Vol 37 | Num 7 | Jun 13, 2012
Article by Julie Ball
With most of the summer species now in place, all we need is consistent weather to help it all come together. Crazy weather patterns highlighted by tropical storms, cold fronts and tornadoes continue to interrupt fishing plans.
When anglers are able to get out, most efforts are still turning towards the emerging cobia scene. The season is still early, but fish of all sizes are making appearances all over the lower Bay. Boats using the chumming technique are having fair results from the Buckroe area off of Hampton, to the Inner Middle Grounds and the Nine-foot Shoals closer to the mouth of the Bay. According to the folks at Ocean’s East 2, sight casters are spotting plenty of fish, but the fish are showing little interest in the offerings right now.
Although still available, red drum are losing popularity as other species debut in the Bay. The bite on the Eastern side of the Bay is still good as big reds pushing to over 50-inches continue to hit along the surf and near Buoys 8 and 10 off of Fisherman’s Island. A few boats are also finding some top water action as schools of red drum cruise near the 3rd and 4th Islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) lately. The black drum activity on the Eastern Shore shoals and Middle Grounds has essentially dried up since the fish have moved on to other areas of the Bay.
Spadefish are showing up on lower Bay structures, inshore wrecks and at the Chesapeake Light Tower. Anglers are hooking limits of fish ranging from 4 to 6-pounds on clams, with the 4th Island of the CBBT a good place lately.
Sheepshead action is also on the rise. A few decent fish are cooperating along the CBBT; with one fish pushing to over 13-pounds boated last week.
Nice striped bass continue to provide action around the islands and structure of the Bay Bridge Tunnels, but most anglers are beginning to turn to other species.
Flounder action bounced back around the middle of last week. The folks at Chris’ Bait and Tackle report that one boat hooked over sixty flat fish while drifting out of Oyster last week, with the biggest fish weighing around 5-pounds. The flounder bite at the high rise section of the CBBT is also picking back up, as well as near the 3rd Island. Buoy 36A and the Cell areas are also faring well. Anglers jigging and working live bait along the pilings and over the tubes of the Bridge Tunnel are also starting to see some nice fish, with the 1st and 2nd Islands being the most productive lately. Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets are still giving up above average numbers of keepers on an outgoing tide.
Many anglers are excited about the recent arrival of Spanish mackerel into local waters. These fish provide quick action, and are easy to catch. Boats are encountering good numbers of nice sized Spanish mackerel while trolling off Cape Henry and along the Virginia Beach oceanfront in about 25 to 30 feet of water. Tailor and snapper bluefish are also in these same vicinities, with some of the blues pushing to over 6-pounds lately.
Reports of speckled trout are still coming from within Rudee Inlet, Lynnhaven Inlet and Mobjack Bay.
Small to medium sized croaker are an easy target as decent hauls come from all over the lower Bay from anglers using squid and Fish Bites for bait. The best catches are coming from off Willoughby, near the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, the southern small boat channel and near the 2nd Island of the CBBT.
Keeper sized sea mullet are also still hitting in some of these same areas as well as along the oceanfront and the southern and eastern shorelines and shoal areas. Small spot are also active within lower Bay inlets.
When boats can get out to deep drop territory, they are finding some good results. Good numbers of big blueline tilefish and scattered golden tilefish, grouper and wreckfish are also in these same areas. Boats targeting sea bass are finding some nice fish ranging to almost 5-pounds on a few offshore wrecks and as a by catch while deep dropping.
John at The Virginia Beach Fishing Center conveys that the offshore trolling action has really picked up over the past few weeks for the Virginia fleet. Good water is hosting excellent catches of yellowfin tuna, with many boats catching their limits of fish ranging to around 40-pounds. Good numbers of gaffer-sized dolphin, scattered mako sharks, wahoo and a shot at a billfish are also keeping things interesting.
Dr. Julie Ball is the I.G.F.A representative for Virginia Beach. For more information, go to www.drjball.com.