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The Saltwater Review - May 9, 2002

Volume 16, No. 2
by Lewis S. Gillingham

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


OVERVIEW

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).

Regulations (season, size limit or possession limit) have changed since last season for several species, including black sea bass, cobia, king mackerel, scup, spadefish, Spanish mackerel and summer flounder.

The spring run of black and red drum is underway off Cape Charles and along the barrier islands.

Croaker are beginning their retreat from the upriver shallows and are showing more in the deeper portions of the rivers.

The flounder bite continues to be inhibited by rain and winds but decent catches were reported from the Eastern Shore seaside, the bay waters off Cape Charles and the waters surrounding the CBBT complex.

Grey trout are showing increasingly and quite a few top the 9-pound minimum qualifying citation weight. The heaviest reported last week went 12-1/2 pounds and was caught at the Third Island.

Offshore action was limited in scope due to the weather but citation winning tautog were caught on inshore ocean wrecks and one report indicated chopper bluefish were at the Hot Dog.

Chincoteague -

Donna from Captain Bob's reported wind and rain held down the fishing activity but flounder to over 5 pounds were caught. The flats at Queen's Sound and Four Mouths were the top locations for flounder. Several customers did well on weakfish, using peeler crab for bait. The trout seem to be holding around the draw bridge and the pilings of the main bridge to the island. A few taylor blues were also reported.

Barnacle Bill's said weekend flounder fishermen did well despite the poor conditions. Best catches were made inside Queen's Sound near the tower, according to the shop's spokesman.

Wachapreague -

Wachapreague Marina reported some anglers still managed limit catches of flounder over the weekend despite poor conditions. Flatfish to over 5 pounds were recorded but "no citations," as the minimum qualifying weight has moved up to 7 pounds. Green and Drawing channels continue to be the favored locations.

Randy Lewis from Captain Zed's said flounder have begun to move to locations more typical of early summer. Green and Drawing channels continue to produce flounder (and attract fishermen) but flounder were more abundant at the Hummocks, Millstone Creek and Seals Creek the past week. Offshore, the charter boat CANYON LADY fished an inshore wreck and Steve Trywusch (10-3/4 pounds) and Daniel Cordono (9 pounds) each earned citations for tautog.

Cape Charles

Chris' Bait and Tackle reported a mixture of red and black drum, croaker, flounder and trout over the weekend. Richard Davis released a 49-3/4-inch red drum off Wreck Island, Jeffery Purvis released a 47-inch red drum at buoy 13, where Walt Mchann released a 48-inch black drum. Fishing at buoy 16, James Beasely, Sr. released a 44-1/2-inch black drum. The shop indicated a fair number of black drum in the 30 to 40-inch range had been caught plus a 60-pound black drum was weighed-in. Croaker weighing up to 2 pounds and trout to nearly 5 pounds were caught around the Cement Ships while larger trout were pulled from amongst the piling of the "little bridge" to Fishermen's Island. Despite windy conditions, the shop rated flounder action on the seaside at "halfway decent," though more under-sized flatfish were reported.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported good numbers of croaker plus a few spot with best action coming on the end of ebb tide and in the evenings. Bottom fishermen are also seeing decent numbers of trout in the 1 to 3-pound range. The trout bite best during the strongest tidal current and prefer fresh peeler crab or cut spot. Captain Wil added that anglers are also catching some red drum, black drum and speckled trout. 

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -

Cobbs Marina reported fishing activity was minimal all week due to poor weather conditions that were especially prohibitive during the weekend. The marina did hear of a scattering of flounder and trout caught at the CBBT complex.

Bubba' Marina said flounder to 7-1/2 pounds were caught at the First Island while large grey trout were hitting at the two northern-most islands. Walter S. Headden boated the week's heavyweight trout, a 12-1/2 pounder, at the Third Island.

Dr. Jim Wright managed to catch, tag and release a handful of flounder at the small boat channel during a mid-week outing. "We couldn't go further (north on the CBBT) because winds were gusting to 28 knots at the Second Island." Dr. Wright said divers had already reported seeing spadefish at the Tower Reef and 4A Drydocks but had no word of any rod and reel catches.

Wallace's Marina indicated it had been a real slow week for fishing, as wind and rain kept most folks in port. The crew aboard BREAK TIME, skippered by Owen Meyers, did fish Monday (May 6), wire-lined the CBBT between the Fourth Island and 12 MP and returned with a limit of 2 to 5-pound grey trout. The shop indicated a few flounder were caught at the mouth of Back River but most were under the 17-1/2-inch minimum size limit.

Johnny from Sunset Marina said Frank Kearny, III nailed a 7-1 flounder on a squid and minnow combination drifted off Cape Charles. Keith Blackburn and his fishing buddies had a good haul of croaker and trout to 7 pounds on peeler crab at the HRBT while Mark Lozier and his buddy caught a cooler full of croaker on squid at the M & M crossing.

Alan Vanasse from Vanasse Bait and Tackle knew of only a handful of anglers that had ventured out the past week due to poor weather conditions. Though not impressive, these anglers did manage to catch some flounder and croaker at Factory Point and a few trout off Grandview Beach.

Back River Market weighed a 5-1/2-pound, 24-1/2-inch speckled trout for William Fordam. The catch was reportedly made in the Baltimore Channel. The shop also indicated bottom fishermen were catching some croaker and trout off Back River.

Salt Ponds Marina said one of their customers returned from the bayside of the Fourth Island with a large catch of 1 to 2-pound croaker.

Jimmy Lewis from A & S Feed and Bait Supply told of excellent bottom fishing inside the York River. Anglers fishing from the Gloucester Pier and at the lumps are seeing mixed bags of croaker to over 2 pounds, bluefish to 20 inches and good-sized trout. Marvin Seal nailed an 11-pound, 11-ounce trout adjacent to the AMOCO pier. Jimmy said a few keeper flounder were caught around the Gloucester Bridge but the week's heavyweight was caught by Bill Richardson, weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was caught at the Cell. Jimmy added that speckled trout are still hitting inside Mobjack Bay, primarily around the mouth of the Severn River and at Ware Point, "the numbers are not that good but they're all large fish." One well-known local angler only caught three on a recent outing but all were over 5 pounds.

Captain Jim Thompson from Windmill Point Marina reported good catches of croaker in the lower portion of the Rappahannock with a few large spot mixed in with the catches.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club told of good catches of grey trout at several locations with the biggest fish coming from the CBBT. The CBBT, the Hump and buoy 36A are all producing keeper flounder while croaker are "everywhere." A recent outing aboard the HEALTHY GRIN produced red drum releases for Ken Neill (42 inches), Jeff Dail (46 inches) and Dave Moss (46 inches). The group trolled spoons just off Fisherman's Island. One of the few reports from offshore, indicated a smattering of chopper bluefish had arrived at the Hot Dog.

Virginia Middle Bay -

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported striped bass were "hit or miss" with fish of "trophy size" (32 inches or greater) especially hard to find. Trout made a decent showing north of Smith Point, off the mouth of the Potomac, near buoy 65. As for bottom fishing, croaker remain plentiful, especially at Blackberry Hang.

Smith Point Marina told of good bottom fishing for large croaker, as the marina weighed several croaker over three pounds in recent days. The waters around Smith Point Light and off the Little Wicomico River have been especially productive for the larger croaker. As for striped bass, "they've been a little slow," though fish to 25 pounds were boated near buoy 72. Trout have arrived in area waters, as several have been pulled from the rocks at Smith Point Light.

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Outfitters said large grey trout made a strong showing at the Cell last week. Anglers jigging with bucktails tipped with peeler crab early in the morning or late in the evening had the most success. Croaker are "everywhere" in the creeks and river with a surprising number of large spot mixed in. Waters surrounding buoy 36A and off the Cherrystone Reef site continue to produce the best flounder action. However, the heaviest flounder of the week, a fat 6-1/4 pounder caught by O.H. Farinholt, was boated at the York River Lumps while bottom fishing with peeler crab. Howard Kruse stopped-by to weigh a 28-inch, 8-pound, 7-ounce speckled trout he had just pulled from local waters.

Locklies Marina said area waters were "crazy with trout" all week and fresh peeler crab was the best bait. Bottom fishermen are also reporting plenty of big croaker, with several over 3 pounds, plus an occasional jumbo spot.

Garretts Marina said bottom fishermen in their area were catching plenty of large croaker to 16 inches "anywhere in the river" with the biggest fish coming from water only 3 to 5 feet deep.

Virginia Beach -

Folks at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported their headboats had been fishing inside the bay for pan trout the past week but will start running offshore for sea bass once federal waters open May 10. Due to the weather, none of the six-pack charters were out the past week.

Fisherman's Wharf Marina had no boats out the past week but knew of a few large trout that were caught inside Rudee Inlet.

Virginia Piers -

Grandview - Trout to 7 pounds and croaker of nearly 2 pounds provided good action after dark. The 7-pound trout and a 5 pounder were both caught by angler using fresh scallop for bait. Keeper flounder up to 4-1/2 pounds are caught during the daytime. Last Friday evening saw a good run of large spot.

Buckroe Beach - Daytime catches consist of flounder and sea mullet plus a few spot while croaker and trout become active as the sun begins to set.

Harrison - Charlie said bottom fishermen have been "knocking down the fish" the past week, as croaker and trout become active in the evenings. Bottom fishermen are also seeing a few spot plus some keeper flounder. A 4-1/2-pound flatfish was decked on Saturday.

Lynnhaven - Fish and fishermen have been scarce during the daytime but sea mullet, bluefish and keeper trout were caught in the late evenings.

Virginia Beach - Catches here include bluefish, sea mullet, trout and skate.

Sandbridge - Water temperature at pierside was 61 degrees on Wednesday (May 8) and the report for the day was a mixture of bluefish, sea mullet, pan trout and skate.

Outer Banks, NC -

Surf action in the Nags Head area was relatively slow with only sporadic catches of spot, snapper blues and speckled trout reported. The action was markedly improved from the piers, where spot to 1/2 pound, snapper blues, croaker, shad, grey and speckled trout were active throughout the day.

On Hatteras Island at Cape Point, chopper blues to 12 pounds provided dependable action. Cut bunker is the favored bait. After dark, a few large red drum and "bitter" sharks move within casting range. Water temperatures reached 70 degrees at the Point last week and several cobia were beached.

Boats fishing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center enjoyed good catches of gaffer dolphin and yellowfin tuna with many of the yellowfin topping 70 pounds and a few over 90 pounds. The inshore fleet is either working around the inlet and catching taylor blues or running the sound to Manns Harbor for catch and release striper action.

The fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet enjoyed very good catches of gaffer dolphin, above average numbers of wahoo and decent numbers of yellowfin tuna. Billfish have been relatively scarce for this time of the year.


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 at the top of any web page to get to the index of previous Saltwater Reviews


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