Vol 37 | Num 5 | May 30, 2012
Article by Julie Ball
With fronts, storms and wind keeping many boats at the dock over the past few weeks, the great weather forecast paired up with cooperative fish should have made the Memorial Day weekend a great lead-in for the summer fishing season.
Most fishing fronts have been dampened by the less-than-desirable weather conditions, and the drum scene is no exception. The few boats making it to the Eastern Shore shoals to target red drum are finding fewer takers lately, but this should change once the weather stabilizes. The best success is still coming from anglers presenting peelers and crabs along the breakers inside the inlet off Fisherman’s Island.
The black drum action has been less than favorable lately. A handful of fish ranging to around 40 lbs. are responding along the Latimer Shoal area off the Eastern Shore. The best bite is still near Buoys 13 and 16, but the Nautilus Shoal area off Fisherman’s Island is also providing some scattered action. Sea clams and chowder clams are working best on the bottom in about 20 to 30 feet of water. Boats are also finding some red drum mixed in with the blacks.
Sheepshead are still providing some low-key action as reports filter in of incidental hook-ups by drum anglers, which is common for this time of year.
Flounder are still frustrating anglers, with muddy conditions keeping the water less than optimal. Chris at Chris’ Bait and Tackle reports that although slow lately, the flatfish bite was picking back up in protected waters such as Wachapreague and Oyster, and within both Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets. Folks are also finding some decent action near the Concrete Ships off of Kiptopeke, along with nice sea mullet.
Spadefish are also making their way into the area, as a few fish were caught in local nets last week.
Striped bass are making up for the flounder shortage. According to the folks at Ocean’s East 2, the rockfish action in the lower Bay is hot right now. Big schools of nice fish roaming the surface near the 3rd and 4th Islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel at dawn and dusk are providing excellent topwater opportunities with fish up to 42 and 44-inches. Some big fish are also responding for chunkers near the 3rd Island, while topwater action along the spines at the 1st and 2nd Islands of the CBBT and along the Hampton Roads Bridge?Tunnel at night is producing fish measuring around 36-inches.
Snapper bluefish pushing to over 30-inches are also everywhere in lower Bay waters, which often makes catching anything else a challenge.
Reports of scattered catches of cobia around the lower Bay have anglers hopeful for a good season. Most fish are small, but a few over 50-pounds are also in the mix this week. Folks are catching cobia while drum fishing on the shoals off the Eastern Shore and while chumming on the western side of the Bay off Hampton and Grand View. This is where some of the larger fish are routinely caught this time of year.
Croaker are active within the tributary rivers, with the York River the best location. Squid and shrimp got the nod last week. Bait-sized hardheads are also still available off Little Creek Inlet and along the CBBT and the HRBT. Some decent spot action kept pier anglers content at the Seagull Fishing Pier at the CBBT last week.
The Fishing Center reports that a few keeper-sized speckled trout, scattered gray trout and snapper bluefish are still biting within Rudee Inlet. Anglers also released a few 24-inch specks in the Elizabeth River lately, and the Mobjack Bay gave up some nice keeper fish last week.
The deep dropping scene is good if you want to make the run out to 50-fathoms or more, and with sea bass now available, you can expect more interest. Boats making a go during weather breaks are rewarded with scattered blueline tilefish and a few golden tilefish. Grouper, wreckfish and blackbelly rosefish also await deeper offerings along the Canyon edges.
The offshore trolling scene should heat up off Virginia soon, especially with the good forecast. When boats make the run this weekend, expect yellowfin tuna and dolphin, with mako sharks also a possibility. Hopefully, this trend will translate into a good offshore season this year.
For more info, go to www.drjball.com.