OVERVIEWJuvenile bluefin tuna have been implanted with archival tags in a cooperative effort to determine the migration pattern of northwest Atlantic bluefin tuna. These fish have a green streamer tag near their dorsal fin and a light stalk sticking out of their belly. If you catch one of these fish, it is worth $500 but you must keep the fish. These fish will not count against your daily limit of bluefin tuna and you can keep them even if they are below the current minimum size limit. To receive your reward you must contact Jon Lucy at the VIMS: (804) 684-7166, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Croaker numbers remain strong inside the inlet with some of the better hauls coming from Tom’s Cove in 15 to 26 feet of water and Cockle Creek. Many of the fish are running 12 to 16 inches and a few top 18 inches. Some sea mullet and pan trout are mixed in with the croaker. Despite the heat, anglers found fair numbers of keeper flounder in Queen’s Sound and Chincoteague Channel. But most of the biggest flounder are coming from inshore ocean wreck sites. Spadefish and triggerfish are typically available at the same locations. Offshore, anglers found a mixture of bluefin and yellowfin tuna plus dolphin at the Lumpy Bottom. Many of the bluefin are under the current 47-inch minimum size limit and must be released. The crew aboard the RETRIEVER boated a 120-pound bluefin. Thomas Valek boated a 101-pound bluefin aboard the CRABBY.
Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters has been fishing
early in the morning and again in the evening. “It’s
just been too hot during the heat of the day.” The fish
seem to feel the heat as well and bite best around the change of tide
in the morning and evening. Mixed sizes of croaker to 17 inches
and half-pound spot dominate the catch. “I talked with
several other captains that use bloodworm for bait and they’re
catching a lot more spot but my parties have wanted the croaker so we
haven’t used any bloodworms.” Other catches include
sea mullet and very small pan trout and few meet the 12-inch minimum
size limit. The deeper portions of Tangier Sound are producing
more keeper trout with some fish to 3 pounds. Flounder up
to 26 inches are available along the channel edges.
Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -
Virginia Middle Bay
Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported croaker numbers appear to be thinning with the best numbers found in deep water along the channel edges. Bottom bouncers are also catching some pan trout mixed in with the schools of croaker. The lower Rappahannock River has good numbers of medium spot and persistent bottom fishermen are still catching some keeper flounder around the jetty at Smith Point. Trollers working the 30-foot contour in the Rappahannock between Smith Point and Dividing Creek are catching some Spanish mackerel. Speckled trout numbers inside Dameron Marsh remain steady.
Dan from Smith Point Marina said the charter fleet has been running to the Middle Grounds and chumming with good results. Catches include good numbers of taylor bluefish and large croaker plus some keeper striped bass (Maryland waters). Trollers in the Smith Point area are catching some Spanish mackerel and snapper bluefish while bottom fishermen are catching good numbers of small to medium spot inside the Rappahannock River.
Jerry Thrash from Queen’s Creek Outfitters reported flounder fishermen working the buoy42/Cell area saw an influx of smaller fish the past week and had their best success on keeper-sized flatfish in water 40 to 48 feet. David Saunders of Glen Allen boated the week’s only citation flounder, a 30-1/2-inch, 10-1/2-pounder on a piece of cut croaker at buoy 42. It was David’s first flounder. Most of the better catches of croaker also came from the buoy 42/Cell area and where Kurtis Niemeier of Rockersville boated a 19-inch, 3-pound, 5-ounce croaker. Some big cobia are still available in area waters, as Don Steadman of Gloucester decked a 63-inch, 73-pounder on cut bluefish at York Spit. Trollers pulling small Clark spoons off Gwynn Island and along Windmill Point Bar are catching fair to good numbers of Spanish mackerel. Bottom fishermen working Butlers Hole and around the Spike buoy caught good numbers of medium spot plus a few pan trout and small shark.
Locklies Marina said the extreme heat had really slowed the fishing business. “I haven’t had a private boat out of here in the past three days.” Still, the charter captains were running but were leaving extra early and coming in before noon. Parties were catching good numbers of medium spot at Parrot Rock and off the Silos.
Garretts Marina saw very little activity the past several days because of the brutally hot weather but boats out last weekend came in with good catches of spot plus some croaker from the buoy 12 area.
Fishing out of Deltaville, Captain Jim Thompson aboard the JIM-AN-I described the flounder bite as “in full bloom “ at the Cell last week and simple bottom rig baited with cut croaker was all that was needed to entice the flatfish. Keeper flounder were also caught on the lower Rappahannock. Trollers were able to take advantage of schools of Spanish mackerel and hordes of snapper bluefish that were holding at the mouths of the Piankatank and Rappahannock rivers. Bottom fishermen recorded big catches of medium-sized spot and croaker at the mud hole and off Cherry Point on the Piankatank and over on Windmill Point bar and at the Spike buoy on the Rappahannock.
Virginia Beach -
The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported the offshore fleet
enjoyed good catches of mixed sizes of dolphin plus a few billfish,
yellowfin tuna and wahoo while inshore boats are found spadefish, small
dolphin, snapper bluefish, Spanish mackerel and the occasional king
mackerel last week. On Friday the SEA WITCH had a big catch of
dolphin and the FROG PILE had a limit of spadefish. The SEA WITCH
was out again Saturday and came in with several dolphin and a wahoo and
yellowfin tuna. Billfish flags, dolphin, wahoo and yellowfin were
all on the dock Sunday. On Monday, the FROG PILE had a good catch
of bailer dolphin and released a blue and a white marlin.
Paula Owen from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said the weekend’s best billfish bite was south of Rudee Inlet between the 100-line and below Triple 0’s. Yellowfin tuna were scarce but most of those caught weighed over 70 pounds, and the weekend’s heaviest weighed 92.1 pounds and was caught by Chris Carver. Some good-sized gaffer dolphin were boated, topped by a 56-pound, 6-ouncer, caught by Richard Koch.
Virginia Piers -
Ocean View – Saturday saw good numbers of spot,
some small croaker, snapper bluefish and a few blowfish. Sunday
produced mainly small to medium spot and croaker, snapper bluefish and
a few pan trout.
Lynnhaven – Bottom fishermen saw fair numbers of medium spot, some croaker and sea mullet. Small flounder are holding around the pier pilings but few meet the 16-1/2-inch minimum size limit.
Virginia Beach –Casters working the end of the pier are catching snapper bluefish with the most consistent success in the early morning and late evening. Spanish mackerel are a possibility whenever clear water comes within casting range. Bottom fishermen are seeing a mixture of mostly small panfish including spot, croaker, sea mullet and pan trout but only the spot have been abundant recently.
Sandbridge – Spot and snapper bluefish provided most of the action in recent days. Bottom fishermen are also catching some croaker, sea mullet and pan trout. Several cobia have been spotted and a 17-pound mackerel was decked Tuesday (August 1). A few shark and numerous skate rounded out the action.
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