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The Saltwater Review - 4 May 1999

Vol. 13, No. 4
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


Virginia's Trophy Striped Bass season will open May 1 and run through May 15. This special season carries a 32-inch minimum size limit coupled with a one-fish bag limit. At their April meeting, held April 27, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission modified the Spring Striped Bass slot limit season. From May 16 through June 15, anglers have been allowed to possess two striped bass but the fish must be within the 18 and 28-inch slot. With the changes adopted April 27, anglers are still allowed only two fish but one of the two-fish allowed during the May 16 through June 15 slot season may be 32 inches or greater. Most important, anglers must report their Trophy catch (all 32-inch or greater fish caught and kept between 1 May and 15 June) on forms available at all Citation Weigh Stations, many other tackle shops and marinas and our homepage web site (see address above). A reporting form is also enclosed in this report.

Weather spoiled most fishing outings last week--especially ones planned for Friday, Saturday or Sunday, when most anglers usually fish. What is note worthy, despite the near gale force winds on the weekend, some folks actually went fishing and were able to catch fish.

Croaker were caught by brave souls fishing from Harrison's Pier, despite the fact wave and wind driven water was gushing between the pier planks at times. Additionally, the mid-portion of both the York and Rappahannock rivers provided decent catches of croaker.

Speckled trout were caught inside the Severn River but not from boats, as anglers wisely chose to fish from the shoreline.

The foul weather failed to deter the pleasant run of puppy drum that has been ongoing the past two weeks inside Rudee Inlet.

The protected waters inside Cape Charles Harbor yielded some pan trout, spot and bluefish.

Along the Outer Banks, fishing came to a standstill over the weekend but has rebounded nicely since Monday.


Donna at Captain Bob's said the last fishable day was Thursday, when flounder to 4 pounds were boated at Queen's Sound. Decent catches of smaller-sized flatfish were also recorded at Four Mouths but "it's been nothing but wind since then."

Tommy Daisey from Daisey's Dockside could not be reached.

Maria from Barnacle Bill's heard only of a few blowfish that had been caught recently.


Neither Wachapreague Marina nor Capt. Zed's had any weekend fishing activity to report due to near gale force winds. In fact, anglers were plagued with windy conditions for most of last week. The shops suggested Green and Drawing channels as likely spots to look for flounder once the winds calm and the waters clear. And both say flounder had been showing increasingly in shallows prior to the cooler weather.

Cape Charles-

The only report of any fishing activity from Chris' Bait and Tackle Shop was from a few desperate "weekend warriors" who, despite the conditions, were determined to fish somewhere. According to Chris they were able to catch a few pan trout, spot and bluefish inside Cape Charles Harbor.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen simply stated "nobody's been out," and described the week's weather as "horrible." Capt. Laaksonen did say that protected waters surrounding Fox Island and some of the creeks had yielded a few speckled trout, where fresh peeler crab was the bait of choice.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel-

Cobbs Marina no activity due to weather.

John from Bubba's Marina said anglers were catching plenty of flounder at the CBBT before the weather turned nasty. Likewise, trollers wirelining near the Second Island had scored on sizable grey trout. Since the blow, anglers managed a few flounder, bluefish and speckled trout in the protected waters of Lynnhaven Inlet.

Dr. Jim Wright said the waters of the turning basin, near junction buoy, produced some of the better catches of speckled trout--plus some flounder and bluefish.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina said there was "a good crowd leaving this morning" (Wednesday) but had no actual catches to report. According to the VHF radio, several black drum were boated Tuesday, at the Cabbage Patch.

Johnny from Sunset Marina said the wind blew so hard over the weekend "there were white caps all the way to the end of Hampton Creek" and no fishing activity.

A.D. from Vanasse Bait and Tackle told of good flounder action off Factory Point since the weekend. Striped bass were plentiful along the CBBT complex but most under the 32-inch Trophy-size minimum. One customer did weigh a 27-pound striper from the Fourth Island area. On the downside, croaker have been "hard to locate" since the blow, according to A.D.

Andy Watkins from Back River Market had no activity to report.

Salt Ponds Marina had no activity to report.

Chuck Ash from A&S Feed and Bait Supply said weekend anglers caught speckled trout in the Severn River while casting from shore during the northeaster. And that wasn't all, as customers indicated weakfish, striped bass, bluefish, puppy drum and even flounder were caught. As for croaker, "the York River is still loaded with them."

Virginia Middle Bay-

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware knew of a handful of croaker that had been caught in protected waters in the lower portion of the river and those were caught from shore or private piers--not out in a boat.

Dan from Smith Point Marina no answer.

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Reel and Downrigger Service said the weekend produced "nothing but wind and rain." Prior to the winds, croaker were abundant inside the rivers, speckled trout were starting to bite in Mobjack Bay and several Citation-sized flounder were boated off Cape Charles.

Valerie Prince stated proudly that loads of 1-pound plus croaker were caught "even during the weekend blow." The tasty bottom feeders were "everywhere and not just anywhere specific." Bloodworm and squid remain the favored baits.

Virginia Beach-

Headboats sailing from the Virginia Beach Fishing Center have been forced to remain in port due to the rough sea conditions since a week ago Sunday but were planing to fish this Wednesday. The marina spokesman said puppy drum were caught inside the inlet despite the weather but had no other catches to report.

Paula Owen from Fisherman's Wharf Marina had no activity to report.

Virginia Piers -

James River

Croaker ranging in size from 1 to nearly 3 pounds continue to provide steady action in all but the worst weather conditions. Small spot, bluefish, flounder and striped bass are caught sporadically.


Since Monday, bottom fishermen recorded decent catches of pan-sized croaker, grey trout to 17 inches and "loads of just under-sized flounder" (minimum size limit is 16 inches). Scattered catches of taylor blues were also reported.

Buckroe Beach-

The pier closed last Thursday as the storm approached and just re-opened Tuesday morning. Catches thus far have been slight--only a scattering of croaker, trout and flounder.


"People were actually fishing and catching croaker," during the height of the storm, according to a pier spokesman. Catches have actually slowed a bit since the waters have calmed with croaker and sea mullet dominating the catches.


A scattering of taylor blues and flounder were decked Tuesday, following the storm.

Virginia Beach

Bottom fishing has been slow the past week with only a handful of sea mullet and skate reported. The ocean water surrounding the pier pilings remained a chilly 55 degrees on Tuesday.


The pier closed during the height of the northeaster but decent catches of taylor blues and trout have been recorded since then.

Outer Banks, NC-

At the beginning of last week speckled of over 4 pounds were hitting at several locations between Kitty Hawk and Nags Head. Trophy-sized red drum of over 40 pounds were caught and released at Cape Point while catches of sea mullet, snapper blues, puppy drum and blowfish were recorded along the South Beach of Hatteras. This came to an abrupt end Thursday and virtually no fishing activity occurred through Monday of this week. Tuesday, "the fish returned with a vengeance," according to Bill MaCaskill at Whalebone Tackle, who beached speckled trout, sea mullet and taylor in the South Nags Head surf Tuesday morning. At the same time, beach and pier bottom fishermen enjoyed decent catches of sea mullet and spot. In the sound, speckled trout and puppy drum provided good action.

Offshore, the bluewater fleet sailing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center has been idled at the dock since last Wednesday. Ditto for the Hatteras Island fleet. Boats from Hatteras did fish Tuesday, the Fourth of May, and recorded good hauls of yellowfin tuna, decent numbers of dolphin plus a scattering of wahoo and king mackerel. Best action occurred in the vicinity of the Rockpile. Some of the tuna were good-sized, as Keith Wilson of VA Beach boated a Citation 81-pound yellowfin tuna and Maryland angler Stephen Schultz decked a 71-pound yellowfin.

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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