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The Saltwater Review - June 28, 2001

Vol. 15, No. 8
by Lewis S. Gillingham
Cape Charles
Lower Bay/
Bridge Tunnel
Virginia Middle Bay
Virginia Beach
Virginia Piers
Outer Banks, NC

Due to the observance of the Fourth of July holiday, Wednesday, July 4, the Virginia Saltwater Review will not be published the week of July 2-6.
The Trophy Striped Bass season ended June 15, 2001, 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).;
The VMRC held a public hearing to finalize the closed period for the 2001 Recreational Summer Flounder fishery, Tuesday, May 22, 2001. The minimum size limit for Summer Flounder will remain at 15-1/2 inches and the possession limit is 8-fish but the closed period has been extended and will be 24 July 2001 through 7 August 2001.
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).
Anglers are reminded that the Black Sea Bass minimum size limit is 11 inches with a 25-fish possession limit. The recreational season for Black Sea Bass will be closed from July 15, 2001 through August 14, 2001.
Bluefin tuna have arrived off Virginia's coast. The NMFS has adjusted angling category retention limit for Atlantic bluefin tuna for the upcoming season. A copy of this notice is attached.
In addition to bluefin tuna, citation-sized yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, dolphin and billfish were caught off Virginia's coast the past week. Recent catches have been made between the Washington Canyon and Cigar, generally in waters of 100 fathoms or greater. Big spadefish remain available at several locations and the bigger fish seem to be shifting to inshore of the Chesapeake Light Tower. Amberjack have arrived at the tower and other nearby wrecks.

Chincoteague -
Donna from Captain Bob's reported the flounder bite slowed the past week, despite weighing citation flatfish for Cama Boeckel (6-1/4 pounds) and Bea Lord (6 pounds). Some quality flounder are still available despite the increase in "throwbacks," and Donna suggested the SE side of Queens Sound as a top location. Offshore, both yellowfin and bluefin tuna were caught from the Parking Lot to the Washington Canyon. The nearshore waters hold more bluefin (and chopper blues) while yellowfin (and dolphin) are more abundant at the canyon.

Barnacle Bill's said the flounder bite had slowed somewhat but decent hauls were still being made around the mouth of the inlet and the deeper holes in Queen's Sound. Croaker have arrived and now compete with flounder for most baits used by anglers. Other catches include grey trout and taylor blues. Offshore, 10 to 13-pound chopper blues are in good supply in the vicinity of the Parking Lot and lumpy bottom and are viewed as a plague by trollers working for tuna. Jason Shank was pulling a "long-rigger" with a Green Machine and landed a 17-pound, 14-ounce bluefish, one of the summer's first citation bluefish. Chris Killiam was aboard the REEL TIME at the Washington Canyon and boated a 75-3/4-pound yellowfin tuna.

Wachapreague Marina reported a strong flounder bite over the weekend and a high percentage of "keepers." Flatfish are scattered throughout the protected waters but the northway channel was suggested as the top weekend spot. Offshore, Wayne Evans aboard the FINTASTIC caught and released a 9-foot blue marlin and Mickey McGuire boated a 70-pound, 13-ounce yellowfin tuna aboard the BETH-ME.

Captain Zed's also saw an increase in big flounder the past week, as the shop weighed citation flatfish for Donald Perry of Gloucester (6-5, Quinby) and Cindy Perry of Gloucester (6-2, Quinby). Greg Burnette stopped-in to weigh a 31-inch and 9-pound grey trout that was caught at the CBBT High Rise Bridge and Thomas Hayward of Jamesville registered a cobia release from Nassawaddox Creek. Also from the bayside, Robert Turner of Accomac weighed a 19-inch, 3-pound, 2-ounce croaker that was caught at the Cell on peeler crab. Offshore, William Tyson aboard the MARLIN MAGIC released a white marlin at the Norfolk Canyon.

Cape Charles
Chris' Bait and Tackle registered nine citation cobia over the weekend--three releases and six weigh-ins. James Beasely, Sr. released a 47-inch cobia at buoy 16, where his son, James, Jr. boated a 79-pound cobia. Robert Savage, Jr. released a 48-inch cobia at buoy 13, where Alan Moore boated a 75-1/4-pound cobia. Lawrence Shyne boated a 7-11 flounder and a 7-1/4-pound flounder on successive days at the Fourth Island. Claude Blenner landed the weekend's heavyweight flatfish, an 8-3/4 pounder, at the Cement Ships, Sam Powell of Franklin boated a 6-14 flounder at the Cell and the shop had several other citation flatfish from the High Rise and buoy 36A. The Kiptopeke State Park Pier had some Spanish mackerel, croaker, bluefish and pan trout over the weekend. From the seaside, word has it that croaker have moved into the waters off Oyster.

Captain Wil Laaksonen at Fish and Finn Charters saw more flounder and spot the past week, in addition to "loads of jumbo croaker, all you want." Pan trout are mixed in with a days' catch and most trout run 14 to 18 inches. Small sharks have arrived and "you have to keep moving to stay out of them." 

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -
Cobbs Marina reported good-sized spadefish have arrived at the CBBT complex. Biggest fish weighed the past week was caught by Gilbert Lozano of Chesapeake. The fish weighed 8-10 and was caught at the pilings just north of the Fourth Island. The marina also told of decent numbers of "keeper-sized" flounder but "no big ones." Cobia also received considerable interest the past week and fish were caught "a little all over," including 9-Foot Shoals, off Harrison's Pier and around the ODU Reef site.

Bubba's Marina said spadefish were still being caught at the Tower Reef but good numbers of these hard-pulling fish had also moved into the waters surrounding the Third and Fourth islands. The recent cobia bite was rated "fair" with Latimer Shoals and the Inner Middle Grounds the top spots. Flounder continue to provide steady action with some of the better reports coming from the First and Second islands. Offshore, four citation dolphin, a 79-pound yellowfin (also a citation) and several white marlin releases were recorded at the Norfolk Canyon.

Dr. Jim Wright and his party had four citation cobia "in just an hour" while fishing oceanward of the 13 MP and using live spot for bait on a recent outing. The group moved to the Anglo-African wreck site and enjoyed fast action on spadefish and also caught several triggerfish and tautog. Dr. Jim heard of good hauls of large croaker and flounder were made at the ODU Reef site on Saturday and a 168-pound bluefin that was boated at the 26-Mile Hill.

Donnie at Wallace's Marina said David Foreman weighed the biggest cobia of the week at 71 pounds, as the shop also registered "eight or ten" releases for fish over 44inches. Donnie conceded that the average size cobia was smaller this year than in recent years. Flounder fishing has been good at Bluefish Rock, the CBBT and "I hear its excellent at the Cell." Charles Flanagan boated a 6-14 flounder at the CBBT, where Henry Kim landed a 6-3/4 pounder earlier in the week. As for croaker, "they're just everywhere," so much so that the flounder fishermen often complain.

Johnny from Sunset Marina said James Brown boated a 58-inch and 65-pound cobia on a live croaker off Buckroe Beach, where numerous other "small but legal" cobia were caught in recent days. Johnny said Hampton Bar continues to produce good hauls of croaker, some of which top two pounds, and fair numbers of flounder.

Alan Vanasse from Vanasse Bait and Tackle said the mouth of Back River was good for keeper flounder, jumbo croaker and a few pan trout. The shop weighed several cobia in the 30 to 40-pound range but "no citations."

Back River Market weighed a 66-1/2-inch and 101-pound cobia for Travis Mulkey. The huge fish was boated near York Spit Light and is the largest weighed thus far this year. 

Mark at Salt Ponds Marina told of good catches of flounder from the Bluefish Rock area and the CBBT while croaker and pan trout were biting at Thimble Shoals Light. 

Jimmy Lewis at A & S Feed and Bait Supply said cobia were caught from York Spit to Swash Channel in recent days. Citation fish were registered by Bill Kellan of Hayes (50-inch release), Jennifer Hall of Gloucester Point (46-inch release) and Danny West of Hayes (62 pounds). Good-sized croaker plus fair numbers of pan trout were caught at the lumps, where William Hutson of Blackstone decked a 3-1/4-pound croaker. Good catches of croaker and some flounder were taken at the Gloucester Point Pier, as flounder continue to hold near the Gloucester Bridge on the Yorktown side as well. Jimmy also heard of some good catches of flatfish around buoy 42, where Dave Faulman of Hayes boated a 6-pound, 7-ounce flounder.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club had a busy, productive week of fishing. The crew onboard the A-TEAM caught six cobia on a recent outing to the Inner Middle Ground and two of the fish were long enough for release awards. Don Foreman released a 45-1/2 incher and Chris Boyce released a 44-3/4-inch cobia. Roy and David Young wire-lined the High Rise area of the CBBT, catching trout to 4 pounds and several good-sized flounder, including a 9-1/2 pounder reeled-in by David. Other members reported decent catches of flounder off Cape Charles and at the Cell. Richard Barlett and his party boated four citation spadefish at the Anglo-African wreck site and the heaviest weighed 10-3/4 pounds. Moving offshore, amberjack have arrived at the Tower Reef, Ken Neill wrestled with one that was finally boated, measured 58 inches, photographed and then released. Other offshore reports indicate dolphin were holding around the lobster pot buoys at the Norfolk Canyon, yellowfin tuna and dolphin at the NOAA weather buoy and skipjack tuna near the Ocean Venture wreck site.

Virginia Middle Bay -
Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported trollers did well on Spanish mackerel at Windmill Bar and off Bluff Point the past week. The same area has surface feeding schools of taylor blues during the early morning hours, according to Roger. The Northern Neck Reef site is producing good catches of croaker plus some pan trout while the lower Potomac yielded croaker plus some spot. Flounder were reported at Blackberry Hang and around the jetty.

Dan from Smith Point Marina said jumbo croaker to over four pounds are holding at the Middle Grounds. The marina weighed citation croaker for Ricky Dunn (4-2), Matt Weyer (3-7), Robert Thomas (3 pounds) and David Orrocco (3 pounds) and all were boated at the Middle Grounds. The charter fleet has been running into Maryland waters (where the striped bass season remains open) near the Target Ships, chumming and catching plenty of 18 to 22-inch striped bass plus fair numbers of taylor blues. Dan also told of decent numbers of flounder around the jetty and Blackberry Hang.

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Outfitters said many of the charter boats ran across the bay to fish off Silver Beach for jumbo croaker plus some spot and pan trout. Big flounder are available in the buoy 42 area but weekend weather kept many anglers from making the trip into open waters. John Brown, Sr., of Redart, boated a 7-6 flounder on a orange and blue dressed jig tipped with squid and a minnow while Robert Kindervater of Richmond used a standard flounder rig baited with squid and landed a 6-14 flatfish. Both citation catches were made near buoy 42. Spadefish remain available at the Cell and to a lesser extent, Wolf Trap Light but no citations were checked-in the past week. Schools of Spanish mackerel are holding around the mouth of the Rappahannock River, between Windmill Point and Cherry Point and off Gwynn Island. Billy Flippin, Jr. of Bena boated a 54-pound, 56-1/2-inch cobia at York Spit where Robert Flippin of Gloucester released a 44-inch cobia. Both catches were made on live croaker.

Locklies Marina said bottom fishermen are catching loads of croaker plus some good-sized spot at the Silos and Butlers Hole while the White Bridge and Cherry Point produced fair catches of flounder.

Garretts Marina said the croaker bite slowed "a bit" over the weekend but anglers are still making decent hauls of fish. A few spot were reported but "not very many," according to the marina spokesman.

Captain Jim Thompson from Windmill Point Marina described the river as "semi-productive" for medium-sized croaker and hand-sized spot at Butlers Hole and off Broad Creek. Better catches of larger croaker were made outside the river mouth (Windmill Point side), between the R1 and R2 buoys in 35 feet of water. Captain Thompson said schools of Spanish mackerel were feeding around the mouth of the river but "nobody's fishing for them," while across the Bay at the Cell and range light the flounder action was improving.

Virginia Beach -
The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported good catches of dolphin, fair to good catches of yellowfin tuna plus several white and blue marlin at the Norfolk Canyon. Several bigeye tuna were also brought in with the heaviest going 185 pounds. Inshore boats recorded good catches of the flounder to 9 pounds at the CBBT and loads of amberjack at the South Tower. The headboat fleet fished the Tower Reef area and had fair to good catches of black sea bass.

Fisherman's Wharf Marina indicated boats that fished offshore on Sunday returned with fair numbers of yellowfin tuna plus some bailer dolphin.

Virginia Piers
James River - Bobby Wharton reported a steady bite of croaker and spot in recent days. The pier started carrying live minnows and the number of flounder decked has increased considerably. Trout have arrived and a few are usually caught each evening.

Grandview - Pier jockey's are seeing cobia everyday but the fish are not always interested in what was tossed their way. Bottom fishermen are catching croaker up to 2-1/2 pounds, flounder, sea mullet and pan trout. Casters usually enjoy a flurry of Spanish mackerel early and late in the day. 

Buckroe Beach - Dorothy said spot made a strong showing in recent days and a 37-pound cobia was decked Tuesday. Flounder bite best during the day while nighttime catches include pan trout, croaker and "lots of shark."

Harrison - Charlie said bottom fishermen were leaving the pier with buckets full of spot early in the week but the bite has come to a near standstill since Sunday. Pan trout are biting after dusk, as well as small shark at the end of the pier. For the week, several cobia were hooked but none were landed.

Lynnhaven - Best action is after dark when catches include pan trout, sea mullet, spot, bluefish and croaker. Fair numbers of flounder are caught during the mid-day period.

Virginia Beach - Flounder fishing has improved, "since they started pumping the sand on the beach, according to the pier spokesperson. Other catches include Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sea mullet, spot and croaker. Water temperature next to the pier was 71 degrees on Tuesday.

Sandbridge - Croaker and pan trout provided good action on Monday while good numbers of Spanish mackerel were caught over the weekend, when a 30-inch red drum was decked. A cobia was landed earlier in the week.

Outer Banks, NC

Spot and sea mullet kept surf and pier bottom fishermen occupied while Spanish mackerel and taylor blues were caught by casters from the ends of the piers early and late in the day along the Nags Head area beaches. On Hatteras, Spanish mackerel and taylor blues provided a dependable bite at Cape Point in the morning and evening. Some pompano were caught from both the North and South beaches with the best catches made north of Avon. David Allen of Buxton beached a 51-pound cobia at the Point on Friday.

Offshore, the fleet sailing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center had good catches of dolphin plus fair yellowfin tuna while releasing several billfish on Friday. The MADD HATTER released two blue marlin and a white marlin, CAPT BC released a sailfish, Jason Walsh of VA released a blue marlin aboard JOBOY, Robert McBurney of VA released a white marlin on the OUT RIGGER and Mark Batzel of Virginia Beach boated a 95-pound yellowfin tuna on the FLYING FISHERMEN. Saturday, TUNA FEVER boated a 234-pound bigeye, Whitley Lee of Emporia landed a 188-pound bigeye and John Hughs of Mechanicsville decked a 100-pound yellowfin aboard the MADD HATTER. John Taylor of Gloucester released a blue marlin aboard MARLIN FEVER IV, the crew aboard the POACHER released a pair of 60-inch amberjacks and the SEADUCER returned with a 57-pound dolphin. Sunday, most of the fleet had a limit of yellowfin tuna and some dolphin. The PELICAN boated a 177-pound bigeye, TUNA FEVER landed three bigeye tuna up to 122 pounds and the HIGH RETURN boated five bigeye. Inshore, the weekend saw fantastic numbers of taylor blues and fair numbers of Spanish mackerel. The headboat had mixed catches of croaker, flounder, sea bass and taylor blues.

The fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet returned Friday with good hauls of gaffer dolphin plus some yellowfin and wahoo. The crew on the TUNA DUCK released a white marlin and the RELIANCE a sailfish. Top dolphin was reeled-in by Andy Gill of Powhatan aboard the TOP BILLIN and weighed 53 pounds. Saturday was marred by morning thunderstorms, many boats remained in port and others got a late start but finished with a load of dolphin and a few tuna. Sunday, more rain and loads of dolphin. A blue marlin was released aboard the SEA ANGEL II and a 115-pound yellowfin was boated on the GOOD TIMES.

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.

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

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