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The Saltwater Review - May 23, 2000

Vol. 14, No. 6
by Lewis S. Gillingham


Due to the observance of Memorial Day, May 29, the Virginia Saltwater Review will not be published the week of 30 May-June 2.

Virginia's Trophy Striped Bass season opened May 1 and will run through June 15. This special season carries a 32-inch minimum size limit coupled with a one-fish bag limit. From May 1 through May 16, anglers may possess one-fish, 32 inches or greater. From May 16 through June 15, anglers are allowed to possess two striped bass within the 18 and 28-inch slot, but one fish 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.

There are four ways to report 2000 Striped Bass Recreational Trophy fish. You can opt to pick up a report form from any weigh station and mail it in. Or you may choose to print or download a reporting form from the VMRC web site and mail or FAX it in. Or, download a form from the VMRC web site and e-mail it as an attachment. Or lastly, you can now choose an on-line form to send in the information. The on-line form does not work with all browser e-mail systems (such as AOL), so please keep a copy of your information in case the information does not reach the VMRC. Reports received via e-mail or on-line form will receive a reply. The web address is, the e-mail address is , the FAX number is (757) 247-2264.

Big black and red drum are reaching their seasonal spring peaks in the Bay with consistent catches reported all the way up the eastern shoreline to Saxis. As a reminder, Citation awards for either of these sought after trophy fish are available ONLY for a release (44 inches or greater).

Big grey trout continue to make a strong showing in the Bay, particularly along the CBBT complex, HRBT and Cell. Reports indicate that some large fish have moved into the waters of the Cell. Anglers are reminded that a 12-inch size limit and 4-fish possession limit is in effect from May 1 through August 15 for weakfish (grey trout).

Chincoteague -

Captain Bob's reported big weakfish are biting at several locations inside Chincoteague Inlet. The largest trout of the week was claimed by local angler George Tripp, who was fishing from the shore at Queens Sound and using fresh peeler crab for the bait. The monster trout weighed 11 1/4 pounds! Taylor blues are also abundant in the protected waters while the flounder bite has slowed. Huge red drum are moving along the coastline and several were caught the past week in the surf on Assateague Island with a 53 1/2-inch and 63 pounder, caught by Lee Klechner, the heaviest of the week.

R & R Boat Rental told of decent flounder action at Black Narrows flats, adding that the flounder bite remained steady even on windy days last week. The shop indicated that the weather did have an adverse affect on catches of taylor bluefish and trout.

Barnacle Bill's suggested the Four Mouths area and Queens Sound flats for flounder, adding that trout and even a few croaker are caught in the same waters. Over on Assateague Island, several large stripers measuring to 43 inches were beached the past week.

Wachapreague -

Wachapreague Marina reported fair catches of flounder plus some trout to 6 pounds the past week with some of the better hauls coming from Swash Bay flats. Big black drum remain available around many of the seaside inlets. Outdoor writer George Reiger released a 49-inch drum at Wachapreague Inlet. A few red drum were reported on the seaside but the marina checked-in over a dozen release awards for red drum from the bayside--most were reportedly caught in the vicinity of Parkers Island.

Capt. Zed's said black drum, red drum and even a few "keeper" stripers (28-inch for the seaside and Territorial waters) were caught at the inlet. The shop indicated the flounder bite had slowed, as the flatfish moved off the flats and scattered into deeper water.

Cape Charles -

Chris' Bait and Tackle Shop reported phenomenal black drum action off Kiptopeke and Cape Charles, as the shop registered nearly 100 release Citations the past week! The water surrounding buoys 13 and 16 continue to be the hotspots with a slacking tide producing the best bite. Bottom fishermen seeking croaker are finding plenty of cooperative fish with the Plantation Light area producing some of the better hauls of bigger fish. Tautog are still biting at the Cement Ships while schools of pan trout are holding just east, along the channel edge. The State Park Pier at Kiptopeke is yielding good numbers of both croaker and pan trout (especially in the late evenings) and even a few Spanish mackerel.


Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported good hauls of croaker to nearly 3 pounds and grey trout to 7 pounds off Onancock plus a scattering of good-sized spot. Flounder and bluefish remain relatively scarce. Squid and bits of bloodworm are the favored baits. Anglers fishing the shallow, grassy shorelines are scoring on speckled trout and red drum. Surface water temperature was 67 degrees inside Onancock Harbor Tuesday morning--a drop of several degrees in the past week.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -

Cobbs Marina checked-in a 7-pound, citation-winning flounder for David Gatiher. The prize flatfish was boated at the Second Island of the CBBT. Croaker are biting "from the jetties out to the islands (CBBT)," where school stripers are available.

John from Bubba's Marina said flounder to 8 pounds were boated recently inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Outside the inlet, good catches of grey trout were made at the Third and Fourth islands while mixed catches of black and red drum were reported from the Inner Middle Ground and up to the Cabbage Patch.

Dr. Jim Wright said several of the charter fleet scored on yellowfin tuna over the weekend "but they had to run some 70 miles to find the fish." Other charter craft chose to fish the CBBT for striped bass and trout, where they easily claimed limits of each.

Wallace's Marina told of speckled trout, school stripers and puppy drum at Poquoson Flats while anglers fishing the CBBT had good success on weakfish , taylor blues and school stripers.

Sunset Marina said the HRBT continued to produce impressive hauls of large grey trout with some fish topping 8 pounds.

Allen Vanasse from Vanasse Bait and Tackle said "everybody and their brother has been catching trout," with the waters off Fort Monroe, the mouth of Back River, Factory Point and CBBT complex just some of the more productive areas. Allen also mentioned the buoy 7 area produced some weekend catches of flounder and loads of croaker while anglers fishing from the old seawall at Grandview scored on nice-sized croaker.

Salt Ponds Marina described the weekend weather as "awful," and had no fishing information to report.

Jimmy Lewis at A & S Feed and Bait Supply told of good catches of speckled trout inside Mobjack Bay, as David Birdsaw, Jr. (6-6), David Birdsaw (6 pounds), Alan McFearan (5-6) and Billy Flippin (5-6) all registered citation-winning catches over the weekend. Croaker remain abundant in the York River with fish to 2-14 weighed recently. Flounder and pan trout are also taken in the Gloucester area.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club reported good catches of large-sized croaker and grey trout to 5 pounds at the HRBT, plenty of school stripers, pan trout and some flounder at the CBBT and large black drum at the Inner Middle Grounds.

Virginia Middle Bay -

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported grey trout numbers and sizes continue to improve with good recent catches of trout made at the Target Ships, Dividing Creek, Indian Creek and around Smith Point Light. Area bottom fishermen continue to load-up on croaker at the N2 buoy, Smith Point Light and just south of buoy 62. Good numbers of Spanish mackerel are already appearing in local pound nets but Roger knew of no rod and reel catches as yet.

Dan from Smith Point Marina said their charter fleet had shifted from trolling for large stripers to chumming for school-sized stripers--with good results, as anglers are easily catching their limit of school-fish to 26 inches at the Middle Grounds. As for bottom fishing, croaker are abundant "just about any place you drop a rig over," according to Dan. Blackberry Hang is holding croaker as well as fair numbers of pan trout while some flounder were caught at the jetty.

Jerry Thrash from Queen's Creek Reel and Downrigger Service said anglers jigging at the Cell with Stingsilvers are catching large trout while the Ware Point area is producing some speckled trout and a few flounder. Jerry received better reports of flounder from "across the Bay," off Cape Charles, where flatfish to 7 1/2 pounds were landed. Croaker remain abundant throughout with some of the best concentrations found just off Hole-in-the-Wall.

Allen at Locklies Marina told of loads of big croaker, "no citations but real good size," plus a surprising number of large spot. Best catches have come from just off the Silos and along the White Stone Bridge. Other catches include a few flounder and pan trout.

Captain Jim Thompson told of good bottom fishing for croaker at the Corn House (located off the Piankatank), Butlers Hole and the range light (near Tangier). Most of the croaker are running 12 to 16 inches. Grey trout to 24 inches are mixed in with the croaker with even bigger trout (averaging 4 to 6 pounds) found at the Cell.

Virginia Beach -

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported the headboat fleet is splitting time between wreckfishing for sea bass and drifting the lower Bay for pan trout and croaker. An offshore charter trip by the MISS BEHAVEN produced several yellowfin tuna, wahoo and one dolphin.

Paula Owens from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said the Bootlegger returned from its Sunday charter with a limit of yellowfin tuna. The crew fished well south of the Cigar, near the 840-line. Other members of the charter fleet are working the CBBT and finding limits of school stripers and weakfish.

Virginia Piers -

James River - Croaker dominate the action but that is no surprise. An occasional flounder or snapper bluefish is caught during the daylight hours while trout and a few school stripers compete with the croaker after dark.

Grandview - Flounder and trout highlight the catches but croaker dominate the action. Sea mullet, spot and school-sized striped bass are also caught occasionally.

Buckroe Beach - Trout to 5 pounds were decked the past week but the surprising news is that several Spanish mackerel were caught. Other catches include flounder, croaker and a few school stripers.

Harrison - Weekend catches included mostly medium-sized croaker plus some pan trout and flounder.

Lynnhaven - Anglers enjoyed a steady diet of snapper blues and sea mullet the past several days.

Virginia Beach - The season's first Spanish mackerel was decked here on Tuesday, despite a reasonably cool water temperature reading of 65 degrees. Other recent catches included pan trout, spot, sea mullet and snapper blues.

Sandbridge - A pier spokesman said anglers were catching reasonable numbers of snapper blues but "not much else."

Outer Banks, NC -

Beach and pier anglers in the Nags Head area found an assortment of panfish with only snapper blues abundant at times. Anglers fishing the ends of the ocean piers scored on the occasional Spanish mackerel while bottom fishermen working the breaker line reported a mixture of sea mullet, skate, trout and croaker. Anglers fishing from either side of the shore at Oregon Inlet had snapper blues plus an occasional founder and puppy drum.

The bluewater fleet sailing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center enjoyed excellent catches of yellowfin tuna--often recording limit catches before noon. The best recent bite has been just north of the Point, about a 37 mile run from the inlet.

The Hatteras fleet reported good mixed hauls of gaffer dolphin and yellowfin tuna from the Triple 0's up to the 280 rocks on Saturday. On Sunday, the best catches were centered around the 230-line. Inshore boats are making good hauls of Spanish mackerel and snapper bluefish. Cobia sightings are becoming more abundant.

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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