By Dr. Julie Ball
VBSF.net fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach
Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Waters Out To The Towers
Once again, the weather is getting in the way of fishing. Between the wind, the frigid temperatures, and the snow, many anglers are opting to stay home. But before Mother Nature showed her fury this week, the fishing was great. Water temperatures dropped nearly ten degrees this week, which is making some anglers nervous. But striped bass are active in cold water, so once boats can get out the fish will be waiting.
The last reports overflowed with plenty of rockfish in the 40-pound range coming mostly from the Eastern Shore side of the Bay. Some of these stripers are measuring to over 50-inches and weighing close to 50-pounds! Chris’ Bait and Tackle reports they weighed six fish over 40-pounds in one day earlier this week, and release citations over 44-inches were common. Many of the big fish are coming from dangling live eels along the light lines and pilings at the High Rise section of the Bay Bridge Tunnel at night, although some folks are also finding good luck during the day. The best bites are occurring on a moving tide, no matter which direction. Although not as productive as in past seasons yet, a few really nice fish are also coming from drifting eels along channel edges off Plantation Light, Kiptopeke State Park, and Fisherman’s Island. School sized rockfish are also available to anglers casting along the pilings and artificial islands of the all the lower Bay bridges. The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that trolling in open water is becoming more productive, with boats scoring with big rock fish to over 40-pounds near the mouth of the Bay, off Cape Henry, and off the Virginia Beach Ocean Front, mostly under flocks of working birds. Before the winds hit, surf casters were catching stripers to 30-inches from the shoreline near the Lesner Bridge, where 2-ounce jig heads adorned with bubblegum colored “Zoom Super Fluke grubs” and white bucktails work well.
Speckled trout action slowed in the Inlets this week, but folks putting in their time are finding a few fish, with most on the small size. A few larger fish averaging from four to seven pounds are coming from the Elizabeth River, with trolled live bait and shads the most effective method recently. A few puppy drum are also still coming from within Rudee Inlet, but the action slowed considerably this week.
Flounder are available on both inshore and offshore wrecks right now, with some flatfish pushing to over 6-pounds reported recently from the Triangle wreck area. The reefs and wrecks near the Chesapeake Light Tower are also productive, with nice keeper fish coming from this vicinity on strip baits earlier this week.
The Bay tautog action is an unknown right now, but once boats can get back out the bite should return. Anglers testing offshore structures are enticing limits of keeper fish on both clams and green crabs.