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The Saltwater Review - September 20, 2000

Vol. 14, No. 20
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


The Virginia Saltwater Review will not be published the week of September 25-29.

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 changed as of Friday, September 1, 2000 and recreational anglers are now allowed an increased possession limit through October 15, 2000. Review the enclosed NMFS notice for specifics. 

The annual fall run of jumbo, yellow-bellied spot is underway at several locations inside Chesapeake Bay, along Virginia's oceanfront and North Carolina's Outer Banks. Some of these tasty bottom feeders top 16-ounces (minimum size for a Virginia citation award) and many top half-a-pound.

The fall run of trophy-sized red drum is likewise heating up, as award-winning drum were released at several lower bay locations and from the beaches of Virginia's Barrier islands.

Bragging size flounder of over 8 pounds were caught the past week but overall catches have yet to rebound from the huge slug rain water received the prior week.

Striped bass (the fall season opens October 4), speckled and grey trout, bluefish, black sea bass and tautog are all becoming more active and October promises to be a productive month.

Offshore, several white marlin were captured and released over the weekend but their numbers should dwindle rapidly while yellowfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo remain reasonably abundant. 

Chincoteague -

Donna from Captain Bob's reported Four Mouths was Saturday's hot spot for flounder, as flatfish to over 4 pounds were boated despite strong winds. Schools of snapper blues were active inside Queen's Sound while weakfish were biting at the pilings of the Assateague Island Bridge.

Barnacle Bill's said the flounder action improved the past week at Queen's Sound and Chincoteague Point and both trout and triggerfish were caught around the pilings of the Queen's Sound Bridge. Pat Smith from York, PA boated a 6-2 flounder at Queen's Sound and the same waters produced a 4-2 flatfish for Robert Gray. A red drum was caught near the 2TL buoy, where pan trout and some croaker are beginning to show.

Wachapreague -

Captain Zed's reported fair catches of flounder at the inlet, where a 33-pound red drum was boated on Sunday. Offshore, dolphin dominated the action but some yellowfin tuna were caught at the Washington Canyon.

Wachapreague Marina told of decent catches of flounder in the channel off the Coast Guard Station plus a fair showing of croaker and pan trout in the ocean. George Phillips was fishing on the bayside near buoy 16 when he landed and released a 44 1/2 inch red drum. Offshore, good numbers of dolphin have arrived while scattered catches of yellowfin tuna and wahoo were recorded. Otis Evans boated a 56-pound wahoo aboard the WAVE DANCER, Lan Greveling had a citation-winning 28 1/2 pound dolphin and Vince Edwards released a white marlin aboard the ALMOST PERSUADED. The catches were made at or near the Washington Canyon.

Cape Charles -

Big red drum provided much of the weekend excitement, according to Chris' Bait and Tackle, as catches of large drum were recorded from both the bayside and seaside. John Pinkerton and Don Brittingham released twin 45-inch reds at buoy 42 on separate trips. Joanne Acworth also released a 45-incher but her's was caught at buoy 38A. A fourth 45-inch drum was caught and released by Vivian Parker but the catch was made on the seaside, from the surf at New Inlet. Chris Anderson of Carson, VA had the week's biggest red drum at 51 inches and it was captured and released at buoy 36A. The week's lone flounder citation was a 6 1/2 pounder boated by Hal Russell at buoy 40. Weekend reports of croaker from the seaside were scant while a scattering of the grumbling bottom feeders were caught off Cape Charles.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen reported the best spot fishing of the season the past week--"its been unbelievable, we're catching spot to 13 inches," on Pocomoke Sound. A huge, 22 1/2 inch sea mullet was part of the catch on Sunday but unfortunately, the fish was never weighed. Pan trout numbers are also increasing with fair to good numbers of trout in the 15 to 22-inch range. Fair to good numbers of blowfish and pigfish, but only a scattering of mostly medium-sized croaker, are part of the daily catch. 

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -

Cathy from Cobbs Marina reported Dan Roark of Chesapeake boated a 6-7 flounder at the First Island on a strip of squid, Mike Worton nailed a 9 3/4 pound grey trout at the Second Island on a jig and Roy Taylor landed a 7 1/4 pound speckled trout at the First Island on a grub.

John from Bubba's Marina told of excellent catches of jumbo croaker beneath the Lesner Bridge, where the occasional puppy drum and grey trout is also taken. Back inside Lynnhaven, some flounder and speckled trout were reported but the best hauls of flounder were made near the Third and Fourth islands and around the Cape Henry wrecks, though weekend catches were slight due to strong winds.

Dr. Jim Wright said wireline trollers caught grey trout to 8 pounds while working the Third Island tube and fat taylor blues to 3 pounds are around the rocks of the Fourth Island, where triggerfish are biting on slack tide. Dr. Jim indicated Jimmy Kolb nailed an 8 3/4 pound flounder on an ocean wreck early in the week and school-sized king mackerel have arrived at the Chesapeake Light Tower.

Wallace's Marina checked-in a 7 1/2 pound speckled trout for Dennis Cozzens, which was caught inside Back River and later released alive at the boat ramp. In addition to some speckled trout at Poquoson Flats, Donnie indicated there were loads of taylor blues plus some puppy drum. Good hauls of were made at the #3 green can buoy off Back River and at Twin Stakes. Hoping for late season cobia, David Pearce (48 1/2 inches) and John Rumley (46 inches) each released large red drum at Bluefish Rock. 

Johnny from Sunset Marina said James Freeman decked an 8-3 flounder at the HRBT on cut bait but described overall action as "kinda slow," hearing of fair catches of croaker but "that's about all."

Allen Vanasse from Vanasse Bait and Tackle said spot were biting at Twin Stakes and Poquoson Flats was producing fair numbers of speckled trout. Weekend reports of flounder to 22 inches were heard from the Hump, CBBT and Back River Reef, as a scattering of croaker linger in all three areas.

Jimmy Lewis from A & S Feed and Bait Supply described bottom fishing as "real good" for both spot and croaker in the York but added fewer of the large croaker were being caught. Best concentrations of spot are found at the Perrin River and at the mouth of Sarah's Creek. Pan trout measuring up to 18 inches were caught at the lumps while the speckled trout bite inside Mobjack Bay remains "slow." 

The Peninsula Anglers Club Open Flounder Tournament was scheduled for this past Saturday but was held instead on Sunday due to weather considerations. The event was headquartered at Wallace's Marina and 87 anglers participated. John Perry finished in first place with a 7.37 pound flounder. Doug Roper was second at 5.51 pounds, Jeffery Scott third, at 4.88 pounds and Jorj Head fourth, at 4.74 pounds. The top two fish were caught while wire-lining at the CBBT complex while the third and fourth place flatfish were caught near buoy 36A on the drift. 

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club fishing during the week reported good numbers of dolphin at the Norfolk Canyon, decent numbers of keeper flounder to 21 inches at buoy 16, a few lingering jumbo croaker at the HRBT and scattered speckled trout weighing up to 3 1/2 pounds on Poquoson Flats.

Virginia Middle Bay -

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported a huge influx of big "yellow-bellied" spot, in deep water off Smith Point. The #1 marsh buoy and buoy 62 are holding some of the best concentrations of these tasty bottom feeders. Roger indicated some large Spanish mackerel still linger in area waters as taylor blues become more active each day. Speckled trout were caught inside Dameron Marsh.

Dan from Smith Point Marina said the charter fleet is running into Maryland waters, chumming between buoy 62 and the Triangle and returning with limits of striped bass to 24 inches plus some hefty taylor blues. Trollers working the edge of the channel near Smith Point Light are seeing fewer Spanish mackerel but plenty of taylor bluefish to 4 pounds. Trout to 5 pounds are still holding on the rocks at Smith Point Light.

Locklies Marina said flounder were still biting off Mosquito Point near buoy 8 "but expect to catch a lot of under-sized ones for every keeper." Schools of the jumbo, yellow-bellied spot are found "above the bridge one day and below the bridge the next," but once found, anglers load their cooler with the golden-hued fish. A surprising number of large croaker still linger in this section of the river.

Garretts Marina saw good hauls of spot from Morrattico Bar during the week but slow catches on the weekend, as strong winds prevailed. 

Captain Jim Thompson from Windmill Point Marina said spot were plentiful and "getting bigger all the time." Butlers Hole and the Spike buoy were the two top locations inside the Rappahannock while bay bottom bouncers recorded decent catches of spot from the mouth of the river and down to Gwynn Island. Good hauls of spot were also made inside Fleets Bay but Sturgeon Bar was quiet last week. Pan trout are abundant but very few meet the 14-inch minimum size limit while croaker are suddenly scarce. Trollers working about 1 and 1/2 miles off Stingray Point found decent numbers of Spanish mackerel and taylor blues.

Virginia Beach -

Bill at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported a scattering of billfish, good catches of dolphin and fair to good hauls of yellowfin tuna over the weekend. Best action was east of the Cigar in 1000 fathoms of water. The headboat fleet worked the Tower Reef area, returning with good hauls of black sea bass plus some large flounder.

Paula Owens from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said the charter boat WATER WITCH released three white marlin on Sunday and the crew aboard the BOOTLEGGER returned with half-a-dozen 50 to 70-pound yellowfin. The tuna were caught "over-board" in roughly 1000 fathoms of water.

Virginia Piers -

Grandview- Keeper flounder continue to come over the rails and catches include medium croaker, nice-sized spot and some pan trout.

Buckroe Beach- Anglers saw a mixed bag over the weekend, including spot, croaker, flounder, pompano and taylor bluefish.

Harrison- Daytime anglers are catching only a few flounder, spot and croaker. After dark, the spot bite has been very strong the past several nights. Some croaker are also biting after dark. Schools of small pan trout swarm around the pier lights but only a rare fish measures 14 inches.

Lynnhaven- Spot dominated the catches over the weekend with the action continuing into Tuesday night with two-at-a-time catches of 12 to 16-ounce spot. Taylor blues and sea mullet plus a very few puppy drum with also caught during this period.

Virginia Beach- Spot provided steady action both Saturday and Sunday with a few large croaker, pan trout and sea mullet also reported. Unfortunately, the action slowed on Monday, as the spot "disappeared." Water temperature at pierside remains a comfortable 73 degrees.

Sandbridge- Spot provided the bulk of the action the past week, although a handful of sea mullet, several small shark and a few croaker were decked. 

Outer Banks, NC -

Spot dominated the pier and surf action along the Nags Head areas beaches over the weekend and through the early part of the week. Other catches included croaker, snapper blues and a few yearling black drum, according to Whalebone Tackle. Puppy drum made their strongest showing along the northern beaches of the Outer Banks at Oregon Inlet, where some flounder and snapper blues were also reported. South of the Oregon Inlet Bridge, mixed sizes of taylor blues, sea mullet, big croaker, and jumbo yellow-bellied spot made a strong showing between Salvo and Buxton. On Saturday, a 32-inch red drum was beached at Ramp 44 while schools of taylor blues plus some Spanish mackerel invaded the Point. Sunday's action was similar with some sea mullet and flounder also reported. Monday, despite a driving rain, casters working the Point beached blues and false albacore while bottom fishermen enjoyed fair success on sea mullet, flounder and pompano.

The fleet docking at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center remained in port Saturday (September 16) but was greeted by an influx of yellowfin tuna and some bigeye tuna in the 100 to 180-pound range on Sunday and Monday. On the downside, the dolphin bite slowed considerably and white marlin nearly disappeared. Half-day boats working near the inlet recorded good catches of Spanish mackerel, taylor bluefish and false albacore while the headboat returned to port with a mixture of sea mullet, croaker, triggerfish and pigfish. The offshore fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet on Friday returned with limit catches of dolphin plus a scattering of yellowfin tuna, wahoo and king mackerel. William Hatfield of Virginia Beach released a white marlin aboard the CITATION. Catches were similar Saturday and Sunday, as dolphin dominated the catches. Sam Dodd of Warrenton, VA boated a citation 49-pound wahoo aboard the TOP BILLIN on Sunday , as the weather deteriorated. Monday and Tuesday were both "no sail" days for the Hatteras fleet.

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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