Virginia | Outer Banks NC | Saltwater Fishing Report

By TH Spangler | Connie Barbour

Many of our spring species have found their way to the Chesapeake Bay and our coastal waters.

Our tautog action is still good and should remain so through the close of the season. The Tog season closes from May 16 thru June 30.

Red and black drum are here in numbers and fishing for them should continue to improve over the next few weeks. Fishing fresh crabs, clams or live bait produces the best action. Remember, all red drum over 26 inches must be released. So far the best action on both red and black drum is coming from the Eastern Shore.

The Eastern Shore inlets near Assateague, Chincoteague Oyster and Wachapreague are the hot spot for flounder right now. Anglers drifting flounder rigs across shallows are hooking keepers. A flounder rig with a minnow tipped with a strip of squid works well. Some flounder are also available around Rudee and Lynnhaven inlets.

Striped bass and bluefish are hanging around the bridge tunnel islands. The bay’s spring striped bass season opens May 16. The small striped bass must meet the 20-inch minimum size. Anglers will be able to keep two striped bass each measuring between 20 and 28 inches. One of these two fish may be longer than 36 inches, as the trophy season will still be open. A permit is required for any fish larger than 36 inches and you must report the catch. There is not a special permit or reporting required for the 20- to 28-inch fish.

Sheepshead and spadefish have arrived. Look for the sheepshead on  structure and around the bridge tunnel piles, and the spades around bay buoys and the light tower.

Croaker have shown up under piers on the lower bay and in the York River.

Anglers have started catching cobia off Hatteras and the fish should start arriving in Virginia waters any day. The Virginia season does not open until June 1. Our cobia season should peak around the same time as the Monarch Cobia Classic, scheduled for July 19-21.

Offshore a few bluefin tuna along with bigeye and yellowfin tuna are available for anglers making the long run to the southeast. A few Rudee inlet charter boats are making the run. Fishing should pick up closer to home in the coming weeks. Deep-dropping is producing plenty of blueline tilefish and some big golden tiles. A few snowy grouper and bluefish have also  been boated. The Rudee Angler has been enjoying some great deep drop action lately!

On North Carolina’s Outer Banks the red drum fishing continues to be good around Hatteras Island. Surfcasters are  catching bluefish, speckled trout, puppy drum, blow toads, a few striped bass and lots of skates.

In the sound, speckled trout and small striped bass have been caught on the Manteo Nags Head causeway bridge.

Boaters are finding cobia off Hatteras Inlet. That action is only going to get better in the coming weeks. Coastal wrecks should be holding amberjack, spadefish, triggerfish and sea bass.

Yellowfin and blackfin tuna are providing outstanding action for boats sailing from both Oregon and Hatteras inlets. Dolphin numbers are on the rise. The season’s first billfish and wahoo have been boated.

Anglers are reminded to use caution while navigating through Rudee, Oregon and Hatteras Inlets, as shoaling continues to be a big problem.

Water Temps
Cape Henry: 65.7 F
Kiptopeke: 65.1 F
Duck NC Pier: 57.4 F
Oregon Inlet Sound side: 73.6
OI offshore Buoy @ 60 feet: 60.6
Hatteras Surf: 70.7 F
Diamond Shoals Tower: 71.6 F

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Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

Great fishing aboard the Rudee Angler!


By TH Spangler | Connie Barbour

Tautog, red drum, black drum, striped bass, flounder, trout and croaker are all available in Virginia waters now.

The best flounder fishing is taking place in our seaside inlets. The tautogs are being caught on structure, near shore and in the lower Chesapeake Bay.

Red drum are here and will be available throughout the lower bay for several weeks. Many anglers like to set up near the rock islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel for them. Occasionally they can be spotted swimming on the surface. They also love to feed on the shoals near the Eastern Shore.

Black drum anglers don’t forget the Fourth Annual Black Drum Chase. It will be held May 11th-20th and you can sign up at Chris’ Bait and Tackle on the Eastern Shore.

The trophy striped bass season is open and fish over 40 pounds have been weighed in.

The first sheepshead are here and the cobia will be arriving soon. Cobia are already being caught off Hatteras NC. Remember the Virginia cobia season does not open until June 1. Don’t forget about the 2018 Cobia Bowl July 19th-21st. The Cobia bowl, now known as the Monarch Cobia Classic looks to be bigger and better than ever!

Offshore the tuna fishing remains very good to our south. A few Virginia Beach Charter Boats are now available for the long run to the tuna. Offshore bottom fishing for tilefish and grouper is very good. The Rudee Angler just returned from a great trip. The sea bass season will re-open again May 15 and the blueline tilefish season opened May 1.

Down on the Other Banks of North Carolina surf anglers are catching red drum, sea mullet and jumbo bluefish near Buxton. Anglers fishing off the Little Bridge on the Nags Head/Manteo causeway are catching small trout and small puppy drum.

The OBX pier report sounds like this. Avalon: trout, sea mullet, bluefish and drum. Nags Head: slow. Jennette’s: sea mullet and bluefish. Outer Banks: bluefish.

Boats fishing along the beach near Oregon Inlet are catching albacore and lots of bluefish. The Headboats are catching sea mullet and bluefish.

The OBX offshore fleet is enjoying fantastic tuna fishing, yellowfin, blackfin and bigeye are all available. So are the dolphin, with some being gaffers. A few wahoo and billfish round out the catch.

Water Temps
CBBT: Not Available
Cape Henry: Not Available
Kiptopeke: 60.3 F
Duck NC Pier: 55.6 F
Oregon Inlet Sound side: 64.2 F
OI offshore Buoy @ 60 feet: 61.9 F
Hatteras Surf: 67.3 F
Diamond Shoals Tower: 75.4 F

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Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report | Tautogs | Flounder | Drum

By TH Spangler | Connie Barbour

With water temperatures in the mid fifties our tautog fishing is red hot. Anglers are finding taugs around most inshore structures. Favorite spots include the tower reef area, the Cape Henry wreck, the rock islands of the CBBT and around the concrete ships.

Flounder fishing is picking up every day especially in the shallows on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Chincoteague, Assateague, and Oyster are producing fish to 5 pounds. Drifting minnows on flounder rigs inside the seaside inlets is the favored method. Remember, large baits for large flounder. Flounder are also being caught inside Virginia Beach’s Rudee Inlet.

The black drum bite is on. Anglers using fresh clams for bait are catching large fish near the Eastern Shore. Some extra large black drum have also been landed from the surf.

Our big Red Drum bite always closely follows our peak black drum bite …. the reds are right on time. Fish are showing up along the beach from sandbridge and north to the eastern shore. These fish will be plentiful in the lower bay over the next several weeks.

Croakers are biting off Ocean View and in rivers feeding the bay. Croaker sizes will continue to increase all summer. A few speckled trout and some puppy drum are being caught inside Rudee Inlet, Lynnhaven Inlet, Mobjack Bay and areas north.

The Virginia Trophy Rockfish season opened May 1st and runs until May 16th. There is a 36 inch minimum, and a 1 fish per person, per day limit. Check the VMRC website for exact regulations.

Down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina anglers fishing Cape Point caught mostly sharks last week. To the south, Frisco anglers caught puppy drum, black drum and a few sharks.

On the northern OBX surf anglers found slot size red drum and good numbers of bluefish and a few rockfish. Anglers fishing the Little Bridge on the Nags Head – Manteo causeway caught catfish, stripers, small bottom fish.

Here’s the OBX pier rundown. Avalon: Trout. Nags Head: Bluefish. Jennette’s: Puffers, Shad, Skate, and small Stripers. Outer Banks: Toads and lots of Skate.

The Outer Banks Gulf Stream charters have been returning to the docks with yellowfin, blackfin and mahi. Good to see some mahi, look for many more to follow.

Water Temps
CBBT: 57.4 F
Cape Henry: 57.0 F
Kiptopeke: 57.6 F
Duck NC Pier: 63.6 F
Oregon Inlet Sound side: 64.8 F
OI offshore Buoy @ 60 feet: 55.9 F
Hatteras Surf: 65.8 F
Diamond Shoals Tower: 65.7 F

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It’s Time To Roll The Fish Are Here

Beth Synowiec and husband with two person limit of tautog to 25 inches / 10 lbs 8oz

By Staff | TH Spangler | Connie Barbour

It’s time to roll, the fish are biting!

Tautog fishing is excellent around the rock islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, at the Kiptopeke concrete ships and on near shore wrecks. Dr Ken Neill and crew fished a couple of inshore wrecks over the weekend. They ended up with 17 tautog, a pollock and released a lot of sea bass. Our sea bass season opens again May 15.

Large black drum moved into the lower Chesapeake Bay this week. Some large ones were boated and a few smaller fish were landed in the surf. A couple of big red drum were also boated. Red drum fishing along Sandbridge and on the lower Chesapeake Bay should get red-hot this week. Smaller puppy drum are being caught inside Rudee Inlet.

Flounder are being caught seaside on Virginia’s Eastern Shore near Assauteague and Chincoteague by anglers tossing jigs or drifting live minnows on flounder rigs. The flat fish have also entered Virginia Beach’s Rudee Inlet.

Speckled trout are around, but good luck finding someone to share  the location of his or her hot spot!! Try the shallows around Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets.

Small striped bass, puppy drum and a few speckled trout have been caught up the Bay in rivers feeding areas like Mobjack Bay.

The Trophy Season for striped bass opens on Tuesday. Good numbers of school-sized fish have been available through the lower Bay, with bigger ones being found to the north.

Croakers are now available. Anglers fishing Buckroe Pier caught the first of the season this week.

A few boats headed offshore Virginia Beach to deep drop. They reported good catches of golden tilefish, tautog and bluefish. They released some seabass and dogfish.

In North Carolina the big red drum and big chopper blues are still being caught at Cape Point. The bluefish are being caught from Avon,  southward.  Surf anglers are also finding blow toads and sea mullet.

Anglers fishing the little bridge on the Nags Head Manteo causeway are catching small stripers.

Last week Avalon pier anglers caught shad, trout and puppy drum. Nags head pier anglers landed mullet and shad. Jennette’s pier anglers caught puffers, sea mullet, gray trout, spot and sand perch. And Outer Banks pier anglers caught blowtoads, sea mullet and shad.

The Outer banks offshore fleet has been limiting out on yellowfin tuna and catching some blackfin tuna and mahi. There was a sailfish release registered this week.

Water Temps
CBBT: 55.4 F
Cape Henry: 55.0 F
Kiptopeke: 54.1 F
Duck NC Pier: 53.4 F
Oregon Inlet Sound side: 55.4 F
OI offshore Buoy @ 60 feet: 51.4 F
Hatteras Surf: 61.2 F
Diamond Shoals Tower: 66.2 F




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New North Carolina Cobia Regulations For 2018


MOREHEAD CITY – The recreational cobia season begins May 1, and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding anglers that the regulations have changed.

The recreational cobia season will run May 1 to Dec. 31 with a minimum size limit of 36 inches fork length (tip of the snout to the fork in the tail) and a possession limit of one fish per person per day.

For private boats, from May 1 to May 31, the maximum limit will be one fish per person per day, not to exceed two fish per vessel per day, regardless of the number of anglers on board.

For private boats, from June 1 to Dec.31, the maximum vessel limit will be one fish per vessel per day, regardless of the number of anglers on board.

For for-hire operations (charter boats, head boats, guide boats), from May 1 to Dec. 31, the vessel limit will be four fish per vessel per day, or one fish per person per day if fewer than four people are on board.

Anglers must return all cobia not meeting the harvest requirements to the water in a manner that ensures the highest likelihood of survival.

For more information, contact Steve Poland, cobia species lead with the Division of Marine Fisheries, at 252-808-8159 or


From VMRC Website

The 2018 Virginia recreational cobia regulations are as follows:

40-inch, total length, minimum size limit; 1-fish daily possession limit or 3-fish-daily vessel limit, whichever is more restrictive; only one fish per vessel per day may be greater than 50 inches in total length; an open season of June 1 through September 30; and gaffing is now allowed to land a cobia while fishing recreationally.

All anglers, captains, and guides fishing for cobia must obtain a Recreational Cobia Permit from the Commission and report all harvest and cobia fishing activity.

Permits can be obtained online here or at an MRC Licensing Agent. Reporting can be done online through the Saltwater Journal or using forms provided by the VMRC.

LINK: Cobia Regulations Discussion

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