By Dr. Julie Ball
VBSF.net fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach
Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Waters Out To The Towers
Captain Todd, "Knot Wish'n" guide service, put his crew on fish this week!
Water temperatures continued to drop this week. Now temperatures are now hovering close to 42-degrees in both the lower Bay and coastal waters. With some days better than others, boats are still finding some rockfish, with a few ranging to over forty pounds.
This week, the rockfish activity definitely shifted to a more coastal water scene. Reports indicate that the favorite Bay haunts for targeting larger rockfish with eels, such as Plantation Light and the High Rise, have all but shut down this week. A few schoolies are still available, mostly to wire-liners working along the tubes and trolling under working birds within the Bay. But in January, these fish will become strictly catch and release in the Bay.
As for the Ocean striped bass fishery, boats are working to find the schools. But luckily, many opportunities are allowing boats to locate some nice limits of fish within legal waters this week. Large pods of bait are spread along the coast from Fisherman’s Island to Corolla Light, and so are the fish. Most boats are finding their best luck further south, where the water is slightly warmer. Bee hives of birds are offering calling cards for boats, often putting them on the schools. The old standard trolling set ups using Mojo style jigs, umbrella rigs, tandem rigs, and larger lipped swimming lures are working the best. White and chartreuse are still the best colors. A few chopper bluefish are also still mixed in with the ocean stripers. The trick is finding the fish within the 3-mile demarcation. Remember that targeting striped bass past 3-miles off the beach is illegal.
According to the folks at Oceans East 2, the speckled trout action in the Elizabeth River is still the main event inshore. Anglers are finding plenty of nice fish, spanning from 2 to 8-pounds lately. Casting jigs, live bait fishing, and trolling are all productive methods, even at night. One boat trolling the River used black and silver lipped swimming plugs and bronze-colored shads to entice their bites in 12 to 24 feet of water this week. The duo managed more than ten nice specks ranging from 24 to 28-inches, with one topping seven-pounds. A few surf anglers are also finding some action along the River, especially with live bait. Chong Chae of Virginia Beach landed a nice 6-pound, 12-ounce beauty on live bait while fishing from the shoreline this week. Nice puppy drum are also hitting in similar areas within the Elizabeth River.
Tautog are still available on lower Bay structures and along the Bay Bridge Tunnel proper. Good numbers of tog are also concentrated on inshore and offshore wrecks, when boats can venture out to reach them. One boat used frozen green crabs to fill a cooler with nice keeper fish ranging to six-pounds from the Bay Bridge Tunnel this week.