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The Saltwater Review - May 2, 2002

Volume 16, No. 1
by Lewis S. Gillingham

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


Virginia's Trophy Striped Bass season will open May 1 and run 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.

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).

A reminder for wreck fishermen, in Federal waters (3 to 200 miles) the recreational black sea bass season is closed until May 9, 2002. Please see enclosed NOAA notice regarding charter/party permit holders, dated May 1, 2002. 

Chincoteague -

Donna from Captain Bob's reported gusty winds the latter part of the week slowed what had been a very good flounder bite at Four Mouths, as flatfish to 7-1/2 pounds were landed recently. Weakfish made an earlier than normal showing and some rumors indicated croaker had moved inside the inlet.

Wachapreague -

Donna from Captain Bob's reported gusty winds the latter part of the week slowed what had been a very good flounder bite at Four Mouths, as flatfish to 7-1/2 pounds were landed recently. Weakfish made an earlier than normal showing and some rumors indicated croaker had moved inside the inlet.

Cape Charles -

Chris' Bait and Tackle reported black drum were biting at buoys 13 and 36A while red drum were caught off Fisherman's and Smith islands. Robert Wyatt (47-1/2 inches), William Branche, Jr (45-3/4 inches) and William Branche (44-3/8 inches) earned red drum release citations off Fisherman's Island while H.M. Bell (49 and 47-1/2 inches), Walter Metlan (48-1/2 and 46 inches) and Edward Silvia (48 inches) caught and released trophy reds off Smith Island. The shop indicated that anglers fishing out of the seaside port of Oyster did well on flounder "when the wind wasn't blowing a gale." Bottom bouncers fishing off Kiptopeke recorded good hauls of croaker and fair to good hauls of pan trout.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen at Fish and Finn Charters reported strong west winds in recent days dropped the surface water temperature off Onancock from 65 degrees to 55 degrees and bottom fishing slowed considerably. The prior week, "we caught plenty of croaker to 3-1/2 pounds, trout up to 4 pounds plus a few flounder, spot and sea mullet." Captain Wil indicated red drum and a few speckled trout were caught in the grassy shallows of Watts and Parker islands while several black drum were hooked in deeper water.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -

Cobbs Marina reported decent catches of flounder to 5-1/2 pounds in the CBBT complex area with mixed sizes of trout from pan-size to 6 pounds from the High Level portion of the crossing. Bottom fishermen are also catching croaker and the occasional spot. Anglers fishing specifically for tautog are doing best along the oceansides of the Second and Third islands.

Lou at Bubba's Marina said the flounder bite at the Lessner Bridge and just outside was on the upswing, as the shop weighed flounder to 5-1/2 pounds from this area. Lou said bottom fishermen enjoyed a good bite of flounder at the First Island on Sunday, where a 7-3/4 pounder was caught, and the same waters held good numbers of large croaker. The "new" news of the week was the arrival of large trout at the Fourth Island of the CBBT, where a 9 pounder was boated on Saturday.

Sunset Marina said the windy and unsettled weekend weather kept many anglers close to the marina. The shop did have positive reports of croaker and keeper flounder from the Hampton side of the HRBT and waters off Fort Monroe. 

A party fishing with Dr. Jim Wright mid-week was forced to remain nearshore due to strong winds but caught a mixture of keeper flounder (17-1/2 inches), taylor bluefish, croaker, trout and even sea mullet at the small boat channel of the CBBT.

Harry Johnson, Sr from Wallace's Marina said keeper flounder were caught at the mouth of Back River, at buoy 10, and Bluefish Rock over the weekend but indicated the best flounder hauls were made "across the Bay," at buoy 36A. Daniel Schaffer nailed an 8-pound, 12-ounce flounder at the Third Island, on Tuesday, April 30. Tautog remain available and active at Back River Reef, where croaker numbers are on the increase. Mr. Johnson seemed most impressed with the catch turned-in by Skip Santee, just before the winds picked-up on the weekend. With clear water and light winds, Mr. Santee managed seven keeper specks on his outing.

Allen from Vanasse Bait and Tackle said bottom fishermen caught flounder on the Poquoson side of Factory Point, oceanside of the Third Island and off Fort Monroe the past week. Allen said that good catches of medium croaker, plus a few trout were made at Factory Point, adding "the few fishing for tautog were doing well." 

Salt Ponds Marina heard only that flounder were biting in the vicinity of the Grandview Pier.

Jimmy Lewis from A & S Feed and Bait Supply described the fishing action the past two weeks as "really good," with an impressive spring run of speckled trout inside Mobjack Bay and good hauls of croaker in York River leading the way. Husband, Timmy Brown, teamed-up with wife, Niki and the pair each recorded speckled trout citations of 8 pounds, 7 ounces and 6 pounds, 5 ounces, respectively. Tim Brown had already boated a citation trout of 7-1/2 pounds on an earlier trip. William Hayes also checked-in a citation speck of 6 pounds. All four catches were made in the vicinity of Ware Point, though Jimmy said trout were also hitting at the mouth of the Severn River. Top croaker catches are coming from the section of the York River known as "the lumps," where Kimberly Williams pulled-up a 3-pound, 1-ounce fish. The shop also registered a 3-pound, 7-ounce croaker for Doug Schuette but that fish was decked on the James River Pier. Jimmy also indicated bottom fishermen working the public pier at Gloucester Point are catching plenty of croaker. A few flounder have been caught inside the York but better hauls have come from off Cape Charles, where Mike Burnett nailed a 7-pound, 7-ounce flounder.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club recorded decent catches of grey trout and croaker at the HRBT, a smattering of keeper flounder at the Back River Reef site and a several black drum at buoy 13.

Virginia Middle Bay -

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported striped bass trollers fishing in Maryland waters (their season began April 20) are catching limits of 15 to 25 pound stripers and Roger expects the same will be true in Virginia once the season begins May 1. Bottom fishermen are making good hauls of croaker in the Rappahannock and from the new Glebe Point public pier located on the Wicomico River. Roger also heard that grey trout made an early season showing at the mouth of Hull Creek, located on the Potomac River.

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Outfitters said the best recent flounder action has been between the Cement Ships and buoy 36A, in 40 to 65 feet of water. Additionally, very few of the flounder have been below the 17-1/2-inch minimum size limit. At the Cell, some small to medium trout have arrived and jigs tipped with peeler crab have been the most productive bait. Grey trout to 22 inches have also been caught inside the Piankatank. One of the largest speckled trout taken this spring was caught inside the Piankatank last week by John Martin Jr. The trophy fish measured 29 inches, weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and hit a TT-808 MirrOlure. Jerry said speckled trout were also being caught inside Mobjack Bay, where William Whitley boated a 5-pound, 15-ounce speck on a chunk of peeler crab. 

Jack at Locklies Marina said the past week produced "some of the biggest trout I've ever seen," as anglers bottom fishing with peeler crab, bloodworm and squid caught weakfish ranging from 4 pounds to 6 pounds, 10 ounces between Carter Creek and Parrots Rocks. Jack added that the same waters produced some large, #1 spot. 

Tommy Lewis from Garretts Marina said anglers were loading up on croaker to 16 inches "anywhere in the river, shallow to deep." Bottom fishermen have seen a scattering of trout but "its been mostly just croaker."

Captain Jim Thompson from Windmill Point Marina said croaker are holding and feeding over oyster bottoms in the Rappahannock "all the way up to Tappahannock." The croaker have been most concentrated in shallow waters but Captain Thompson said they are moving to deeper water in search of food. A few spot are also being caught but most anglers are using squid for the croaker, a bait that is not favored by spot.

Virginia Beach -

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported charter boats running south near the Point off Oregon Inlet are catching yellowfin tuna and the occasional dolphin. Big bluefish have arrived off the Virginia Coast at the Fish Hook, Bluefish Alley and Boomerang. 

Paula from Fisherman's Wharf Marina heard of yellowfin tuna caught south of Rudee Inlet, at the 950-line but "not much is going on offshore yet." However, inside the inlet, anglers were seeing some large grey and speckled trout.

Virginia Piers -

Grandview - Daytime bottom bouncers have been rewarded with a reasonable number of keeper flounder ranging from 17-1/2 to 23-1/2 inches. Other daytime catches include a scattering of croaker, trout, blowfish and spot. After dark the flounder bite comes to a near standstill but the croaker and trout are very active. 

Buckroe Beach - A decent number of keeper-sized flounder from 17-1/2 inches up to 3 pounds, 11 ounces were caught the past week. Croaker have been making a strong appearance after dark. Pier anglers also enjoyed several strong runs of sea mullet the past week.

Harrison - Croaker and a decent number of pan trout have been biting in the evenings and after dark.

Lynnhaven - A scattering of croaker, trout, snapper bluefish and sea mullet were reported.

Virginia Beach - Mixed catches of bluefish, spot, croaker, small speckled trout and skate. Water temperature at pierside was 60 degrees on Wednesday.

Sandbridge - "A bunch of skates," was the answer to what's biting during the daytime. The pier spokesperson went on to say that fishing was good for bluefish, speckled and grey trout in the late evening until 11 PM , when the pier closes.

Outer Banks, NC -

Surf and pier anglers along the Nags Head area beaches caught a nice mixture of sea mullet, snapper blues, puppy drum, speckled trout, grey trout and shad with piers producing the most consistent action. A 16.6 pound striped bass was decked at the Avalon Pier on Friday. Sound fishing remains fairly slow except for the striper action around the Manns Harbor Bridge (season closed, so catch and release only). 

At Cape Point on Buxton, chopper bluefish to 12 pounds have been flirting with beach fishermen for the past week. Saturday saw a consistent bite on cut bait most of the day. Anglers using small hooks baited with bloodworm or shrimp had good success on sea mullet just south of the Point. Sunday's action was similar, except for an influx of skate. Monday night there was a good run of large drum around dusk that lasted into the night. Earlier Monday, a 2.6 pound pompano was beached.

The bluewater fleet sailing form the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center reported good catches of yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna to 30 pounds, king mackerel and dolphin. The crew aboard Fishing Frenzy released a white marlin and RIGGED UP came in with an 89-pound bigeye. Sunday was a "no sail" day due to wind. Monday, only six boats left the inlet and returned with fair catches of dolphin and yellowfin. Tuesday's yellowfin bite was very good, as former Miami Dolphin player Larry Czonka boated a 101-pound yellowfin aboard the DOGHOUSE. Wednesday saw Robert Spencer eclipse the North Carolina record for blackfin tuna with a 39 pounder aboard the RIGGED UP.

The fleet fishing out of Hatteras Inlet reported fair to good yellowfin tuna catches SE of the inlet with bull dolphin holding on the weedlines and a few billfish. On Saturday the crew aboard NO SLACK released a pair of sailfish, as John Cutchin of Woodbridge and Donald Graig of Portsmouth each boated 70-pound yellowfin tuna aboard the SEA CREATURE.

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.

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