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The Saltwater Review - August 30, 2000

Vol. 14, No. 18
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


Due to the observance of the Labor Day holiday, Monday, September 6, the Virginia Saltwater Review will not be published the week of September 4-8.

The Fall Grey Trout (weakfish) season opened August 16, 2000 and runs through April 30, 2001. 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, 2000 through April 30, 2001, the minimum size for trout is 14 inches with a 14-fish possession limit.

Federal regulations governing the retention of bluefin tuna will change as of Friday, September 1, 2000 and will carry an increased possession limit through October 15, 2000. Review the enclosed NMFS notice for specifics. 

Many anglers continue to focus their attention on summer flounder, as the season moves into its latter stages. Most of the bigger flatfish are coming from deepwater on the lower portion of the Bay or from one of the many inshore ocean wrecks.

Cobia numbers, at least at their spring haunts, continue to wane, though reports indicate large groups of fish gathered beneath a small buoy. 

Mixed sizes of croaker linger throughout the bay system but increasingly, the best concentrations of the larger fish are found along the deepwater channels at the lower end of the Bay.

Offshore, white marlin were in the spotlight over the weekend with most of the best action coming from south of the Cigar near Triple 0's. A few bluefin tuna linger off Chincoteague, some longfin tuna ("true" albacore) were caught at the Norfolk Canyon and yellowfin, dolphin and wahoo are scattered between the 20 and 100 fathom lines.

Chincoteague -

Donna from Capt. Bob's reported several customers returned with limit catches of flounder on Saturday, as the flounder bite steadily improved all week. Some of the most productive waters were right at the mouth of the inlet and buoy 16. Bottom bouncers are also catching some blowfish, taylor blues and croaker while the Queen's Sound Bridge is yielding good-sized trout after dark. Fresh peeler crab is the top choice for the trout. Offshore, 30 to 50-pound class yellowfin were caught aboard the KAJA and MAKO MANIA between the Parking Lot and lumpy bottom while the crew aboard the CAT ATTACK found dolphin out in 30 fathoms. 

Bill Robbins from R & R Boat Rentals said inside waters were "murky and full of grass," and only a handful of flounder and croaker were caught at Queen's Sound and the main channel near buoy 25. Bill added that fair numbers of weakfish were caught at the Assateague Island Bridge and Chincoteague Point. 

Barnacle Bill's told of a scattering of flounder at Queen's Sound and around the mouth of the inlet but rated the trout fishing as "excellent" at the point and Queen's Sound. Offshore, yellowfin tuna were caught along the 30 fathom line.

Wachapreague -

Wachapreague Marina told of a good yellowfin tuna bite at the lumpy bottom the past week. Chunking with butterfish was the favored method for the tuna. Inshore, anglers drifting the channel in front of the Coast Guard Station managed some croaker and a few flounder.

Captain Zed's said grey trout, taylor blues, flounder and sea mullet were biting at the Hummocks while the offshore fleet reported fair to good catches of yellowfin tuna. Ben Konkel, III released a 96-inch white marlin at the Washington Canyon.

Cape Charles -

Chris' Bait and Tackle weighed several big flounder the past weekend--the biggest was caught from the Kiptopeke State Park Pier. It weighed 9 pounds and 5 pounces, was 27 1/2 inches long and was decked by John Zarella of Norfolk. Others catching citation-winning flatfish were Addison Galough with a 8-2 flounder at Plantation Light, Ray Poole with a 6 1/2 pounder from the 12 MP, Elaine Wrenn with a 6-3 flatfish from the Cell and Stancil Leniner with a 6-2 flounder from C-10. Croaker remain abundant on both the bayside and seaside. Carter Williams weighed the biggest croaker of the week, at 21 inches and 3 1/2 pounds, which was caught just outside the Cement Ships. Spot are also being caught in the vicinity of the Ships. Fishing partners Jeff Boynton (46 inches) and Rossie Baker, Sr. (48 1/2 inches) each released red drum at buoy 40 and James Beasley, Jr. released a 45 1/2 inch drum at C-16.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen reported excellent catches of croaker to over 4 pounds and hand-sized spot. Trout were relatively scarce the past week but catches included fair numbers of taylor bluefish and flounder. Small stripers are becoming active in the feeder creeks, where the season remains closed until October 4. 

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -

Cobbs Marina reported good catches of flounder, croaker and spadefish at the CBBT complex, where large black drum still linger around the rock islands. Walter Harnly boated the weekend's biggest flounder, a 6 1/4 pound fish, on a live minnow at the First Island.

John from Bubba's Tackle said the flounder bite was "real good" around the Cape Henry wreck site and near the Third and Fourth Islands of the CBBT. Cobia were holding around many of the inshore ocean buoys while spot and croaker are hitting inside Lynnhaven Inlet and a few puppy drum and trout at the Lesner Bridge.

Dr. Jim Wright witnessed the battle between a 263-pound halibut and a fellow angler and then went on to land halibut to 90 pounds during his recent trip to Alaska. Since his return, Dr. Jim had good reports of flounder from the Cape Henry and Westmoreland wrecks and the red buoy just bayside of the Fourth Island with small, live menhaden the preferred bait.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina told of very good catches of big flounder, as seven citation-winning flatfish were checked-in on Saturday. "They're catching them at Back River Reef, off Cape Charles, around the High Rise and around the bayside of the Fourth Island near buoy 16, "according to Wallace. Donald Kornhauser of Toano decked a 7 pounder at Back River Reef and Kevin Johnston nailed a 7-2 fish at buoy 16. Wire-liners are scoring on good-sized grey trout at the CBBT while cobia action on the surrounding buoys was rated "real slow." Closer to the dock, spot are biting at the mouth of Back River and Steven Griffin boated a 9-1 speckled trout on the nearby flats.

Johnny from Sunset Marina said large croaker and pan trout to 20 inches are hitting peeler crab fished just off Hampton Bar at the Ammo Dump. Johnny also told of good catches of flounder and weighed a 6 1/4 pound citation winner for Ronnie Savage. The trophy flatfish was caught near the Second Island.

Vanasse Bait and Tackle said speckled trout were biting at Poquoson Flats, where puppy drum and the occasional flounder are also reported. Croaker and flounder plus increasing numbers of spot are caught inside Poquoson River and at the Back River Reef site.

Salt Ponds Marina indicated several of their boats fished the recent Ducks Unlimited Fishing Tournament held from Rudee Inlet and accounted for several tuna and at least one blue marlin release but the spokesman had no other details.

A & S Feed and Bait Supply said flounder were biting around the mouth of the York River between Tue Marsh Light and the Amoco Pier. Croaker remain available throughout most of the river with some of the best concentrations holding off Cheatham Annex. Decent catches of spot are still being made around the mouth of Sarah's Creek.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club told of a strong white marlin bite and wahoo to 60 pounds from Triple 0's to the 100 line in 500 fathoms of water, while longfin tuna ("true" albacore) where caught at the Norfolk Canyon. Inshore waters surrounding buoy 16 yielded nice catches of flounder and a 7-2 flatfish for Kevin Johnston. Good numbers of flounder were also reported off Cape Charles. Dave Carpenter and his group wire-lined the CBBT and boated nearly a dozen grey trout in the 24 to 28-inch range.

Virginia Middle Bay -

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported excellent weekend catches of big Spanish mackerel with several fish topping 25 inches--led by a 30-inch and 7 1/2 pounder caught by Danny Crab aboard the KIT II, while trolling just north of Smith Point Light. Roger indicated trollers were also catching some nice-sized taylor blues and the occasional school striper (legal in Maryland and the Potomac River but release only in Virginia until October 4). Roger also received several reports of flounder around the jetty and from Blackberry Hang.

Smith Point Marina also reported impressive weekend catches of large Spanish mackerel measuring to 30 inches. Trollers are finding the best concentrations of mackerel, plus some taylor blues, while working the channel edges north and south of Smith Point Light. Croaker remain reasonably abundant but are much smaller in size.

Locklies Marina told of good catches of spot and croaker off Parrots Island and at the Silos, where a few bluefish to nearly 8 pounds were boated last week. Flounder catches remain above average around the route 3 bridge.

Garretts Marina said weekend catches included croaker and a few spot with buoy 19 the most productive local spot.

Virginia Beach -

The fleet of headboats running from the Virginia Beach Fishing Center continues to work the mouth of the Bay, returning with good hauls of croaker plus a few trout and flounder. Offshore, most of the fleet reported catching and releasing or at least seeing white marlin in the baits over the weekend. 

Paula Owen from Fisherman's Wharf Marina described the tuna and dolphin bite as slow but indicated good numbers of billfish were being caught and released. On Monday (August 28) the charter boat CHAOS released four white marlin and registered a pair of citation-winning dolphin. Best action was south of the Cigar, near the 030-line.

Virginia Piers -


Croaker topping 2 pounds and flounder to 3 pounds provided steady action. The croaker bite best after dusk while the flounder bite is almost strictly a daytime event. Spot, pan trout and school stripers (catch-and-release only) also compete for anglers offerings.

Buckroe Beach-

 Bottom fishermen reported a variety of catches including spot, croaker, flounder, pan trout sea mullet, shark and even several spadefish.


"Daytime has been kind'a slow" the past week, according to the pier spokesman. After dusk, action improves with pan trout around the light shadows and a decent bite of spot and croaker.


"The last few mornings we've been slaying the spot on incoming tide," noted the pier spokesman. Bottom fishermen are also seeing a few small flounder and pan-sized sea mullet but the crabs "have fallen off."

Virginia Beach- 

Spot made a strong showing mid-week, as anglers hauled the tasty bottom fish "two-at-a-time" over the pier rails, but for most of the week it was a slow pick--a few spot and occasional pompano or snapper bluefish. Water temperature at pierside was 75 degrees on Wednesday.


A recording indicated inshore waters were "muddy" and fishing had been slow the past several days.

Outer Banks, NC -

Beach and pier anglers reported mixed catches of puppy drum, snapper blues, Spanish mackerel, pan trout and croaker with the Kitty Hawk Pier and southside of Oregon Inlet producing the best action for puppy drum. Soundside waters are also producing some puppy drum and speckled trout. From the"southern" surf, Cape Point casters enjoyed a late evening bite for Spanish mackerel, taylor bluefish and even several false albacore Saturday and Sunday. Bottom fishermen had mixed success on croaker, spot, pompano and sea mullet with several of the better reports coming from the jetties at the original lighthouse site.

The fleet sailing from Oregon Inlet reported good numbers of billfish--mostly white marlin but several large blues and several sailfish were also landed. In the meatfish category, dolphin dominated in numbers but the tuna caught were generally 35 pounds plus and wahoo remain available.

The fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet reported a mixture of dolphin, wahoo, yellowfin tuna and sailfish on the offshore grounds and good catches of mostly Spanish mackerel plus some taylor blues around the inlet. On Saturday, James Tweed, Mark Smith, Daniel Kraft and Robert Kennedy all from Manassas, all caught and released a sailfish aboard TOP BILLIN. VA Beach angler Mark Payne and Mark Beauchemin of Gloucester each released a sailfish aboard the NATIVE SON. On Sunday, dolphin dominated the "meatfish" take and Justin Huddle of VA Beach released a sailfish aboard the TUNA DUCK. Monday and Tuesday impressive catches of wahoo plus a scattering of dolphin and tuna were recorded, when William Cavender of Alexandria released a sail aboard CAP'N B and Michael Alexander and Bryan Gribble, both from Mechanicsville, VA, each had a sailfish release aboard the RELEASE.

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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