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The Saltwater Review - 3 August 1999

Vol. 13, No. 15
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

Black sea bass are "off limits" from August 1 and through August 15.

Another reminder, the Fall Grey Trout (weakfish) season opens August 16, 1999 and runs through April 30, 2000. During this portion of the season, trout must measure at least 14 inches (the minimum size limit is 12 inches from May 1 through August 15, coupled with a 4-fish possession limit) but anglers are allowed to keep up to 14 trout per angler. Again, for the Fall Grey Trout (weakfish) season, August 16, 1999 through April 30, 2000, the minimum size for trout is 14 inches with a 14-fish possession limit.

After a week long closure (July 25-31), the Summer Flounder season re-opened Sunday, August 1. Early reports indicate that good hauls of flatfish plus several citation-sized fish were made at the Cell, buoy 42, off Cape Charles near "old" buoy C-10, the CBBT complex and off Cape Henry. The possession limit is 8-fish and the minimum size is 16 inches.

Huge black drum linger around several of the rock islands of the CBBT--especially the First Island.

Likewise, spadefish are found at the CBBT islands, as well as most inshore wrecks and structure. Small bits of fresh clam is the best ticket for these hard-fighting fish.

Cobia are found throughout much of the lower Bay and nearshore ocean waters. Some still linger at their spring haunts while others have moved to the shade of nearby buoys or inshore ocean wrecks.

Croaker have begun their late summer move to deeper, saltier waters. These fish are late summer-early fall spawners and some are already feeling the urge to move to ocean waters.

Offshore, the water is hot and the fish are scattered, as few temperature breaks or weedlines are within the boating area to concentrate the baitfish and predators. The lumps just inside the Washington Canyon was one of the more productive locations in the past week.

Chincoteague-

Capt. Bob's reported loads of croaker inside Chincoteague Inlet, where anglers managed a few flounder on Sunday. Offshore, the bluefin bite had slowed but decent numbers of yellowfin tuna were caught at the lumpy bottom by trollers.

Bill Robbins from R & R Boat Rental said the entire main channel was "just loaded with croaker," adding "they're even catching them in the surf." Since the flounder season re-opened, catches have been steady along the northside of Black Narrows, according to Bill.

Barnacle Bill's echoed the abundance of croaker, saying the fish "are everywhere," from the inlet, back to Queen's Sound with some fish topping 2 pounds. Several customers reported keeper flounder on Sunday but provided no particulars. Offshore, anglers either trolled for yellowfin or chunked for bluefin at either the Parking Lot or lumpy bottom.

Daisey's Dockside said croaker were "in thick" at Queen's Sound and the inlet. Flounder catches were described as "pretty slow" for Sunday, though some pan trout were reported at Queen's Sound.

Wachapreague-

Wachapreague Marina reported good catches of mixed sizes of dolphin, both white and blue marlin and fair catches of yellowfin tuna. For the week, catches of bluefin tuna slumped, as offshore waters warmed to near 80 degrees. Ronald Anson aboard the WAVE DANCER weighed the heaviest dolphin at 26 pounds while Steve Gilliece aboard the WHITE HOT had the biggest tuna, an 86 1/2 pound yellowfin. Also making the week's list of citation-winning fish was Scott Banning's 41-pound wahoo. An area located just inside the Washington Canyon, known locally as the "lumpy bottom," produced many of the week's better catches. Inside the inlet, it was "croaker galore," as the bottom feeders readily took hooks baited with squid, bloodworm, cut bait and even live minnows.

Capt. Zed's said the crew aboard the MISS POLLY tallied a pair of whites and a blue marlin plus dolphin weighing up to 18 pounds in two connective days of fishing. Inside the inlet, croaker provided plenty of action with some of the better hauls coming from Green and Drawing channels.

Cape Charles-

Chris' Bait and Tackle weighed citation-winning cobia for Philip Juhring, III (58-14, Latimer Shoals), K.W. Viar (63-6, buoy C-13) and Chuck Chapman (67-3, buoy C-10). The waters of Latimer Shoals also produced red drum releases for Robert Carpender, Jr. (44 inches) and Stewart Wright (49 inches) while shop proprietor Chris Snook caught and released a 48-inch red drum near buoy C-13. Further up the Bay, Gary Seay boated a 9-9 weakfish at the Cell on a live croaker while the ocean waters at the mouth of New Inlet saw Brad O'Berry, III release a 75-inch shark. Croaker provided steady and often spectacular action for most of the week but the bite slowed along the seaside over the weekend. Extreme hot weather was the likely cause. Other reports indicate that speckled trout were caught at various bayside creeks.

Onancock-

Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported good bottom fishing for croaker and nice sized spot with the best bite coming on the evening tide. Capt. Wil said a four-fish limit of trout was "no problem" and is looking forward to the size and bag limit change (to 14 inches and 14 fish) on August 16. For the week, flounder and porgy catches improved while trollers reported fair success on Spanish mackerel and taylor blues.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel-

Ruth Cobb at Cobbs Marina reported good flounder fishing "opening day" Sunday, August 1, as Donnie Harold nailed a 7-pound and 11-ounce flatfish at the First Island aboard the CARLIGH. Sunday was also a good day for John Bailey aboard CAROL, as he boated a 71-pound cobia at the Third Island. Still, croaker provided much of the weekend action, according to Cobb.

Bubba's Tackle described flounder action as "real good" both Sunday and Monday inside Lynnhaven Inlet with flatfish of over 5 pounds caught within sight of the shop. Cobia are showing increasingly "on the buoys," especially those of Cape Charles and seaward of the CBBT complex. Spadefish are active at the Tower Reef site and the Third and Fourth islands of the CBBT. Amberjack, barracuda and jack crevelle have also invaded the waters surrounding the Tower Reef site. Trollers report good to fair success on Spanish mackerel from Cape Henry to Rudee Inlet.

Dr. Jim Wright said the best bite offshore over the weekend was at the Norfolk Canyon, where catches of dolphin, yellowfin, wahoo and billfish were recorded. An inshore ocean wreck, located south of Rudee Inlet produced three citation-sized sheepshead plus several medium-sized triggerfish and a load of small spadefish for Wright and his mid-week party.

Donnie Wallace at Wallace's Bait and Tackle weighed a 6-9 flounder for Dwayne Savage. The citation catch was made Sunday at Back River Reef. Donnie added that the Fourth Island area, especially bayside near buoy 16, was another productive spot for flounder. The Third and Fourth islands are holding good-sized spadefish, though no citation-winning fish were weighed over the weekend. Wireline trollers working from the Fourth Island out to the High Rise continue to register nice catches of sizable grey trout. Cobia remain available off Back River, as five fish were checked-in on Sunday. The heaviest belonged to Larry Bazzle, was caught at the Hump and weighed 69 1/2 pounds. Despite the hot weather, speckled trout are becoming more active--especially inside Back River in the area known as "Middle Bar," where several weekend anglers managed limit catches of the spotted fish.

Johnny from Sunset Marina said Sandra Spencer and two other anglers boated a dozen-and-a-half keeper flounder off Cape Henry on Sunday. Sandra decked the biggest at nearly 6 pounds. Rob Lane was drifting a live croaker back in a chum slick at Bluefish Rock when a 67-pound cobia "took the bait." Other reports indicate large croaker plus some large pan trout are available around the ammo dock off Hampton Bar. Spadefish were also active the past week at several locations but no citation fish were registered.

A.D. from Vanasse Bait and Tackle knew of several cobia which were caught beneath buoys near the Fourth Island on live bait. Spadefish were active at the Fourth Island and many of the pilings between the Fourth Island and High Level Bridge. Inside Hampton Roads, A.D. indicated flounder were caught on Sunday behind Fort Monroe at Mill Creek.

Andy Watkins from Back River Market said Lester Pauls boated eight keeper speckled trout at Poquoson Flats "just before sun-up." Young Mark Betts also scored on speckled trout but his hit a live minnow suspended beneath a bobber at Messicks Point and weighed 5 pounds. Andy added that Back River was still loaded with good-sized croaker.

Mark from Salt Ponds Marina said a party fishing with Dr. Robert Allen had a good catch of sea bass on an inshore ocean wreck just prior to the closure (closed season for black sea bass 1-15 August). Other scant reports indicate flounder were caught at the CBBT on Sunday.

Jimmy Lewis from A & S Feed and Bait Supply said croaker remain plentiful on the York River, especially off Cheatham Annex. Spot are becoming more abundant in the river. Trollers are catching Spanish mackerel along York Spit Channel. Bobby McComb boated a 62-9 cobia at York Spit Light. Offshore, John Abbott boated a 22-2 dolphin at the Fingers. The same area produced a blue marlin release for fellow angler Sharlene Thompson.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club experienced mixed success on the offshore grounds. The better catches of dolphin and tuna were reported from inshore mounds such as the 26 Mile Hill and Fingers while one party went strikeless at the Norfolk Canyon. The Anglo-African wreck site, located near Fisherman's Island, produced good catches of spadefish for several parties. Since the flounder season re-opened Sunday, the waters off Cape Henry and the Hump were the sites of some nice catches of flounder--lead by Brandon Barlett's 6-13 flatfish from the Hump.

Huge black drum at the First Island remain the focus of flyrodders in search of IFGA records. One of the more recent feats was turned-in by Rob Mould at the First Island. Using a flyrod with a 16-pound tippet, Moulds fought an estimated 80-pound black drum for 45 minutes. The fish was brought into the boat, measured (60 inches) and released. The catch was made aboard the KITAMARAN, skippered by Pete Bregant.

Virginia Middle Bay-

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported good catches of pan trout to 18 inches at the N2 buoy. Weekend trollers found fair to good numbers of Spanish mackerel at Smith Point Bar, Blackberry Hang and just outside Dividing Creek. Bottom fishermen managed some spot at Blackberry Hang but croaker continue to dominate the bottom bouncing scene with some of the best hauls of the biggest fish coming after dark just east of Smith Point Light.

Smith Point Marina said schools of surface feeding blues were showing along the main channel near Smith Point Light, where Spanish mackerel were often mixed in with the bluefish. Croaker are available at most locations including the Little Wicomico River, Blackberry Hang and along the jetty. Flounder have also been taken at the jetty since the season re-opened on Sunday. Pan trout are available around the rocks at Smith Point and Tangier lighthouses.

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Reel and Downrigger Service told of excellent catches of 18 to 24-inch flounder at buoy 42 on Sunday. Slow trolling with wireline gear was especially effective. Weekend trollers found schools of Spanish mackerel off Gwynn Island near buoy 1 and 3 and to the north. Bottom fishermen working off Gwynn Island in 25 feet of water were rewarded with good numbers of spot but both the number and size of croaker has decreased. Speckled trout were reported from several of the creeks that feed into the lower Piankatank River.

Beth Thompson from Locklies Marina described bottom fishing in the river as "real good," as spot now dominate the catches which include some croaker and pan trout. Weekend hot spots included Butlers Hole, the waters off White Stone and Parrots Island. Wayne Thomas checked-in a citation-winning 6-11 flounder from the Cell on Sunday.

Garretts Marina had plenty of good-sized croaker from buoy 19 down to Morratico.

Virginia Beach-

The headboat fleet sailing from the Virginia Beach Fishing Center concentrated their efforts on the excellent run of croaker and pan trout at the Baymouth the past week. Half-day inshore charters boated amberjack and Spanish and king mackerel. Further offshore, white marlin and dolphin provided good action. John Pridemore earned a release citation for a white marlin at the Fingers aboard the WHITE LIGHTNING. Shawn Taylor aboard OUR DREAM reeled-in the week's biggest wahoo--a 33 1/2 pounder boated at the Fingers.

Virginia Piers-

Grandview

Croaker dominated the daytime action which included spot, sea mullet, bluefish and even a pompano. Pan trout provide good action after dark, beneath the pier lights. Crabs are starting to show around the pier pilings.

Buckroe Beach

Spanish mackerel provided good sport for casters working the end of the pier while bottom fishermen decked some croaker, spot and flounder. Pan trout are active around the pier lights after dark. Crabs are becoming increasingly abundant.

Harrison

Sunday and Monday nights saw an excellent run of jumbo croaker, according to the pier spokesman. Spot are becoming a more dependable catch.

Lynnhaven

Spot provided the bulk of the action with the biggest hauls made during the late evening and early morning tide. Some pan trout are caught along with some good-sized croaker, "just not many of them." Crabbing was described as good.

Virginia Beach-

Overall action was slow to fair with bottom fishermen claiming some spot, croaker, sea mullet and even several spadefish. Casters working the end of the pier early and late in the day managed a handful of Spanish mackerel and taylor blues. Water temperature at pierside was 79 degrees on Tuesday.

Sandbridge

While overall action was slow, Keith Chase decked a 67-pound cobia. Other catches included some spot, sea mullet and a 28-inch puppy drum. Spanish mackerel and taylor blues were caught at the end of the pier on the late evening tide.

Outer Banks, NC-

Beach and pier fishing was generally slow the past week along the Nags Head beaches. Catches of spot, croaker, sea mullet, snapper blues, Spanish mackerel and even pompano were made but not in great numbers. The piers offered the best chance at Spanish mackerel--especially at first light. Pods of cobia swimmings off the ends of the piers was a common sight but few were willing to hit a baited hook. A 19-pound barracuda was decked at the Frisco Pier.

Back in the sound, speckled trout cooperated on the grass beds located just inside the Oregon Inlet Bridge, though anglers using bait were more likely to find a croaker tugging on their line. Puppy drum and sheepshead were taken at the bridge pilings. Well back inside the southernmost portion of Pamlico Sound tarpon have arrived between the mouth of the Neuse River and Brant Shoal.

Offshore, the fleet sailing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center enjoyed good billfish action and excellent but tapering to "good" dolphin catches by the weekend. On Saturday the JOE BOY scored a "grand slam." Yellowfin tuna catches were modest for the period while wahoo made a fair showing. Amberjack have cooperated at the towers and many of the artificial reef sites. Inshore, half day boats report mixed catches of Spanish mackerel and snapper blues. Cobia still linger on the tide lines, located just outside Oregon Inlet. Headboat catches include flounder, sea bass, sea mullet, croaker and triggerfish.

Out of Hatteras, "bailer" dolphin and wahoo provide the bulk of the action though billfish and yellowfin are part of the typical catch among the fleet. On Sunday, a 45-pound wahoo was decked aboard the CITATION while the crew aboard the SUNDOWN returned to the dock with a 40-pound dolphin. Monday, the CITATION boated another big wahoo at 50 pounds.

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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