Skip to Content
Agencies | Governor
Search Virginia.Gov
Contact Us |

The Saltwater Review - May 16, 2001

by Lewis S. Gillingham
OVERVIEW Chincoteague Wachapreague Cape Charles Onancock
Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel Virginia Middle Bay Virginia Beach Virginia Piers Grandview
Buckroe Beach Harrison Lynnhaven Sandbridge Outer Banks, NC

Virginia's Trophy Striped Bass season opened May 1 and runs through June 15. This special season carries a 32-inch minimum size limit coupled with a one-fish bag limit. From May 1 through May 16, anglers may possess one-fish, 32 inches or greater. From May 16 through June 15, anglers are allowed to possess two striped bass within the 18 and 28-inch slot, but one fish of the two-fish allowed during the May 16 through June 15 slot season may be 32 inches or greater. Most important, anglers must report their Trophy catch (all 32-inch or greater fish caught and kept between 1 May and 15 June) on forms available at all Citation Weigh Stations, many other tackle shops and marinas and our homepage web site (see address above). A reporting form is also enclosed in this report.

The VMRC has scheduled a public hearing to finalize the closed period for the 2000 Recreational Summer Flounder fishery (see enclosure). Currently, the minimum size limit for Summer Flounder is 15.5 inches and the possession limit is 8-fish (and will not change in 2001) but the closed period of 24 July 2001 through 1 August 2001 will be increased (again refer to the enclosed Notice) to gain an additional 4% reduction in catch.

Anglers are reminded that a 12-inch size limit and 4-fish possession limit is in effect from May 1 through August 15 for weakfish (grey trout).

Catches of both black and red drum are on the increase with the best reports coming from the seaside, lower Bay and Tangier Sound.

The trout action continues to improve, as large schools of pan trout have moved inside the Bay while trout to 11-1/4 pounds have been landed around structures as far up the Bay as the Cell.

Big blues made an appearance inside Rudee and Lynnhaven inlets and around the mouth of the Rappahannock. Ocean wreck fishermen indicate the chopper blues should be available over structure located east of the Tower Reef.

Chincoteague -

Donna from Captain Bob's reported an influx of large grey trout and taylor blues the past week. Best catches of trout were made after dark at Chincoteague Point while the bluefish were taken during the daylight near the inlet. Flounder action remains steady with Queen's Sound and Four mouths receiving most of the attention. Outside the inlet, the inshore ocean wrecks are holding both large sea bass and tautog.

Barnacle Bill's told of excellent catches of flounder prior to Sunday with many anglers reporting 8-fish limit catches. Donald Grosscup boated the weeks' heavyweight flatfish, a 6-pound, 15- ouncer, at Queen's Sound. Anglers soaking chunks of peeler crab just inside the inlet scored on sizable grey trout while anglers bottom fishing with clam and/or peeler crab, on the shoals just outside the inlet, caught black drum to 60 pounds.

Henry from Wachapreague Marina reported good catches of flounder five pounds through the week--at least until Sunday, when north winds gusted to 20 knots. Green and Drawing channels continue to produce decent catches of flatfish but Henry suggested the Hummocks as a better choice. Big black drum linger around the mouth of the inlet, where Steve Herlihy released a 46-incher that hit a chunk of peeler crab.

Randy from Captain Zed's described the flounder bite on Saturday as "excellent," with Ernie Shifflet's 8-pound, 9-ounce flatfish, the weekend heavyweight. The citation-winning catch was made on a shiner at Bullshead. Weekend catches also included good numbers of grey trout to 8 pounds and a considerable number of black drum. John Appleton, III pulled a 12 pound, 11-ounce tog from an ocean wreck while fishing aboard the CANYON LADY. Randy also knew of several red drum that were caught on the bayside with at least one, a 47-incher, boated at Pungoteague Creek.

Cape Charles

Chris' Bait and Tackle recorded black drum releases for William Edemenson (46-1/2 inches), Mike Barbee (49 inches) and Tommy Budd (49 inches) while Jack Bono (48 inches) released a red drum at Fisherman's Island Flats. Several customers recorded limit catches of flounder off Cape Charles while James Beasily, Sr. landed the lone citation flounder at 6 pounds and 6 ounces. Large grey trout were reported at both the CBBT crossing and the bridge across Fisherman's Island, as Dewitt Jernigan (9 pounds, 1 ounce) and Bob Evans (9 pounds, 12 ounces) checked-in award winning trout. Tautog remain active in the mid-60 degree water off Cape Charles, as Mike Lee nailed a 10-pound, 9-ounce tog aboard the BUCCANEER at the C-10 mussel beds.

Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported good mixed catches of bottom fish off Onancock. Medium size croaker are holding in the deeper holes while bigger fish, averaging "one-and-half pounds and up" are found in 20 to 25 feet of water. Other catches include spot, pan trout, flounder, bluefish, blowfish, sea mullet and school-sized stripers. Several red drum were landed off Parkers Creek while black drum were reported at several locations.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -
Cobbs Marina reported excellent catches of large grey trout from the CBBT complex, as David Gaither boated a 10-pounder on a chunk of peeler crab at the Fourth Island and Mike Worton hung a 9-pound, 10-ounce trout on a jig. The shop indicated that tautog and flounder were still biting at the CBBT, "we just didn't have any citations," concluded the marina spokesman.

Bubba's Marina told of good weekend catches of flounder, trout and tautog at the CBBT while grey trout and puppy drum were pulled from the pilings of the Lesner Bridge.

Dr. Jim Wright said chopper blues had arrived at the Horseshoe and most are running 8 to 12 pounds. moving inshore, big trout were caught at the Lesner Bridge, inside Rudee Inlet and the 12 MP of the CBBT. Large schools of pan trout were also holding in the vicinity of the pilings at the 12 MP. Dr. Jim knew of several large bluefish that were caught at the mouth of Broad Bay (located inside Lynnhaven Inlet) and indicated the waters between the small boat channel and the shoreline held good numbers of flounder ranging up to four pounds.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina said Saturday's results were very good while Sunday was "just too windy." Through Saturday, anglers continued to make good catches of flounder and grey trout at the CBBT while large trout and taylor blues were caught at the HRBT. Donnie indicated flounder remain available around the mouth of Back River and out at the Back River Reef site.

Johnny from Sunset Marina checked-in an 11-1/4-pound grey trout for Jimmy Duell. The 32-inch trout was caught on a bucktail at the HRBT. Anglers fishing for flounder on Hampton Bar and the Thimble Shoals Light area had their best results during incoming tide with a squid\minnow combination. Johnny suggested the M & M crossing as the best site for croaker.

Alan Vanasse from Vanasse Bait and Tackle said anglers fishing in the vicinity of Fort Monroe and the HRBT recorded good catches of croaker up to two pounds and grey trout topping eight pounds. Peeler crab is the favored bait. Decent catches of flounder were made around the mouth of Back River and further out, over the Back River Reef site.

Salt Ponds Marina said a party who wire-lined the CBBT complex caught a mixture of grey trout, flounder and school-sized striped bass.

Chuck Ash from A & S Feed and Bait Supply said the flounder fishing was "surprisingly good" at Gloucester Point. The best action has been near the bridge on the York River side, where several parties have "limited-out." Croaker remain the dominant catch in most portions of the York River but grey trout numbers are increasing. Speckled trout remain scarce inside Mobjack Bay and the cool weather in recent days likely will not help to improve this fishery.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club reported keeper flounder, taylor blues and grey trout to 6 pounds at the HRBT. Groups wire-lining the CBBT complex caught a mixture of school stripers, grey trout and flounder. Tom Hogge caught and released a citation black drum while fishing near buoy 13. Dave Moss released a 45-inch red drum on a over-night trip at 9-Foot Shoal aboard the REELEASER.


Virginia Middle Bay -
Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported chopper blues weighing as much as 10 pounds were caught in the chum lines the past week. Bottom fishermen caught plenty of croaker plus some trout at Smith Point Light and around the N2 and #62 buoys. Keeper flounder were caught around the Smith Point Jetty while hand-sized spot were boated up inside the Great Wicomico River. With the striped bass slot season beginning Wednesday, May 16, Roger expects the Northern Neck Reef site to be productive for 18 to 28-inch rockfish. 

Smith Point Marina said their charter fleet chummed in the Maryland portion of the Bay the past week and caught keeper stripers plus some bluefish.

Queen's Creek Reel and Downrigger Service told of good catches of flounder off Cape Charles, where black drum are starting to become active. The flounder bite is improving in the buoy 42 area, where pan trout are schooled along the edges of the channel while large trout are holding over structure at the Cell Reef site.

Locklies Marina said big flounder have moved up, inside the river, as a 5-pound, 10-ounce flatfish was boated at the White Stone Bridge. Croaker dominate the catches and three citation-winning fish (3 pound minimum) were registered over the weekend. The best hauls are coming from just above and just below the bridge. Catches also include a few pan trout and spot.

Garretts Marina told of good catches of 3/4 to 2-pound croaker from "right in front of the marina, down to buoy 6." 

Captain Jim Thompson at Windmill Point Marina said Butlers Hole was loaded with 12 to 20-inch pan trout and croaker measuring to over 16 inches. Both the croaker and trout have been hitting strips of squid. A party on Sunday hooked and landed several puppy drum to 25 inches. "Those were the first puppy drum I've seen in the river in 15 years of fishing," stated Captain Thompson.

Virginia Beach -
Headboats sailing from the Virginia Beach Fishing Center recorded good catches of sea bass plus a sprinkling of tautog. Eddie Smart boated a citation 5-pound, 2-ounce sea bass while fishing an ocean wreck some 30 miles offshore aboard the headboat BOBBI LEE. Inside the inlet, anglers reported flounder, taylor blues and several large grey trout.

Paula Owens from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said several of their charter boats fished half-day trips to the CBBT last week and caught school stripers, trout and flounder. Some large grey trout still linger inside the inlet.

Virginia Piers
Grandview - Richard said grey trout weighing up to 7 pounds were hitting in the evenings while keeper-sized flounder dominated the catches after dark. Nighttime bottom fishermen are catching plenty of one to two pound croaker, some school-sized stripers and a few spot.

Buckroe Beach - Flounder and a few croaker are hitting during the mid-day period with trout, croaker and school stripers becoming active late in the day.

Harrison - "Folks have really been catching fish the past several days," noted the pier's spokesman, "even though the weather has been cool the fishing has been hot." The afternoon high tide has produced the best action for large croaker and pan trout while good mid-day catches of flounder were recorded most of the past week.

Lynnhaven - Sea mullet dominated the daytime catches on this lower Bay pier but other catches included taylor blues and flounder. After dark, pan trout and a few school stripers are attracted to the lights. 

Virginia Beach - The past several days saw a decent run of spot plus some croaker, sea mullet and taylor blues. The water temperature at pierside was 61 degrees on Tuesday.

Sandbridge - Catches were sporadic the past several days and have included taylor blues, small shark, spot and pan trout.


Outer Banks, NC -
Taylor blues provided the most consistent action along the Nags Head area beaches and piers the past week. Bottom fishermen did manage some spot and croaker while casters had decent success on keeper-sized speckled trout and small grey trout in the Kitty Hawk area. 

On Hatteras Island, the spring run of large red drum continues at Cape Point, where several dozen were beached Monday (May 14) evening. The big news on Hatteras was the arrival of Spanish mackerel just prior to the weekend, with the first catches recorded at the South Beach on Friday. Scattered catches of Spanish mackerel (along with loads of taylor blues) were made at Cape Point and Hatteras Inlet on Saturday and Sunday. Monday saw the arrival of large Spanish mackerel at Cape Point, as several topped six pounds. 

Offshore, the bluewater fleet sailing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center recorded good catches of yellowfin tuna and bailer dolphin on Friday. The crew aboard the FIGHT-N-LADY returned with a limit of yellowfin, the SKILIGAL weighed citation tuna of 74 and 83 pounds while the HOOKER, JO BOY and FISHIN FRENZY all boated mako shark. On Saturday, the tuna bite slowed but catches were augmented with lots of bailer dolphin plus some gaffers to 36 pounds. The MARLIN FEVER released a sailfish, the FINTASTIC released a blue marlin and a sailfish and the TROPHY HUNTER released a blue marlin and a spearfish. On Sunday, the tuna were more cooperative and the fleet found good numbers of king mackerel. Steve Boldly of Newport News decked a 70-pound yellowfin aboard the HAPHAZARD. Throughout the three-day period, inshore boats reported excellent catches of taylor blues.

Out of Hatteras Inlet, boats fishing the 7th annual Hatteras Village Offshore Tournament recorded 29 billfish (mostly blue marlin) in three days of fishing (Thursday through Saturday). Saturday's results were marred by rough weather and only one sailfish was caught and released. Top blue marlin in the event weighed 693 pounds and was caught the first day. Dolphin dominated the "meatfish" catch, though a scattering of yellowfin and wahoo were reported.

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.

Return to Top

Virginia Marine Resources Commission - Copyright © 1996-2014
Questions or Comments?  Email Web-Info
Site Index  Privacy Policy