Fishing Inshore and Offshore Good As Fish Move

Virginia Flounder Picture

8 lb 8 oz Flounder caught by Mike Davis

With strong northerly winds it looks like a small craft advisory will be in effect for several days. Hopefully early next week anglers will be able to return to their favorite fishing spots.

The family favorite, large yellowbelly spot have been plentiful lately. Pier anglers fishing Ocean View and Virginia Beach have loaded up. Along with the spot are some trout, puppy drum, croaker, bluefish and flounder. Good numbers of spot are also inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Croaker are available near Ocean View and the Little Creek jetties.

Speckled trout catches along the lower bay shoreline and in creeks have been good. Anglers are using numerous lures as well as live shrimp under popping corks. Puppy drum are biting in many of the same areas.

red drum picture

Sandbridge Action

Durm picture

Nicholas Lutz, peir #3, Cherrystone family resort campground. Nice!

Large red drum are schooling near the mouth of the bay and along the oceanfront as they get ready to leave the area. Surfcasters and pier anglers in Sandbridge are waiting on the migration to occur. Red drum love to feed in the surf zone when water conditions are rough.

Flounder catches have been steady. They are being caught inside all three southside inlets and around coastal wrecks.

There are still a few spanish mackerel and bluefish around, but their numbers are dwelling. King mackerel should be available for a few more weeks.

wahoo picture

Nice 91 lb 8 oz Wahoo William James Drummond Jr.

sword fish picture

High Hopes nice swordfish

Bluewater action was good before the weather kicked up. When boats return, they should find yellowfin tuna, dolphin, billfish, swordfish and large wahoo. Deep-droppers should continue to catching golden tilefish, blueline tilefish and sea bass.


OBX, North Carolina 

Nags Head area beaches are producing good-sized bluefish, puppy drum and black drum.

Hatteras surf anglers are catching large pompano, bluefish and good-sized spanish mackerel.

Speckled trout are starting to work their way out of the sound and into the surf.

Anglers fishing the sound from Wanchese to Oregon Inlet are catching limits of speckled trout. Bluefish are holding in deeper channels around the inlet. Puppy drum are in groups on the flats.

Sheepshead are along the Oregon Inlet Bridge pilings.

Nearshore fishing has been solid for anglers casting jigs to spanish mackerel, bluefish, and false albacore just off the beach.

Nearshore bottom structure has been holding keeper black sea bass and triggerfish.

dolphin picture

52 pounder!! On the Sea Breeze

King mackerel are scattered inshore. Offshore anglers are finding dolphin catches to be hit and miss. A good day followed by a slow one. Citation-sized yellowfin and blackfin tuna are showing up, and the yellowfin bite is anticipated to get better over the next month or two. A few large bigeye tunas were landed this past week. White and blue marlin releases are happening almost daily. Wahoo numbers have been good, with many fish in the 40 lb. range. Swordfish are being caught by anglers fishing deep.

Next Report October 26th


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Waters Less Crowded, Fish Very Active

Fall is a time of transition. Our summertime visitors leave (both fish and people). The waters are less crowded and fish are very active. It is my favorite time of the year to fish.

Offshore, September is the time we have epic marlin catches. Boats come in with riggers full of release flags. It just has not happened this year. Billfish are being caught but in the 1 or 2 or 3 rate, not in the 10s, 20s, or even 30s we’ve had in some past Septembers. What we are having are good catches of tuna, dolphin and wahoo. Yellowfin and skipjack tuna are the most common catch but decent numbers of bigeye and even longfin tuna are being caught. A 71 pound 11 ounce longfin was weighed in that if approved will replace the long-standing Virginia record 68-pound albacore caught by Irv Fenton, Jr while fishing on Brent Meadors’ boat, Breike. Fall is the best time to catch swordfish but that fishery has been good all season. Boats dropping around 200 fathoms during the daytime have had consistent success on swordfish along with a bigeye tuna by-catch. Some are using electric reels to do this but you don’t need to. They make things easier but disqualify you from any record or trophy fish citation awards. Nighttime drifting is also producing swordfish and this resulted in a new state-record this year with a 466-pound swordfish caught on the Rebel.

Closer to shore, the wrecks are holding sea bass, triggerfish, and flounder. King mackerel and false albacore can be caught trolling spoons over and around wrecks. The Tower Reef area has been good for this. There are still some spadefish hanging around but they will be leaving as we progress into October.

Cobia are still being caught along the oceanfront and in the lower bay. September 30 is the last day of this fishery for both recreational and commercial anglers. Recreational anglers make sure that you file your cobia reports. VMRC needs a good count and you must do so if you want a cobia permit in 2020.

Schools of big red drum are being encountered by anglers looking for cobia. Big red drum are also being caught near the islands of the CBBT. Puppy drum have made a good showing this year and can be caught up on the flats. Most are under the keeper slot size. Speckled trout fishing is very good in both numbers of fish and the size being caught. This fishery is very weather dependent. If we can avoid any major winter kill this year, our speckled trout population looks very good. Tautog, sheepshead and triggerfish are being caught at the CBBT. As we move later into October, the sheepshead catch will diminish as the tautog catch increases. Spot are being caught in decent numbers. They are making one of their better showings in the past several years.

There is a lot of interest in shrimp. We have always had some shrimp. The last few years, there have been eating-size shrimp here in very good numbers. They are being caught up in the creeks, rivers, inlets, and in the shallows on both sides of the bay. Fall is the prime time to catch these tasty critters. Recreationally so far, it is an unregulated species. It is time to get your cast net out and go catch some. Commercially, there is a very small trial fishery along the oceanfront south of Rudee Inlet. This will be the second year of the experimental fishery. Last fall was very successful with a very close monitoring of by-catch.

The striped bass season opens on October 4 in the bay. The coastal season is already open. Virginia continues to move ahead of and beyond anticipated ASMFC action on this overfished species. The springtime trophy fishery was closed. The fall season bag limit has been reduced from 2 to 1 fish per angler in the bay. It has been 1-fish for some time along the coast. A new maximum size limit of 36 inches applies to both the bay and coastal fisheries. The minimum sizes have not changed: 20 inches in the bay, 28 inches in the coastal fishery.


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I. Introductions and Meeting Protocol – P. Geer
II. Presentation of Emergency Measures to be Considered at the September 24th Commission Meeting – A. Aspinwall
III. Questions regarding the Emergency Measures
IV. Public Comment on Emergency Measures – time restrictions enforced for each speaker
V. Poll on Measures
VI. Summary
VII. Adjournment

The meeting is going to concentrate on the emergency Striped Bass amendment the VMRC’s Commission will be considering at their September 24th meeting. (1 fish recreational bag limit, recreational max size limit of 36” TL, and commercial gill net maximum mesh size for the Bay and Coastal areas). We’re going to use a different format for this meeting to entertain more questions and listen to comments from both FMAC members and the general public.

You can also watch the meeting via live stream.

SEPTEMBER 18, 2019, 6:00-8:00 P.M

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Cobia, Spanish, Drum Still Available

Tom Mooney and Ann Mooney had a nice day catching cobia!

Hurricane Dorian has passed and local anglers are back at it! …. The cobia bite in the bay and along the oceanfront remains very good. Sight casting is most effective and live eels are the best bait. These fish should start exiting the bay and move south soon. But some should be available into October.

Cobia anglers are spotting schools of red drum. Dr Ken Neill did some trolling along the oceanfront September 7th. He saw lots of bait balls, plenty of cobia and a school of red drum. There were schools of spanish mackerel cutting bait. He managed to catch a couple of cobia and a nice king mackerel. He was using plugs.

Spanish Mackerel are still available throughout the lower bay and along the oceanfront.

Sheepshead catches around the CBBT were on the rise this week. Flounder reports were down.

Louis Glaser, Beth Synowiec nice trout!

The speckled trout bite is picking up. This weekend the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Virginia Beach Anglers Club and the Lynnhaven River Now organization are partnering on a tournament in the Lynnhaven and Lafayette Rivers, to highlight the importance of oyster restoration to healthy fisheries. There should be some trout hanging around the oyster bars. And Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle reports a lot of small puppy drum inside Lynnhaven.

Spot are being caught, but the big yellow belly run hasn’t occurred yet.

The Virginia Beach Fishing pier this week reported some spots, a few puppy drum , a few spanish and some blues.

Cool Change, Captain Craig Irwin …. nice catch

Bluewater anglers are releasing a good number of white and blue marlin. They are also finding hungry wahoo, mahi and tuna. Bottom bouncers are catching tilefish.


There has been some bluefish north of Buxton. Bluefish and trout have been plentiful at Oregon Inlet. Trout fishing has been good on all beaches.

Anglers fishing the Little Bridge on the Nags Head/Manteo causeway reported slow action.

Outer Banks Pier Fishing Report, Avalon: trout and bluefish. Nags Head: trout, drum, bluefish, black drum and pompano. Jennette’s: drum, croaker. Outer Banks: spanish, drum, bluefish and trout.

Boats fishing inshore report spanish, bluefish, some mahi and red drum. Trout fishing has been good inshore, with many catching limits.

Offshore captains are finding limits of mahi, yellowfin, blackfin, some wahoo and citation blue and white marlin. Bottom bouncers are catching plenty of tilefish.

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SLAM ROD & REEF Tournament

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Virginia Beach Anglers Club and Lynnhaven River Organization are partnering on a tournament to highlight the importance of oyster restoration to healthy fisheries.

Join in and fish on restored oyster reefs on the Lynnhaven and Lafayette Rivers.

Winning anglers in adult and youth divisions will be determined by number of species caught and their lengths.

Saturday, September 14
Fishing: 6:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

After Party and Awards: 3:00 p.m.
CBF’s Brock Environmental Center, 3663 Marlin Bay Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Entry Fee: $50/person includes entry, after party, food, and giveaways. Don’t fish? $10 will get you into the after party for food, beverages, and music by one of Virginia Beach’s favorites, the Tiki Bar Band

Chris Moore
Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
3663 Marlin Bay Dr.
Virginia Beach VA 23455
(757) 622-1964 Office
(757) 353-2687 Mobile

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