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The Saltwater Review - October 18, 2000

Vol. 14, No. 22
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

OVERVIEW
This will be the last weekly version of the Virginia Saltwater Review for 2000, however, a monthly overview will be posted on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission's homepage site in mid to late November and another in mid-December.

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. 

Chincoteague-

Donna from Capt. Bob's reported the flounder bite improved along with the weather the past weekend, as several customers recorded limit catches of flatfish. Red drum linger in the Paramour Island surf and around the mouth of the inlet. The latter location saw a 42-inch fish boated mid-week. 

Barnacle Bill's said keeper flounder were caught in Chincoteague Channel over the weekend while several striped bass exceeding the 28-inch minimum size limit were claimed at Chincoteague Point. Outside the inlet, the inshore ocean wrecks hold good numbers of sea bass plus some triggerfish.

Wachapreague
-

Schools of pan trout are moving down the coast and are available in the ocean within 1 to 3 miles of the inlet. Bigger trout linger around the mouth of the inlet, where taylor blues, flounder and sea mullet provide decent action.

Capt. Zed's said flounder are also showing in the relatively shallow waters at the Hummocks and Bullshead. Outside the inlet, several charter boats recorded big hauls of large sea bass over the inshore ocean wrecks and artificial reef site.

Cape Charles
-

Chris' Bait and Tackle told of excellent weekend flounder action at the Cabbage Patch and waters just off, and north, of the Cement Ships. Nancy Harrison boated a 7-3 fish to lead the parade of citation flounder. Bob Cheney "just missed" the 7-pound mark with a 6-15 fish, Dustin Lanier landed a 6-14 flounder, Charles McCall had a 6-13 flounder, Lester Clark a 6-9 fish, Leonard Lively boated a 6-10 flounder, Alice Howard landed a 6 1/2 pounder, as did Dennis Bridgeman, Ron Pieta nailed a 6-7 flatfish, Margret High landed a 6-3 flounder and Mike Johnson came in with a 6-3 flatfish. Other memorable catches included a 7-7 speckled trout caught by Bill Sugg at Hungars Creek and red drum releases by Joseph Rose (49 inches at Smith Island) and Ivan Caplinger (51 inches at Ship Shoal Inlet).

Onancock
-

Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported good numbers of spot through the weekend but "hardly a nibble" since then, as croaker now out-number the spot. Trout up to 26 inches remain available and some of the lumps off Onancock hold good numbers of "keeper" sea bass in the 10 to 13-inch range. Bottom fishermen are also seeing good numbers of porgy plus some sea mullet, blowfish, bluefish, striped bass and flounder. Water temperatures off Onancock have temporally stabilized at 64 degrees. 

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel-

Cobbs Marina reported excellent flounder fishing in recent days, as the shop registered nine citation-winning catches. Adelaide Williams (6-6), Donnie Harrell (6-9), Scott Wiatt (6-13), Greg Frazier (6-14) and David Harrell (7-11) all boated trophy flatfish at the Baltimore Channel while the Third Island was the site where James Boswell (6-5), Joe Boswell (6-11) and Stanely Kavchak (6-6) claimed award-winning flounder. Ken Cockrell, Jr. caught a 6-10 flounder at the Fourth Island. A few jumbo croaker still linger on the lower Bay, as Laura Guest pulled a 3-pound and 3-ouncer from the Yancey wreck site.

Bubba's Marina said the Third Island was a hot spot for big grey trout with some fish topping 9 pounds. The spine at the Second Island also produced some good hauls of trout. The Baltimore Channel waters east of the Third Island, at the first set of buoys (#10 and 11), was excellent for flounder the past week while flounder and loads of school stripers were caught beneath the Lesner Bridge.

Dr. Jim Wright described the flounder bite as "phenomenal" on the lower Bay, just east of the CBBT complex. Dr. Jim also indicated large grey trout to over 8 pounds were holding around the Third and Fourth islands and jumbo sea bass plus some chopper blues were out on the Triangle Wrecks.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina weighed over a dozen citation-winning flounder the past several days and most were boated in the Baltimore Channel near buoy 11. Danny Cison weighed the heaviest of that bunch, at 7 pounds even. Earlier in the week, Jerry Setzer checked-in an 11-pound and 15-ounce "doormat" flounder--one of the biggest of the entire season. The huge flatfish was boated while trolling a chartreuse Stretch 25 at the M & M crossing for striped bass! Donnie indicated wireline trollers were scoring on big grey trout at the CBBT while casters working Poquoson Flats and inside Back River at the Middle Bar recorded good hauls of speckled trout. Robert Huffman nailed the week's biggest speck, at 6 pounds, 5 ounces, on the Middle Bar.

Johnny from Sunset Marina called it "flounder city" over the weekend, as "everybody going came back with flounder." The weekend's biggest flounder weighed 8 pounds and 2 ounces and was caught by Richard Spencer on a jig at the Third Island. Jim McAnally had another heavyweight, at 27 inches and 8 pounds, on cut bait at the Third Island. David Miller decked a 6-10 flatfish at the Fourth Island on squid, Hugh Green landed a 6 1/4 pounder at the CBBT and Harry Trembelly a 6-pound flounder on cut bait at the Third Island. Not quite citation-size but still an impressive catch by a young angler, six-year-old Sean Jenson boated 7-1/2 pound grey trout at the CBBT.

Vanasse Bait and Tackle reported excellent weekend catches of large flounder--limits of fish to 7 pounds, from the waters just east of the CBBT complex. The shop also indicated a good bite of large grey trout and school stripers at the CBBT. On local waters, school stripers were caught at the mouth of Back River and along the channel edge leading into Salt Ponds.

Salt Ponds indicated wireline trollers caught big grey trout, school stripers, bluefish and even flounder while working between the Third Island and the High Rise section of the CBBT.

Jimmy Lewis from A & S Feed and Bait Supply reported good-sized pan trout are holding in the deep hole located off Cheatham Annex while some spot still linger off Gaines Point. School stripers are holding around the pilings of the Coleman Bridge while fair numbers of speckled trout were caught inside Mobjack Bay, near Ware Point.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club recorded excellent catches of large grey trout measuring up to 30 inches at the CBBT the past week. Several club members reported good hauls of flounder from the Baltimore Channel, east of the CBBT, including citation-winning catches by Ken Neill (6 3/4 pounds) and Kevin Young (6 1/4 pounds). Poqouson Flats produced good numbers of school stripers plus a few speckled trout to 23 inches. At least two groups of club members joined the chunking fleet off Oregon Inlet and scored on 50 to 60-pound class yellowfin tuna.

Virginia Middle Bay-

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware said boats were "wall-to-wall" over the weekend at buoy 62 and around the Northern Neck Reef site, chumming with ground menhaden and boating limits of school stripers. Some spot still linger in the area, as Gary "Whitey" Pomanoer decked a 20-ouncer at the Northern Neck Reef.

Anglers drifting along the Smith Point Jetty recorded good catches of school stripers plus flounder to 22 inches on small, live spot while schools of pan trout were located off Bluff Point and Indian and Dividing creeks.

Smith Point Marina told of good weekend catches of striped bass measuring up to 30 inches. Most of the charter fleet was anchoring in the Middle Grounds or near the Northern Neck artificial reef site and chumming with ground menhaden. The marina spokesperson indicated taylor blues, trout and even a few croaker are caught while chumming. 

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Outfitters registered five citation-winning speckled trout the past week. Debra Mickey weighed a pair from the Ware River at 5 3/4 pounds and 5 pounds, 2 ounces. John Haney nailed a 5-9 trout at Hole-in-the-Wall, James Donahue boated a 6-2 speck in the Piankatank River and Howard Kruse nailed a 6-5 speckled trout at the entrance to Healys Creek. Jerry indicated school stripers are being caught in the shallows with the creek entrances holding the best concentrations of fish. Anglers drifting live bait (usually small spot) around bridge pilings and over rock piles are also scoring on school stripers. Out in the main stem of the Bay, chummers are scoring a mixture of school striper, taylor blues and grey trout.

Locklies Marina said striped bass and trout were hitting around the pilings of the Route #3 Bridge, near White Stone while trout and a few lingering spot were boated at Butlers Hole and Windmill Point. The shop also indicated that schools of taylor blues were active off Parrots Island and Windmill Point.

Garretts Marina said only a handful fishermen have been out recently and those reported fair catches of school stripers at the White Stone Bridge and a mix of spot and trout at buoy 19.

Virginia Beach-

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported excellent catches by the charter fleet of large yellowfin tuna at Triple 0's while the headboats are working the inshore wrecks and reef sites for sea bass, croaker and the occasional flounder.

Paula Owens from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said "chunkers" working the 900-line did "real well" on 60-pound class yellowfin tuna. Inshore, a few of the charter fleet have begun running striped bass trips to the CBBT complex, where the school-sized fish are the norm. 

Virginia Piers
-

James River-

School stripers and the occasional pan trout are caught after dark in the shadows of the pier pilings.

Grandview-

School stripers and pan trout are active after dark while action remains slow during most of the day.

Buckroe Beach-

Best action has been the after dark bite of school stripers and pan trout. Daytime results are minimal.

Harrison-

Daytime action remains very slow, as even puppy drum have become scarce recently. After dark, school stripers and pan trout become active beneath the pier lights. Spot have been scarce the past several days but one customers decked three-dozen "jumbos" Tuesday night.

Lynnhaven-

Overall action has been slow with only a few sea mullet reported during the day and a few school stripers after dark.

Virginia Beach-

Sporadic catches of flounder, under-sized striped bass (28-inch minimum size limit in the ocean) and some puppy drum were reported. Water temperature was a seasonable 67 degrees on Tuesday.

Sandbridge-  

Overall action has been very slow, according to a recording. However, several large red drum were hooked and at least one 46-inch fish was captured and released on Tuesday, October 17.

Outer Banks, NC -

Beach and pier fishing along the Nags Head area beaches has shifted into a fall pattern with a mixed bag of speckled trout, flounder, taylor blues, black drum, spot, croaker, sea mullet, puppy drum and large channel bass on the menu. The Kitty Hawk Pier was the site where most of the large red drum were reported but other sites shared in mixed catches on the other species. Oregon Inlet produced some of the better catches of puppy drum and flounder plus a strong run of jumbo spot developed at the catwalk on Tuesday. Striped bass in excess of the 28-inch minimum size limit were being pulled from amongst the pilings of the Oregon Inlet Bridge, as the soundside season for striped bass opened last Wednesday.

On Hatteras Island, Saturday saw a good bite of Spanish mackerel and taylor blues during the early morning hours at Cape Point with a mixture of puppy drum, sea mullet, flounder and pompano throughout the day. By Sunday, the surf waters were "roiled" and a limited number of sea mullet, puppy drum and bluefish were beached. Monday night saw a decent run of large channel bass and on Tuesday, daytime catches featured a fair pick of sea mullet, blowtoads, bluefish and puppy drum.

Offshore, the Oregon Inlet fleet has enjoyed excellent yellowfin tuna fishing for nearly a week, as many boats return early with limit catches of yellowfin tuna in the 50 to 70-pound plus range. Most boats are opting to chunk with butterfish but trollers are also scoring. On Friday, limit catches of yellowfin were the norm. A 195-pound big eye tuna was landed aboard the BOSS LADY and a 165 pounder aboard the GANNET, as the crew on the Osprey released a sailfish. More limits of yellowfin on Saturday and Sunday plus the PELICAN returned with a 237-pound bigeye on Saturday and CAPTAIN BC released a white marlin on Sunday. Inshore boats are reporting mixed catches of king mackerel and false albacore while the headboat recorded decent catches of pigfish, trout and flounder.

The Hatteras Inlet fleet reported excellent catches of king mackerel plus some blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin. On Saturday, Matthew Gray of Pulaski, VA boated a 37-pound king aboard HATTERAS BLUE. On Sunday, a VA Beach party had citation kings of 31 pounds (Matthew Janshon), 30 and 37 pounds (Luis Rivera) and 30 pounds (Kevin Moody) aboard the TUNA DUCK.

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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