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The Saltwater Review - 14 September 1999

Vol. 13, 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 Finfish Management Advisory Committee will meet September 20, 1999 at 7 PM. The main item of discussion will be the ASMFC proposals for Striped Bass regulations in 2000. The public is invited to attend (see enclosure for details).

As a reminder, the Fall Grey Trout (weakfish) season opened August 16, 1999 and will run through April 30, 2000. During this portion of the season, trout must measure at least 14 inches (the minimum size limit was 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.

Fast approaching, Virginia's Fall Striped Bass Bay and tributary season (excluding Potomac River tributaries--see enclosure for details) begins in just over four weeks. Season length, size and possession limits are unchanged from 1998. The Fall season will open October 4 and will run through December 31. The minimum size limit will be 18 inches and there is a two-fish possession limit. No special permit or license is needed, however, an appropriate saltwater fishing license is required. Gaffing or spearing of striped bass is prohibited.


Donna from Capt. Bob's reported decent weekend weather "but not a lot of people fished." Those that did fish found decent numbers of flounder along the main channel, good-sized grey trout at Queen's Sound and a scattering of croaker throughout the inside waters.

Bill Robbins from R & R Boat Rental said fishing was "still off" following Dennis. Bill knew of some trout and smallish flounder taken in recent days but thought the croaker run was "about over."

Barnacle Bill's said anglers fishing from the shop's pier caught a variety of small bottom fish including blowfish, croaker, sea bass and flounder. The crew aboard the REEL TIME ran a combination bluewater trolling and chunking trip, returning with a good haul of dolphin and yellowfin tuna and one bluefin tuna.

Daisey's Dockside said some flounder had been caught the past week but most were under 16 inches. Croaker have become scarce since the passage of Dennis.


Wachapreague Marina reported the WHITE HOT, ALMOST PERSUADED, HOBO and JANIE MAC recorded good weekend catches of yellowfin tuna and dolphin plus wahoo to 55 pounds. The better hauls of dolphin came from waters near the Washington Canyon while the better concentrations of tuna were located south, near the Norfolk Canyon. Inside the inlet, spot and pan trout dominate the catches.

Capt. Zed's also told of excellent bluewater action for dolphin, yellowfin tuna, skipjack and false albacore. Crews fishing aboard the CANYON LADY returned with limit catches of sea bass.

Cape Charles-

Fishing action had yet to rebound to its "pre-Dennis" level by the weekend, according to Chris' Bait and Tackle. Some spot, croaker and flounder were boated off Cape Charles but not in great abundance. One exception was found at several of the bayside creeks which empty directly into the Bay. Here, waters remained clear and speckled trout catches improved--especially at Hungars Creek. A pair of trophy-sized red drum were registered at the shop, as John Pinkerton released a 49-inch fish off Nassawadox Creek and Charles Fillman a 45-inch drum at buoy 36A. On the seaside out of Oyster, the water remained "dingy" and full of floating grass. The few anglers that did fish this area reported little success.


Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported good catches of spot and a return of bigger croaker since the passage of Dennis. Some of the spot measure 12 inches while the croaker range up to 2 pounds. More trout are showing in the catches--many in the 16 to 20-inch size range. Porgy, sea mullet and flounder round-out the typical day's catch.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel-

Dr. Jim Wright fished with his son David aboard the HIGH HOPES Thursday, trolled just east of the Cigar and boated a limit of 20 to 60-pound yellowfin tuna. Dr. Wright said a few white marlin, wahoo and dolphin were caught in the same waters over the weekend. Inside Lynnhaven Inlet, puppy drum numbers are on the increase, "I'm catching plenty right off my own dock back inside Linkhorn Bay."

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina described speckled trout action as "great" at Poquoson Flats and inside Back River. "We didn't see any citation fish but several anglers caught their limit of ten fish," noted Donnie. At the CBBT complex, a party wire-lining the Fourth Island area had "a real good catch" of grey trout, flounder and several puppy drum. Some cobia still linger inside the Bay, as Richard Billiter boated a 61 pounder. Billiter was anchored and chumming at the Hump when the cobia was caught.

Johnny from Sunset Marina said weekend catches included jumbo croaker and grey trout of nearly 5 pounds. The HRBT and M & M crossing were the two hot spots. Don Kohlman weighed the heaviest croaker, a 3-6 fish caught on a strip of squid drifted over the HRBT tube. Fishing partners Luke Lenix and Allen Healy released twin 50-inch red drum at the Baltimore Channel.

Andy Watkins from Back River Market said good numbers of 1/2-pound spot were caught at Twin Stakes over the weekend. Skid Joiner boated a 6-pound flounder and a pair of red drum releases were registered at the shop. The speckled trout bite continues to improve, according to Andy, especially around the government dock located near the mouth of Back River.

Jimmy Lewis at A & S Feed and Bait Supply told of jumbo croaker and grey trout to 7 pounds that were caught above the Gloucester Point Bridge. Doug Graham weighed the heaviest croaker, a 3-11 fish caught at Clay Banks. Sammy Clay boated a huge 13 1/2-inch spot that weighed 1-6. Norman French also boated a citation croaker, a 3 1/4 pounder, but his was caught at the CBBT. Speckled trout catches are on the upswing inside Mobjack Bay, especially around the Severn and Ware rivers. The biggest trout of the week, a 5-6 speck, was caught by Larry Robbins at the Severn River.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club recorded good catches of spot inside the York River and at the mouth of the Poquoson River. Other reports indicate puppy drum and speckled trout were available on the Poquoson Flats with adult fish showing at York Spit and off Cape Charles. Flounder action has yet to return to its pre-Dennis level, yet a weekend tournament staged by the club turned-up several good flatfish, despite less than ideal conditions. The first place fish weighed 5.84 pounds and was caught by Buster Holt. Dwayne Wade finished second with a 5.16 fish, Barry Hodges, Jr. was third at 4.65 pounds with Danny Caison finishing fourth at 4.26 pounds. The Back River Reef site and the Hump produced most of the top flounder.

Virginia Middle Bay-

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported breaking schools of Spanish mackerel and taylor blues at Smith Point Bar and to a lesser extent around the N2 buoy. Bottom fishing was rated only "fair" since Dennis with a scattering of keeper flounder boated at Blackberry Hang and along the jetty plus some spot at the mouths of the Wicomico River and Dividing Creek.

Capt. Jim Thompson said Butlers Hole produced steady catches of large spot mid-week but the action slowed by the weekend. Cherry Point also held schools of nice-sized spot with the best action coming on the out-going tide. A few pan trout to 18 inches were caught at both sites. Bottom fishermen also reported decent catches of tog over the iron-ore deposits located off the Piankatank River.

Dan from Smith Point Marina said good catches of croaker to 3 pounds were made just outside the Smith Point Jetty on Saturday. Trollers caught keeper-sized Spanish mackerel and bluefish to 5 pounds near Smith Point Light while trollers working in the vicinity of buoy 72A (Maryland waters) claimed limits of school stripers.

Beth Thompson at Locklies Marina reported good weekend catches of large spot plus a few flounder off White Stone. Beth added that both Windmill Bar and Butlers Hole had been slow for spot since the demise of Dennis.

Virginia Beach-

A spokesman from the Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported good weekend catches of yellowfin tuna and dolphin plus a few white marlin releases by the charter fleet. The headboat fleet has been sailing for sea bass since Dennis.

Boats sailing from Fisherman's Wharf Marina recorded good catches of yellowfin and dolphin plus wahoo in excess of 40 pounds. Some of the better hauls were made in 30 to 40 fathoms of water along the 100-line.

Virginia Piers-


Bottom fishermen reported fair catches of small to medium-sized spot and croaker plus a few keeper flounder up to 2 1/2 pounds. Pan trout are caught after dusk beneath the pier lights.

Buckroe Beach-

Spot and croaker are providing the bulk of the action, though there was a strong bite of pan trout Sunday night.


Overall action was described as "slow" since Dennis but "the spot and croaker they are catching are all good-sized." Speckled trout are hitting early in the morning just outside the pier house, near the beach. Anglers are also catching a few puppy drum.


Spot provided most of the weekend action, though bluefish and striped bass (all released) were also hooked. In addition to the spot, several puppy drum were decked Monday.

Virginia Beach

Last week through Saturday saw fair to good catches of spot plus some sea mullet and puppy drum but action was described as "real slow" since then. Waters surrounding the pier remain warm, registering 75 degrees Tuesday morning.


A recording indicated very meager catches of spot for the weekend.

Outer Banks, NC-

Roads along the entire length of the Outer Banks had just opened by the weekend and fishing activity was very light. Spot and croaker dominated the catches at the piers (those able to open) and along the beaches. The beach access to the northside of Oregon Inlet had just opened, according to Whalebone Tackle and no reports had been received from this area. The shop did say a few taylors blues were beached on the southside.

The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center re-opened Tuesday and recorded good catches of yellowfin tuna and dolphin through the weekend. Billfish were scarce for most of the period, though the billfish bite improved Monday, September 13.

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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