By Dr. Julie Ball
VBSF.net fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach
Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Waters Out To The Towers
The recent break in the weather gave boats the opportunity to get out and test the waters, with some very good reports as a result. The top news is that anglers were able to verify that the bigger rockfish moved into the lower Bay, with catches to over 40-pounds reported this week. So now the chase is on! Anglers are beginning to hook nice fish while dunking live eels at various depths from the 4th island to the high rise section of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, especially at dusk and at night. A few nice fish are also coming from drifting eels along the channel edges and shoals off the Eastern Shore. Drifting with eels is an effective technique resulting in fewer, but a larger class of fish. Expect the really big rockfish pushing over 50-pounds to debut soon.
Anglers are also still scoring with striped bass of all sizes all over the lower Bay. School-sized fish are available to casters working bridge pilings, while boats using live bait and wire lining over the tubes of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, are finding a nicer class of fish. The folks at Ocean’s East 2 report that anglers are also cleaning up with 24 to 28-inch rockfish while casting poppers at the islands of the CBBT at daybreak lately. Folks trolling with Stretch swimming lures are finding some decent fish near the 2nd and 3rd islands. Skinny water anglers are still finding 22 to 26-inch fish within the local inlets on both lures and cut bait. Folks casting from the shore near the Lesner Bridge are finding some fish ranging to near 30-inches this week. Schools of fish in open water can provide good action for both casters and trollers, especially under beehives of birds. Some larger fish pushing over 40-inches are now coming from some of these schools.
Speckled trout anglers continue to experience excellent fishing. Rudee Inlet, Lynnhaven River, and Little Creek Inlet are still showing an upswing in the frequency of bigger fish, with anglers reporting scattered specks up to 5-pounds mixed in with the smaller fish. The Elizabeth River is still providing catches of the bigger specks, where several citation sized fish, mostly ranging to around 24-inches, were hooked this week on Mirrolures, Bass Assassins, and Storm lures. The fish seem to be holding in the deeper water within the River, with no action reported from the Cove or Hot Ditch areas as of yet.
Decent sized puppy drum are also providing some good action within Rudee Inlet this week, with some anglers reporting catches of fish to 30-inches on cut bait. Many fish are also taking the lures intended for trout within the inlets and the Elizabeth River.
Tautog are biting all over the lower Bay and on some coastal wrecks. Any available structure along the CBBT is producing limits of quality fish, with a few topping 10-pounds this week. Green crabs are working well, with clams a good back up.