Rudee Headboat Sea School Tip: Tautog Fishing & Cleaning

While waiting for the Virginia charter season to reopen, Captain Charlie has put together another great how-to video. This time the crew covers tautog fishing and cleaning.

Rudee Inlet Headboats sponsor our VBSF website. They run trips offshore, nearshore and inshore virtually year around. With proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, the bite out of Rudee Inlet is always promising and action packed!

For an experience you and your family will never forget, book’em up guys!

Tautog tips with Captain Charlie

Sea School session: Togging tips #seaschoolsession

Posted by Rudee Tours on Wednesday, April 8, 2020


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Virginia Beach Fishing Rundown


Bradley Gray, nice catch!


NEWS FLASH: Effective May 15th Charter Fishing Vessels are once again allowed to resume operation.


Tautog action was red hot along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel this week!! There are only a few more days left in the season, it closes May 15th. Fresh blue crabs, quartered, will be your best bait.

Red drum are on the Virginia shoals near Fisherman’s Island and there are more on the way. Schools of drum ….. and “the first cobia sightings” of the season were reported off Hatteras, NC last week. Many of these fish will enter the Chesapeake Bay soon, where they will hang around all summer.

Black drum have moved into the inlets on Virginia’s eastern shore seaside. They should also be available along the shallow channel ledge running from Fisherman’s Island to near Kiptopeake, the Cabbage Patch and the Concrete Ships. Black drum love fresh clam.

Some nice speckled trout have been caught in the surf down to Oregon Inlet NC. Some nice fish are coming from inside local Virginia inlets and rivers as well.

Bluefish are feeding in the Virginia, North Carolina surf. They are being caught off the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier. The pier has also seen catches of spot and roundheads. Spanish mackerel can’t be far behind! Boats fishing out of Hatteras are catching lots of spanish now.

Flounder catches should improve, especially around Wachapreague and Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore. A few flounder are showing up in our local inlets (Rudee, Lynnhaven, Little Creek) and along the CBBT.

Sheepshead should be in the bay by now, but I haven’t received any reports or seen pictures yet. Remember to send us those reports and pictures!

Picture By Frank and Fran’s, Avon NC! Nice Catch!


Surf anglers in Hatteras are catching pompano, blues, sea mullet, toads, black drum, large red drum and a few flounder. On the Kitty Hawk, Nags Head beaches, blues, sea mullet, trout and toads.

Offshore fishing has been good with boats catching lots of yellowfin tuna. Gaffer dolphin catches are increasing. There’s been some really big ones caught off the Crystal coast. Those guys are headed north. One blue marlin we know of was caught this week.

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Virginia Beach Fishing Rundown

Tautog fishing remains good to excellent. Look for them around underwater obstructions like wrecks, reefs, rocks and the pylons of the CBBT. The Virginia season closes May 15th, so you need to go ASAP! The taugtog state record was set in 2012, a 24 lbs 3 oz fish caught by Ken Neill.

Red drum are on the shoals at the mouth of the bay, Latimer Shoal and the shallow bar near the north end of the CBBT. Next month as the water warms and the number of fish increases, anglers will begin having success sight casting near the islands of the CBBT.

I’ve heard very few black drum reports. But they should be along the shallow channel ledge running from Fisherman’s Island to north of Cape Charles. Look for boats anchored close together near Kiptopeake, the Cabbage Patch and the Concrete Ships.

Flounder, speckled trout and bluefish are starting to bite inside local inlets. There have been keeper size specks caught in Rudee Inlet this week. The best flounder catches will come from Wachapreague, Oyster and Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore. Flounder should be showing along the CBBT. Numbers will continue to improve as the water warms.

It’s time for sheepshead to arrive in the bay. Their numbers will increase in May and peak in early June. The best baits are fiddler crabs or mole crabs, fished very close to structure.

Anglers fishing off the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier are catching skates, sand perch, spots, pufferfish, roundheads, trout and bluefish. The water temp is 56°. Anglers are using bloodworms, clam bites and gulps.

Sea bass, blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, snowy grouper, black belly rose fish and dogfish are available this time of year to Virginia offshore deep droppers. Make sure to keep up with seasonal regulations for each. In June the Rudee headboats start offering 17-hour deep drop trips on Thursdays and daily half day inshore trips. There will be pent-up demand, so book early.


Trout fishing is good in the sound and along the beach as far north as Kitty Hawk. A few puppy drum are being caught with the trout in the sound.

Surf fishing on the northern beaches is good with blues, sea mullet, toads and trout available.

Down south on Hatteras Island anglers are catching plenty of sea mullet, blues and toads. Some nice big reds are being caught at the point in Buxton.

Offshore slowed a little this week, a few yellowfin and few blackfin tuna were caught. It’s time for dolphin to start to showing up.

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Healthy Grin Report

Nice Drum On The Shoals!

Dr Ken Neill ran over to Fisherman’s Island late yesterday. He caught a couple of big red drum and headed home. There were a few other boats doing the same thing and one that was set up at the buoy 13 area for black drum. He wan’t sure if they had any luck with the black drum.

Dr. Ken Neill, III
IGFA Representative
Past-President, Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association
Associate Commissioner Virginia Marine Resources Commission
Commissioner Potomac River Fisheries Commission Contributor

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Rudee Headboat Sea School Tip: Flounder


Kyle and Ethan have put together another great how-to video. This time they show you a good flounder setup.

Rudee Inlet Headboats sponsor our VBSF website. They run trips offshore, nearshore and inshore virtually year around. With proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, the bite out of Rudee Inlet is always promising and action packed!

For an experience you and your family will never forget, book’em up guys!

tackle tips: flounder

Sea School session: tackle tips: flounder #seaschoolsession

Posted by Rudee Tours on Monday, April 20, 2020


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Virginia Beach Fishing Rundown

hatteras red drum

Hatteras, NC Red Drum

Large schools of drum were encountered off Cape Point near Buxton NC this week. Captain Rom Whitaker says the town of Buxton itself is a ghost town these days. Dare County is only allowing residents in right now. He hasn’t run a charter since March 8th, needless to say that’s financially devastating for these guys.

Captain Jeff Ross on Obsession ran a private trip and got in on the Cape Point action, catching 30 citation reds. These fish are headed for their summer home in the Chesapeake Bay …… A few have already arrived, Dr Ken Neill has been catching them on the shoals near Fishermans Island for two weeks.

Oddly I haven’t seen many black drum reports, surly they are in their usual spots by now. If you’ve caught them send us a picture and report.

Photo from Lauren Harper

Tautog catches at the CBBT, on near-shore wrecks and artificial reefs has been outstanding. These tasty fish can’t resist a hook baited with fresh crab.

The Virginia Beach Pier reports catches of skates, sand perch, spot and croakers. Most are using bloodworms for bait. Best time to fish is: 8am to 11 am – 2 PM to 8:00 PM.

Speckled trout reports continue to come in and puppy drum are available in their usual locations. Stan and Johnny via the PSWSFA Facebook page reported good speck action recently. Fishing both the outgoing and incoming tide they landed 18 fish between 15 and 20 1/2″. They also had probably another 20 bumps and lost several fish at the boat before they could net them. Most were released for another day.

Flounder are showing up in many of the barrier island backwaters along the sea side of the Virginia eastern shore.

Outer Banks, NC locals say surf fishing is good for blues, trout, blow toads on the north beaches and sea mullet, toads, blues, and drum on the south beaches.

NC sound fisherman have been catching plenty of trout and puppy drum and a few stripers.

Offshore Tuna action to our south has been fantastic all winter. A few Rudee Inlet captains have made the long run to get in on it. Lately boats departing Oregon Inlet have been picking up quick limits of yellowfin tuna. One boat reported 40 in just a few hours of fishing.

Be sure and send us your pictures and reports. Send them to

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Tilefish News: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Recreational Tilefish Anglers: Learn How to Obtain a Permit and Report Your Catch

Recreational tilefish anglers may soon be subject to new permitting and reporting requirements. Under  proposed regulations published by NOAA Fisheries, private recreational vessels (including for-hire operators using their vessels for non-charter, recreational trips) would be required to obtain a federal vessel permit to target or retain golden or blueline tilefish north of the Virginia/North Carolina border. These vessel operators would also be required to submit vessel trip reports (VTRs) electronically within 24 hours of returning to port for trips where tilefish were targeted or retained. For more information about the proposed requirements, check out our Recreational Tilefish Permitting and Reporting FAQs.

NOAA Fisheries is encouraging anglers not already using another electronic VTR system to utilize NOAA Fish Online, which is available through a mobile app or a web-based portal. Other systems that may be suitable for recreational anglers include SAFIS eTrips/mobile and SAFIS eTrips Online. You can access information about approved applications and other aspects of electronic reporting on the NOAA Fisheries website.

April 28 Webinar on Proposed Permitting and Electronic Reporting Requirements

New to Electronic Reporting? Want to Learn More? Join an Informational Webinar!

Tuesday, April 28, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold a public webinar on Tuesday, April 28 to provide information on obtaining recreational tilefish permits and options available to recreational tilefish anglers for electronically submitting VTRs. During the webinar, staff from the Mid-Atlantic Council and NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Office will cover the following topics, with opportunities for Q&A after each:

    • Overview of the proposed action
    • Step-by-step demonstration of how to obtain a permit
    • Demonstration of the NOAA/GARFO Fish Online application for submitting reports

Webinar connection instructions are available  here. Please note that in order to participate (i.e. ask questions), you will need to connect your audio via telephone. The webinar will be recorded and made available on the Council’s website for later viewing.

Contact: Please direct any questions to Matt Seeley,, (302) 526-5262.

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Virginia Saltwater Fishing Report

Speckled trout action is picking up in local inlets and along the beach. The best action is in the inlets, trout prefer shallow, grassy areas. Live shrimp works well. Guide Todd Beck on the Knot Wish’n  picked up a few keepers in Rudee Inlet this week.

Black Drum are showing up along the shallow channel ledge running from Fisherman’s Island to north of Cape Charles. Look for boats anchored close together near Kiptopeake, the Cabbage Patch and the Concrete Ships.

Nice Drum Are Here

Large red drum have arrived on the shoals between Fisherman’s and Smith Islands. The most popular angling technique for them is anchoring on top of the shoal and positioning yourself so your baits drift back to the deeper waters. Chumming helps draw the fish in. Dr Ken Neill picked up one on Saturday.

There’s been some nice early season flounder action on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The best catches are coming from Wachapreague, Oyster and Chincoteague. The minimum size limit is 16 1/2 inches, with a limit of 4 per person. The Virginia capture citation is 6 pounds. The release citation is 26 inches, if that’s your thing. The state record: 17 lbs. 8 oz and was caught in 1971 by Charles E. Cross.


Tautog fishing remains good to excellent. Look for them around underwater obstructions like wrecks, reefs, rocks and the pylons of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Tautog like fresh crab. Dr Ken Neill caught a few togs along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Saturday. You have until May 15th to catch yours. The season closes from May 16th, 2020 to June 30th, 2020. The limit is 4 per day at least 16 inches in long.

Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle says tilefish, grouper, swordfish, tuna and sharks are available offshore.

On Thursday, April 9, another decommissioned tugboat was purposely sent to the bottom of the ocean in a continuing effort to boost the Outer Banks’ newest artificial reef, AR-165.

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Kyle and Ethan, how-to

Kyle and Ethan put together a great how-to, rigging video for croaker, black sea bass, and tilefish.

Rudee Inlet Headboats sponsor our website, they run trips offshore, nearshore and inshore virtually year around. With proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, the bite out of Rudee Inlet is always promising and action packed!

Their experienced captains have been fishing the coast of Virginia Beach for over 35 years. They have all the tackle you need and mates are onbboard to help every step of the way.

For an experience you and your family will never forget, give them a call.

Tackle tips: croaker, black sea bass, & tilefish

Sea School session: Tackle tips: croaker, black sea bass, & tilefish #seaschoolsession

Posted by Rudee Tours on Friday, April 3, 2020

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Fishing Report and COVID-19 Restrictions

Kyle and Ethan with some rigging tips

Between windy weather and COVID-19 restrictions, there hasn’t been a lot of fishing to report on this week. There’s been some confusion over exactly what the current regulations are regarding who can and cannot fish. To the best of my knowledge there will be no chartering in Virginia until early June. June will be peak fishing on the lower Chesapeake Bay and along the ocean front for cobia, big red drum and spanish mackerel. By then everyone will be going nuts to get out on the water. I look for VBSF charters to be book rather heavy in June, July and August. So, if you plan to take the family out, you should book ahead.

But for now, all Virginians have been directed to stay at home except for allowable travel including: to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity using strict social distancing practices.

When and if you get to go, tautogs are around the reefs and wrecks, biting on fresh crabs. Flounder and speckled trout are starting to show up in the inlets and coastal bays.

The first black drum of the season showed up in the Eastern Shore surf last week.

Kyle and Ethan from VBSF sponsor Rudee Tours shared an old how-to rigging video for croaker, black sea bass, & tilefish. Looks like we’ll have plenty of time to work on tackle, so now’s a great time to share some tip. Thank you guys, great video!

Tackle tips: croaker, black sea bass, & tilefish

Sea School session: Tackle tips: croaker, black sea bass, & tilefish #seaschoolsession

Posted by Rudee Tours on Friday, April 3, 2020

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Game On! The Inshore Bite Has Started!

Photo Captain Jake Hiles, Matador Charters

Virginia anglers have lots to look forward to in the coming weeks and the action might start early this year. We didn’t have much of a winter, which should be good news for species like speckled trout. And it could signal an early arrival for other species.

Tautog are already at the CBBT and on nearly all near-shore structures. VBSF charter captains are booking taugtog trips, so if plan to go you should contact one asap.

Speckled trout have been biting in the rivers for a couple of weeks. Connie Barbour at Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle  says they’re available inside Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets now. Our sponsor Knot Wish’n Guide Service plans to look for them this weekend. Hopefully he’ll have some good news for us.

Red drum are making an early showing at the point in Buxton, I sure hope the Covid-19 emergency action doesn’t keep anglers away from the point the entire season. Currently only locals have access.

Anglers fishing the northern OBX are catching blow toads, trout, flounder, puppy drum and sea mullet.

Tuna action out of Oregon Inlet North Carolina has been fantastic all winter. Yellowfin, bluefin and blackfin. And of course, there are plenty of sharks available.

Here’s a look ahead!

Inshore fishing was off the charts last year and there’s a very good chance this year will be even better.

As April rolls in our tautog action will continue and flounder will become a possibility. Some good flounder reports are already coming from Wachapreague, Virginia.

Photo By Wachapreague Inn

By mid-April the big black drum will be here, in fact one has already been landed this year. Bluefish and gray trout will also be a possibility. The flounder bite should continue improving and speckled trout will become more numerous.

By the end of May plenty of large red drum will have made their way into the lower bay.

In June everything starts to peak, inshore and off! Black drum, red drum, cobia, croaker, flounder, gray trout, round head, sheepshead, spadefish, spanish mackerel, speckled trout, small striped bass, mahi, yellow fin tuna and school size blue fin tuna.


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High Hopes Charter News and Reports

high hopes charters boat

VBSF welcomes Captain David Wright and High Hopes back for our 21st season.

Captain Dave is one of our original sponsors. We will be posting some of his 2020 trip reports and pictures here.

Captain David has been running charters out of Rudee Inlet since 1978 … making him one of … if not the most experienced captain in the area. The High Hopes is the longest continuously running charter business in Virginia Beach.

We look forward to sharing a lot of great High Hopes reports with you!



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Look for AquaMan Fishing News At VBSF

Keep up to date with Captain Nolan Agner’s fishing reports and news. VBSF will be posting any reports sent in by the Flatline or Game On, and tracking their social media reports. We will let you know what they are putting in the fish box, find out what the hottest bite is and what the best baits are.

Even the most professional angler tries to get the latest fishing report for the region he will be fishing. An up to date Virginia Beach sport fishing report is just like a weather report or tide report, it’s just another tool to help you have a successful day on the water.

You may not see a report everyday but biweekly wrap ups is a good bet. If you were a customer aboard one of their charters you may even find your name and picture in a report. So anglers fish hard and check back often for the latest report!

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March Is Tautog and Tuna Season

Light Tackle Action On The Sea Breeze – OBX

As water temperatures in the bay rise this month look for the tautog bite to pick up. Also called tog or blackfish, they are arguably one of the best tasting fish in our area. Their feeding activity is based on water temperature. When the water is above 44 degrees they should be available. When the bay temperature reaches 50 degrees the rock islands of the CBBT is an ideal location, but they can be found anywhere there’s structure. Popular areas include the CBBT, Back River Reef, the Cell, Tower Reef, the Concrete Ships, Cape Henry Wreck, the Santore, the Winthrop, the Triangle Wrecks, and any other wreck or structure you can find. The best baits are crabs … blue, fiddler, green and mole crabs. Strips of clam and whelk will also work.

There have been some good speckled trout reports coming from the rivers. But nothing much to speak of in area inlets so far. It should pick up any day.

OBX surf anglers are catching dogfish up and down the beach. At the point in Buxton they are catching puppy drum, sea mullet, and blowtoads.

Sea Breeze

Crews fishing offshore from the Outer Banks are catching limits yellowfin, blackfin, school size bluefin tunas and an occasional wahoo!

Captain Ned Ashby on the Sea Breeze had a crew from Japan on board this week. They were doing some light tackle jigging for giant blue fins  …. They were not disappointed. Captain Ned ran out to a report of bluefins jumping all over the ocean Thursday morning. Captain Ned said ….. “The report was true! Huge fish feeding on top! What an awesome site! We had several bites that pulled off, but finally hooked a really nice fish and caught it! Estimated 500 lbs!”

Eye On The Water Temps

Cape Henry VA Surf: 49.0 F
Cape Charles VA: 47.9 F
CBBT: 49.7 F
Entrance to Rudee Inlet: 50.0 F
Entrance to Lynnhaven Inlet 49.0 F
Duck NC Research Pier: 50.6 F
Oregon Inlet NC, Soundside: 51.0 F
Buxton NC, The Point: 56.0 F
Hatteras Inlet Soundside: 56.3 F
Diamond Shoals Light: 71.0 F



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Black Sea Bass Season Closed, Tautog Season Continues

Captain Jake “Fishing was slow but any trout in February ain’t bad. A couple of degrees in water temperature can make a big difference”.


Virginia anglers wrapped up another short February black sea bass season. When weather permitted access to the reefs and wrecks, bottom fishing for sea bass and tautog was good. Unfortunately our sea bass season is over …… but the tautog season continues.

There’s been reports of speckled trout. Louis Glaser and Douglas Wilburn posted about a good bite on the Elizabeth River. They caught 10 specks Sunday using MR 27 Mirror Lures and Z man baits on 1\4 oz heads.

It’s time to keep an eye on the water temps as they start rising. Usually when you see 60 degree water at the point in Buxton NC, red drum are a possibly. Bay temperatures in the low 50’s usually supports a good tautog bite at the CBBT.

Water Temps
Cape Henry VA Surf: 45.0 F
Cape Charles VA: 45.0 F
CBBT: 45.7 F
Rudee Inlet: 46.0 F
Lynnhaven Inlet 47.0 F
Duck NC Research Pier: 42.6 F
Duck NC Wave Buoy: 46.6 F
Oregon Inlet NC, Soundside: 44.4 F
Buxton NC, The Point: 60.0 F
Hatteras Inlet Soundside: 47.3 F
Diamond Shoals Light: 73.0 F

Nice tuna, Wanchese NC

North Carolina tuna fishing has been excellent. Bluefin tunas have generated most of the excitement. Boats fishing from Oregon Inlet are finding bluefin tuna in the 400 to 900-pound range. The recreational season is over …. the commercial guys enjoyed a few extra days …. but now that our quote has been reach its all catch and release. Many captains say “just” the strike alone on a hookless bait is worth the price of admission.

During the recreational season, Captain Jake Hiles and Jeff Landis fishing onboard the Toro made a long run from Rudee Inlet to the Tuna Hole in federal water off North Carolina and fished with the Carolina boats. They picked up a fish measuring 109 inches and weighing 708 lbs. By departing from and returning to Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach it qualified their catch as the new Virginia State record. Congratulation to the crew on the Toro. Quite an effort.

Yellowfin, blackfin, school size bluefin and big eye tuna are also available off the OBX. Most of the blackfun are being caught off Hatteras Inlet, jigging.

Some great news on our Menhaden fishery, New legislation has been approved by Virginia House And Senate

The Virginia House and Senate have passed bipartisan legislation to transfer management of Virginia’s menhaden fisheries from the General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). This comes after many years of work by the conservation and angling communities to move management of Virginia’s largest fishery to VMRC, where all other marine species in the Commonwealth are managed.

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