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

The Saltwater Review - 25 August 2004

Vol. 18, No. 14
by Lewis S. Gillingham

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


<>Since the end of last year, regulations for black sea bass and summer flounder have been modified.

For black sea bass, the minimum size limit remains 12 inches while the possession limit remains 25 fish but the late summer closed period runs from September 8 through September 21.  The winter-closed period remains December 1 through December 31.

For Summer Flounder, the minimum size and possession limit have both changed.  The minimum size limit decreased from 17-1/2 inches to 17 inches in 2004.  The possession limit likewise decreased, from 8 flounder last season to 6 summer flounder in 2004.

Effective August 20, 2004, the bluefin tuna retention limit in the HMS Angling category will increase from 1 to 2 tuna (27 to less than 73 inches) through September 20, 2004. Click here for details.

The trophy flounder bite remains underway on the lower Bay.  This week, a nearly 14-pound doormat was boated near the First Island on a live menhaden and another flatfish, just over 14 pounds, was scooped up in a commercial clam patent tong rig fishing near Cranny Island.

The spot bite intensified with the coldfront that moved through Tidewater over the weekend.  Best action was along the Bay from Willoughby Beach to Cape Henry and down along the oceanfront (including Rudee Inlet) to the Sandbridge Pier.

Offshore, white and blue marlin provided good action the past week, as some boats released as many as six in a single outing.  Yellowfin tuna continue to provide a steady bite at the fingers, located about 40 miles off Rudee Inlet, and out into 35 fathoms of water.  Bluefin tuna, some exceeding 100 pounds, still linger in the vicinity of the Lumpy Bottom.  Chunking with frozen butterfish has accounted for most of the bluefin catch but some of the largest tuna were caught by trollers.

Chincoteague -

Donna from Captain Bob's weighed in tuna up to 123 pounds over the weekend.  Most of the bigger tuna were bluefin and were caught at the Lumpy Bottom by anglers chunking with butterfish.  Schools of bailer-sized dolphin are holding in the same area and often visit the chunk slick.  Donna suggested anglers looking for yellowfin troll the 20-fathom line or run south to Wayne's World.  Inshore waters are choked with floating grass-a result of all the rain and wind last week.  Still, bottom fishermen are catching some croaker and some keeper flounder near Inlet View and along Chincoteague Channel.  

Barnacle Bill's said anglers drifting the main channel near the CV marker or along Assateague Channel recorded decent catches of keeper flounder plus some big croaker the past week.

Wachapreague -

Wachapreague Marina reported decent catches of bluefin and yellowfin tuna the past several days.  On Sunday the heaviest bluefin tipped the scales at just over 180 pounds!  Offshore anglers are also catching a scattering of dolphin, wahoo and billfish.

Captain Zed's said the "chunkers" were doing very good on tuna at the Lumpy Bottom while inshore bottom fishermen were catching some flounder and croaker.

Cape Charles

Chris' Bait and Tackle described the flounder bite off Cape Charles as "very good" although only about one fish in five meet the 17-inch size limit.  The good news was "we're seeing a lot of 4 and 5-pound flounder."  A private flounder tournament staged by "the Good Ole Boys from Franklin" provided a barometer for the larger flatfish.  Top prize was determined by the heaviest catch of six-flounder per boat.  The winning stringer weighed 28.6 pounds and was caught by Lloyd Schaffer, Wayne Whitehead and Gene Story.  The second place stringer weighed 28.5 pounds.  Stancil Lanier caught heaviest fish and it weighed 7-3/4 pounds.  The shop also registered a 7-pound, 3-ounce citation flatfish for Larry Howell, Jr.  John Kidwell boated a 3-pound, 3-ounce croaker and the shop indicated good catches of large croaker were made on the seaside in recent days.  Raymond Dickerson boated and released a 53-inch amberjack at the Chesapeake Light Tower.  Robert Savage, Jr (52 inches) and fishing buddy Denton Stone (46-1/2 inches) each released big red drum off Hungars Creek.  Spot made shorebound anglers happy at the State Park Pier at Kiptopeke and the public pier at Morley's Wharf.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported steady bottom fishing action for spot and croaker.  The flounder bite remains above average with flatfish to over 22 inches.  "We have been seeing a lot of flounder in the 16 to just under 17-inch range, which should be good for next year."  Taylor bluefish are also abundant in area waters while pan trout numbers remain slim.  Some speckled trout are being caught, "mostly by the locals and in the late evenings around the grass beds," according to Captain Wil.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -

Jackie from Cobbs Marina reported good catches of croaker from just outside the jetties at Little Creek and out to Thimble Shoals Light.  Anglers seeking flounder did best around the First Island and small boat channel while big sheepshead were pulled from the pilings near the Fourth Island.

Patrick at Bubba's Marina also told of good-sized flounder that were caught at the CBBT but added keeper-sized flatfish were also biting around the Lesner Bridge, where anglers casting from shore near sunrise were catching some trout as well.  Taylor bluefish were "everywhere," according to Patrick but the good spot and croaker bite inside the inlet had slowed recently.  Good numbers of and some impressive catches of large spadefish were made at the Tower Reef.

Dr. Jim Wright fished the Anglo-African wreck site last week and found it loaded with small spadefish, a few triggerfish and flounder up to 6 pounds.  A trip to the 4A Dry-dock found clear water, a few large barracuda swimming around and plenty of small sea bass on the bottom.  The crew moved to a wreck site further offshore and found good-sized black sea bass to over 5 pounds.

Sunset Marina described weekend action as "very slow" because of the weather.  Some croaker and spot were caught around the HRBT and M & M crossing, as those that did fish, stayed near port.

Cindy from Salt Ponds Marina said folks docked at the marina "just aren't fishing," and added, "it's rained the past six or seven weekends in a row."

Ken Neill, reporting Secretary for the Peninsula Anglers Club, said the best billfish bite was south of Rudee Inlet, around Triple 0's and out in 1000 fathoms of water.  For tuna, mainly yellowfin, Wayne's World and out to 35 fathoms offered the best action.  Amberjack remain a "hit-or-miss" situation at the southern towers, as well as wrecks closer to Rudee Inlet or around the Chesapeake Light Tower.  Flounder are active at most of their Bay haunts with the CBBT complex the best location for a trophy doormat.  Bottom fishermen recorded decent catches of spot at the mouth of Poquoson River, near buoy 4.  Some speckled trout were caught on the flats off Poquoson and inside Back River.

Virginia Middle Bay

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported trollers working near Smith Point Light scored on Spanish mackerel that averaged over 20 inches plus plenty of taylor blues and school-sized stripers.  As for bottom fishing, the best catches of spot are coming form the creeks while the best hauls of croaker are made in 50-plus feet of water south of buoy 62. 

Smith Point Marina said trollers working the mouth of the river and out to Cut Channel caught Spanish mackerel and loads of taylor blues. 

Locklies Marina said large spot continue to dominate the action but a few croaker still linger in area waters.  The area off Parrot Island, Butlers Hole and around the Route 3 Bridge produced the best catches.

Garretts Marina Garretts Marina said bottom fishermen were making nice hauls of spot and catfish plus a few croaker near buoy 19.

Captain Jim Thompson, aboard the JIM-AN-I running out of Deltaville, said the flounder bite at the mouth of the Rappahannock River and Cell slowed the past week.  Bottom fishermen had their best catches of spot at Butlers Hole, the Spike and Windmill Bar.  What the spot lacked in number, they made-up in size, as nearly all were "number 1's," according to Captain Thompson.  A sprinkling of pan trout were mixed in with the spot.  Pan trout made a better showing over the weekend in the Bay off Gwynn Island, where an occasional jumbo spot was boated.  Spot made a better showing inside the Piankatank, near Cherry Point, at the Mudhole and around buoy 5.  Schools of surface feeding bluefish were active all week at the mouths of both rivers.

Virginia Beach -

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported excellent billfish action on Friday, as Allen Palmer caught and released five white marlin aboard the TRIFLIN'.  Mark Cooke decked a 58-pound wahoo the same day aboard the HYLTONIAN.  On Saturday the yellowfin bite was on and several boats returned with limit to near limit catches of yellowfin tuna plus some dolphin.  Sunday the weather turned sour and boats remained in port. Earlier in the week (Wednesday), Chris Miles of Virginia Beach boated a 107-pound wahoo and released a white marlin aboard the BACKLASH.  The huge wahoo was just 2 pounds shy of the current state record (109 pounds) set by Delmo Dawson, in 1994.

Fisherman's Wharf Marina said offshore trollers were catching both blue and white marlin plus some yellowfin tuna.  The best billfish action was south of the Cigar while the better tuna catches were made around the Fingers and out towards the Norfolk Canyon.

Virginia Piers -

Grandview - Closed indefinitely. 

Buckroe Beach - The pier was completely destroyed by Hurricane Isabel. The city of Hampton has expressed an interest to build a pier in this area.

Harrison - The new owner of the property where Harrison's Pier was located (prior to Hurricane Isabel) has announced plans to build a new pier at the same location.  The estimated cost is 1.8 million dollars and the pier could be ready to open in early 2005.

Lynnhaven - The weekend coldfront produced a steady run of spot plus some taylor bluefish, croaker and small pompano.

Virginia Beach - Spot dominated the action with only scattered catches of taylor bluefish, pan trout, sea mullet and croaker.

Sandbridge - ottom fishermen enjoyed a good run of hand-sized spot over the weekend with the best hauls coming on Sunday, when some bluefish and small flounder were also decked.  On Monday, the morning "Gotcha crew" caught taylor bluefish and a few Spanish mackerel off the end of the pier while bottom fishermen pulled-in a mixture of spot, croaker, sea mullet and rays.

Outer Banks, NC -

Anglers along the Nags Head area beaches enjoyed a mixed bag the past week, including good numbers of spot, pompano, croaker, sea mullet, taylor blues and speckled trout.  Avalon Pier reported spot, speckled trout and bluefish were caught everyday the past week plus flounder, croaker, sea mullet, puppy drum and pompano often.  On the catwalk at Oregon Inlet, bottom fishermen pulled in yearling black drum, striped bass, sheepshead, trout, spot and bluefish.

South of Oregon Inlet, beach fishermen at Cape Point on Buxton managed a hand full of taylor blues while bottom fishermen working near the old jetties caught croaker and spot on Friday.  Saturday, a scattering of bluefish were beached early at the Point and a few pompano were caught along South Beach.  Sunday dawned windy and the water was murky but spot, croaker, sea mullet, pompano and small flounder provided steady action.  Casters nailed Spanish mackerel and bluefish Monday morning at the Point but the only catch for the remainder of the day was scattering of sea mullet.

The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center reported big catches of bailer dolphin plus a few yellowfin tuna, wahoo and several billfish releases on Friday.  Bigeye tuna grabbed the spotlight on Saturday and some boats landed over half-a-dozen fish that averaged better than a 100 pounds each.  Nearly every boat had plenty of bailer dolphin.  On Sunday, the crew aboard the HOOKER released an even dozen white marlin!  Other catches included bigeye tuna to 150 pounds, bailer dolphin, yellowfin and blackfin tuna.

The fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet tallied a total of 17 billfish releases on Friday, including one each by Jason Rhodes of Catlett, VA and Darrell Holmes, Jr of Bealeton, VA aboard the TUNA DUCK and Todd Luyber of Chesapeake, VA aboard the GAMBLER.  Other catches included excellent numbers of dolphin plus a few yellowfin tuna and wahoo.  On Saturday, Don Crocker of Elberon, VA released a sailfish aboard the CITATION and William Chisholm of Hopewell, VA released a white marlin aboard the GODSPEED.  Dolphin dominated the fish on the dock again on Saturday but some king mackerel, wahoo and yellowfin tuna were also landed.  On Sunday most of the fleet returned with limit catches of dolphin and a few wahoo and tuna.  Robert Troilo of Richmond released a blue marlin aboard the SEA CREATURE, Jon Murray of Richmond released a white aboard the BITE ME and Cecil Swain of Midlothian, VA boated a 45-pound wahoo 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.   Project is funded by NOAA and VMRC.

Click on Newsletter link to get to the index of previous Saltwater Reviews

Return to Top

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