By Dr. Julie Ball
VBSF.net fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach
Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Waters Out To The Towers
Now it’s official! Rockfish pushing to over 50-pounds finally hit the scales this week. And as the water temperatures continue to drop, this action should only improve. The excitement started last week when breaks in the wind allowed anglers to sample the water, finding nice stripers to over 40-pounds.
The biggest striped bass are coming from north of the 4th island at the CBBT, where anglers are catching nice fish during both daytime and night time hours. Folks are scoring with the nicer class of fish via several methods, including casting and trolling under working birds, drifting with eels off Plantation Light along the Eastern Shore, wire lining along the Bridge Tunnel structure and the 3rd and 4th islands, and dunking eels along the pilings north of the 4th island. School-sized fish are also available to casters working around the structure and pilings of most of the lower Bay crossings, with the first island of the CBBT and the nearby small boat channel, providing good action lately. Folks working the Monitor Merrimac Bridge-Tunnel are also still finding some decent schoolie action casting grubs and shads along the light lines and pilings. Surf casters are still faring well from the shorelines within Lynnhaven Inlet near the Lesner and Great Neck Road Bridges. More boats are beginning to report bait and pods of working birds along the Virginia Beach ocean front, where trollers are starting to pick up scattered fish pushing to around 40-inches.
The folks at Ocean’s East 2 report that the speckled trout action slowed a little within the inlets this week, but anglers are still finding some good luck with the smaller fish, and within the Elizabeth River. Captain David Hester of Fishy Business Charters reports that although the action can still be hit and miss, some nice fish to over 8-pounds were landed this week within the River, the Cove, and the Hot Ditch. Mirrolures are the lure of choice, but those trying live bait are also scoring with some big fish lately. Anglers are also still finding good action with nice puppy drum to over 30-inches using both cut bait and lures. One boat fishing in Rudee Inlet boated over 20 pups using cut bait this week, with a few surprise gray trout to make things interesting. Another surprise catch made the day for an unsuspecting kayaker fishing in Rudee Inlet, as well as a tog angler fishing at the CBBT this week. Both anglers found similar fates when each lucked into nice late season black drum by mistake.
Tautog are still making a good showing for those fishing crab and clams on most any lower Bay structure. All four islands of the CBBT, as well as lower Bay wrecks are productive lately. The deeper water wrecks are also producing very good results, with some boats hooking dozens of fish averaging around 5 to 8-pounds. Jumbo sea bass are also available on the ocean wrecks, along with chopper bluefish. Big bluefish are also moving closer to shore, where anglers are encountering fish from 12 to 20 miles from the beach.
Flounder are active on deeper water structures, with some flatfish to over 8-pounds coming from the Triangle wrecks on a recent headboat trip out of The Fishing Center this week. Triggerfish are also a possibility on these same wrecks.