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The Saltwater Review - 22 June 1999

Vol. 13, No. 10
by Lewis S. Gillingham
OVERVIEW Chincoteague Wachapreague Cape Charles Onancock
Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel Virginia Middle Bay Virginia Beach Virginia Piers Grandview
Buckroe Beach Harrison Lynnhaven Sandbridge Outer Banks, NC

OVERVIEW

Virginia's Trophy Striped Bass season came to an end Tuesday, June 15. It is most important that anglers report their Trophy catch (all 32-inch or greater fish caught and kept between 1 May and 15 June) on forms available at Citation Weigh Stations, many other tackle shops and marinas and from our homepage web site (see address above). A reporting form is also enclosed in this report.

There are four ways to report 1999 Striped Bass Recreational Trophy fish. You can opt to pick up a report form from any weigh station and mail it in. Or you may choose to print or download a reporting form from the VMRC web site and mail or FAX it in. Or, download a form from the VMRC web site and e-mail it as an attachment. Or lastly, you can now choose an on-line form to send in the information. The on-line form does not work with all browser e-mail systems (such as AOL), so please keep a copy of your information in case the information does not reach the VMRC. Reports received via e-mail or on-line form will receive a reply. The web address is http://www.state.va.us/mrc/recreational.htm, the e-mail address is lgillingha@mrc.state.va.us , the FAX number is (757) 247-2264.

Cobia were in the spotlight again last week, as several fishing tournaments premiering these gamesters were held over the past weekend. The weather certainly did not cooperate but the cobia did. The Bluefish Rock "area" attracted the greatest crowds of anglers and good numbers of cobia were boated, including several in the 70-pound class. Reports indicated the waters surrounding York Spit also saw a good bite of cobia. But the week's heavyweight, a 90-pounder (and largest recorded thus far this season) was boated on the other side of the Bay at Latimer Shoals.

A lone report from the buoy 42 area indicates that big flounder may finally be arriving at this popular mid-summer flounder hole.

The season's first citation-winning yellowfin tuna was boated off Wachapreague near the Washington Canyon on Saturday, where catches ranged as high as a dozen yellowfin per boat.

A Shark Tournament headquartered at the seaside port of Chincoteague featured several makos in excess of 250 pounds.

Chincoteague-

Donna from Capt. Bob's weighed a pair of citation-winning flounder the past week, as Tobby Hann decked a 6-14 flatfish in the main channel "right in front of Capt. Bob's" and Shawn Giacobbe nailed a 7-6 flounder in Queen's Sound. Fair numbers of trout remain available inside the inlet.

R & R Boat Rental said folks were still catching flounder, "we've just had so much wind," as flatfish to 4 3/4 pounds and 23 inches were checked-in on Monday. Additionally, croaker and pan trout were pulled from the Assateague Island surf and boat fishermen reported scattering of croaker at Four Mouths and around the inlet.

Rosaleen from Barnacle Bill's said 14 boats participated in the shop's annual Shark Tournament held last weekend and every boat caught at least one mako. The first place fish was a 274 1/2 pound mako, boated by Steve Mack at the Little Fingers aboard the RUMOR HAS IT. Second place was a 262 1/2 pound mako, boated by Gary Kelly aboard SEA CATS at the Little Fingers. The crew aboard HORRIBLE SUNRISE claimed the shark release award.

Daisey's Dockside said weather "really messed us up," as winds and rains stirred the waters and dislodged submerged grasses. Still, some anglers managed "a few keeper flounder," usually at a spot with some protection from the wind, such as Four Mouths, Black Narrows or Cockle Creek. The shop added that a few croaker were starting to show in the catches.

Wachapreague-

Wachapreague Marina reported several charter craft and even a private boat or two fished offshore near the Washington Canyon on Saturday and returned with impressive catches of yellowfin tuna and some dolphin. Paul Brandenburg, fishing aboard the ALMOST PERSUADED, boated the season's first citation-winning yellowfin tuna at 74 1/2 pounds. The crew aboard the JAMES GANG weighed a 17-9 false albacore.

Capt. Zed's said the inshore "hills" produced a few bluefin tuna and false albacore. The charter craft CANYON LADY released a pair of small bluefin and captured several false albacore at the 26 Mile Hill on Saturday. Water temperature at the 26 Mile Hill was in the low 60's. Inside the inlet, flounder remain reasonably abundant but few top the 16-inch minimum size limit. A few pan trout are showing in the catches plus an occasional croaker.

Cape Charles-

Chris' Bait and Tackle checked-in one of the largest cobia of the season, a 90-3 fish, caught by Steve Baumann at Latimer Shoals. Several other citation-winning cobia were boated at Latimer Shoals over the weekend, including a 62-2 fish by David Warren and a 52-5 cobia by Wayne Bradshaw. Sharon Clarke released a 46 1/2-inch cobia at buoy 16 while her husband, David Clarke, earned a release award for a 46-inch red drum at the CBBT complex. Bottom fishermen working near the Cement Ships reported decent numbers of keeping sized flounder up to 19 inches, some pan trout and plenty of croaker.

Onancock-

Captain Wil Laaksonen at Fish and Finn Charters reported evening bottom fishing trips are producing good numbers of 2 to 3-pound croaker and easy 4-fish limits of pan trout up to 5 pounds. Decent numbers of spot in the 9 to 12-inch range are mixed in with the croaker and trout. Flounder action remains just "so-so," according to Captain Wil, while schools of 2-pound bluefish are becoming more common. Cobia have arrived in the area and several were boated in the past week.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel-

Cobbs Marina reported only a handful of anglers fished over the weekend due to the weather and many of those remained inside Little Creek, where they managed to catch a few croaker at the jetty.

Bubba's Marina weighed a pair of citation winning cobia on Saturday. Both fish were caught at Latimer Shoals on boats anchored and chumming. But strong winds and rough seas kept many inside Lynnhaven Inlet, where surprisingly good numbers of flounder up to 5 pounds were claimed.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina described cobia fishing as "real good when they can get out." At least eight different parties were able to "get out" Saturday, despite the strong ENE winds, as the shop weighed eight cobia--seven of which met or exceeded the 50 pound citation qualifying weight. Two of those fish were over 70 pounds, as Richard Mountcastle boated a 74 pounder and Richard Billeter a 72 pounder. Bluefish Rock and just inshore continue to be the favored location. Donnie added that Rebecca Glass landed a 6-11 flounder at the CBBT early in the week, when other parties recorded decent catches of grey trout.

Johnny at Sunset Marina had the results of the one-day (Saturday) Cobia Tournament co-sponsored by the marina and Bishop's Tackle. For the second year in a row, Luke Lenix took first place, this year with a 74-pound, 61-inch cobia. Tabb Pabst finished second at 63.3 pounds, J.J. Miller third at 62.6 pounds, Donald Knight fourth at 59.8 pounds and Keith Price at fifth at 58 pounds. Earlier in the week, Johnny said a husband and wife team returned from the Hampton Bar with a nice catch of 18 to 22-inch flounder plus several croaker to nearly 2 pounds.

A.D. from Vanasse Bait and Tackle said the shop was "pretty quiet" over the weekend due to the weather, though several cobia were boated at Bluefish Rock despite the less than ideal conditions. A.D. also mentioned that a few flounder were caught near Bluefish Rock over the weekend.

Andy Watkins at Back River Market saw just one cobia, a 38 pounder, over the weekend, saying "Saturday was a blow-out and Sunday was a wash-out." Those few anglers that just "had to fish" did manage to land some croaker inside Back River.

Salt Ponds Marina said all their anglers remained in port over the weekend, "a few came down to check on their boats but that was it."

Jimmy Lewis at A & S Feed and Bait Supply said cobia continue to stage around York Spit Light, where several release citations were claimed on Saturday. The shop also weighed some cobia "in the 40's," (pounds) from the same waters, according to Jimmy. Inside the York River, pan trout and croaker were biting off Cheatham Annex while fair numbers of spot were reported around the mouth of the Parrin River. The Gloucester Point Pier continues to produce good hauls of croaker plus some keeper flounder.

Reports from various members of the Peninsula Anglers Club indicate good numbers of cobia are available in the Bluefish Rock area, spadefish at the Cell, CBBT and Tower Reef, bluefin tuna and false albacore at the 26 Mile Hill and amberjack at the Tower Reef and South Tower. Despite high winds on Saturday, the club's cobia tournament produced citation-winning fish for Dave "Sinker man" Carpenter (62 pounds and a 46 1/2-inch release), J.J. Miller (60 pounds), Keith Price (58 pounds), Steve Coovert (55 pounds) and Richard Bartlett (52 1/2 pounds). The crew fishing with Dr. Allen wire-lined the CBBT and caught grey trout to 22 inches and flounder to 21 inches. On Monday, Ken Neill and Don Crist fished the 26 Mile Hill, catching a pair of false albacore, a skipjack tuna and releasing a 43-inch bluefin tuna in the 61-62 degree water.

Virginia Middle Bay-

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported large croaker were caught at the N2 buoy and just off buoy 62 while anglers working Stingsilvers along the channel edge that stretches from buoy 62, north to the northern Neck Reef, are catching large trout. Roger added that the biggest and best action for both croaker and trout is usually after dusk. Trollers fishing the same waters are finding taylor blues and the occasional Spanish mackerel. Blackberry Hang is producing a steady bite of medium croaker plus a few trout and flounder.

Smith Point Marina said their charter fleet fished Friday, Saturday and Sunday despite the weather. Boats targeting striped bass headed north into Maryland waters (where the striped bass season is open), chummed the waters around the airplane wreck and boated limits of stripers to 22 pounds. A few taylor blues were also taken in the chum slicks. Back in Virginia waters, bottom fishermen working the lower Little Wicomico River reported plenty of croaker while anglers casting to the rocks at the base of the lighthouse scored on pan trout.

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Reel and Downrigger Service had one customer that fished the buoy 42 area on Saturday and boated a limit of flounder. One flatfish went better than 6 pounds and two others measured 24 inches! Even more surprising, croaker were not constantly grabbing the baits. Other encouraging news--spot are becoming more prevalent around the mouth of the Rappahannock River and along the east side of Gwynn Island in 28 feet of water.

Jim Thompson from Locklies Marina weighed a pair of citation flounder last week. One, a fat 7 pounder, was pulled from around the pilings of the Rt.#3 Bridge and the other, a 6 1/2 pounder, was caught at the Cell. As for bottom fishing in the river, "it couldn't get any better," according to Jim, whose party was just in from Sturgeons Bar with a limit of trout to 24 inches. Croaker were available throughout the middle portion of the river with the waters off Parrot Island yielding the biggest fish. The only downside was that fewer spot were caught the past week.

Likewise, Garretts Marina reported excellent hauls of croaker. On Friday, a customer returned with a cooler full of big croaker that were caught beneath the power lines that cross the river. Additionally, the oyster rocks located inshore of buoys 18 and 19, were consistently producing good catches of croaker. Spot remain scarce in this section of the river.

Virginia Beach-

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported several boats from their headboat fleet were able to fish on occasion last week but the weather kept all the bluewater fleet in port. Depending on where the headboats were able to fish, the anglers returned with either pan trout and croaker (mouth of the Bay) or sea bass and a few tautog (inshore ocean wrecks).

Likewise, the fleet sailing from Fisherman's Wharf Marina remained in port the past 10 days, according to Paula Owen. On Monday, a pair of charter boats did fish offshore. The HIGH HOPES returned early due to rough seas but already boated five yellowfin while the crew aboard the MISS BEHAVEN stayed the day and returned with both yellowfin tuna and gaffer dolphin.

Virginia Piers-

Grandview- Flounder provided the most consistent action the past week and were biting Monday morning. Very few anglers fished Sunday due to wind and rain. On Saturday, flounder action was good but bottom fishermen also caught spot, croaker, trout, sea mullet and one small cobia. Mid-week, several Spanish mackerel were decked.

Buckroe Beach- A good bite of flounder was underway Monday morning, when the pier spokesman described the weekend as "the pits." Still, a scattering of croaker, trout, spot and flounder were caught on Saturday.

Harrison- The night time bite of croaker and pan trout slowed in recent days but "the spot bit real good Monday night."

Lynnhaven- Spot provided a strong flurry of action early Monday morning. The pier spokesman said a good bite of spot has developed the past several evenings. Prior to the weekend blow, fair catches of sea mullet, spot, and trout were recorded. Crabs are just beginning to appear.

Virginia Beach- Spot, sea mullet and trout provided fair action for bottom fishermen while casters working the end of the pier managed a few Spanish mackerel and taylor blues.

Sandbridge- Spot have been feeding within casting distance of the pier in the early morning and late evening hours in recent days. Bottom fishermen are also encountering lots of small flounder but only a handful are "keepers" of 16 inches or more.

Outer Banks, NC-

Offshore, boats sailing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center reported excellent catches of yellowfin tuna plus a few dolphin ESE of the inlet in recent days. Inshore boats on half-day trips remained inside the inlet over the weekend due to the weather but enjoyed steady catch and release action on striped bass and boated some legal-sized puppy drum. Catches aboard the headboat were also limited by the weather but included some croaker, triggerfish and sea bass.

Out of Hatteras Inlet, few boats fished on Sunday due to the winds and rough seas but those that did enjoyed excellent action on dolphin. The crew aboard the RELEASE caught and freed a pair of white marlin. On Monday, dozens of billfish were released by the fleet including a super grand slam for the crew aboard the CHAPIN (2 blue marlin, a white, a sail and a spearfish). The Marlin Club Tournament boats recorded 21 blue marlin releases, 19 whites and a sailfish on their first day! The BIG EASY released a white and landed a cooler full of dolphin and yellowfin. Northeast winds built seas on Tuesday but those boats that fished returned with big catches of dolphin and tuna. The BIG EASY was in early with a limit of dolphin. Other boats also reported good hauls of dolphin plus decent numbers of yellowfin in the 40 to 80-pound range. The GECKO and SEA CREATURE each released a blue marlin, the BIG EYE a white and the GOOD TIMES a sailfish.

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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