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The Saltwater Review - 4 October 2006

Vol. 20, No. 17

Chincoteague | Wachapreague | Cape Charles | Onancock | Lower Bay/CBBT | Middle Bay | Virginia BeachVA Piers | Outer Banks, NC


The Virginia Saltwater Review will not be published the week of October 9-13 due to the observance of Columbus Day.

The Chesapeake Bay area fall 2006 recreational striped bass season began October 4, 2006 and will extend through December 31, 2006.  The recreational possession limit will continue as two striped bass per person. The minimum size limit remains as 18 inches. Anglers will be allowed to possess two striped bass 18 inches to 28 inches total length or one striped bass 18 inches to 28 inches total length and one striped bass 34 inches or greater in total length.  Anglers should be mindful of the "protected" slot limit, whereby it shall be unlawful for any person to possess any striped bass between 28 inches and 34 inches in total length.

Juvenile 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,

The Federal restrictions regarding bluefin tuna changed on July 22, 2006.  Anglers in the mid-Atlantic region may no longer keep any bluefin tuna measuring less than 47 inches.

Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are requesting the assistance of the angling public with a study (funded by recreational license monies) designed to determine real-time movement of summer flounder in local waters.  One hundred and twenty flounder have been outfitted with special (and expensive) acoustic tags.  These flounder also carry a special yellow tag.

Researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have tagged several thousand striped bass with fluorescent green internal anchor streamer tags as part of a monitoring program to assess the effects of Mycobacteriosis on the health of striped bass.  Cash rewards are offered for these tagged fish.

Chincoteague -

Donna at Captain Bob’s reported the shop has closed for the season, as of October 1.  Last week the RUMOR HAS IT boated a 180-pound mako near the Washington Canyon.  The SHAMMY overnighted and came in with four 40 to 50-pound class yellowfin tuna, a wahoo and a hammerhead shark.  The inshore ocean wrecks are still holding a mixture of triggerfish and flounder but the black sea bass are becoming more aggressive.  Inside the inlet, a few keeper-sized flounder were landed.  Surf fishermen working the Assateague Island beach caught plenty of snapper bluefish and some sea mullet plus a stray pompano, flounder, puppy and trout.  Small shark up to 3 feet and skate rounded out the week’s catches. 


Wachapreague Marina reported weekend anglers were treated to decent weather and were able to run offshore.  The TEASER had a big catch of yellowfin tuna and a citation wahoo at the Washington Canyon on Saturday.  Allen Barfield was the lucky angler with the wahoo—all 49-3/4 pounds of it.  The LUCKY DAWG fished the same area and also caught yellowfin tuna and a wahoo.  The crew aboard the SALTY DOG fished a wreck located near the 3-Mile Hill.  William Phillips pulled-in a 13-pound, 3-ounce sheepshead and the rest of the crew caught a mixture of black sea bass, flounder and triggerfish.  Inside the inlet, anglers managed some keeper flounder and speckled trout.

Captain Zed’s said anglers fishing around the mouth of the inlet are catching reasonable numbers of flounder but most measure less than 16-1/2 inches and must be released.  Pan trout and sea mullet are also holding near the mouth of the inlet.  Anglers fishing the nearshore ocean wrecks are still catching some flounder and black sea bass.  Schools of croaker are holding 1 to 2 miles off Wachapreague.  Farther offshore, the crew aboard the HOOK’EM caught and released four white marlin early in the week at the Washington Canyon.

Cape Charles

Chris’ Bait and Tackle reported good weekend catches of speckled trout, both bayside and seaside, decent hauls of keeper flounder and a scattering of spot and croaker.  Pete Morrison beached a 48-inch red drum on the Barrier Island surf.  Chris Williams boated a 5-pound, 11-ounce speckled trout at Machipungo Inlet and Joseph Peirson caught an 8-pound, 11-ounce monster speck out of the seaside port of Oyster.  Gene Brite released a 24-3/4-inch speckled trout in Hungars Creek and John Outten landed a 7-pound, 7-ounce speck at Nassawadox Creek.  Several parties working the edges of the shipping channels off Kiptopeke recorded limit catches of flounder on Sunday.  Earlier in the week, Ryland Hartman boated a 7-3/4-pound flounder off Smith Beach and William Ellis landed an 8-pound, 2-ounce flatfish off Kiptopeke.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported excellent spot fishing off Onancock.  “I don’t know how many of them (the spot) are over a pound but a lot of them are close.”  Mixed sizes of croaker are intermingled with the schools of spot, as are porgy and pigfish.  Good numbers of sea mulet are holding around the shell piles while pan trout remain scarce.  Fishing pressure continues to be extremely light for this time of the year.  “I hardly ever see another boat,” noted Captain Wil.  Flounder to over 24 inches are holding along the edges of the shipping channel.  The creeks still hold lots of small puppy drum and speckled trout plus some school stripers. 

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel

Cobbs Marina reported David Buckwalter (46 inches) and James Miller (50 inches) caught and released large red drum on a recent outing to Cape Henry Wreck.  The same waters produced a citation 11-pound, 6-ounce tautog for David Buckwalter earlier in the week.  The shop described flounder fishing as “pretty good” around the CBBT complex, where Roy McCausey boated a 7-pound, 11-ounce flatfish. 

Wallace’s Bait and Tackle weighed in a 26-inch, 8-pound, 1-ounce flounder for Kenneth Julian.  The citation catch was made at the Fourth Island on cut bait.  Earlier in the week, Danny Taylor boated a 26-inch, 7-pound, 9-ounce flounder at the First Island on cut bait aboard the private boat GETAWAY.  The marina indicated speckled trout and puppy drum were biting along the edges of the grass beds inside Back River and on Poquoson Flats.

Sunset Boating Center said bottom fishermen were catching plenty of spot off Sewells Point and around the HRBT.  Anglers were also catching some keeper pan trout and “all the taylor bluefish you could want” at the HRBT.   Although the fall striper season had yet to open, some anglers were chunking around the M & M crossing and catching and releasing some nice-sized striped bass.

Cindy from Salt Ponds Marina said three boats came in the marina from offshore trolling trips on Saturday and all had done well on yellowfin tuna.  Inshore, the crew aboard the FATTY FLATTIE had a good day wirelining the CBBT complex, as Jack Larson nailed an 8-pound, 3-ounce flounder and “Gibby” Gibson pulled-in an 18-inch, 3-pound, 2-ounce croaker.

Jimmy Lewis from A & S Feed and Bait Supply told of steady speckled trout action inside Mobjack Bay at Ware Point and in the East River.  In the York River, spot were caught in good numbers at Gaines Point and from the Gloucester Point Pier while pan trout and spot were pulled from around the AMOCO dock.  Pan trout and a few small croaker still linger in waters above the Coleman Bridge at the Lumps.  School stripers and puppy are hugging the shoreline of the York River, especially amongst the grass beds.

Ken Neill, reporting Secretary for the Peninsula Anglers Club, said the fall striped bass season has begun and expects much of the best early season fishing to occur in the shallows near the marsh grass like on Poquoson Flats, up in the creeks and inlets and around any structure.  At night, structures with light will hold plenty of school stripers and this is a good time to fish any dock with a light on it.   “Of course, there will be plenty of fish at the HRBT at night,” according to Neill.  The rock islands of the CBBT are good places to fish at first light. The flounder bite has been pretty good and fish are being caught along the Baltimore Channel on both the ocean and bay sides of the CBBT.  The Hump has been producing a lot of keeper-sized flatfish while anglers wire-lining the CBBT have likewise been successful.  This is also the time of year to find flounder around the ocean wrecks. The Brass Spike was very good at this time last year. Neill recommends, “enjoy your flounder fishing now. We are likely to have much more strict flounder regulations next year.”   Area bottom fishermen are catching plenty of spot that are good-sized but not many are weighing in over a pound.  Neill suggests after the latest batch of rough weather this weekend, “it will be time to look for the big yellowbellies at the HRBT.”   It has been a good fall for speckled trout with nice trout caught on Poquoson Flats and inside Back River.  Puppy drum are being caught at these same locations.  Big red drum still linger in good in numbers and were caught over the shoals on the lower bay, along the seaside of the Eastern Shore and made a good showing at Sandbridge. Amberjack and jack crevalle are still available at the Chesapeake Light Tower, where Tricia Neill boated and released a pair of crevalle (44-3/4 and 45-1/2 inches) on Monday.  Neill believes king mackerel and false albacore should be holding around the Tower as well. This is a good time of year to hit the coastal wrecks for sea bass and triggerfish. Farther offshore, trollers are enjoying excellent catches of yellowfin tuna.   Wahoo are around in numbers and decent numbers of dolphin are still being caught. The few boats doing overnighters have had success catching swordfish.

Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA International Representative for Virginia Beach, contributed the following:
The cooler weather is here, and so are the cool-water fish. The fall offshore bite is on, while the inshore action continues. With the opening of striper season this week, anglers are out in force casting for schoolies along light-lines, bridge pilings, and the islands of the bridge tunnels. Look for hungry fish mixed in with snapper blues around the CBBT, the HRBT, the Lesner Bridge, lower bay jetties, and under working birds. The spot brigade is marching right along with lots of decent fish available all over the lower bay. Expect the largest spot of the season to show soon in the usual haunts, with hopes for a repeat of the last two year’s explosion of big citation fish.  Puppy drum are coming on strong in the shallows and inlets on suspended mullet and cut bait, while good numbers of big speckled trout are hitting lures and live bait in the Eastern Shore creeks, Lynnhaven and Rudee inlets, and the Poquoson flats area. Big Gray trout are a possibility inside Rudee and behind the 3rd island. Horse croaker are still hanging on the Hampton Bar, the deeper holes around the HRBT and the CBBT, as well as the seaside inlets. John Vishneschi of Virginia Beach, scored with a hefty 3-pound, 4-ounce hardhead while fishing in Rudee Inlet this week.  Flounder are easy pickings along the lower bay channels and shoal edges. The Baltimore and Thimble Shoal Channels, and the Hampton Bar are productive areas for drifting for big flatfish. Nine-year-old Drew Camp of Carrollton hooked a 7-pound birthday surprise while drifting a 7-inch croaker on the Hampton Bar this week. His proud Dad, Chip, boasts this is his son’s second flounder citation this year. Offshore and inshore wrecks are also covered with decent flounder, along with some big sea bass and a few triggerfish.
To surf caster’s delight, the big red drum run off the oceanfront is now in full swing. Multiple bulls per trip have been pulled from the Sandbridge suds over the last week, and the pending NE blow for this week’s end will only heat things up even more. Boats anchored close to shore are also getting in on the action, with a few cobia in the mix. Both Darrell Parker and Steve Walker of Virginia Beach hauled nice citation drum from the surf while fishing Sandbridge. Try hoisting cut spot out beyond the breakers, and watch your rod. Plenty of pups should also be feeding in the same locations. The Eastern Shore barrier islands are also producing good numbers of big reds.
King mackerel are a good possibility trolling around the Chesapeake Light Tower and down to False Cape. A few Spanish still linger in the same areas and false albacore are starting to show closer to shore and around the Tower Reef.  East of the Tower, the offshore lumps are still loaded with large alberts.
Bottom bouncers are experiencing a boost in the tautog showing along the CBBT and inshore structures, while the sheepshead action is beginning to slow, but they should be available for a few more weeks. Triggerfish are also an occasional by-catch in the same areas on most any type of bait offering.
Fall offshore action is wide open, with lots of 50 to 70-pound class yellowfin tuna on the prowl from the Norfolk Canyon down to the warmer water off Oregon Inlet. Wahoo are still making a stir with big fish mixed in with the tuna. Large false albacore are schooling around the Fingers and the Cigar, menacing tuna hunters. Billfish are still providing plenty of opportunities for releases of white and blue marlin. A few spearfish have also been sighted in the same vicinity, and this is also the time of year for swordfish. But, who knows what will happen after the big blow this week.

Virginia Middle Bay

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported bottom fishermen are still catching plenty of spot plus some pan trout around Blackberry Hang.  Huge schools of snapper bluefish are moving through this area as well.

Dan from Smith Point Marina said anglers chumming or drifting live spot as bait are catching plenty of striped bass “but we haven’t seen any big ones yet.”  Good numbers of croaker and snapper bluefish plus decent numbers of pan trout remain available up on the Middle Grounds while local waters hold plenty of spot.

Jerry Thrash from Queen’s Creek Outfitters said Dave Scanlan weighed-in the week’s heaviest flounder but it was just ½-ounce shy of the qualifying citation minimum of 7 pounds.  The big flatfish was part of a limit catch the group caught off Cape Charles on cut croaker.  Jerry felt the majority of spot were still up in the rivers, as the best reports of these tasty bottom feeders came from the Urbanna Creek to Locklies Creek section of the river.  Bottom fishermen are finding some jumbo spot mixed in with medium spot, small croaker, snapper bluefish and pan trout.  Anglers working the shoreline of the lower Rappahannock River and the Piankatank are catching a mixture of puppy drum, small black drum, snapper blues and school stripers.  The fall run of speckled trout inside Mobjack Bay remains in full stride.  William West caught a rotund 23-inch speck that weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces.  The citation catch was made at Ware Point on a MirrOlure.  Some big croaker still linger in these same shallow waters areas, as 7-year old Matthew Thayer caught 19-inch, 3-1/4-pound croaker in the Severn River while fishing for speckled trout with his dad Greg.  
Locklies Marina described the fishing as “very good” for spot.  These tasty bottom feeders are good-sized but none have met the minimum qualifying weight of 18 ounces.  Most of the better hauls have come from “across the river” near the White Stone Bridge or off Mosquito Point.  Some pan trout and flounder are mixed in with the spot.  

Garretts Marina spot and some croaker still linger upriver from the marina, near the power lines.  School stripers are available around structure.

Fishing out of Deltaville, Captain Jim Thompson aboard the JIM-AN-I said the fall spot run is peaking and the Spike buoy at the mouth of the Rappahannock was the most recent hotspot.  Bottom fishermen working farther up-river near the White Stone Bridge are also catching good numbers of spot but not as consistently.  On the Piankatank, Cherry Point was the best bet of spot, according to Captain Thompson.  Anglers fishing the Deep Rock out in the bay also caught good numbers of spot plus grey trout to 24 inches. 

Virginia Beach -

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported boats from their charter fleet had as many as a dozen fat yellowfin tuna on Thursday.  Several of the headboats were out the same day and did very well on black sea bass and triggerfish.  Friday and Saturday saw nice catches of 40 to 50-pound class yellowfin tuna plus some wahoo, king mackerel and skipjack tuna.  On Sunday, the BACKLASH had a near limit catch of yellowfin tuna plus a citation wahoo.  The WAVERUNNER and SEA WITCH also had big catches of yellowfin tuna.

Paula Owen from Fisherman's Wharf Marina described the tuna action as “real good” plus some big wahoo were caught the past several days.  Most of the better recent hauls were coming from the 950-line in 40 to 50 fathoms of water.  Earlier in the week, a crew aboard the FRIENDSHIP caught and released four white marlin at the Norfolk Canyon.   Inshore, huge red drum are moving along the resort strip just outside the breakers.  The crew aboard the STROKEM fished just below Sandbridge and caught and released eleven reds on a single outing.

Virginia Piers -

Ocean View –Anglers have been catching a mixture of panfish but nothing has been in abundance.  Snapper bluefish made several brief appearances.  Some speckled trout and puppy drum were caught near the surf line.  The spot run tailed-off, as mild weather set-in over the weekend.

Lynnhaven – Pier anglers have been seeing some keeper speckled trout and puppy drum in shallow, near the pier house.  Bottom fishermen are also catching some spot, sea mullet and bluefish.  Pan trout and school-sized stripers are hanging around the shadows created by the pier lights after sun down.

Virginia Beach – Bottom fishing was generally slow with a mixture of spot, croaker, skate, shark and bluefish.

Sandbridge – Half-a-dozen large red drum were decked early on Saturday but the remainder of the day saw a slow pick of small shark, snapper bluefish, medium spot, croaker, puppy drum and several small black drum.  Sunday was an uneventful day, a few puppy drum, spot, shark, snapper bluefish and a Spanish mackerel.  Monday saw the same mixture of panfish but six large red drum were caught and then released on the incoming tide.

Outer Banks, NC -

Beach and pier anglers along the Nags Head area beaches enjoyed some beautiful weather but fishing action was only fair.  Water temperature was still in the low 70’s and catches consisted of a typical summer-time mix, including spot, croaker, snapper bluefish, sea mullet, Spanish mackerel and small pompano.  A 67-pound cobia was decked at the Avalon Pier on Saturday. 

South of Oregon Inlet at Cape Point on Buxton, beach fishermen caught mixed sizes of red drum on the early morning and late afternoon tides on Friday.  At least six large red drum were caught after sunset.  Bottom fishermen also caught some bluefish and flounder.  On Saturday beach anglers saw mixed sizes of red drum, pompano to 3 pounds and a scattering of sea mullet.  For Sunday, puppy drum, pompano and spot provided most of the action.  Spanish mackerel came within casting on the afternoon tide.  At least four large red drum were beached Sunday evening.  On Monday, it was puppy drum in the morning with plenty of small pompano and spot caught throughout the day.  Two large red drum were caught before dark.

The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center reported most of the boats in their fleet did well Friday and came in with a cooler full of yellowfin tuna and king mackerel.  Three bigeye tuna of 100 pounds or more were landed and the heaviest went 146 pounds.  Several wahoo up to 56 pounds were also caught.  Saturday and Sunday produced banner catches of yellowfin tuna, a few wahoo up to 73 pounds and a decent number of king mackerel.  It was more of a good thing Monday, as the fleet returned with good numbers of yellowfin tuna plus some king mackerel and wahoo.  Anglers fishing from the headboat had mixed catches of pigfish, croaker, black sea bass and flounder the past several trips.

The fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet recorded good catches of wahoo plus a scattering of dolphin, king mackerel and yellowfin tuna on Friday.  Yellowfin tuna numbers improved Saturday with some dolphin, king mackerel and wahoo added to the day’s catch.  Walter Allison of Suffolk and Keith Allison of Disputanta each released a sailfish aboard the BOSS LADY.  Robert Mars and James Board, both from Charlottesville, each released a sailfish aboard the SEA CREATURE.  King mackerel provided most of the action Sunday but there were a scattering of dolphin and wahoo on the docks.  Monday saw good numbers of dolphin plus a few wahoo and yellowfin tuna.

If you have additional information or would like further details contact Lewis Gillingham at (757) 247-2243.

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.

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