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The Saltwater Review - September 28, 2001

Vol. 15, No. 18
by Lewis S. Gillingham

OVERVIEW | Wachapreague | Cape Charles | Onancock | Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel | Middle Bay | Virginia Beach Virginia Piers | Outer Banks, NC


Anglers are reminded that a 14-inch size limit and 14-fish possession limit is in effect from August 15, 2001, through April 30, 2002 for weakfish (grey trout). 

Anglers are reminded that a 14-inch size limit and 14-fish possession limit is in effect from August 15, 2001, through April 30, 2002 for weakfish (grey trout). 

The fall portion of the Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass season begins October 4 and will run through December 31. There is an 18-inch minimum size limit and a two-fish possession limit. 

Brilliantly marked, yellow-hued, jumbo spot made impressive showings at several locations throughout Virginia's tidal waters last week. Locations along the Eastern Shore bayside included hard bottom areas off Onancock, the mouth of Cape Charles harbor and hard bottom areas off the Cement Ships. Along the Western Shore, top locations included waters inside Lynnhaven Inlet, mussel beds near the First and Second islands, old oyster beds off Ocean View, the M & M crossing, Twin Stakes, the mouth of Sarah's Creek, the Northern Neck Reef site and numerous sites inside the Rappahannock River. Rudee Inlet likewise witnessed an influx of big spot.

Flounder began to show interest in feeding again, as most waters began to clear. One of the biggest flounder of the past week was a 9-plus pounder, caught off Wachapreague but the best numbers of quality flatfish were boated off the Cement Ships, where at least half-a-dozen citation-winning flounder were claimed and some anglers recorded limit catches.

Bluefish weighing up to 8 pounds were active in the mid-Bay waters around Smith Point, where "chummers" had the best success on the bigger fish but trollers enjoyed mixed catches of taylor blues and Spanish mackerel.

White marlin highlighted the weekend's bluewater action (although the season's first Atlantic spearfish was also caught and released). Billfish releases were recorded from the Washington Canyon to below Triple 0's but the best catches were made in the vicinity of Triple 0's in water greater than 100 fathoms, where one Rudee Inlet charter boat released nine white marlin.

Chincoteague -
Donna Ray from Captain Bob's reported decent catches of flounder were made at the end of the island, off Inlet View while taylor blues were hitting in the inlet and trout at Chincoteague Point. Outside the inlet, bluefish, pan trout and shark were caught at Turner's Lump while waters at the Parking Lot produced some dolphin. Donna indicated the best tuna bite "by far" was located north of Chincoteague at the Hot Dog.

Wachapreague -
Wachapreague Marina reported Paul Klner released a pair of white marlin at the Washington Canyon while Jack Bonsey, aboard the WHITE HOT, boated an 87-1/2 pound yellowfin tuna at the 20 Fathom Finger. Weekend catches included good numbers of dolphin as well. Inshore, Joe Richardson of Pungoteague landed a 9-1/4 pound flounder at the mouth of the inlet, where some croaker still linger.

Captain Zed's told of keeper flounder off Cedar Island and at Green and Drawing channels. Weekend catches offshore included good numbers of yellowfin tuna plus some wahoo. Many of the better hauls came from inshore of the Washington Canyon in 30 fathoms of water. Captain Jimmy Wallace and his party bottom fished outside the inlet and returned to the dock with a mixture of croaker and sea bass.

Cape Charles -
Chris' Bait and Tackle reported anglers seeking flounder "started catching lots of quality fish from Thursday on," with the channel just off the Cement Ships the top location. Florentino Garcia, Jr. landed the heavyweight for the weekend, at 8 pounds, 10 ounces but David Spiers, Sr. (7-8), David Spiers Jr. (6-14), Charles Mickey (7-5) and Nat Blanton (6-8) also decked flatfish near the Ships. William Pope was drifting near buoy 36A and caught a 7-pound, 7-ounce flounder and the same waters produced a 49-inch red drum release for Nathan Reynolds. Charles Savage released a 48-inch red drum off Cobbs Island while Scott Rittenhouse boated a 1-pound, 10-ounce sea mullet at the High Rise. The shop also indicated a good run of spot was underway with some of the best hauls coming from the mouth of Cape Charles Harbor and off the Cement Ships.

Onancock -
Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters saw more croaker the past week but spot still dominate the catches. Bottom fishermen are also catching decent numbers of sea mullet in the 1-pound range, lots of porgy and at times limits of pan trout. Most of the trout run 15 to 18 inches but some measure to 24 inches. Baitfish, silversides, anchovies and small menhaden are noticeably more abundant. The schools of croaker, spot and trout seem to be moving and Captain Wil opted to drift during his most recent outings. The grassy shallows are producing some speckled trout and red drum but the fishing is not fast.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -
Cobbs Marina reported decent weekend catches of croaker, flounder and spot but registered just one citation--an 18-ounce spot from Rudee Inlet by David Pridgen of Norfolk.

Bubba's Marina told of good catches of large spot plus a few puppy drum inside Lynnhaven Inlet and some jumbo croaker from around the pilings of the Lesner Bridge. Craig Paige boated a 57-pound cobia near the Second Island of the CBBT, where schools of 2 to 4-pound bluefish are holding in the tide rips.

Dr. Jim Wright boated three spot over a pound on a mid-week outing inside Lynnhaven Inlet and his heaviest weighed 19 ounces. Dr. Wright also told of crevalle jack at the Chesapeake Light Tower, large grey trout at the Third Island and speckled trout from the beach in front of the Duck-In Restaurant.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina weighed a 6-pound flounder from Back River Reef for Tim Sexton of Newport news and a 6-1/4 pound flounder from the CBBT for Richard Vanness of Richmond but overall catches were not yet up to par. Some spot were caught inside Back River and W.A.Endebrock of West Palm Beach, FL stopped-in and weighed a 3-1/4-pound croaker which was caught at Lynnhaven Inlet.

Johnny at Sunset Marina had a batch of spot citations including a 1-1/2 pound and a 14-inch fish for Kimberly Simonsen, a 1-3 spot for Rickie Hall, a 1-2 spot for Harry Garrett and 1-1 spot Jo Mattox, Frank Sebra, Jane Oaks, Roy Mattox, Brenda Casey and Steve Casey, as "everybody's been catching loads of jumbo spot. Top locations for the spot were Twin Stakes and the M & M crossing and each site produced several fish over a pound. Other catches included a 3-3 croaker from the HRBT for Ivan Whitley and a 6-1/4 pound flounder from the Third Island of the CBBT for Jim McAnlly.

Alan Vanasse from Vanasse Bait and Tackle said Phillip Watson checked-in a 3-3/4 pound croaker from the HRBT and Evan Prevatt released a 52-inch amberjack that was caught on a live croaker at the South Tower. Allen also told of good catches of jumbo spot from Twin Stakes and fair catches of flounder east of the CBBT complex.

Back River Market told of an excellent run of jumbo spot at Twin Stakes and weighed citation-winning fish including a 1-pound, 2-ouncer for George Bakes, twin 1-pound, 1-ounce spot for Jorj Head and John Hunt and a 1-pound spot for Wesley Freeman. Elmer Diggs pulled-in a 3-pound, 5-ounce croaker at Back River Reef, where F. Asnberry decked a 5-pound, 4-ounce sheepshead. Waters surrounding the CBBT complex produced a citation 9-pound, 2-ounce trout for Ricky Hall and a 7-pound, 13-ounce flounder for John Jones.

Salt Ponds Marina weighed a 1-1/4 pound spot for Terry VanDyke of Chesapeake and the catch was made in the Rappahannock River. The shop also indicated one party of anglers that fished the Triangle Wrecks returned with a good haul of nice sea bass and several other angling groups caught flounder along Thimble Shoal Channel.

Jimmy Lewis from A & S Feed and Bait Supply told of excellent catches of large spot at Twin Stakes and around the mouth of Sarah's Creek, as the shop had an impressive list of spot weighing a pound and more. Catherine Rodquez landed a 1-pound, 6-ounce fish at Twin Stakes, where Gene Hunsucker (1-1 and 1-2) and Lucky Walker (1-2) also boated citation-winning spot while Marc Forrest (1-3), Ed Forrest (1-1) and Brenda Ash (1-1) nailed trophy spot at Sarah's Creek. Kelly Bonniville caught a 1-pound, 1-ounce spot at the lumps, where bottom fishermen also recorded good catches of croaker and pan trout. Grey trout made a decent showing in Mobjack Bay at the Ware River but speckled trout remain unseasonably scarce.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club told of an awesome white marlin bite between the Norfolk Canyon and Triple 0's with the best action east of the 500 fathom line and near the Triple 0's. Wahoo were caught by several different members the past week and the NOAA weather buoy at the Cigar was the top location. Grass lines and dolphin are abundant in the surrounding area. The South Tower continues to provide nearly continuous action for big amberjack--as long as the parties' bait supply of live croaker or spot last. The Triangle Wrecks hold plenty of good-sized, aggressive sea bass and some amberjack while the Tower Reef features both amberjack and crevalle jack. Muddy water was the likely culprit from the poor flounder bite early in the week but the action improved over the weekend, as waters continued to clear. Some spadefish still linger in area waters and one party boated a limit catch at the Anglo-African wreck.

Virginia Middle Bay -
Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware said "I don't know where they came from but folks caught a lot of nice spot the past week," as good hauls were recorded at the Northern Neck Reef site and along the channel edges near the N2 buoy. Pan trout are becoming more active in these same areas but many of the small trout measure less than the 14-inch minimum size limit. Roger also indicated good numbers of bluefish in the 2 to 5-pound range are active in local waters and some anglers are anchoring and chumming with ground menhaden and enjoying fast, light tackle sport.

Smith Point Marina said charter boats chumming at the Middle Grounds were catching good numbers of 5 to 8-pound bluefish while boats bottom fishing closer to port found croaker and a scattering of pan trout and spot. The marina also indicated Spanish mackerel still linger in local waters, as trollers pulling small spoons were recording mixed catches of taylor blues and Spanish mackerel. 

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Outfitters said jumbo spot highlighted weekend action with many of the best hauls coming from the mouth of the Rappahannock, where Donnie Perry of Gloucester boated a 19-ounce spot, and the hard bottom located about 1-1/2 miles off Gwynn Island. These same areas are producing some sea mullet and grey trout. Weekend trollers scored on both bluefish and Spanish mackerel at Windmill Bar with small Drone and Clarke spoons the preferred baits.

Locklies Marina reported phenomenal catches of jumbo spot the past week, as the spokesperson indicated "we've probably written over 100 citations in the past week," with the heaviest fish weighing an impressive 20 ounces. The spot have been "everywhere" with good hauls recorded at Carters Creek, off Parrots Island, at Butlers Hole and the Silos. Some croaker and pan trout still linger at these locations.

Garretts Marina told of good catches of spot and croaker just off from the marina at buoy 19 while a longer run off Lively at buoy 12 produced pan trout and spot.

Captain Jim Thompson from Windmill Point Marina reported excellent weekend catches of spot at Butlers Hole, off Gwynn Island and at the spike buoy located at the mouth of the river. Most of the spot were large, running between 11 and 12 inches and preferred small bits of bloodworm. Catches off Gwynn Island included pan trout to 22 inches and sea mullet.

Virginia Beach -
Folks at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported the headboat fleet found good numbers of sea bass plus some flounder at the Triangle Wrecks while the six-pack charters recorded good catches of white marlin at the Triple 0's and wahoo, dolphin and yellowfin tuna at the Fingers and Washington Canyon. Heather Crowling caught and released a rare Atlantic spearfish aboard the BACKLASH, contributing to the crew's victory in Saturday's Catfish Billfish Tournament.

Paula Owen from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said most of the weekend charter fleet focused on an excellent bite of white marlin. Top catch was turned-in by the crew aboard the CANYON EXPRESS, as eight-year-old Michael Atkinson released a pair of whites, Mike Atkinson released four and Ryan Cool released three for a total of nine white marlin. The billfish were most concentrated "way south and deep," near the Triple 0's, according to Paula. Other catches included Spanish mackerel just outside the breakers along the resort strip and jumbo spot inside the inlet.

Virginia Piers -
Grandview - Bottom fishermen are catching some flounder, spot, croaker, speckled trout and pan trout. Best action has been in the late evening and after dark.

Buckroe Beach - Several puppy drum were decked recently but small black drum (minimum size limit 16 inches), taylor bluefish, spot and flounder provide most of the action. Largest flounder of the week weighed an impressive 4 pounds and 5 ounces.

Harrison - The activity has shifted to an after dusk routine with the steadiest bite occurring after dark on an outgoing tide. Jumbo spot, most running between 10 ounces to over a pound, dominate the action. A few flounder, several speckled trout and some pan trout were also reported.

Lynnhaven - "Mostly spot and good-sized speckled trout," is what folks can expect according to the pier spokesperson, who further advised, "mostly at night and very early in the morning."

Virginia Beach - "We're catching lots of nice spot," noted the pier spokesperson. "They're biting all day long whenever the wind goes north." Other catches included speckled trout, flounder and pompano. Water temperature at pierside had dropped to 70 degrees by Wednesday (September 26).

Sandbridge - Bottom fishermen caught a scattering of spot, taylor blues and sea mullet. On Saturday, a 40-pound class cobia was decked, on Sunday a 45-inch red drum was released and Tuesday morning five large drum to 49 inches were decked.

Outer Banks, NC -

Surf and pier action along the Nags Head area beaches was dominated by a good run of jumbo spot with some individuals topping one-pound. Bluefish in the one to two pound range were also available as the surf began to clear. Other catches included a few puppy drum, speckled trout and several large drum from the Nags Head Pier after dark. Some speckled trout were caught at Oregon Inlet at Green Island Slough.

South of Oregon Inlet, at Buxton's Cape Point, taylor blues dominated the action on Friday, though a scattering of Spanish mackerel were also caught with croaker and a few sea mullet pulled-in at south beach. Saturday, spot were biting at the north beach while schools of hungry bluefish crowded around the Point. Seas were calm and the surf clean on Sunday and Spanish mackerel, bluefish to 5 pounds and even false albacore moved within casting range. Bottom fishermen reported a mixture of sea mullet, pompano, puppy drum, flounder and spot. Sunday night, over a dozen large drum were beached before shark took over the bite.

The fleet sailing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center reported good numbers of yellowfin tuna, lots of king mackerel, dolphin and a good billfish bite on Friday, when the crew aboard the CAROLINIAN released ten white marlin and FINTASTIC a pair of blue marlin and four white marlin. Inshore the headboat had a mixture of sea mullet and pan trout while half-day boats reported Spanish mackerel, bluefish, king mackerel and false albacore. Catches Saturday were similar offshore and inshore with the Haphazard with 11 white marlin releases and the PELICAN with 9 white marlin releases tops among the billfish chasers. Sunday was a near carbon copy of the past two days with good catches of "meatfish" offshore and plenty of Spanish mackerel, bluefish, school king mackerel and false albacore inshore. Top billfish boats were the CAROLINIAN with 9 whites and a blue marlin, the PELICAN with 10 white marlin and the HAPHAZARD with 9 white marlin.

Most of the charter fleet leaving from Hatteras Inlet on Friday through Sunday returned with limits of mixed sizes of dolphin plus some wahoo and a scattering of yellowfin tuna and king mackerel. Anglers are seeing some billfish but the only releases recorded during the three-day period were single sailfish releases by the ATLANTIC BLUE and TOP BILLIN on Friday.

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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