Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Waters Out To The Towers.
By Dr. Julie Ball
VBSF.net fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach
Fishing for the year 2010 was great, and now anglers are hopeful for more good things to come in 2011. As the New Year rings in, most anglers are in search of Virginia’s most popular cold weather game fish, striped bass. The dreadful weather kept most boats off the water over the Christmas Holidays, and with the Bay rockfish season closed on January 1st, anglers now have no choice but to search the chilly coastal waters for fish.
But the back-to-back cold fronts and the latest “Winter Blast” snow storm quickly pushed water temperatures to near 40-degrees or lower off Virginia’s coastlines. Anglers are now finding they must travel 20 to 30 miles southward to warmer Carolina waters to find the fish. Boats trolling in more southern waters are lucking into limits of rockfish averaging from 20 to 45-pounds. Pods of bait and beehives of birds are helping boats locate the schools, with most fish caught within 1.5-miles of the beach lately. No matter how tempting, remember to stay within the 3-mile demarcation for legal fish.
Although the Bay striped bass fishery is closed, catch and release is often a consideration for light tackle fun, but most are not finding much action within the Bay. Boats are finding some stray schoolies for catch and release while casting top water plugs and trolling Stretch lures south of the 1st island and near the small boat channel. A few school-sized rockfish are also available under working birds and near the CBBT and the HRBT.
Speckled trout are responding well for anglers willing to brave the cold and the snow in the Elizabeth River recently. Reports indicate good action, with some nice fish to show on both lures and live bait recently. The popular Hot Ditch areas as well as the Cove are producing fish. Chesapeake’s Michael Burns took a nice 7-pound, 6-ounce speck home after tempting the fish with a lure while fishing in the Hot Ditch this week. The folks at Oceans East 2 report that some anglers are also catching good numbers of nice puppy drum ranging to about 34-inches in the River this lately.
When boats can reach them, anglers are finding some decent catches of tautog on lower Bay structure and along the Bridge Tunnel proper. Green crabs and clams are working for bait. Tog fishing can also be good on offshore wrecks once anglers turn more interest to this fishery and the weather allows boats to access them.