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The Saltwater Review - 19 October 2006

Vol. 20, No. 18

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


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 -

Captain Bob’s has closed for the season. 


Captain Zed’s reported light fishing pressure over the weekend but “fish are available,” as several parties recorded limit catches of flounder at Drawing Channel on Sunday.  Earlier in the week, a mixture of keeper flounder and pan trout were caught at Mill Stone Creek.  Charles Thomas and party wreckfished mid-week and came in with a nice catch of black sea bass.  James Powell landed an 8-pound, 2-ounce speckled trout out of the seaside port of Quinby.

Cape Charles

Chris’ Bait and Tackle reported excellent catches of speckled trout from both the bayside creeks and seaside inlets.  Over on the seaside, Mike Lipford caught a 6-pound, 13-ounce speck out of Quinby and Matt Ramah landed a 5-pound, 7-ounce spotted trout out of Oyster.  Back on the bayside, Robert Savage Jr. released a 25-1/2-inch speck at Hungars Creek, where William Mainer released a 24-3/8-inch trout and Seth Rux boated a 5-pound, 1-ouncer.  The flounder bite returned and several parties recorded limit catches of flatfish.  Some of the better flounder hauls were made around buoys 36A and 18 and at or near the Fourth Island.  Lawrence Ulmer was jigging at buoy 42 and caught and released a pair of red drum, at 51 and 54 inches.  Bottom fishermen at the Kiptopeke State Park Pier recorded a mixed bag of spot, flounder and snapper bluefish.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported some spot and croaker still linger off Onancock but most have headed south for the season.  Captain Wil did hear of one good haul of spot and croaker from Schooner Bay recently.  Most local anglers are fishing for striped bass, speckled trout and puppy drum in the creeks and enjoying good success. 

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel

Cobbs Marina reported trophy-sized flounder still linger around the CBBT complex, where Roy McCausey boated an 8-pound, 10-ounce flatfish.  The spokesperson for the marina indicated several groups of anglers had fished the CBBT for striped bass and succeeded in catching limits of school-sized stripers.

Bubba’s Marina said the fall spot run inside Lynnhaven Inlet is winding down but speckled trout and puppy drum are providing plenty of action.   Out at the CBBT, school stripers are abundant around the rock islands and anglers drifting the edges of the nearby channels are doing well on keeper flounder.

Wallace’s Bait and Tackle said speckled trout fishing remains very good inside Back River and the nearby grassy flats.  Freddie Rowe culled-out a limit of 2 to 4-pound speckled trout on Poquoson Flats and Tim Elliott, Jr. nailed a 5-pound, 5-ounce citation speck inside Back River.  Anglers drifting the channels in the vicinity of the CBBT complex are reporting nice catches of keeper flounder. John Sanders had a fat, 7-1/4-pounder on cut bait near the Fourth Island last week.

Sunset Boating Center told of excellent school-sized striper action at the HRBT, along the light-line created by the bridge after sunset.  Many of the striped bass are under the 18-inch minimum size limit but a few fish will go 25 inches or a little better.  The shop indicated the M &M crossing was a better choice for anglers seeking striped bass during daylight hours.  Weekend bottom fishermen seeking spot were largely disappointed, according to the shop, “they caught some fish (spot) but most were pretty small.”

Cindy at Salt Ponds Marina saw a nearly three pound croaker on Monday (October 16) and heard customers fishing the CBBT complex over the weekend caught some school striped bass and keeper flounder but “no citations.” 

Brian from A & S Feed and Bait Supply said speckled trout were still being caught inside Mobjack Bay at the mouths of the Severn and Ware rivers and at Four Point Marsh.  Up in the York River, bottom fishermen are catching some spot but the run appears to be slowing while anglers working the pilings of the Coleman Bridge are having good success on school stripers.

Ken Neill, reporting Secretary for the Peninsula Anglers Club said, “what a pleasant change this past weekend was! There was no flooding and hardly any wind. Offshore, tuna action is very good from Maryland to North Carolina.”  Neill felt now was the time to go offshore for yellowfin tuna plus there are still plenty of wahoo around, some dolphin and the occasional billfish.  Closer to shore, there is a lot of bait on the inshore humps, like the Hot Dog and the Fish Hook. “These would be good places to look for kings and false albacore.”   Inside the bay, flounder action is picking back up with nice fish being caught along the Baltimore Channel, at the Hump and on Hampton Bar. Speckled trout are being caught on Poquoson Flats, in Back River and in Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. School striped bass are being caught at these same locations. There are plenty of stripers at the HRBT and you can find them around any dock with a light on it. Spot fishing at the HRBT has been good on fish up to a pound but fish over a pound continue to be scarce this year.

Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA International Representative for Virginia Beach, contributed the following:
Now that the water is clearing, fishing is back on track! Various species are cooperating, and anglers are more than willing to rise to the occasion.  Striped bass are receiving plenty of attention in the lower bay.  Top water casters are faring well with schoolies around the islands and tubes of the CBBT, especially at first and last light of the day.  Trollers, wire-liners, and those fishing deeper with plastic baits along the rocks and the pilings, are picking up fish to over 30-inches.  Anglers working the HRBT are loading up at night with school-sized fish using shallow-diving lures and Storms fished along the light lines.
The spot fishing has been hit and miss this week, with only a smattering of citation fish reported. When they’re biting, a few fish are reaching the 1-pound mark, which is frustrating anglers since the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament Committee raised the minimum citation size from a pound to 1-pound, 2-ounces two seasons ago.  Some feel the run of big fish we experienced last season may not materialize this year. But with water temperatures still hovering near 70-degrees in the lower bay, others believe the run will occur late.  The HRBT, Rudee Inlet, and Long Creek are all holding spot.  Charles Mathews of Norfolk weighed in two citations at 1-pound, 2-ounces early this week from Long Creek.  Puppy drum are still going strong within the lower bay shallows, flats, inlets, and the Elizabeth River, where anglers are experiencing solid action on cut bait and live bait. Speckled trout are available in the same areas for casters working lures and plastics.  The speckled trout showing has been outstanding this year, with fish averaging 3-pounds, but many fish exceed this average.  Danny at Ocean’s East II reports that big red drum are still hanging in the lower bay and in the surf off Sandbridge. Boaters anchoring just outside the breakers are catching multiple bull reds on fresh cut mullet, bunker, and spot.  Surf casters continue to pull big fish from the wash, where Jeff Brown of Virginia Beach wrestled a 50-inch red from the Sandbridge surf using cut bunker.
The flounder action in the lower bay has rekindled, with drifters cleaning up with limits of big flat fish while drifting channel and shoal edges.  Matthew Lee of Virginia Beach boated a 10-pound, 5-ounce doormat while drifting the Baltimore Channel near the CBBT with a strip bait, and George Dellinger of Portsmouth, released a 26-incher drifting near buoy eleven.  Offshore wrecks should produce flounder, but there is no need to leave the bay right now.  Tautog action is heating up in the bay, where fish up to 11-pounds were fooled by fiddlers and crab off the islands of the CBBT this week.
The offshore tuna and wahoo bite is hot, as decent-sized yellowfin and big wahoo supply plenty of action. An occasional blue or white marlin hookup remains a possibility.  Farther south, large bigeye tuna are scattered about, and king mackerel are around in good numbers off North Carolina.

Virginia Middle Bay

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported anglers anchoring and chumming around the Northern Neck Reef are catching plenty of school stripers plus some taylor bluefish.  Speckled trout fishermen have become “very quiet,” according to Roger, but assured that some of these spotted beauties still linger in area waters.  Bottom fishermen recorded mixed catches of spot, bluefish and even a few pan trout, with the better hauls coming from around the mouth of the river and near N2.

Jerry Thrash from Queen’s Creek Outfitters told of consistent speckled trout action early and late in the day on the Piankatank River and up inside Mobjack Bay.  Several customers recorded limit catches of these spotted fish and some topped 5 pounds, as Kevin Stewart of Mathews had a 7-pound, 6-ounce trout in the North River and Mark Ottarson of North landed a 5-pound, 9-ounce speck in the East River.  Surface feeding schools of snapper bluefish and small stripers have been active at daybreak and for a couple of hours after sun up on Windmill Bar.  Spot disappointed area bottom fishermen at their usual haunts, such as the spike.

Locklies Marina said bottom fishermen are still catching spot and pan trout and noted, “the spot are very scattered but good-sized.”  Likewise, some of the trout are large enough to raise eyebrows, as trout measuring up to 28 inches were boated last week.  School sized striped bass are becoming more active and some of the most consistent early season action has come on live bait fished around the bridge pilings.

Tommy Lewis from Garretts Marina described the recent rockfish action as “great,” as trollers and casters working waters from the Tappahannock Bridge to Moratico caught fish in the 20 to 26-inch range. 

Virginia Beach -

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported good fall fishing for yellowfin tuna, wahoo and skipjack tuna whenever the weather permits.  Most of the better recent hauls have come from “down south.”  Inside the inlet, anglers enjoyed several nice runs of speckled trout, spot and puppy drum last week.

Fisherman's Wharf Marina said the season tuna fishing has been very good “when the boats can get out” and make the long run down to around Triple 0’s.  One of the last boats to accomplish this feat was the crew aboard the GET-R-DONE and they returned with a limit of fat yellowfin tuna.

Virginia Piers -

Ocean View – Daytime catches were modest over the weekend but the after dark hours produced some school striped bass, pan trout, puppy drum and bluefish.  Anglers working the shore break early and late in the day caught some speckled trout.

Lynnhaven – Daytime catches include a scattering of sea mullet, small flounder, bluefish, spot and croaker. Once the pier lights come on after sunset and schools of tiny baited are attracted, school-sized stripers, snapper bluefish and pan trout are feeding.

Virginia Beach – Bottom fishermen enjoyed a strong run of spot Tuesday and Thursday but the bite slowed considerably over the weekend.  Other catches included sea mullet, pan trout, small black drum, snapper bluefish and a few puppy drum.   

Sandbridge – Anglers were treated to a super run of spot on Thursday but catches of these tasty bottom feeders were slow over the weekend.  No big red drum were decked on the pier in recent days but shore fishermen within sight of the pier beached several large reds.

Outer Banks, NC -

Beach and pier anglers along the Nags Head area beaches were treated to a delightful early fall mixture of fish, including mixed sizes of spot, bluefish, black drum, puppy drum, sea mullet, croaker, flounder and even pompano.  To add to the variety, folks fishing from the Avalon Pier decked three large red drum in the 40-inch range on Friday.

South of Oregon Inlet, at Cape Point at Buxton, anglers caught loads of bluefish most of the day on Friday and beached several large red drum after sundown.  Saturday saw several more large drum in the morning and a good run of taylor blues most of the day.  Some flounder and speckled trout were caught around the jetties.  Several large red drum were caught early Sunday morning before sunrise but the bluefish took over once the sun was up.  Anglers fishing the South Beach reported catches of sea mullet and pompano.  Bluefish were abundant again on Monday at the Point while bottom fishermen caught a mixture of sea mullet, croaker and puppy drum just north of the Point.

The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center reported good hauls of yellowfin tuna plus some wahoo, king mackerel and dolphin on Friday.  The Sound side fall striped bass season is open and the marina had good reports from the Mann’s Harbor Bridge and the new bridge to Manteo.  The fleet recorded excellent hauls of yellowfin tuna on Saturday and Sunday and boated several bigeye tuna weighing up to 170 pounds.  Inshore trollers enjoyed steady action from king mackerel and false albacore while headboat anglers caught sea mullet, pan trout and pigfish.  The torrid tuna bite continued on Monday, as several groups returned early with limit catches.  Several bigeye tuna weighing as much as 143 pounds were landed.

The fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet returned with a decent catch of dolphin plus some wahoo and several yellowfin tuna on Friday.  Wahoo made a better showing on Saturday and parties had decent numbers of dolphin and a few yellowfin tuna.  The dolphin bite was excellent on Sunday, as several boats retuned with limit catches.  Other catches included king mackerel, wahoo and yellowfin tuna.  Gary Meyers of Dry Fork released a white marlin aboard the BOSS LADY.

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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