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The Saltwater Review - October 4, 2000

Vol. 14, No. 21
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The Virginia Saltwater Review will not be published the week of October 9 through the 13 due to the observance of Columbus Day.

 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.

Virginia's Fall Striped Bass Bay and tributary season (excluding Potomac River tributaries--see enclosure for details) opened Wednesday, October 4 and will run through December 31. The minimum size limit will remain at 18 inches and there is a two-fish possession limit, however, only one of the two-fish possession limit may be longer than 34 inches. No special permit or license is needed but an appropriate saltwater fishing license is required. Gaffing or spearing of striped bass is prohibited.

Phenomenal runs of large trophy red drum developed last week at the Little Island pier in Sandbridge and from the surf at Kitty Hawk.

The fall run of jumbo, yellow-bellied spot continued along the western side of the Bay on the lower Rappahannock River, on the eastern side of the bay off Onancock and along the Nags Head area beaches.

Striped bass are holding along traditional structure on the lower portion of the Chesapeake Bay and the season promises to a very lucrative one. Taylor blues and weakfish to 8 pounds are found at many of the same locations.


Captain Bob's reported foul weather and a low angler turn-out kept recent catches to a minimum but some flounder were caught at Four Mouths and Chincoteague Point. Outside the inlet, schools of pan trout plus some croaker are holding at Turners Lump.

Barnacle Bill's said over-all action was slow but a handful of flatfish were boated at Queen's Sound, as well as trout and snapper blues.


Wachapreague Marina had no recent fishing information but indicated pan trout should be moving down the coast within a few miles of the inlet.

Captain Zed's knew of a few flounder and trout that were boated at the inlet. Earlier in the week, two of the charter boats fished over several of the inshore ocean wrecks and returned with good hauls of sea bass.

Cape Charles- 

Chris' Bait and Tackle reported a few red drum still linger off Cape Charles (buoy 16 area) but that fishery is rapidly winding down. Over on the seaside, puppy drum were biting in the Barrier Island surf but the weekend failed to produce any significant run of large channel bass. Back on the bayside, weekend catches of flounder, trout, croaker and spot were all down due to poor weather.


Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported steady catches of large spot, despite strong weekend winds and a near 10-degree drop in water temperature the past week. Bottom fishermen are also scoring on fair numbers of medium-sized croaker, plenty of hogfish, sea mullet, bluefish, trout and a few blowfish.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel- 

Cobbs Marina had very little weekend fishing activity to report due to the weather. earlier in the week, the shop weighed a 3-pound, 3-ounce croaker, caught at the Third Island, for Mike Bain.

John at Bubba's Marina said decent numbers of speckled trout and puppy drum were biting inside Lynnhaven Inlet while jumbo croaker of over 3 pounds were caught around the pilings of the Lesner Bridge. At the CBBT, the Third and Fourth islands featured a strong mixture of bluefish, grey trout and striped bass. Offshore activity was very limited the past week due to rough seas but the few boats that made it out to the Tower Reef recorded mixed catches of king and Spanish mackerel and false albacore.

Dr. Jim Wright said a few false albacore were mixed in with taylor blues at the First Island while even better numbers of little tunny, plus king and Spanish mackerel were holding around the legs of the Chesapeake Light Tower. A good run of spot developed inside Lynnhaven last week, according to Wright.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina said wireliners were catching flounder, trout and school stripers at the CBBT complex but the heaviest flounder of the week, a 5 3/4 pounder, was caught by an angler drifting near the 12 MP. A few jumbo croaker still linger at Back River Reef, as Elmer Diggs had a 3-pound, 1-ounce fish and several others near the 3-pound mark last week. Donnie also indicated spot of nearly a pound (15 ounces) are still being caught outside Back River and speckled trout are biting at Poquoson Flats and inside the river at Middle Bar.

Johnny from Sunset Marina said most weekend anglers opted to remain in port, as even the protected waters of Hampton Creek were showing whitecaps. The shop did check-in a jumbo, 17-ounce spot for Frank Bilton. The citation catch was made at the Pembroke Bridge.

Salt Ponds Marina reported a "real slow week," hearing only of catch-and-release striper action at the CBBT.

A & S Feed and Bait Supply said good numbers of jumbo spot remain inside York River with some of the better concentrations holding at the mouth of Sarah's Creek. On the other hand, croaker have "really slacked-off," while a scattering of pan trout were taken at various locations. Speckled trout action improved with the cooler weather of last week inside Mobjack Bay, as Robert Hall nailed a 5 1/2 pounder at Ware Point.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club reported school stripers were active at the M & M bridge and tunnel (note, this was before the opening of the Fall Striped Bass season on October 4) while, striped bass, bluefish, flounder, grey trout to 28 inches and red drum to 45 inches occupied waters surrounding the Third Island. Poquoson Flats still holds speckled trout and a few puppy drum with increasing numbers of school stripers.

Virginia Middle Bay-

Jetts Hardware reported bottom fishermen caught plenty of big, yellow-bellied spot near the Great Wicomico Light over the weekend. Weekend trollers found taylor blues and school stripers plus the occasional Spanish mackerel at Smith Point Light. Pan trout to 18 inches were holding below some of the surface feeding schools. 

Smith Point Marina said the charter fleet recorded good weekend catches of taylor blues and school stripers up in Maryland waters near buoy 72. Bottom fishermen working the mouth of the Little Wicomico reported coolers full of jumbo spot.

 Queen's Creek Reel and Downrigger Service said good hauls of spot were also made at Winter Harbor and Corn Harbor while decent hauls of the tasty bottom feeders were reported just outside Gwynn Island. The shop suggested the pilings of the Route 3 Bridge or the structure at the Cell for anglers looking for school stripers once the season opens October 4.

 Locklies Marina said bottom fishermen loaded-up on jumbo spot at Butlers Hole over the weekend. Schools of surface feeding taylor blues are moving through the area.

Garretts Marina said buoy 12 (located about 5 miles down river) produced good hauls of spot on Saturday, despite gusty winds.

Captain Jim Thompson from Windmill Point Marina described the fall spot bite as "non-stop" between Butlers Hole and Mosquito Point, as many of the fish measure nearly 12 inches "or more." Windmill Point Bar also produced good catches of spot but at Cherry Point the bite was described as "sporadic" while at the spike buoy "it was downright slow." Decent numbers of medium-sized croaker still linger off Gwynn Island but most of the "horse" croaker appear to have moved down the Bay. Schools of taylor blues are active throughout the area and bottom fishermen using cut bait (usually spot) are claiming trout to 22 inches.

Virginia Beach-

The charter and headboats boats sailing from the Virginia Beach Fishing Center have remained tied to the docks since the middle of last week due to rough sea conditions.

Ditto for the charter fleet tied to Fisherman's Wharf Marina. The last report from an offshore trip came from early last week, when a Citation wahoo was boated and a pair of blue marlin jumped-off at the 100-line in 30 fathoms. Current satellite reports indicate sub-70 degree water temperatures dominate most areas inside the 100-fathom line. 

Virginia Piers - 

Buckroe Beach-

Few fish or people in recent days. The best catches of spot, croaker, pan trout and school stripers continue to come in the late evenings.


Charlie told of excellent runs of jumbo spot with most weighing "12 ounces or more." The evening tide produced the fastest action. Puppy drum weighing up to 5 pounds staged a good run on Saturday.

Over-all action was slow to fair with catches of puppy drum, croaker and a few spot recorded during the past weekend.

Virginia Beach-

Wednesday through Saturday saw an excellent run of spot but catches have tapered off since that time. Some large sea mullet and a few flounder were also reported.


Possibly the best run of trophy red drum in the pier's history occurred last week, as dozens of citation-winning drum were captured and released each evening from Tuesday through Friday. The final tally could exceed 100 such fish!

Outer Banks, NC-

The strong NE winds of last week produced a bonanza of spot for pier fishermen along the Nags Head area beaches. As the surf subsided, catches of bluefish, puppy drum and a few speckled trout were recorded by beach fishermen between Kitty Hawk and Oregon Inlet. An impressive and unprecedented run of the channel bass developed in the surf at Kitty Hawk. One of the heaviest flounder of the season was boated Monday, October 2, by young Corey Sparks, according to Whalebone Tackle. The huge flatfish measured 28 1/2 inches, weighed 11 3/4 pounds and was pulled from the southside channel at Oregon Inlet.

Big flounder were not limited to Oregon Inlet, as a 10 1/2 pound flatfish was boated at Hatteras Inlet on Tuesday, when several large red drum, the longest reportedly measured 48 inches, were beached at Cape Point. Beach fishermen also recorded fair catches of flounder, pompano, taylor bluefish and sea mullet.

The same winds that brought big fish close to the beach for surf and pier anglers kept nearly all of the offshore fleet from Oregon and Hatteras inlets tied to the docks. Several boats were able to fish out of Hatteras Inlet on Thursday, September 28 and king mackerel dominated the catch. James Pitts of Charlottesville, VA released a sailfish aboard the SEA CREATURE and the same trip produced a 40-pound wahoo for Doug Smoot of Madison, VA. All trips for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday were cancelled due to rough seas.

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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