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The Saltwater Review - 28 September 1999

Vol. 13, 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


The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has scheduled a public hearing on options for the 2000 Striped Bass Fishery on Monday, 7 PM, October 4, 1999. 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 less than one-week. 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.

Big spot still linger inside the Bay with some of the biggest recent catches recorded in the mid-portion of the Chesapeake from both the Eastern and Western shores.

Speckled trout are showing in ever increasing numbers inside Mobjack Bay and Lynnhaven and over Poquoson Flats--yet the week's two heaviest fish were both caught in Hungars Creek, which is located on the Eastern Shore's bayside.

The flounder bite remains disappointingly slow at most (if not all) locations. Still several bragging-sized fish were boated the past week.

Offshore, some of the heaviest and most numerous catches of wahoo occurred the past week but for sheer numbers, yellowfin tuna and dolphin remain dominant.


Donna from Capt. Bob's reported fair catches of flounder in the main channel and inside Queen's Sound while good-sized weakfish continue to provide good action along the southside of the Assateague Island Bridge. Offshore, yellowfin tuna still linger at the Baltimore and Washington canyons.

Barnacle Bill's indicated good catches of weakfish were made in Queen's Sound on bloodworm and frozen peeler crab the past week but the croaker "have all disappeared." Fishing from the shoreline inside Queen's Sound, Earl Culp, Jr. beached trout to 4 pounds, according to the shop. Anglers fishing from the shop's pier decked several keeper flounder and "a lot of puffers." Offshore, the charter boats MY GIRLS and REEL TIME returned from overnight trips with large catches of yellowfin tuna, several wahoo and a few dolphin.


Wachapreague Marina reported good catches of yellowfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo at the Norfolk Canyon over the weekend. Earl Fox boated a 34 1/2 pound wahoo on Saturday and Bill McHnery nailed a 46-6 wahoo Sunday aboard the WHITE HOT. Inside the inlet, bottom fishermen recorded meager catches of flounder and trout, though the week's heavyweight flatfish was impressive. It weighed 6-9 and was decked by Monty Webb at Willis Wharf.

Capt. Zed's said the inshore ocean wrecks were loaded with sea bass while croaker have schooled between the entrance buoy and buoy #10. Inside the inlet, weakfish provide more consistent action than flounder, as the flatfish have yet to rebound from hurricane Floyd. The shop's annual Fall Flounder Tournament was won by Bill Tipton with a mere 4-pounder. Teddy Dietricks took second and third places. The shop recorded a red drum release for Larry Holmes. The citation-winning drum measured 48 1/2 inches and was caught on the bayside, at Half Moon Island.

Cape Charles-

Capt. Jim Jenrette reported red and black drum still linger off Cape Charles, as parties boated several of each on mid-week trips. Capt. Jim bottom fished from anchor, at "the channel edge right off Cape Charles," where catches included tautog, big croaker and grey trout to nearly 6 pounds.

Chris' Bait and Tackle registered citation-winning speckled trout for Gary Seay (7-5) and Mel Coates (7-3). Both trophy trout were boated at Hungars Creek but on separate trips. Donald Gleason weighed the week's lone citation flatfish, a 7-14 flounder that was landed just outside the Cement Ships. Tautog are becoming active at the Ships, according to the shop but no citation fish were weighed the past week. On the seaside, Bob Sheppard beached and released a 46-inch red drum at Cobb Island.


Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported a spectacular run of jumbo spot, describing the fish as "the best spot I've seen in years." A typical day's catch includes trout in the 16 to 20-inch range, some medium-sized croaker, taylor bluefish, sea mullet, porgy and a scattering of flounder to 24 inches. Outgoing tide produced the fastest action the past week, according to Laaksonen. School stripers and a few speckled trout and puppy drum are available inside the bayside creeks.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel-

John from Bubba's described the weekend bite of speckled trout inside Lynnhaven as "very good," adding some of the speckled fish were also boated around the First and Second islands of the CBBT. Offshore, trollers found school king mackerel and false albacore at the Tower Reef. Further offshore, John said several citation-winning wahoo were boated at the Norfolk Canyon. The largest weighed an incredible 95 pounds and was decked by Parks Atkinson of Virginia Beach.

Dr. Jim Wright told of loads of puppy drum, "from 13 to 26 inches," inside Linkhorn Bay, especially around the mouth of Crystal Lake. Offshore, the ocean wrecks are loaded with large sea bass, according to Dr. Jim. Bluewater trollers working between the Cigar and Norfolk Canyon are finding good numbers of school yellowfin tuna, dolphin and some wahoo.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina described weekend catches of speckled trout as "real good" at Poquoson Flats, where Wayne Litz landed a 5 3/4 pounder. "Our waters have cleared tremendously in the past week," according to Donnie, who received good reports of pan trout from the HRBT. As for flounder, bottom fishermen "still haven't located any concentration" of the flatfish, though one of the better weekend hauls was recorded by a crew that drifted the edge of the Baltimore Channel. Steve Mason was fishing for flounder at the Hump when he caught and released a 48-inch red drum.

Johnny at Sunset Marina weighed a 37 1/4 pound wahoo for Brian Dalhein. The same trip produced several king mackerel for the rest of the crew. Inside Hampton Roads, George Huggins decked a whopper 11-2 sheepshead at the HRBT and Jay Dixon boated a 3 1/4 pound croaker nearby. Mike Weinstein and his crew boated several good-sized croaker to nearly 3 pounds off Fort Monroe.

Allen Vanasse from Vanasse Bait and Tackle also told of excellent weekend catches of speckled trout at Poquoson Flats. Local bottom fishermen are still catching some spot and croaker but many remained in port the past week "preparing for the opening of striper season" (October 4), according to Allen.

Andy Watkins from Back River Market weighed citation sheepshead for Joe Lands (6 pounds), caught at the Back River Reef and "local legend" George Baker (5-10), caught at York Spit Light. Several parties recorded good hauls of speckled trout at Poquoson Flats but William Pauls (6 1/4 pounds) registered the weekend's only citation speck. George Powell Jr. caught and released a 47-inch red drum at the CBBT. Further offshore, Fay Forrest boated a 33 1/2 pound wahoo at the Fingers and Kenneth Quinn released a 6-foot long white marlin at the Cigar.

Mark from Salt Ponds Marina said a few flounder were boated at the CBBT but described weekend action as "slow, overall."

Jimmy Lewis at A & S Feed and Bait Supply described bottom fishing inside the York River was "still off" following hurricane Floyd and catches were limited to medium-sized croaker and smaller pan trout. Jimmy added that decent catches of spot were reported at the mouth of the river, near Tue Marsh Light while anglers fishing the shorelines of the Ware and North rivers are catching good numbers of speckled trout plus some puppy drum and school stripers.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club enjoyed good weekend action on tuna and wahoo. The crew aboard the HEALTHY GRIN boated school yellowfin tuna, false albacore and wahoo on Sunday, working east of the Cigar and down to the 950-line. A return trip on Monday produced more yellowfin with three tuna in the 50-pound range, king mackerel, small dolphin and false albacore. Even for accomplished anglers, big fish get away, as a nice wahoo shook free at the transom plus an estimated 350-pound blue marlin broke-free at the leader.

Virginia Middle Bay-

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported trollers found taylor blues in fair supply at buoy 62 while Spanish mackerel were scarce. Anglers jigging with Stingsilvers just south of buoy 62 in 50 to 60 feet of water find fair to good numbers of pan trout plus an occasional croaker. Bottom fishermen are still catching spot at the mouth of Dividing Creek and inside the Wicomico River.

Don from Smith Point Marina said his charter fleet chummed the waters around buoys 68 and 72 (Maryland) and returned with limits of school stripers to 26 inches plus fair numbers of taylor blues. Larger bluefish were encountered over the weekend around Smith Point Light, where fish to nearly 7 pounds were reported. Don added that fair numbers of croaker are still holding along the deepwater channel edges off Smith Point. Emory Haynie weighed a 5-2 speckled trout that he caught on bait at Dameron Marsh.

Beth Thompson at Locklies Marina weighed three citation spot the past week--a 1-1 fish for Doug Malory, a 1-2 spot for Debra Morgan and a 1 1/4 pound spot for James Beard. The waters near Parrots Island and off White Stone produced the bigger spot but Carters Creek produced the biggest hauls of the tasty bottom feeders.

Garretts Marina said striped bass are becoming active at the "power lines," while bottom fishing for spot and croaker has slowed.

Captain Jim Thompson reported excellent bottom fishing for spot to nearly 12 inches inside the Rappahannock River at Butlers Hole, Cherry Point and Windmill Point. The typical daily catch includes fair to good numbers of pigfish and porgy plus a few "keeper" trout.

Virginia Beach-

Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported their headboat fleet worked the ocean wrecks in recent days and returned with good hauls of sea bass. Inshore boats reported catches of Spanish and king mackerel plus some false albacore. Further offshore, "six-pack" charters trolled-up yellowfin tuna, wahoo and some bailer dolphin.

Fisherman's Wharf Marina said boats trolling in the vicinity of the Norfolk Canyon returned with good hauls of yellowfin tuna and chicken dolphin plus some good-sized wahoo.

Virginia Piers-


A recording indicated the pier was open on weekends only but no fishing report was provided.

Buckroe Beach-

Good-sized spot dominated the catches which also included some flounder, pan trout, croaker and school stripers (releases only until October 4).


Pier anglers witnessed an influx of blowfish the past two days but other catches were scant but included a few speckled trout, croaker and spot, according to a pier spokesman.


Pier anglers decked a few spot, sea mullet, croaker, bluefish and puppy drum but overall action was slow.

Virginia Beach-

The weekend was highlighted by a good run of speckled trout on Saturday and a few brief runs of jumbo spot each day. Other catches included croaker, puppy drum and bluefish. Water temperature at pierside was 73 degrees on Tuesday.


A recording described the water as "dingy" and indicated the fishing was slow.

Outer Banks, NC-

Schools of finger mullet are moving along the Nags Head area beaches--a sure sign that the fall fishing season has arrived. Puppy drum provided good sport for shore bound anglers at numerous locations with the north shore of Oregon Inlet especially productive. Water temperature in this area remains in the low 70's and decent numbers of small to medium pompano are still being caught. Speckled trout have appeared in the surf at Kitty Hawk with scattered catches reported all the way down to the Nags Head Pier. Pods of false albacore are cruising just outside the breakers. Pier action along the Outer Banks is good for a variety of fish including blowfish, pompano, bluefish, puppy drum, speckled trout, spot and a few sea mullet. Anglers fishing the banks of the Little Bridge to Manteo reported scattered catches of small black drum, snapper blues, puppy drum, and spot.

Yellowfin tuna provided the bulk of the bluewater action for the Oregon Inlet Fleet, as most fishermen focus their attention to the waters surrounding the Point. Dolphin and a few wahoo were also reported while billfish action was very slow. Half-day boats trolling at or near the mouth of the inlet found good numbers of Spanish mackerel, taylor blues in fair supply and a few false albacore.

Out of Hatteras, the bluewater fleet enjoyed good catches of small to medium dolphin plus a few scattered catches of yellowfin tuna, king mackerel and wahoo on Saturday. Jeff Foster of Norfolk boated a 71-pound yellowfin aboard the CITATION while sailfish were boated and released on the TOP BILLING and TUNA DUCK. Sunday, most of the fleet recorded limit catches of dolphin plus a few yellowfin and wahoo. On Monday, several sailfish releases were reported but the dolphin bite slowed. Most of the better catches throughout the three-day period were made near Triple 0's in 100 fathoms or more.

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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