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The Saltwater Review - August 22, 2001

Vol. 15, No. 20
by Lewis S. Gillingham

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


The Virginia Saltwater Review will not be published next week, October 22 through the 26.

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 began October 4 and will run through December 31. There is an 18-inch minimum size limit and a two-fish possession limit. Anglers are reminded the minimum size limit in coastal waters (east of the Colregs line and out three miles) is 28 inches.

The excellent fall run of jumbo spot continued to slow last week, but big fish (16 ounces and better) still linger at several locations. Three of the better locations for jumbo spot seemed to be the mouth of the Rappahannock River, Thimble Shoals Light area and inside Rudee Inlet.

Flounder seemed to be ready to feed again and weekend catches of the bigger flatfish were best off Kiptopeke.

Grey trout were becoming more active in deepwater areas throughout the Bay with many of the fish running from 2 pounds to 7 pounds with a few meeting the 9-pound qualifying minimum for a citation award.

Offshore action was hampered by large ocean swell and gusty winds. Several excellent hauls of yellowfin tuna were recorded very early in the week but the catch was mostly dolphin later in the week. Good numbers of yellowfin were reported from the Washington Canyon and north, so the bluewater season still has some good days ahead.

Chincoteague -

Donna from Captain Bob's reported flounder were biting along the main channel from Don's Seafood Restaurant to the draw bridge. Trout were still holding around the pilings of local piers and bridges with a pink buctail tipped with a slice of the new scented squid the favored bait. Striped bass were caught after dark at the draw bridge. Offshore, good numbers of yellowfin tuna still linger at the Washington Canyon and just inshore, at the 20 fathom lumps.

Wachapreague -

Randy Lewis at Captain Zed's said a few flounder, spot and trout still linger at Green and Drawing channels while schools of croaker are available in the ocean, out near buoy 10. Offshore, good numbers of yellowfin tuna still linger over the lumps just inshore of the Washington Canyon, where a large wahoo and several dolphin were boated last weekend.

Cape Charles -

Chris' Bait and Tackle reported an excellent fall run of jumbo flounder off Kiptopeke, as twenty-five citation flatfish were checked-in the past several days. Jerry Bradshaw caught the biggest of the lot, at 9 pounds, 13 ounces but Harry Hamilton (9-1/4 pounds), John Davidson (8-15), C.A. McCall (8-3/4 pounds) and Daniel Kidd (8-5) all boated flounder in excess of 8 pounds. Speckled trout action improved on Hungars, Plantation and Cherrystone creeks and Chris Wilson boated a 5-pound, 10-ouncer at Cherrystone Creek. The shop also indicated striped bass to over 30 pounds were caught at the CBBT and good numbers of grey trout were holding around buoy 18.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen at Fish and Finn Charters reported fair numbers of spot and even a few croaker still linger off Onancock while Tangier Sound holds good concentrations of trout and striped bass. Speckled trout and school stripers are showing around Watts Island.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -

Cobbs Marina reported good weekend hauls of flounder plus "more and larger" grey trout around the CBBT complex. The marina rated striped bass action as "still kinda slow," but added that casters working the islands were having the most success.

Bubba's Marina said some larger stripers, fish in the 10 to 20-pound range, were being caught by wireliners working between the Third and Fourth Islands, where a few large trout were mixed in with the bass. The shop rated the flounder bite as just "so-so," but said tautog were starting to hit at the islands.

Dr. Jim Wright and his party on Tuesday caught striped bass in the 22 to 26-inch range and taylor blues "nearly non-stop" at the Fourth Island on an outing last Tuesday. Returning to the same location the next day, "we had trouble buying a fish." Dr. Jim added that tautog to 7 pounds were biting off Cape Charles and heard of flounder to over 6 pounds pulled-in from the buoy 9 area.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina said wireliners were catching a mixture of striped bass, grey trout and flounder between the Third and Fourth islands of the CBBT while school stripers were available "right at the mouth of Back River." On the downside, the fabulous fall run of spot had dwindled to near zero.

Johnny from Sunset Marina said despite good weekend weather "catching" was just "so-so." Tom Mattioli returned with a limit of striped bass to 33 inches two connective days and James Carlton boated a 7-pound, 15-ounce flounder. Peeler crab fished on the bottom around the M & M crossing produced citation-winning spot for George Skinner (16 ounces), Robert Cook (21 ounces), Donald Kelly (16 ounces), Marvin Branch (19 ounces), Clara Babcock (16 ounces) and Charles Randolph (16 ounces).

Salt Ponds Marina told of mixed catches of taylor blues and school stripers at the CBBT complex and a decent dolphin bite offshore.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club say a few speckled trout are being caught on Poquoson Flats but keeper-sized flounder and school stripers are a more likely catch. Grey trout, striped bass, bluefish and flounder were caught in the Third and Fourth island areas of the CBBT. The Baltimore Channel, east of the CBBT, continues to hold large flounder, including a 6-pound, 3-ounce flatfish pulled-in by Brandon Bartlett. Black sea bass are available at the Triangle Wrecks and likely, most of the mid-range ocean structures. Several members fished offshore the past week, where tuna were scarce but dolphin made their trips.

Virginia Middle Bay -

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported anglers using live spot for bait at the jetty or around the lighthouse were having "no problem" catching a limit of striped bass. Anglers anchoring and chumming near the Northern Neck Reef were likewise catching plenty of stripers plus some taylor blues.

Smith Point Marina said charter boats were catching plenty of school stripers and most were opting to chum, rather than troll, for their fish.

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Marina said school stripers are easy marks for anglers using live spot or eel and fishing around the local bridges, the Cell and Wolftrap, Windmill and Stingray Point lighthouses. Good-sized trout are hitting the same baits at those locations as well. Big golden spot remained available at Butlers Hole, Gwynn Island, Cherry Point and the mouth of the Piankatank River through last Sunday, as the shop checked-in a dozen spot of 16 ounces or better. The largest was caught by Betty Cobb off Stingray Point and weighed 20 ounces!

Locklies Marina said the spot bite has slowed considerably but "we're still seeing citation fish (16 ounces or better) every day." Pan trout numbers continue to rise and most fish run 14 to 20 inches with a few up to 24 inches. Peeler crab is the preferred bait but it is becoming increasingly scarce.

Steve from Garretts Marina told of good catches of 19 to 25 inch striped bass on RattleTraps and jigs cast to the legs of the power line. As for the fall run of spot, "it's pretty much over."

Captain Jim Thompson from Windmill Point Marina described the spot bite as "off and on" but some big fish were still caught at Butlers Hole, located off Windmill Point. Grey trout up to 20 inches and some snapper blues were caught at the same location. Chummers anchored near the Northern Neck Reef site enjoyed good success on 18 to 24-inch striped bass while trollers working the same waters caught similar sized fish, "just not as many."

Virginia Beach -

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported good catches of yellowfin tuna plus a few dolphin "whenever the boats can get offshore." The headboat fleet returned with good hauls of sea bass and a scattering of triggerfish. Jumbo spot still linger inside the inlet.

Paula Owen from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said recent offshore action was limited to dolphin and wahoo but "only one boat went out on Sunday" due to heavy seas. Inside the inlet, bottom bouncers are still catching jumbo spot but very few keeper speckled trout.

Virginia Piers -

Grandview - Anglers are catching some striped bass and bluefish and the occasional keeper flounder "and of course some skate."

Buckroe Beach - Anglers are catching a scattering of striped bass plus some small black drum. The pier is only open Friday and Saturday for the remainder of the season.

Harrison - Charley said big spot have appeared "every evening" the past several days. Piers anglers are also catching some striped bass, the largest went 16-3/4 pounds, and small pan trout. Headboats leaving the pier are loading up on jumbo spot weighing up to 22 ounces.

Lynnhaven - Anglers are seeing a good variety but not quantity, as bluefish, spot, sea mullet, striped bass, puppy drum, grey and speckled trout were caught the past week.

Virginia Beach - Taylor blues put in several strong appearances in recent days while spot were hitting on high tide. Other catches include a few striped bass, speckled trout and puppy drum. Water temperature around the pier pilings has cooled to 63 degrees.

Sandbridge - The pier was damaged during a storm early this month and closed. According to a recording the pier will remain closed "at least" until November.

Outer Banks, NC -

Beach and pier anglers from Kitty Hawk to Oregon Inlet reported a mixed bag of bluefish, spot, speckled trout, grey trout, pompano, sea mullet and a few puppy drum. Several of the piers recorded catches and releases of large drum. Oregon Inlet has some flounder while the fall striped bass fishery is underway at Manns Harbor.

South of Oregon Inlet, beach fishermen enjoyed good catches of sea mullet from the North Beach on Friday while taylor blues and a few puppy drum were beached at Cape Point. On Saturday, winds were light but the surf was heavy and most anglers worked the beach south of Cape Point with fair success on sea mullet and bluefish. Mitchelle Lewis of Suffolk caught and released a 40-inch red drum. Sunday saw a slow, mixed bite of flounder, bluefish, small black drum and sea mullet at the Point. On Monday there was a strong bite of sea mullet on the South Beach and a few puppy drum at the Point near sunset.

The offshore fleet fishing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center reported fair catches of yellowfin tuna and a few wahoo on Friday. On Saturday, most of the fleet remained at the dock due to a large ground swell that was most noticeable at the mouth of the inlet. The few boats that did fish recorded good hauls of yellowfin tuna. Nicole Wirt of Chesterfield boated a 77-pound yellowfin tuna aboard the CAROLINIAN and Mike Spicer of Virginia Beach released a white marlin aboard the PELICAN. The yellowfin bite was even better on Sunday, as most of the fleet returned with limit catches. REEL MAGIC boated an 85-pound yellowfin, TROPHY HUNTER landed a 133-pound bigeye and the SKILIGAL released a sailfish. Monday saw continued good action on yellowfin tuna. The HOOKER caught the biggest of the day at 99 pounds. During the same time period, boats working the inshore grounds found a mixture bluefish, trout, sea bass and false albacore while the headboat reported spot, flounder, trout and bluefish.

The charter fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet recorded decent catches of yellowfin tuna plus a scattering of wahoo, king mackerel and dolphin on Friday. Carl Christiansen of Kilmarnock released a sailfish aboard the NANCY K. On Saturday, dolphin dominated the catches with a scattering of yellowfin, wahoo and king mackerel. Brian Johns of Harrisonburg boated a 51-pound wahoo aboard HATTERAS BLUE and Keith Kessler of Lynchburg released a sailfish aboard the GODSPEED. On Sunday, boats reported scattered catches of yellowfin, dolphin, wahoo and king mackerel. On Monday, Douglas Linton of Remington boated a 37-pound king mackerel onboard HATTERAS BLUE.


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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