Fishing Picking Up, Cobia Arriving Virginia

The Hatteras Village Offshore Open is underway!

The black sea bass season reopened May 15th and runs through 31st. The bite has been very good; with several boats catching limits of jumbos. The Triangle Reef is a popular spot. Sea bass will bite squid, crab, fresh cut fish, clam strips, shrimp or diamond jigs.

The spring black drum bite has been excellent. The best action is coming from Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where fish are being caught seaside and bayside. Some have topped 70 pounds, but the 20 to 25 ponders are best for the table. Whole clam, peeler crab, whelk, peeler crab/clam sandwich, buck tails and lead head jigs are all good baits.

Red drum are in their usual spots and now cobia have joined them. This week a couple of boats caught both. Cobia will hit just about anything you put in front of them. Live eels, spot, menhaden, mullet, large spoons, white buck tails, plastic eels, swimming plugs or cut bait. Look for them around buoys and other structure, like the islands and pylons of the CBBT.

Sheepshead are feeding on crustacean clinging to the CBBT pylons. They can be caught by fishing fiddler crabs, mole crabs or clam tight against the structure. Some large fish in the 12-pound range have been caught.

Flounder fishing inside Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets is picking up, some nice keepers have been caught. After a good start to the Eastern Shore flounder season things have slowed a bit. Most fish are in the 15 to 18 inch range; larger fish are rear. The best flounder baits are buck tails dressed with a Gulp or a minnow/squid sandwiches fished on a Sea Striker Fluke Killer.

Spanish mackerel and bluefish are being caught along the oceanfront. They will hit very small spoons like the 0S Drone or Clark pulled behind a small plainer.

Virginia Beach Pier anglers are catching nice spanish, blues, roundhead and keeper trout.


Surf anglers are catching, bluefish, spanish mackerel, roundhead. Down in Avon and Hatteras some pompano. A couple of citation drum were beached near ramp 45.

Those fishing from the little bridge on the Nags Head/Manteo causeway are catching lots of small trout, but few keepers.

The OBX pier rundown sounds like this. Avalon: blues, spanish, mullet and speckled trout. Nags Head: spanish, trout, blues and flounder. Jennette’s: bluefish and triggers.  Outer Banks: bluefish and spanish.

Inshore Boats are catching trout and sheepshead inside Oregon Inlet and spanish and bluefish near shore.

The offshore fleet is catching lots of mahi, some wahoo, blackfin tuna and a few blue marlin. The Hatteras Village Offshore Open is underway and several large blue marlins have been weighed. Pirates Cove has weighed some blues as well.

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ASMFC Cobia News Release


Arlington, VA – The Commission’s South Atlantic State/Federal Fisheries Management Board approved Draft Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Migratory Group Cobia (Atlantic cobia) for public comment. Atlantic coastal states from Virginia through South Carolina have scheduled their hearings to gather public input on Draft Amendment 1. The details of those hearings follow.

Virginia Marine Resources Commission
June 12, 2019; 6:00 PM
380 Fenwick Rd, Building 96
Fort Monroe, Hampton, VA
Contact: Pat Geer at 757.247.2200

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries
June 13, 2019; 7:00 PM
Dare County Commissioners Office
954 Marshall Collins Drive, Room 168 Manteo, NC
Contact: Chris Batsavage at 252.808.8009

*Webinar Hearing
June 18, 2019; 6:00 PM
Webinar Registration:

For audio, dial 1.888.585.9008 and enter the Conference Room Number: 275-479-282 Contact: Dr. Michael Schmidtke at 703.842.0740 *The webinar hearing is intended to primarily accommodate stakeholders in states where an in-person hearing is not being held. Stakeholders in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are encouraged to provide comments at the in-person hearings in their respective states, rather than the webinar hearing.

Draft Amendment 1 was initiated in anticipation of removal of Atlantic cobia from the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils’ Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic resources (CMP FMP) through Regulatory Amendment 31. Final approval for CMP FMP Regulatory Amendment 31 was approved earlier this year. Therefore, there is no longer a federal management plan for Atlantic cobia, and the Commission is the sole management body for this stock. This necessitates changes to several portions of the current interstate FMP that are dependent on the CMP FMP and also provide the opportunity for the Board to construct a long-term strategy for managing in the absence of a federal FMP.

Draft Amendment 1 presents options for addressing 13 issues within the FMP, including additions to the management goals and objectives, establishment of processes to define biological reference points and specify harvest, changes to commercial monitoring of landings, clarification of the process for evaluating recreational harvests against state harvest targets, potential changes to commercial fishery management measures, establishment of de minimis criteria for the commercial fishery, and recommended management measures for federal waters. For some of these issues, multiple options are presented, while for others, only one option is presented. Public input is requested for all issues included in Draft Amendment 1.

Draft Amendment 1 is available at PDF Link or via the Commission’s website, under Public Input. Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Amendment 1  either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. Public comment will be accepted until 5 PM (EST) on July 15, 2019 and should be sent to Dr. Michael Schmidtke, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at (Subject line: Cobia Amd 1).

If your organization is planning to release an action alert related to the Draft Amendment 1, please contact Dr. Michael Schmidtke at prior to its release. The Board will meet at the commission’s 2019 Summer Meeting in Aug.

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Add Bluefish and Spanish To The Lineup

Spanish off Virginia Beach, Knot Wish’n Charters

Bluefish and spanish mackerel numbers are on the rise along the Virginia Beach oceanfront; Virginia Beach Pier anglers caught both this week …. Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle says bluefish have also entered Lynnhaven inlet …. Try trolling or casting to schools near inlets, along tide lines and over coastal wrecks in the lower Bay. So far the fish are averaging between 1 and 5 pounds. The VA state record bluefish is 25 pounds, 4 ounces and was caught at Bluefish Rock in the Bay in 1986 by Gayle E. Cozzens. And the record spanish is 9 pounds, 13 ounces and was landed off the Virginia Beach oceanfront in 1993 by Everett Cameron.

Large schools of red drum continue to migrate along the coast on their way to the Chesapeake Bay. Another large school was reported off the Virginia coast this week, anglers were able to sight-cast them. But your best chance at landing one of these beast is to anchor up near the shoals at the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Black drum are still a good possibility in the same area. Released red or black drum measuring 46 inches or more qualify you for a Virginia State citation award.

Our upcoming cobia season should be a very good one. Large schools are migrating along the OBX on their way to the Bay right now. Anglers to our south have been sight-casting cobia and drum swimming together.

Now that our nighttime air temperatures are remaining above 60 degrees the inshore flounder bite is starting … it’s off to a good start with most of the big fish coming from the inlets and tidal marshes on the Eastern Shore barrier islands. Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle is reporting flounder catches inside Lynnhaven Inlet and Knot Wish’n charters have picked up a few flounder inside Rudee Inlet as well. Generally large baits catch larger fish. The Virginia state record flatfish is 17 pounds, 8 ounces and was caught at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in 1971 by C.E. Cross.

Sheepsheads are arriving the Bridge Tunnel daily. Their numbers will peak in June and they will hang around until September. They love fiddler crabs, sand fleas or clams fished up against the pylons. Most fish are in the 3 to 8 pound class, but the state record is 20 pounds, 12 ounces. It was caught under the Seagull Fishing Pier, on the CBBT by Arun Nhek in 2005. The Sea Gull Fishing Pier was closed for bridge construction. The last I heard, they plan to reopen it around 2023.

Speckled trout are scattered along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, ocean and soundside  … and in the marshes along the lower Chesapeake Bay and on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Look for them in the surf and inside inlets near marshes.

Spadefish should start showing anytime now. The good bite will occur in June. They will be available all summer.

The tautog season closes the 15th. Better hurry!

Deep dropping on the Rudee Angler

The sea bass season reopens from May 15th to the 31st. Then it reopens again June 22nd and runs through the end of the year. Deep-droppers are finding plenty of tilefish and a few snowy grouper along with other bottom dwellers. The Rudee Angler is advertising 17-hour offshore deep dropping trips May 18th, 23rd and 30th.

Boats running offshore to the south are finding some yellow fin tuna and dolphin.


Sea mullet, bluefish, spanish, blow toads and a few trout are being caught in the OBX surf. Anglers fishing the Little Bridge on the Nags Head/Manteo causway are catching trout. The OBX pier rundown goes like this; Avalon: bluefish. Nags Head: bluefish and a couple of spanish. Jennette’s: bluefish. Outer Banks: bluefish.

Inshore boats fishing around Oregon Inlet are finding bluefish and sheepshead. Sound side fishing for trout is good.

Offshore bluewater anglers are catching yellow fin tuna, dolphin (mahi mahi) and some king mackerel. Billfish are starting to show up.

Book your charter as ASAP …… the good dates go fast ….  CHARTERS




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Nice Trout, More Drum and Cobia On The Way

Some nice speckled trout have been caught between Virginia Beach and Oregon Inlet NC this week. Scott Horton caught this nice one in Rudee inlet a couple of days ago.

The first red and black drum of the season arrived on the Virginia shoals a couple of weeks ago, and there’s more on the way. Massive schools of drum and cobia are migrating together along North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Most of these fish will enter the Chesapeake Bay… soon! If you would like a chance at encountering one of these schools and get in on some world-class fishing, now might be the time.  No boat? … You need to contact a charter captain ASAP and pick a date.

Bluefish are feeding up and down OBX beaches … and are now in Virginia Beach waters. Some really nice sized fish, to 35 inches were landed in the Carolina surf. Spanish mackerel can’t be far behind! The tidal rips east of the CBBT should soon be a great place to hook up with both.

Flounder catches continue improving as our water temps warm, especially around Wachapreague and Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore. Flounder are also showing up in our local inlets (Rudee, Lynnhaven, Little Creek) and along the CBBT.

Sheepshead to 10 pounds have already been caught in the bay.

Tautog action continues to be good, especially on ocean wrecks. Catches along the CBBT and on Bay structure are improving. There are only a few more days left in the Virginia season, it closes May 15th.

The Virginia Beach pier has been catching some spot, roundheads, gray trout and small blues.

The Rudee Angler is advertising 17-hour offshore deep dropping trips for May 11th, 18th, 23rd and 30th. These trips usually catch black sea bass, blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, snowy grouper, black belly rose fish and spiny dogfish. You need to call their booking desk to confirm these dates.


Surf anglers are catching sea mullet near ramps 48 and 38. At the Point anglers are catching blues on metal spoons. South on the Point anglers have caught blues, spanish, citation drum, citation black drum and pompano.

Anglers on the northern beaches are finding croaker, spot, sea mullet and bluefish.

Those fishing from the Little Bridge on the Nags Head/Manteo causeway are doing very well with trout.

The OBX pier rundown sounds like this. Avalon pier, bluefish, sea mullet and skate. Nags Head pier, mullet, bluefish, and trout. Jennette’s pier, bluefish, croaker, sea mullet and spot. Outer Banks pier, bluefish and spot.

Inshore boats are catching loads of bluefish and May 1st they encountered large schools of black drum, red drum and cobia.

Offshore boats are catching dolphin, yellowfin tuna, big eye tuna, black fin tuna and wahoo.

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ASMFC NEWS | Atlantic Striped Bass Stock Assessment

Arlington, VA – The 2018 Atlantic Striped Bass Benchmark Stock Assessment indicates the resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing relative to the updated reference points defined in the assessment. Female spawning stock biomass (SSB) was estimated at 151 million pounds, below the SSB threshold of 202 million pounds. Despite recent declines in SSB, the assessment indicated the stock is still significantly above the SSB levels observed during the moratorium in the mid-1980s. Total fishing mortality (F) was estimated at 0.31, above the F threshold of 0.24. The benchmark assessment and its single-stock statistical catch-at-age model was endorsed by the Peer Review Panel and accepted by the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board (Board) for management use.

Based on these findings and the tripping of Amendment 6’s reference point management triggers relating to F and SSB thresholds (e.g., F in 2017 is above the threshold level and SSB is below the threshold level), the Board initiated the development of a Draft Addendum to consider measures aimed to reduce F to the target level. The Technical Committee estimates it would require roughly a 17% reduction in total removals (commercial and recreational harvest, including dead releases) to reduce F to the target in 2020 relative to 2017 levels. The Draft Addendum will explore a range of management options, including minimum size and slot size limits for the recreational fishery in the Chesapeake Bay and along the coast, as well as a coastwide circle hook requirement when fishing with bait. The Board also provided guidance on how to apply the necessary reductions to both the commercial and recreational sectors. The Draft Addendum will be presented to the Board for its consideration and approval for public comment in August. If approved, it will be released for public comment, with the Board considering its final approval in October for implementation in 2020. Additionally, the Board postponed a motion to initiate the development of an Amendment until its next meeting in August.


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