OVERVIEWJuvenile 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, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Donna at Captain Bob’s reported the tuna action took off last
week, as good catches of yellowfin tuna were recorded at the Crotch
(located a little east of the Parking Lot). Closer inshore (about
20 miles from the dock) the 11 Fathom Lump produced gaffer dolphin and
large bluefin tuna. Donna indicated half her fleet is trolling
while the other half is chunking. Inshore, a few keeper flounder
are biting out in the deeper portions of the channels. Croaker
have arrived and some fish measure as much as 20 inches. Some
legal-sized pan trout have also moved inside the inlet, most of the
keepers are in the 13 to 14-inch range. Sea mullet continue to
provide dependable action around the inlet, along Chincoteague Channel,
at Four Mouths and even from the Assateague Island surf.
Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported bottom
fishing remains very good off Onancock with large croaker dominating
the catches. Spot and pan trout numbers are increasing with a
scattering of sea mullet, white perch and snapper bluefish part of the
daily catch. Best catches of the bigger croaker have come from 14
to 35 feet of water, “any deeper and we start catching smaller
fish,” noted Captain Wil. On the downside, flounder numbers
have been a disappointment the past two weeks.
Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -
Jackie from Cobbs Marina reported bottom fishermen caught plenty of
croaker and flounder around the CBBT, where some spot have started to
show. Greg Kampsen boated a 26-3/4-inch, 8-1/4-pound flounder at
the CBBT, where Mike Gleighman released a 46-1/2-inch red drum.
Bubba’s Marina told of good weekend catches of large flounder and registered several citation fish in the 7 to 9 pound range. The four islands of the CBBT and the waters just off the Cement Ships produced most of the better flounder catches. The marina indicated sheepshead and spadefish were active at the CBBT over the weekend and knew of several cobia, up to 48 pounds, that were boated near the crossing.
Dr. Jim Wright described the amberjack action at the South Tower as “awesome,” as his group quickly went through 60 to 70 live baits on the hungry, aggressive jacks. Most of the handsome fish ran 44 to 48 inches but the party managed to land six (50 to 57 inches) long enough for release awards. The group also boated a large barracuda and a cobia long enough for a release award. Dr. Wright indicated the Rudee Inlet fleet enjoyed some good catches of yellowfin tuna into double-digits, earlier in the week.
Sunset Boating Center saw several citation cobia the past week, including a 53-1/2-pounder on Sunday. Bottom fishermen caught plenty of croaker plus some keeper flounder at Hampton Bar last weekend but the biggest flounder of the week came from the CBBT. Kenneth Kelly nailed a 29-inch, 10-1/2-pound flounder at the Third Island, where Donald Kormhaus boated a citation 7-pound, 6-ounce flatfish. The shop also had good reports of bluefin, yellowfin and king mackerel from the Fingers to Norfolk Canyon.
Salt Ponds Marina said John Perry caught a 7-pound, 2-ounce flounder at the CBBT aboard the FREE BIRD last week. Dick Harris also fished near the CBBT and landed a 49-inch cobia aboard the MISS MATTIE. Offshore, several customers caught good-sized tuna over the weekend.
Chuck Ash from A & S Feed and Bait Supply said the summer cobia run was still strong at York Spit while the York River remained loaded with croaker. Folks fishing the public pier at Gloucester enjoyed a good run of hand-sized spot Tuesday evening (July 11).
Ken Neill, reporting Secretary for the Peninsula Anglers Club, said despite all of the fresh water being pumped into the bay, fishing remains rather good. Neill indicated the cobia bite “was just fantastic” with “a lot of fish all over the bay,” of various sizes. Most of the bigger fish are being caught on the western side of the bay. Big flounder are being caught along the structure of the CBBT and up around the Cell. Sheepshead are being caught at the CBBT but the action has not been red hot. Big spadefish are available at the 3rd and 4th islands and Spanish mackerel fishing has been very good along the Virginia Beach oceanfront and around the Chesapeake Light Tower. The South Tower is loaded with big amberjack. Farther offshore, the bluewater action was described as “just fantastic.” The few boats that have headed out past the 100-fathom curve have encountered billfish but not many boats have run that far because of the great tuna fishing closer in. Big bluefin tuna (100-200 pounds) are available on the Fingers. Yellowfin are being caught on the Cigar and from Wayne’s World on out to the Norfolk Canyon. Dolphin are everywhere with good numbers of gaffers weighing in over 25 pounds. Throw in some big wahoo and it is a great time to head offshore. The Peninsula Anglers Club concluded its annual, weeklong Youth and Ladies Tournament. This year’s winners were:
Ladies flounder: 1st-Brandi Clifford, 2nd-Kerri Henderson, 3rd-Tricia Neill.
Ladies croaker: 1st-Ruth McCormick, 2nd-Kerri Henderson, 3rd-Janet Fahy.
Youth flounder: 1st-Cole Henderson, 2nd-Hunter Southall, 3rd-Cameron Neill.
Youth croaker: 1st-Hunter Southall, 2nd-Nathan Gross, 3rd-Cole Henderson.
Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA International Representative for Virginia Beach, contributed the following:
The red-hot flounder and cobia action continue to duel for the top position with anglers. Cobia chummers are content, with most every boat departing the shoals with multiple fish and many trophies in the mix. Bluefish Rock and the Inner Middle Grounds are both producing monster fish with no discernable difference, both are excellent locations. Michael Siezak proudly weighed in a massive 79-pound trophy, while Adam Evans settled for an 85-pounder; both boated from the Inner Middle Grounds near the CBBT. Heavy flounder are tipping the scales daily at local tackle shops from anglers pounding the lower bay structures with live bait. Live spot and croaker are the favorite, with the 3rd and 4th islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel proving very productive. Andrew Heart fishing aboard the BADA BING scored with a 9-pound, 5-ounce doormat from the Third Island Sunday.
Red drum have made a late season comeback, with multiple large fish
thrilling cobia anglers and renewed drum hunters who are venturing out
to the lower bay shoals for an outstanding nighttime bite. Sheepshead
continue to provide outstanding action for those who have figured out
the pattern. Try fiddlers or clam along the span of the CBBT, or over
the tubes on any of the four artificial islands. Kevin Gurecki scored
with a fat 11-pound, 8-ounce sheepshead at the 1st island. Be sure to
contribute your remains to the ODU sheepshead study, where coolers
stand ready at local tackle shops. Although tautog should be done by
now, anglers are busy shucking through countless numbers of hungry tog
while looking for the prized sheepshead, but they aren’t
complaining! A few scattered triggers in the same area are also keeping
things interesting. If Spanish mackerel are your pleasure, these are an
easy target along the Virginia Beach oceanfront, Cape Henry, and the
CBJ buoy-line. Troll with small spoons on small planers, and you
can’t miss. This is a good family activity. Spadefish action is
still sketchy at the Tower, and small to medium-sized fish are
available on the upper bay structures. Bigger spades are lurking around
the High Rise span and the 4th island of the CBBT, if you can slow them
down. If you are a Jaws fan, the good new is big sharks are lurking in
our bay waters and striking an occasional bait. Fred Pratt and crew
wrangled and released a massive 84-inch sand bar shark in bay waters
this weekend. Hardhead hunters are in heaven with big croaker at every
bend of the Bay Bridge Tunnel and the Cell. Expect a few nice one-pound
sea mullet in the mix. If you are eligible to enter the tarpon scene,
the action is on the up-rise, with many sightings and a few jump-offs
and boated fish. Knowing someone is the best way to target these
elusive silvers. Amberjack are swarming at accessible wrecks and
navigation towers. Expect to pick through a lot of pups at the South
Tower, but the big boys will be happy to pull you to your knees if
given the chance. Pier anglers on the oceanfront are scoring with a
good number of taylor blues and Spanish mackerel at first light and in
the evenings casting Got-cha plugs and similar surface plugs.
The offshore season is in full swing, and only getting better.
Marlin have made a strong showing in deeper waters, while tuna are
going off at all the popular haunts. Decent yellowfin tuna can be had
from the Norfolk Canyon to the Fingers, while marlin are erupting out
of Hatteras, and over the 100-fathom line. Look for big bluefin tuna on
the 21-fathom fingers, and all the chopper bluefish you want. Gaffer
dolphin with many large enough to qualify for state citations are
scattered all the way down to Hatteras.
Virginia Middle Bay -
The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported excellent bluewater
action the past several days. On Thursday the fleet had good
catches of yellowfin tuna. James Murphy boated a pair of citation
yellowfin (75 and 76 pounds). On Friday, Erik Halliday released a
white marlin aboard the FROG PILE and Tony Birch decked a 49-pound
dolphin aboard the WHITE HOT. On Saturday the WAVE RUNNER and
BACKLASH had big catches of yellowfin tuna plus some dolphin and king
mackerel. On Sunday the FROG PILE and WAVE RUNNER each returned
with a large catch of yellowfin tuna plus several big bluefin tuna.
Fisherman's Wharf Marina told of good catches of yellowfin and bluefin tuna plus some gaffer dolphin between the Fingers and Norfolk Canyon. Schools of amberjack have arrived at the South Navy Towers and will readily hit live croaker or spot.
Virginia Piers -
– Bottom fishermen are catching mixed sizes of croaker and small
to medium spot plus an occasional pan trout and flounder.
Ocean View - The heat of the day is producing very little but during the early hours of the day and around sun down bottom fishermen are catching a mixture of spot, croaker, flounder and bluefish.
Virginia Beach – Bottom fishermen had a mixture of medium spot, croaker and sea mullet while casters working the ends of the pier caught snapper bluefish and several Spanish mackerel.
Sandbridge – Weekend bottom fishermen caught good numbers of medium spot plus some sea mullet, croaker and small flounder while casters working Gotcha plugs at the end of the pier caught snapper bluefish.
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