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The Saltwater Review - 19 October 2005

Vol. 19, No. 19
by Lewis S. Gillingham

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

OVERVIEW

This will be the last issue of the Virginia Saltwater Review for 2005.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has established new regulatory management measures for the Chesapeake Bay area fall 2005 recreational striped bass fishery.  The fall recreational season began October 4, 2005 and extends through December 31, 2005.  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. The major change in the 2005 fishery concerns this "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. 
   
Since the end of last year, regulations for black sea bass and summer flounder have been modified:

For black sea bass, the minimum size limit remains 12 inches while the possession limit remains 25 fish but the closed season has been eliminated.

For Summer Flounder, the minimum size limit has been reduced and the winter-closed period has been eliminated.  The minimum size limit decreased from 17 inches (2004) to 16-1/2 inches for 2005.  The winter-closed period from 1 January through 28 March has been eliminated for 2005/2006.

The Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament has certified a 20-pound, 12-ounce sheepshead, caught October 6, 2005 by Arun Nhek of Newport News, as the new Virginia state record. 

The story for the week was the weather, which precluded most fishing activity.  It certainly put a halt in offshore fishing activity and nearly eliminated anglers from the Bay.  The good news was the fall spot run was in high gear at several protected sites, including inside Lynnhaven Inlet and Rudee inlets, the HRBT and the M & M crossing.  Pier anglers were likewise able to share in the spot bounty, despite the rough weather.  Speckled trout numbers increased inside Lynnhaven and Rudee inlets while school-sized stripers were active around most bridges.
 

Chincoteague


Wachapreague

Captain Zed's reported bottom fishermen caught a few sea mullet, a handful of keeper flounder and plenty of taylor bluefish in Cedar Island Cove.  No boats fished outside the inlet over the weekend.   The last boat offshore was Tuesday (October 12), when the crew aboard the AMERICAN MADE recorded a good catch of dolphin, four yellowfin tuna and a wahoo.  

Wachapreague Marina had no fishing reports.  "There's just been too much wind." 

Cape Charles

Chris' Bait and Tackle had little fishing action from the weekend to report, saying, "the wind got us again."  Bottom fishermen did manage some flounder around the Cement Ships, as the exposed hulls served to break the wind.  Flounder measuring as much as 25 inches were decked at the nearby Kiptopeke State Park pier.  Anglers seeking speckled trout in the sheltered waters of the bayside creeks were also stymied by the weather conditions, as above average high tides carried muddy water well into the creeks.  The shop did offer that striped bass were piled-up around the High Level section of the CBBT complex.  "You can see the birds and fish working as you drive across the bridge."  Perhaps the most productive area over the weekend was out of the seaside port of Oyster.  Here, several anglers recorded a mixed bag of bluefish, sea mullet, spot and flounder.  Earlier in the week, bottom fishermen were catching coolers full of spot off Kiptopeke, where Cecil Jones, Jr. had a 20-ounce spot, Paul Pearson pulled-up a 1-1/2-pound sea mullet and Roger Gill nailed a 7-pound, 9-ounce flounder.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported the weather precluded any weekend fishing activity.  On Wednesday, October 19, flounder were biting with a throwback to keeper ratio of 2 to 1, according to Captain Wil.  Spot and croaker numbers had dwindled considerably in the past week.  Good numbers of school stripers up to 24 inches, with many in the 16 to 20-inch range, were holding in the creeks.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -

Cobbs Marina reported extremely light fishing pressure due to the weather.  Despite the conditions, spot were caught around the mouth of Little Creek Inlet and just outside and some school-sized stripers were caught around the First and Second islands of the CBBT.

Bubba's Marina also blamed the weather for the lack of fish and fishermen the past week.  Of the handful of anglers that did choose to fish, most stayed inside Lynnhaven Inlet and concentrated on a strong run of spot plus some croaker, taylor bluefish and even a few flounder.  The shop did not weigh any striped bass but knew of some school-sized fish that were caught around the CBBT complex and Lesner Bridge.

Dr. Jim Wright described the spot bite inside Lynnhaven Inlet at Long Creek as "unbelievable" as fish up to 21 ounces were pulled from this location.  Spot weighing over a pound were also caught inside Rudee Inlet, where speckled trout numbers were impressive but many of the trout were less than the 14-inch minimum size limit.

Sunset Boating Center told of a very good spot bite "real close to home," as many of the best hauls the past week were made over the tube of the HRBT on the Hampton side of the crossing.  The shop registered several citation spot over the weekend with the heaviest going 1.23 pounds.  Pan trout, school stripers and taylor bluefish are likewise available at the HRBT with some of the best action developing after dark.

Cindy at Salt Ponds Marina said the channel had been dredged and was deep enough for all but the larger sailboats.  Still, the weather kept many anglers in port the past week.  The crew aboard the THRILLS & GILLS took advantage of the fall spot run at the M & M crossing, as Ryan Beau (18 ounces), James York (18 ounces), Dustin Boggs (18 ounces) and Nicholas Hite (18-1/2 ounces) all registered citation spot from a recent outing.  Jack Lawson was fishing the HRBT and boated a 3-1/4-pound croaker.

Jimmy Lewis at A & S Feed and Bait Supply described the week's fishing activity as "kinda quiet," due to the weather.  Bottom fishermen did catch some spot at the mouth of Sarah's Creek and off the Amoco Pier.  Pan trout numbers were rising in the York River and Mobjack Bay.  Some school stripers were caught along the shoreline of the river but the main story for the week was anglers "just haven't been able to get out."

Ken Neill, reporting Secretary for the Peninsula Anglers Club, said it was another week of wind and another week of fishing in the rivers and inlets, as fishing in the ocean and in the open bay pretty much ceased altogether due to rough sea conditions.  Neill suspects tuna remain available at the 100 fathom curve, flounder at the Baltimore Channel and big gray trout are due to appear at the CBBT.  Luckily, the action in the rivers and in the inlets has been good, as the spot bite "was on fire for the past few days," according to Neill. Multiple citation-sized fish are being caught at several locations but the bite has been especially impressive at the HRBT and inside Rudee Inlet.  Speckled trout action is good in Back River and inside Rudee Inlet and there are plenty of school-sized stripers around all the area bridges. 

Virginia Middle Bay

Jetts Hardware said chummers are catching school stripers on the days they can get out.  Bottom fishing has slowed considerably.  Trollers are picking up some taylor blues and school stripers but the Spanish mackerel appear to have departed for the season.

Derrick from Smith Point Marina said boats anchoring and chumming at the Northern Neck Reef are catching school stripers, as are anglers drifting small, live spot around the Jetty.  Derrick also had reports of some larger stripers caught "up the Bay" by trollers and said a few puppy drum were starting to show around the mouths of the local creeks.

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Outfitters said spot and pan trout are still biting in the Piankatank River, at the mouth of the Rappahannock River and off Gwynn Island.  Jumbo spot were a little scarce over the weekend but with local water temperatures still in the mid-60's, Jerry believes the big spot is still to come.  Warm water temperatures were also to blame for the lack of success encountered by trollers seeking striped bass.  The crew aboard the PATRIOT fished small, live spot over structure on Sunday and boated eight "keeper" bass and tossed back several others.  Light tackle and flyfishermen plying the shallows of the lower Rappahannock, Piankatank and around Gwynn Island are catching some school stripers and speckled trout.

Locklies Marina said bottom fishermen managed some spot and a few pan trout just off Carters Creek and further downriver at Butlers Hole.  Anglers seeking striped bass had their best success around the White Stone Bridge.

Fishing out of Deltaville, Captain Jim Thompson aboard the JIM-AN-I said strong winds really took a toll on bottom fishing the past week and many days were just plain "unfishable."  On days when anglers were able to fish the, flood tide produced the best spot bite at the Spike and over Butlers Hole.  Cherry Point, located inside the Piankatank, was another productive area.  Unfortunately, pan trout numbers were down from a week ago and even bluefish were rather scarce the past week.

Virginia Beach -

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported their fleet stayed to the dock over the weekend and the same situation existed prior to the weekend.  The last boats to fish offshore recorded big catches of dolphin plus some large yellowfin tuna while inshore boats had mixed catches of school king mackerel and Spanish mackerel.

Fisherman's Wharf Marina had a boat out mid-week that fished the Chesapeake Light area and caught several king mackerel in the 6 to 10-pound range.  Boats stayed tied to the dock over the weekend due to the weather.


Virginia Piers
-

Harrison -The pier is presently closed but is in the process of being rebuilt.  Significant progress has been made this summer and the latest plans call for a portion of the pier to open sometime in October.   

Lynnhaven - Spot and taylor bluefish provided the bulk of the action.  Pan trout and a few school stripers are caught after dark, mainly in the shadow lines created by the pier lights.

Virginia Beach -Anglers enjoyed solid runs of medium to jumbo spot the past several days.

Sandbridge - Bottom fishermen caught plenty of spot plus some croaker, taylor blues and a few small speckled trout.  The red drum run has tapered off considerably but several were caught and released the past week.  

Outer Banks, NC -

Along the Nags Head area beaches, shore fishermen enjoyed a mixed catch of spot and sea mullet prior to the weekend.  Angling from shore was nearly eliminated during the weekend due to rough surf.  On Friday, waves were high enough at the Avalon Pier to touch the pier planking.  Still bottom fishermen managed some puppy drum, spot and croaker and several large red drum were caught and released from the end of the pier.

South of Oregon Inlet, surf fishermen working Cape Point at Buxton enjoyed a solid run of puppy drum on Friday.  A 41-inch red drum was caught and released between ramps 43 and 44.  On Saturday it was more puppy drum plus some good-sized bluefish moved into casting range.  Bottom fishermen also had a scattering of spot.  Sunday produced a more diverse bag with catches of puppy drum, flounder, bluefish, pompano and speckled trout recorded.  A 42-inch red drum was beached and released Sunday evening.

The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center's offshore fleet was unable to fish offshore Friday through Monday, as rough sea conditions made the inlet impassable.  Instead, anglers took advantage of the Albemarle Sound Fall Striper season and caught plenty of school-sized stripers around the bridge.  On Saturday the headboat recorded fair catches of pigfish, sea mullet and flounder.

The fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet stayed "inside" Friday and Saturday, due to strong winds but there were good catches of puppy drum in the sound.  On Sunday four boats went offshore and enjoyed excellent catches of bailer dolphin plus a few wahoo and king mackerel.  The crew aboard the RELEASE caught and turned loose a sailfish and a blue marlin and HATTERAS FEVER released a sailfish.  Monday was another good day for dolphin plus a scattering of wahoo, king mackerel, blackfin 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.

Click on Newsletter link to get to the index of previous Saltwater Reviews


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