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The Saltwater Review - 25 May 1999

Vol. 13, No. 7

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

Due to the observance of Memorial Day, May 31, the Virginia Saltwater Review will not be published the week of June 1-4.

The first segment of the Virginia's Trophy Striped Bass season came to an end this Saturday, May 15. Beginning Sunday, May 16 and running through June 15, anglers may keep two striped bass within an 18 to 28-inch slot limit. New this season, one of the two-fish possession limit may include a striped bass of 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 Citation Weigh Stations, many other tackle shops and marinas and from our homepage web site (see address above). A reporting form is also enclosed in this report.

There are four ways to report 1999 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 http://www.state.va.us/mrc/recreational.htm , the e-mail address is lgillingha@mrc.state.va.us , the FAX number is (757) 247-2264.

The weekend produced the best catches of black drum so far this season with buoy C-13 (located off Kiptopeake) the reported hot spot. The best bite came during the late afternoon and evening tide and sea clams were the preferred bait.

Likewise, red drum staged their best showing of the season in recent days. The Inner Middle Ground was the reported hot spot with crab and bunker the two preferred baits.

The season's first reported rod and reel catches of Spanish mackerel were recorded over the weekend--in each instance the catches occurred from a public pier.

Chincoteague-

Donna from Capt. Bob's reported impressive numbers of large grey trout are being caught at Four Mouths and Queen's Sound, where flounder provide good action but only "about one fish in three is big enough to keep" (16-inch minimum size limit). Big bluefish have arrived on the inshore ocean wrecks.

R & R Boat Rental said their customers enjoyed an excellent weekend of flounder fishing, as many returned with their 8-fish limit. The favored location was inside Queens Sound, where weakfish weighing nearly 7 pounds were also boated. Live minnows worked equally well on both the flatfish and the trout.

Barnacle Bill's said parties fishing with Bucktail Charters had good catches of flounder plus weakfish to 3 1/2 pounds. Maryland angler Mitch Adams weighed the heaviest flatfish of the week, a fat, 5 3/4 pounder which was caught in Chincoteague Channel. Keeper flounder were caught from the shop's pier on Sunday. Outside the inlet, Suffolk angler Bill Petka decked a 13 1/2 pound tautog aboard the charter boat MY GIRLS.

Tommy Daisey at Daisey's Dockside said Queen's Sound flats were the weekend hot spot for flounder plus several keepers were decked on the shop's pier. Good-sized weakfish are taking chunks of peeler crab drifted among the pilings of the Assateague Bridge.

Wachapreague-

Wachapreague Marina reported a busy weekend for fish and fishermen. The flats near Hummocks Channel produced some of the best weekend hauls of flounder while bottom fishermen soaking sea clams around the mouth of the inlet scored on big black drum and stripers of nearly 30 pounds!

Capt. Zed's said Saturday saw the best flounder action of the week with the late afternoon tide the most productive period. Anglers fishing Green and Drawing channels were also treated to trout of over 5 pounds. The inshore ocean wrecks are still producing good hauls of tautog plus some sea bass.

Cape Charles-

Chris' Bait and Tackle reported a strong run of big black drum on the lower Bay. The C-13 buoy was the hot spot for black drum, as Rick Rockwell (45 inches), Hunter Burger (46 inches), Don Webb (45 1/2 inches), Don Brittingham (48 inches) and Byron Collins (48 inches) all registered releases. Additionally, Elmer Pea released a 49-inch black drum at the CBBT and Ryan Bundick a 51-incher at the Cabbage Patch. The best action has come during the late afternoon tide with sea clam the preferred bait. Also earning a release award last week was Fred Barnes for a 47-inch, surf caught red drum and Scott Rittenhouse for a 44-inch red at the CBBT. A live minnow produced the lone Citation flounder of the week for Bernie Hall. The flatfish went 6-5 and was caught at Ship Shoal Inlet.

Onancock-

Captain Wil Laaksonen reported "all the croaker you want" with individual fish ranging from 1/2 to 3 pounds. Bottom fishermen also report "easy limits" of 14 to 17-inch pan trout, decent numbers of small to medium spot and ever-increasing numbers of 16 to 18-inch flounder. Dick Gramms was bottom fishing with a 12-pound outfit and a strip of croaker when he caught a 43-inch striped bass. After the battle the fish was released. Weakfish weighing nearly 7 pounds have appeared at the Target Ships and off Watts Island.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel-

Ruth Cobb from Cobbs Marina described the weekend flounder action as "great"' with the Small Boat Channel especially productive. Tautog are still being pulled from the rocks at the CBBT islands and sizeable trout are hitting at the Third and Fourth islands.

Bubba's Marina told of excellent hauls of trout and flounder "right at Lynnhaven Inlet," as well as the CBBT complex. Several red drum were boated near the northern-most section of the CBBT. The shop also received reports of cobia sightings at the Tower Reef.

Dr. Jim Wright said with the pleasant weather "the world turned into fish," with excellent catches of school stripers behind the First Island, plenty of trout along the bayside of the Fourth Island and at the 12 MP and good hauls of flounder just east of the Fourth Island. Dr. Jim added that anglers casting poppers at dusk around the rocks of the Fourth Island are catching a school striper "nearly every cast."

Captain Pete Bregant spent Tuesday night on Nine-Foot Shoal, where he released a 54-inch red drum and his son Matt, a pair measuring 48 and 49 inches. The father and son team used big chunks of hard crab for bait rather than cut fish because "the sharks were so bad."

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Bait and Tackle said grey trout of over 8 pounds were caught at the HRBT and CBBT over the weekend. The shop registered a pair of black drum releases, one each for Roland Bailey (46 inches) and Jon Bird (49 inches). Ashley Weatherford boated the heaviest weekend flounder, a 5 1/4 pounder, at the Fourth Island.

Donald Rice and a group aboard the SEAVAYOR caught trout to 7 pounds, flounder to 4 pounds and croaker weighing nearly 2 pounds on jigs sweetened with a strip of croaker.

Johnny at Sunset Marina said Lonnie Moss and Jim Post each boated grey trout in excess of 8 pounds on peeler crab at the HRBT but the biggest trout of the week weighed 10 1/2 pounds and was caught on an artificial jig at the same structure by Dave Gerwitz. John Wise checked-in a 9 3/4 pound trout from the CBBT--where most of the larger trout had been caught the previous weeks. A 7-pound flounder from the CBBT by Glenn Hoffman and a 45-inch red drum release by Bernie Kaasmann rounded out the weekend Citations but croaker of nearly 3 pounds were boated at the M & M Bridge plus a 14 1/2 pound bluefish was weighed.

Allan Vanasse from Vanasse Bait and Tackle weighed croaker of over 2 pounds that were caught on the lower James River with nice catches of pan trout reported from Hampton Bar, along the HRBT and off Factory Point. Good weekend catches of flounder were registered at Bluefish Rock and a 40-inch red drum was boated at Latimer Shoals.

Andy Watkins from Back River Market weighed a huge 11 1/2 pound tautog for George Curtis. The Citation fish was pulled from the rocks at of the Third Island. Doug Deese also weighed a citation-sized fish--a whopper 3-9 croaker. Andy said speckled trout made a decent showing on Poquoson Flats while croaker and flounder were caught at the mouth of Back River.

Jimmy Lewis from A & S Feed and Bait Supply checked-in a pair of Citation winning speckled trout--a 5-10 fish for Albert Tillage of Hayes and a 6-3 speck for Jerimiah Carr of Hayes. Both fish were caught inside Mobjack Bay near the mouth of the Severn River on fresh peeler crab. The same waters are producing decent numbers of puppy drum in the 20-inch range. On the York River, big croaker are available "anywhere you want to go," according to Jimmy, while flounder and pan trout are hitting at the Gloucester Point Pier and around the pilings of the Gloucester Point Bridge.

Virginia Middle Bay-

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported more "trophy-sized" striped bass (fish 32 inches or greater) were caught in the past week than since the season began. The most consistent action occurred from buoy 62 up to the Northern Neck Reef site and around the Smith Point Light. A 12-pound bluefish was also boated over the weekend. Bottom fishermen are enjoying good mixed catches of croaker and pan trout at Smith Point Light and at the N2 buoy while a few flounder were caught at the Smith Point Jetty.

Boats fishing from Smith Point Marina found plenty of "slot stripers" (18 to 28-inch fish) as they chummed the waters surrounding buoy 62. Captain Ferrell McLain said bottom fishermen working these same waters are catching loads of 1 to 1 1/2 pound croaker plus some pan trout in the 1 to 3 pound range.

Jerry Thrash at Queen's Creek Reel and Downrigger Service said big trout have moved into the waters surrounding the Cell, as excellent weekend hauls of trout to 9 pounds were recorded. Some of the best action ocurred after dusk on medium weight bucktails bounced over the structure. Taylor blues and striped bass are mixed in with the trout at the Cell. Jerry added that flounder have arrived in the buoy 42 area and several nice catches were recorded over the weekend while the local creeks remain "loaded" with croaker.

Jim Thompson from Locklies Marina said croaker continue to provided excellent bottom fishing action in 30 feet of water off the Silos and Parrots Island. More spot are showing in the catches which also include a few pan trout.

Valerie Prince from Garretts Marina said their customers were still catching big croaker "everywhere they drop a line over," as small boats fishing near the marina and larger craft traveling well out into the river were all returning with coolers of fish. A few spot are mixed in the with croaker.

Virginia Beach-

The season's first billfish catches were registered at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center over the weekend, as both the CHAOS and TOP PRIORITY released a blue marlin. Boats fishing offshore also recorded good numbers of dolphin but few yellowfin tuna. Inshore, the headboats are catching plenty of sea bass plus a few tog on the nearby ocean wrecks. Boats fishing the lower Bay reported mixed catches of striped bass, grey trout and taylor blues.

Paula Owen from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said the season's first offshore trips produced excellent catches of gaffer dolphin. Best action occurred south of Triple 0's near the 900-line. Inshore, the charter boats THERAPHY and BOOTLEGGER fished the CBBT complex for stripers over the weekend. Best action came on live baits drifted around the Third Island.

Grandview

Bluefish to 7 pounds were decked over the weekend and decent catches of flounder, croaker and spot were made the past week. After dusk, when the piers lights come on, pan trout to 15 inches swarm beneath the lights and can often be caught two-at-a-time on double spec rigs--just remember, the possession limit is just 4-fish, 12 inches or greater.

Buckroe Beach-

Flounder to 4 pounds and bluefish to 10 pounds were reported on Sunday. Bottom fishermen are catching croaker and pan trout--mostly after dusk, plus a few spot.

Harrison

Flounder are hitting in the morning but the pace slows during mid-day. Croaker and striped bass are biting in evenings.

Lynnhaven-

The season first catches of Spanish mackerel occurred here over the weekend. After dusk, pan trout, speckled trout, sea mullet and spot provide steady action.

Virginia Beach-

A few Spanish mackerel were caught here Tuesday morning (May 25) mixed in with schools of snapper blues and pan trout. Sea mullet and spot have been hitting after dusk. Ocean waters surrounding the pier pilings were still a cool 65 degrees on Tuesday.

Sandbridge-  

Fair numbers of flounder were caught Friday while spot provided brief flurries of action on Saturday, yet overall action was rated slow. Monday, the water was "dirty" and stingrays were gobbling-up baits as soon as they hit the water.

Outer Banks, NC-

Spanish mackerel made their seasonal debut at several of the Nags Head area piers over the weekend, according to Bill MaCaskill at Whalebone Tackle while beach and pier anglers shared in decent weekend catches of sea mullet, small pan trout, snapper blues. Speckled trout were reported from several locations along the oceanfront beaches in the Kitty Hawk/Nags Head area but the best catches were registered back inside the sounds and along the catwalk of the Little Bridge to Manteo. Large red drum have moved inside Oregon Inlet and several were caught inside the Oregon Inlet Bridge while a 40 pounder was decked on the Avon Pier.

The bluewater fleet sailing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center enjoyed good hauls of yellowfin tuna, fair catches of dolphin and scattered catches of wahoo to 56 pounds on Thursday. Dolphin were more plentiful than yellowfin tuna on Friday, when the TUNA FEVER and HOOKER each released blue marlin. Dolphin dominated the catches on Saturday but yellowfin, wahoo and king mackerel were also taken. Sunday and Monday were both "no sail days" for the Oregon Inlet fleet, due to the weather.

Offshore boats leaving from Hatteras Inlet were able to fish on Sunday (May 23) and the CITATION, GAMBLER and SEA CREATURE (2) all released blue marlin and the REEL RELIEF and BITE ME, each a white. Dolphin and wahoo dominated the "meat fish" action--especially for the boats fishing south of the inlet while boats working north of the 230 line returned with some yellowfin tuna and dolphin. Saturday produced some of the most impressive hauls of wahoo this season, as the SEA CREATURE decked 14 and the GAMBLER weighed the heaviest at 53 pounds. The WAHOO, BIG EASY, ENTICER and SKIRT CHASER all registered at least one citation wahoo while the CANYON EXPRESS and BIG EASY each released a blue marlin.

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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