OVERVIEWDue to the observance of the July 4 holiday, the SWR will not be published the week of 3-7 July.
Donna at Captain Bob’s reported the heaviest tuna weighed-in during last weekend’s MSSA Tuna-A-Ment went 67-1/2 pounds. The talk on the island was a 223-1/2-pound mako caught aboard J.J’s TOY. The crew entered in the tournament but mako shark was not an eligible species. Donna said a few yellowfin tuna were caught during the week at the Washington Canyon but with the price of fuel “it equates to about $25 a pound” for the tuna. Inside the inlet, the flounder bite is slowing plus the ratio of “throw-backs” is increasing daily. Captain Mac MacDowell boated a fat 6-pound flounder while drifting the main channel right in front of Daisey’s Dockside. Donna suggested Assateague Channel was a good spot on days when the main channel was too rough plus sea mullet were still hanging around buoys 13 to 15. A few croaker have also moved inside the inlet and crabs (nearly all female) are abundant throughout area waters.
Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported good catches of croaker “when we got out,” but it was “not a good week to fish because of the weather.” Along with coolers full of croaker, bottom fishermen saw a few more 12-inch plus pan trout last week. Parties also had decent numbers of keeper flounder, “nothing huge but nice flounder in the 18 to 21-inch range.” Spot have yet to make a significant showing off Onancock.
Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -
Cobbs Marina reported spot have begun to show at the CBBT complex, where anglers are catching good-sized sheepshead and flounder. Spadefish are also showing along the CBBT but the week’s lone citation fish, a 9-pound, 2-ouncer boated by Darrell Worley, Jr., was caught at the Tower Reef on a small piece of clam. Roy McCausely (46-1/2 inches) and Tyler Olah (46-3/4 inches) each released a trophy red drum at the Inner Middle Grounds last week.
Bubba’s Marina told of good weekend action for cobia near the CBBT and indicated some boats caught as many as seven in a single outing. The shop registered several citation cobia and the heaviest one went 57 pounds. Anglers fishing the CBBT complex also caught flounder, sheepshead and spadefish.
Dr. Jim Wright told of good cobia action near the 13 MP of the CBBT and off the Cement Ships, where some outings are producing a half-a-dozen or more cobia. Dr. Jim also heard that amberjack had taken up residence at the Southern Towers, located some 50 miles southeast of Rudee Inlet.
Sunset Boating Center said croaker and some keeper flounder were caught at Hampton Bar and around Thimble Shoals but some of the biggest croaker are caught around the HRBT.
Cindy at Salt Ponds Marina told of good catches of flounder, bluefish and cobia from the bay and bluefin, yellowfin and dolphin offshore. Joseph Tippett boated a 66-pound cobia at Bluefish Rock aboard the FINFINDER early in the week and Jack Lawson had a 7-pound, 6-ounce flounder aboard the PELICAN at the CBBT, where Andy Brunfield boated a 55-pound cobia aboard the KELLY D. Ralph Goodman decked a 31-1/2-pound dolphin at the Fingers aboard the TANGA RAY. The same trip produced a big catch of chopper bluefish and yellowfin tuna for the rest of the crew and saw a white marlin swim through the baits.
Chuck Ash from A & S Feed and Bait Supply said the weather kept many anglers in port the past week but cobia were caught at York Spit by the handful of anglers that ventured out. Croaker remained abundant inside the York River and good hauls were recorded by anglers fishing the public pier at Gloucester Point.
Ken Neill, reporting Secretary for the Peninsula Anglers Club, described the week’s tuna fishing as “very good,” with some bigeye tuna around “to bust up your tackle,” a lot of yellowfin and some bigger (100 plus pound) bluefin tuna on the Fingers. The gaffer dolphin bite is “the best we have had in several years.” Spadefish are still biting with most area structures having fish, according to Neill. “The trick is to find the structure with big fish that want to eat. The Tower Reef has been good.” The Tower Reef has also been a good place to catch Spanish mackerel and trollers are also catching mackerel along the CB buoy line while their bigger cousins, king mackerel, are being caught out at the Fish Hook. The cobia bite is very, very good. And there are a lot of fish in the bay of all sizes, 100 pounders and double digit catches. All of the cobia spots are producing, noted Neill, as most anglers are chumming at areas like Bluefish Rock, York Spit, and the Inner Middle Grounds but fish are also being caught off of the buoys. The flounder bite is very good. Some monster fish are falling to live spot at a number of structures with the CBBT being very good. Big croaker are being caught up in the rivers with 3 pound fish up in the York. Big sheepshead have arrived and were caught at the CBBT last week.
Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA International Representative for Virginia Beach, contributed the following:
Are we bored with cobia yet? Not yet, but anglers are certainly having their fill with some boats catching enough fish per trip to push double digits! Most anglers fishing with cut bait are scoring with release and weight citation fish on all the popular shoals. Jenny Manus released her first 51-inch citation while chumming at York Spit. The Inner Middle Grounds, and Bluefish Rock have also been very productive cobia spots. Bob Manus reported many juvenile cobia schooling in their slick.
Flounder are ahead of schedule, and soaring to impressive citation counts for this time of year. Big fish can be tricked drifting, but most of the fat flatties are laying on the lower bay structures. James Daughtry pulled a pair of 8-pound doormats from one of the tubes at the CBBT using a bucktail tipped with a strip of croaker. Live bait such, as small spot, croaker, and mullet, is also an extremely effective flounder enticer. Spadefish are still available from the Chesapeake Light Tower up to the Cell in the middle bay area. Although a little more finicky than a month ago, persistent anglers are scoring with nice fish. Try drifting bobbers or free-floating lines adorned with clam on an extra small hook. Many large spades have been spotted around the structure of the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Inshore wrecks are producing small tautog, while a few citations are still hitting on the CBBT structures. Sheepshead are on the loose! Many huge specimens have been boated from the CBBT using fiddlers. Be sure to donate the leftover remains to area marinas for the ODU sheepshead study. Pan-sized gray trout are an easy target at the Inner Middle Grounds and the high-rise section of the Bridge Tunnel, where Captain Steve Wray loaded up for his charter after limiting out on spadefish at an inshore wreck. Big croaker are hitting at the Cell, the York River, and the entire span of the CBBT, where a few 3-pound thugs were caught at the 2nd island. Red drum are still lurking about the shoals of the lower bay, occasionally surprising cobia anglers with some fish measuring over 50-inches. Black drum are schooled around the artificial islands of the CBBT, but boat traffic makes it hit and miss action. Spanish mackerel are providing trollers with decent catches. Darren Foster scored with an impressive fish stretching to 24-inches while trolling off Virginia Beach in sloppy seas. Expect small blues mixed in with the Spanish from the Tower to Cape Henry. Tarpon are sketchy, but available in the usual Eastern Shore hot spots near Oyster. Anglers at the Seagull Fishing Pier have been lucky with nice triggerfish and croaker, while the Little Island pier has seen a mix of croaker, spot, and sea mullet.
If the weather holds, offshore action will take off for the holiday weekend. Look for nice yellowfin tuna and a few marlin at the Norfolk Canyon, while the Fingers and the Cigar promise a few big bluefin tuna and giant gaffer dolphin over 30 pounds. A few bigeye tuna are a pleasant surprise, along with some spotty billfish action. King mackerel are available at the Fishhook and other inshore seamounts. Big amberjack are hitting jigs and live bait near deeper structures.
Virginia Middle Bay -
The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported the charter boat WHITE HOT had a good catch of yellowfin tuna, a gaffer dolphin and a 110-pound mako shark just prior to the weekend. The BACKLASH had a near limit of yellowfin tuna and a gaffer dolphin, fishing north of the inlet over the weekend. The marina indicated larger bluefin had moved into the Fingers while chopper bluefish numbers had declined.
Paula Owen from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said the fleet was plagued by several “blow-day” due to the weather last week but some decent catches of tuna had been made between the Triple 0’s and 870-line and just above the Norfolk Canyon. One boat got out Wednesday (28 June) and had nice bluefin tuna and gaffer dolphin inside the Cigar along the 200-line.
Virginia Piers -
James River – Croaker and spot plus the occasional snapper bluefish bite sporadically during the day. The action improves after sun set.
Ocean View – Small spot, croaker and skate compete for bottom-fished baits during the day. Add small shark and snapper blues to the list after sundown.
Lynnhaven – Small spot and croaker provide fair action during day light hours. The catches improve after sun set. Casters are seeing some snapper bluefish. Crabbing is still decent.
Virginia Beach – Three-to-the-pound spot dominated catches over the weekend. A few of the spot were larger, even topping 12 ounces. Casters working the end of the pier caught snapper bluefish and the occasional Spanish mackerel.
Sandbridge – Bottom fishermen happy with small spot and croaker plus a sprinkling of sea mullet and small flounder enjoyed a good weekend. Casters working the end of the pier caught some snapper bluefish and Spanish mackerel. A strong run of Spanish and bluefish developed Monday.
Outer Banks, NC -
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