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The Virginia Saltwater Review - August 27, 2010

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  • The Virginia Saltwater Review - August 27, 2010


    As we have noted in previous issues, there is a wide variety of fishing opportunities available to saltwater anglers right now. Cobia, flounder, speckled trout, and red drum (big bulls and small pups) are noted in our fishing reports. Reports of large croaker up the rivers, such as the James River near the Ghost Fleet, have also excited many anglers. Though the forecast for the weekend involves a northeast wind, hopefully it will be a gentle cooling breeze so everyone can get tot their favorite fishing hole.
    We would like to take this opportunity to welcome Carrollton Fishing and Hunting Supply in Carrollton to both the Saltwater Review, as our newest reporting station, and the Marine Sportfish Collection Project. Dave and his staff at Carrollton will be providing fishing reports for the lower James River and Hampton Roads harbor region near the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel.

    Next week we will be providing results from this Saturday’s Back River Slam fishing tournament at Wallace’s Marina in Hampton, which will benefit the Marine Sportfish Collection Project and local charities.

    Wachapreague -
    According to staff at Captain Zed’s, bottom fishermen were catching flounder and croaker this week. The large croaker have finally arrived, and were available in Green and Drawing Channels. Keeper flounder (about 1 in 10 throwbacks) were found near Cedar and Paramore Islands. Offshore, dolphin, wahoo, and marlin were caught, mostly in the offshore canyons.

    Cape Charles -
    Abundant croaker were found near Oyster, according to staff at Chris’ Bait and Tackle. Nice croaker catches also came from Wise Point at Buoy 262. Flounder were reported at Buoys 42 and 36, around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and near the Concrete Ships. Cobia were still around for sight-casters, and spadefish were hooked around the Bridge Tunnel pilings.

    Captain Ray Cardone, charter boat captain from Cherrystone, reported slower fishing over the last week. Despite the slower bite, several large flounder were caught this week (the largest was 23 ¾ inches). Croaker, sea mullet, a few puffers, and sharks were also hooked.

    Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel
    A 48-red drum release citation was written up at Cobb’s Marina this week. The big fish was caught at the 3rd island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Flounder were also abundant at the islands of the Bridge Tunnel.

    Flounder fishing slowed, according to staff at the Sunset Boating Center. A few small croaker were caught, but fishing was hit or miss.
    At Salt Pond’s Marina, a citation-sized flounder (7 pounds, 2 ounces) was reported.

    Kathy, at Wallace’s Bait and Tackle reported an eventful week. Piles of citations were recording including an amberjack citation, a blueline tilefish citation (11 lbs 9 ounces at the Norfolk canyon), a 9¬pound 8-ounce flounder citation (from the High Rise), and an 8-pound, 4-ounce speckled trout citation (caught at Back River). In addition 16 cobia citations were recorded!!! The heaviest was 89.5 pounds. According to Kathy, the cobia bite remains HOT!

    Welcome Carrollton Fishing and Hunting Supply to the Virginia Saltwater Review! Staff reported that flounder were coming in from the Hampton Bar last week, and huge croaker were caught in the James River, specifically near the Ghost Fleet. There were also rumors of spot around the area, but no big catches have been reported thus far.
    Flounder were caught at the Hampton Bar. Huge croaker are caught in James River, near the Ghost Fleet. Rumors of spot around, but no big catches yet.

    Staff at the York River Fishing Center reported fishing that was consistent with the past several weeks. The new development was the arrival of spot at the Gloucester Point Pier. Flounder fishing also seemed to pick up in the Bay, and a cobia citation (56 pounds) was recorded (caught at the Hump).

    Ken Neill, of the Peninsula Anglers Club and IGFA representative, contributed the following:
    Cobia fishing is just ridiculous. Double digit catches are not at all uncommon for experienced sight-casters. Some large fish are being caught including a pending IGFA Junior World Record. Cobia are being found from York Spit to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, along the Baltimore and York River Channels, the CB buoy line, and along the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Schools of large red drum continue to be encountered by anglers searching for cobia at the mouth of the bay. Sheepshead continue to be a good catch along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Triggerfish are also on the structure of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and over many of the coastal wrecks. You will find some spadefish in these same locations, but that bite has been a disappointment this year. Spanish mackerel can be found throughout the lower bay. There are a good number of decent-sized spot being caught by bottom fishermen giving us an indication of a good run this fall. Flounder fishing is good. The largest flatfish continue to come from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on live bait. Amberjack are a sure bet at the southern towers. The Chesapeake Light Tower and wrecks in the area will hold amberjack and jack crevalle. There is a lot going on offshore. Dolphin can be encountered anywhere. Some are being caught just a few miles off of the beach. The Fingers and the Cigar areas are holding dolphin and some nice wahoo. The Norfolk Canyon to the Triple 0s is producing good catches of dolphin, billfish, some wahoo, and the occasional tuna including some bigeyes. Most of this action has been in 50 to 100 fathoms. Offshore bottom bouncers are finding sea bass, blueline tilefish and in deeper waters, golden tilefish.

    Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA International Representative for Virginia Beach, contributed the following:
    As temperatures begin to ease into the eighties, the late summer fishing trend is right on track. Many summer species are preparing to migrate out of the area, while the fall visitors are making an entrance. This mixed bag can make it tough to choose which species to target. Most anglers are opting for either flounder or cobia as both species gather in the lower Bay.
    Flounder is always a favorite, and the action is still good this week. Nice flatfish are coming from most anywhere, but the most productive areas are along deep channels, drop offs, and most any lower Bay structure. Good reports are coming from all along the Bay Bridge Tunnel, Back River Reef, and Buoy 42. Live bait, jigs, and fresh strip bait are all working well right now. The lower Bay inlets are also giving up keeper fish, with many ranging up to 24 inches in both Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. Flatfish will begin moving to inshore and offshore wrecks soon. Nice keeper-sized seabass are also providing good action on many offshore structures.
    Cobia action is still a sure thing, with pods of fish appearing on the surface as they prepare to exit Bay waters. These fish are making easy targets as they present in open waters, with many pushing well over 50 pounds. According to the folks at Ocean’s East 2, live bait and eels are out fishing bucktails this week. Reports indicate good numbers of cruising fish outside Little Creek Inlet, along the entire Baltimore Channel, near York Spit, and along the Virginia Beach coastline this week.

    Schools of bull reds are still roaming the lower Bay shoals, as well as the 3and 4islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Surf anglers are also pulling bulls out of the surf along Smith Island. Puppy drum (juvenile red rum) are still active in the shallows. The best locations are Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets, with speckled trout also showing promise on the Poquoson flats and Hungar’s creek. Backwater casters are reporting nice sized pups on live bait, Gulp Swimming Mullets, and cut bait.
    Some spot are showing in Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlet, and scattered around the lower Bay. The local piers are also reporting good spot action, especially after a stiff easterly blow. This bite should only improve over the next few weeks. Croaker ranging up to 1.5 pounds are hitting inside Magothy bay near Buoy 262, while the biggest hardheads are coming from Oyster, where some fish are pushing to 2.5 pounds. The folks at Chris’ Bait and Tackle report that shrimp and squid are the best croaker baits this week. Sea mullet are also taking shrimp and clam near Buoy 262 and along Latimer Shoal off the Eastern Shore Bayside. Tarpon are still active in the backwaters of Oyster, but not for long.

    Triggerfish are still everywhere, while sheepshead anglers are also finding good catches this week, with some fish ranging up to 12 pounds. Nice-sized Spanish mackerel are still providing good action from the middle Bay on out to the Chesapeake Light Tower. A few anglers are encountering gaffer mahi-mahi along the CB buoy line and near the Tower Reef areas lately.

    Virginia deep droppers are still faring well off of Virginia. The Rudee inlet Head Boats continue to bring home content anglers toting limits of big tilefish, rosebellies, and grouper. Several citation bluelines over 10 pounds are in the mix, along with some nice sea bass. Amberjack are still available at the South tower and offshore wrecks, and crevelle jack will make a brief showing on the Light Tower over the next few weeks.
    Offshore, billfish are still at the top of the list. Very good numbers of white marlin, along with scattered blue marlin, and a few sailfish are thrilling trollers right now. A few big wahoo and bailer and gaffer dolphin are rounding out catches, but tuna are very scattered.

    Virginia Middle Bay -
    Johnny, with Garrett’s Marina reports the Spanish mackerel bite still has not returned, compared to years past. A few are around but not in the usual numbers. Small bluefish are being caught instead, and a few large flounder were caught around Smith Point. The croaker bite has slowed down, and spot are being caught, though they are still small. The craved yellow bellies (large spot) are still several weeks away from their usual appearance time.

    Jerry Thrash, of Queen’s Creek Outfitters, contributed the following:
    Flounder fishing was hit or miss again this week. Croaker were available in the Rappahannock, as illustrated by a 3-pound, 2-ounce citation caught at the Whitestone Bridge on Friday. Anglers caught croaker up to 18 inches along with small gray trout, spot, and puppy drum. Spot, averaging 0.5 pounds, were caught near Gwynn’s Island, Butlers Hole, and the Spike. Spanish mackerel and bluefish were found from Windmill Point south to Gwynn’s Island and the Hole-in the Wall. However, the best mackerel fishing was between MH1 and Wolftrap Light.

    Virginia Beach -
    According to staff at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, numerous marlin (mainly white with some blue), dolphin, and a few spearfish were caught offshore. Inshore, small sharks were around, as well as red drum, Spanish mackerel, and taylor bluefish. In the inlet, spot fishing picked up last week, and croaker, flounder, and bluefish were landed.

    Virginia Piers -
    Staff at the Ocean View Pier reported spot and croaker catches. The croaker have been increasing in size. A few flounder were also caught, but most were under the legal size limit.

    At the Virginia Beach Pier, numerous spot were caught this week, along with roundhead, a few bluefish, and blue crabs.

    Anglers caught mostly spot and roundhead at the Lynnhaven Pier this week. A few small croaker and blue crabs, along with small sharks, were hooked as well.

    At the Little Island Fishing Pier, at Sandbridge, anglers caught spot, a few puppy drum, roundhead, several cobia, and pompano last week.
    Spot, croaker, sea mullet, bluefish (18-20 inches), several keeper flounder, small (8-10 inch) pompano were reported from the Buckroe Fishing Pier this week. Staff also mentioned that anglers were hooking black tip and sand sharks at night.

    Outer Banks, NC -
    Offshore fishing out of Oregon Inlet was highlighted by tuna catches last week. Yellowfin, blackfin, bigeye and skipjack tuna were all in anglers’ creels in good numbers. Other summer denizens were around including dolphin, wahoo, king mackerel and amberjack. Billfishing was relatively good all three species: white marlin, blue marlin and sailfish. Bottom fishing in the deeper waters produced sea bass, tilefish, various snapper, and grouper. King mackerel were also being caught closer to shore, around eight miles, and red drum and striped bass were being found three to five miles offshore. The artificial reefs saw sheepshead, black drum, tautog, and spadefish. Spanish mackerel and bluefish were being caught just outside the breakers for boaters, pier fishermen, and surf anglers. The usual bottom species around the breakers included croaker, spot, sea mullet, pompano, puffers, flounder, red drum, black drum, and spadefish. Inside the inlet and sounds, speckled trout were being caught in the early morning and late evening hours, mostly around the bridges of the sound. Flounder were being caught in Oregon Inlet (on the dropoffs of the shallow waters). Croaker, spot, and sea mullet were biting well for those using cut bait and blood worms.

    The surf fishing south of Oregon Inlet was hit or miss last week. Before the wind of the last few days set in, the fishing had been excellent and can be expected to return as soon as the winds die back. Puppy drum (juvenile red drum) were being caught on the southern beaches and around the jetties of Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Inlet. Spot, croaker, sea mullet, and pompano were filling people’s coolers, and Spanish mackerel and bluefish were being caught by those with metal spoons and jigs at the Point. Tarpon, king mackerel, and barracuda were caught at the Avon Pier.

    Offshore fishing out of Hatteras Inlet has produced limits of dolphin. The wahoo bite has been good as well. A few tuna and sailfish were in the mix as well. Closer to shore and in the inlet, Spanish mackerel and bluefish were making good runs, and a few flounder were being caught by drifters.
    If you have additional information or would like further details contact Joe Grist at (757) 247-2237.

    Please credit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission's THE SALTWATER REVIEW as the source of the fishing information. Project is funded by NOAA and VMRC.