9:00 a.m. and will conclude by 3:00 p.m. There is a one-hour break at noon. Long considered the best bargain in sportfishing, a Seminar Series ticket is only $ 55.00.

THE SWAG – The ticket price covers five hours of instruction from the best pros in the business, a course textbook, a one-year subscription or extension to Salt Water Sportsman, one Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecast Analysis, bottle of OrPine Wash & Wax, bottle of Star tron fuel treatment, bottle of Star brite Extreme Clean, bottle of Corrosion Block, a $ 10.00 discount card off any purchase of $ 75.00 or more from Bass Pro Shops, and chances to win thousands of dollars’ worth of door prizes! The Grand Prize at the conclusion of the Hampton seminar is a Florida Keys fishing trip with one of several premier guides.

The Super Grand Prize, to be awarded two weeks after the conclusion of the 2020 series, is a new Mako Pro Skiff 17 cc

LET’S PARTY – As an added bonus, attendees of the Hampton seminar are invited to the After Seminar Party at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton. A special area will be set aside for the 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. party. Guests must show their Seminar Series name tag to gain entry, and are entitled to bring one guest. Food, drink and music will be provided. George Poveromo and several other faculty members will be present.

HOW TO REGISTER – Get your tickets now, to avoid a sellout. To pay with Visa, MasterCard and American Express, call (800) 448-7360, or register on-line, visit:

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Excellent Speckled Trout Fishing Along VA, NC Coast

Trout picture

Jimmy Robinson 6lb 5oz

Our fall speckled trout action continues to be outstanding. Trout are being caught throughout the lower Bay, in all three inlets and in the surf along the oceanfront. Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle said there has been good action inside Long Creek the past two weeks ….. Franklin Driggs, David Cockerill, Casey Copeland, Cashin Prutsman, James Robinson, Matt Masciangelo, Bill Knapp, David Cohen, Doug Garnett and James Robertson all registered citations in the shop recently.

red drum picture

Frank Marble, Sandbridge

Anglers working similar locations are finding decent numbers of puppy drum. The large red drum have moved south to OBX waters. Frank Marble managed to snag a nice drum in the surf at Sandbridge as they departed.

Striped bass are being caught throughout the lower bay around bridges and piers with lights.

Sea bass, tautogs and flounder are available around all of the ocean wrecks. The sea bass season closes January 1st. Togs should be available inside the bay, on the Cape Henry wreck and at the CBBT islands.

Offshore trollers have enjoyed some nice, late, bluewater action. Excellent numbers of tuna and wahoo.

Tilefish are available at the Norfolk Canyon.


There has been a nice speckled trout run along the beach. Anglers are using artificials and the best action comes at dawn and dusk. Sea mullet and puppy drum are also being landed using bottom-rigs.

Sound-side anglers are catching limits of speckled trout along grass banks and in the deeper channels near the inlet. Bluefish are being caught near the inlet.

Striped bass are showing up in better numbers around areas with structure, such as bridge pilings and docks.

Sheepshead are being landed by anglers fishing baits along the Oregon Inlet Bridge pilings.

Offshore anglers are catching yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, dolphin and large wahoo. Both blue and white marlin are still hanging around.

To our south, off Atlantic Beach NC giant bluefins are feeding just off the beach. Below is a Facebook video  Sarah Gardner posted of a bluefin feeding behind a commercial boat .

I don't usually come unglued, but when I do it's caused by bluefin! This whopper was happily slurping trawler by-catch in calm water off Atlantic Beach.

Posted by Sarah Gardner on Monday, November 20, 2017



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