Some of “the best yellowfin action in years” has been reported by the Virginia offshore fleet. “Blue marlin are everywhere,” plus white marlin have been caught.
Spadefish in strong numbers have been caught at the Tower Reef, the cell and around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Cobia have been caught on Latimer Shoal and at other lower bay locations, including a huge 72 poundernailed at the CBBT. Doormat flounder to 8 pounds
have come from the CBBT, and big sharks have also been providing action for anglers in the lower bay and along the Virginia shoreline. On the freshwater scene, largemouth bass are in the grass, under boat docks, and in 10 to 18 feet of water off points. Lake Anna anglers have hooked stripers up to 12 pounds. Lake Gaston has also been giving up stripers, and a 20 pounder was caught at Smith Mountain Lake.
(Photo: Sizzling spadefish action at the Chesapeake Light Tower for Tidal Fish poster Sportin’ Wood and friends. “Serious pullage” is how they described the strength and determination of these strong fighters. They put together a limit catch before running out of bait. Good work guys!)
CCA / Northern Virginia – June 13 at Grace Presbyterian Church in Vienna, VA. 7 – 9 p.m.
Captain Tom Hughes on catching stripers in the mid-Chesapeake Bay.
Meeting is open to the public.
Peninsula Salt Water Sportsman’s Association – June 19 at the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 540 Building, 7812 Warwick Blvd in Newport News, 7 p.m.
Stan Simmerman will discuss Alaska salmon fishing.
Meeting is free and open to the public.
Important public meeting:
Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Finfish Advisory Committee Meeting
Monday, June 18, 6 p.m.
Public Hearing on Striped Bass Addendum III Draft.
Proposal to open striped commercial season January 16, 2013.
Proposal to replace the no-take (between 28 and 34 inches) Chesapeake Area recreational slot limit with a 2-fish limit (18-in minimum) – one fish allowed to be greater than 28 inches.
Discussion of spear fishing for striped bass.
Discussion on conforming Chesapeake Bay recreational fishery to match Maryland’s season. Discussion of Commercial Hook and line limited entry fishery.
From IGFA Virginia Beach Representative Julie Ball:
Summer officially begins this week, and the escalating summer fishing trend should continue once the wind subsides. When boats can get back out, expect some excellent inshore and offshore trips. Many anglers will resume their chase for the latest big inshore attraction, cobia. This week the cobia bite picked up on all fronts. Although many of these fish are on the smaller side, a few larger fish are weighing in at over 60 pounds. Both chummers and topwater casters are experiencing good luck. Bottom anglers are finding action off of Back River, Grand View, and Buckroe, as well as the Latimer Shoal and the Inner Middle Grounds areas. Sight casters are pulling fish from the pilings of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) and from open waters near the 3rd and 4th islands. Ed Davidson of Chesapeake scored with his first cobia this week. The 72 pounder inhaled cut bunker presented on the bottom near the 4th island.
Flounder action is off and on depending on the weather, and it was definitely “on” before the wind set in again this week. Anglers are taking good hauls of nice flatfish, with some over 8 pounds, from the CBBT area while working jigs and drifting with strip bait. The best luck is occurring at the High Rise area and around the islands and tubes of the CBBT. Folks are also catching keeper flatties along the channel edges, off Cape Henry, Ocean View, the Cell, Buoy 42, and Back River Reef. The lower bay inlets are also productive, with a good ratio of keepers coming from both Lynnhaven and Rudee inlets. Live baiters are lagging this week, but this method will catch on soon.
Chris’ Bait and Tackle state that red drum are still available in the surf along Fisherman’s Island and near buoys 8 and 10, but the weather is hampering angler accessibility lately. Large schools of bulls are cruising on the surface along the coast off Virginia Beach, and near the 4th island of the CBBT. Black drum have all but deserted the shoals off the Eastern Shore, where big sea mullet, flounder and cobia are available as a consolation prize.
Spadefish are still schooling around lower bay structures, with the Chesapeake Light Tower a favorite location. This is also a favorite location for skin divers, which can make cooperation a challenge. Fish ranging to around 5 pounds are still coming from the 3rd and 4th islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on clam. Sheepshead action is on the rise, with nice fish taking offerings all along the bridge structure and on several lower bay wrecks. Triggerfish are beginning to take residence on most any inshore structure or wreck.
Captain Steve Wray, skipper of the Ocean Pearl from Lynnhaven Inlet, reports that the Spanish mackerel bite along the Virginia Beach ocean front is hot right now, with most of the fish well over 20 inches. Small spoons trolled at 5 to 6 knots are enticing the best response from Sandbridge to Cape Henry. Taylor bluefish are always a by-catch for this activity. Pier anglers are also getting in on the excellent Spanish action using Gotcha jigs. Sharks to 3 and 4 feet long are showing up along the shorelines of Virginia Beach, with black tips the most common variety. Be sure to check the regulations carefully before targeting sharks.
Nice-sized spot made a good showing inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Many of these fish are averaging 10 ounces. Medium to large croaker are also lurking around the James River Bridge, the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel, off Ocean View, off Kiptopeke, and along the CBBT. The folks at Ocean’s East 2 report that boats and kayaks are scoring with snapper and chopper bluefish to over 30 inches by tossing live bait along the jetties lining Little Creek Inlet lately. Tarpon are quietly making their debut in the backwaters of Oyster, with several confirmed sightings over the last two weeks.
When deep droppers can get out, they are still going strong with limits of tilefish, grouper, rosefish and a good by-catch of sea bass. Decent sea bass action is also still available at many deeper wrecks, such as the Triangle Wrecks area.
The offshore scene is boiling with yellowfin tuna right now. When the weather is good, boats are hooking dozens of tuna, with many ranging from 40 to 60 pounds. Some nice dolphin are also in the mix, along with some scattered blue marlin and mako sharks. The action is happening from the Norfolk Canyon to the Triple 0’s in around 40 to 50 fathoms. A few bluefin tuna are also showing on the inshore lumps, with the Hot Dog area showing the most promise recently.
Ken Neill reports in from tidal Virginia:
Offshore fishing is fantastic. Yellowfin tuna fishing is the best we have had in years. Most boats are managing at least a handful, double-digit catches are common and some boats have been limiting out. Add to that, good dolphin fishing and the billfish bite is very good for this early. Blue marlin seem to be everywhere. The top white marlin catches I have heard of so far are a couple of boats with three releases (and they were tuna fishing). There are a lot of billfish encounters not being caught on spreader bars and such. Good billfish action but it is the yellowfin tuna excitement that has all of the Virginia charter boats booked. There are also a decent number of bigeye tuna in the mix. Offshore bottom fishing is also good. Blueline tilefish and sea bass are being found mixed together around 50 fathoms. Along the walls of the Norfolk Canyon, we have another big year class of wreckfish quickly filling your one-per-person grouper limit. Amberjack have made a showing at the southern towers. Spadefish are at the Chesapeake Light Tower and at the CBBT though I have not heard of any large spadefish being caught yet. Big sheepshead are at the CBBT. Spanish mackerel fishing is very good at Cape Henry and Sandbridge. Large speckled trout are being caught inside Back River, on Poquoson Flats and in the Mobjack Bay area. Big red drum continue to bite crab baits on the shoals at the mouth of the bay. Schools of big red drum are also being encountered by boats looking for cobia. Some black drum are schooling around the islands of the CBBT. Sight fishing for cobia has been very good when conditions are good. Some cobia are being caught by chumming but most catches have been made by the stalkers. Flounder fishing has really turned on. Limits of flatfish are being caught with a good number of citation-sized fish.
Virginia Saltwater Reports by Charlie Taylor:
CHINCOTEAGUE - Decent catches of flounder are being taken in the Main Channel, Black Narrows and Queens Sound, but the largest fish are coming from Four Mouths. Small sea bass are plentiful around bridge pilings and on oyster bars. A few grey trout and bluefish are found in Queens Sound, while Assateague Island surf anglers are taking spot, mullet and snapper blues. Large mako sharks are being caught at the Parking Lot, along with bluefin tuna, chopper bluefish and dolphin. Impressive catches of sea bass, along with spadefish, triggerfish and amberjack, are made on the inshore ocean wrecks.
WACHAPREAGUE - Best action for flounder and grey trout is found around the old Coast Guard Station on Cedar Island. Flounder action is also good at Green and Drawing Channels. Large bluefish are available in the vicinity of buoy #10, along with an occasional king mackerel. The 21 and 26 Mile Hills are producing good numbers of bluefin tuna in the 20- to 30-pound class and an occasional 100 pounder. Chopper bluefish, false albacore, bonito mackerel and a few yellowfin tuna are mixed in with the bluefin tuna at the 26 Mile Hill. Billfish are beginning to come on. Ocean wrecks continue to produce large tautog and sea bass.
ONANCOCK - Croaker and sea trout are plentiful off Onancock and in Pocomoke and Tangier sounds. Bottom fishermen are also catching blowfish, pigfish, sea mullet and bluefish. Flounder catches are above average, running to four with fish to 4 pounds. Best action is on channel edge drop-offs in 18 to 20 feet of water. Spot are being caught in shallow water on bloodworms. Speckled trout are taken around the grassy shorelines on peeler crab. Cobia have been scarce.
QUINBY - Good numbers of croaker and trout, with a fair supply of flounder to 5 pounds. The area between the Coast Guard Station and the North Channel, on the end of the falling tide, has been a steady producer.
CAPE CHARLES - Good catches of pan trout and flounder are being made here, with trout coming from the High Level Bridge, while flounder are being caught around the Cement Ships. Cobia are plentiful, with most of the large fish being taken at the Middle Grounds and Latimer Shoals. Red drum are still thick in the shallows behind Fisherman's Island. There were a few citation red drum releases this past week. Bluefin tuna are showing consistently on 26 Mile Hill. Tarpon have moved into the seaside inlets. Big spadefish are still available at the Cell. Croaker are thick practically anywhere you drop a baited hook and pan trout are being found along the channel edges off Cape Charles. One of the best areas is around buoy 36A. Cobia are showing well on Latimer Shoal.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Flounder are plentiful, with the hot spot being the Small Boat Channel. Schools of spadefish have moved in, with better catches coming from the Third Island. Croaker are scattered from Little Creek Jetty to the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. Black Drum are coming from the Third Island, while red drum are being caught from the Nine-Foot Shoal area. Big spadefish are also available around the Tower Reef, where many citation fish have been caught. Clam baits are the ticket. Area marinas weighed in a lot of cobia this past week. Croaker are inundating the Hump, Hampton Bar and around Fort Wool. Trollers are taking Spanish mackerel off Grandview, while bottom fishermen are seeing plenty of croaker and pan trout, plus fair numbers of flounder and spot. Plenty of cobia were caught around the York Spit Light, but most of the fish came from the area around Bluefish Rock. Bottom fishing remains steady in the York River and inside Mobjack Bay for pan trout and croaker.
VIRGINIA BEACH – Head boats are returning loaded with sea bass. Offshore, 12- to 17-pound bluefish, dolphin and yellowfin tuna are being caught on the 21 and 26 Mile Hills. Yellowfin tuna and dolphin are available from Norfolk Canyon down to the 850 line. White marlin are biting at the Cigar. Amberjack are available at the Southern Tower. Shark fishing is excellent at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, with dusky, sand tiger and bulls to 150 pounds being taken. Inshore boats are trolling and catching Spanish mackerel and taylor blues.
LYNNHAVEN - Sea mullet are the most consistent catch, with spot, croaker, flounder, pan trout and taylor blues mixed in the catches. Spanish mackerel to 5 pounds are consistent catches. Crabs are beginning to show.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Spot and sea mullet are the most consistent catch, but croaker, bluefish, flounder and pan trout are also being caught. Spanish mackerel and bluefish are taken by casters and cobia are hooked regularly.
SANDBRIDGE - Sea mullet, spot, trout and skates are providing most of the action, but flounder and croaker are also being caught. Spanish mackerel and bluefish are being taken by casters when the water is clear.
Potomac River reports from Captain Ken Penrod:
Potomac River and freshwater reports from Captain Ken Penrod:
Bass fishing was very good in the early week but became poor by week’s end as big tides and clear skies simply hurt our efforts. For the most part, the south Potomac has been better than the north. You will see many dead fish, mostly carp, in the river but blame commercial watermen because they call that by-catch.
WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE: Bass fishing in this area has been “tough.” We catch a few in Penrod Cove, Smoot Bay, Belle Haven Cove, Broad Creek wood cover, and Piscataway Creek drop-offs. Grass beds in Pomonkey Bay, Pohick Bay and main river are OK. Case Magic Stiks, Penrod Special spinnerbaits by Big Mouth Lures and Mizmo tubes are tough to beat.
MATTAWOMAN CREEK: This area just fishes better than the rest of the river but major tournament traffic keeps most of us away from those launch sites that we paid for. Yet, cast 6-inch Case Magic Stiks to the edges of milfoil beds and you will catch lots of bass. The trouble this week was coastal flooding from onshore wind. We did OK in Chickamuxen Creek grass-beds, Mallows Bay, and grass-beds between Chopawamsic Creek and Aquia. Warning: stay away from Marine base restricted areas. No sense of humor at all.
POCOMOKE RIVER: Bass fishing was tough this week due to on-shore winds that caused flooding. Same story for all Eastern Shore rivers.
SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS: Closed bass season until June 16.
Virginia Freshwater Fishing Reports:
POTOMAC RIVER, D.C. - Fletcher's Boathouse reports that bass and carp are being caught in the C&O Canal, under the mulberry trees. Nightcrawlers and minnows are taking their toll. Washington Channel's War College grass-bed is producing some good fish on buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Rattling crankbaits are taking fish when worked along the outside edges of the grass beds. Blue Plains outfall is giving up some bass and catfish, along with a few stripers, to anglers fishing crankbaits and plastic baits around the grass-beds and pilings. Most of the bass are being caught along the grass-bed that extends from Blue Plains to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Primary baits are buzz baits, plastic jerk baits, small spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Try Mann's Baby One Minus crankbaits on high tides. A few bass are being caught in Oxon Cove and the Spoils. Catfish are thick around main river bridge pilings. Clam snouts, cut shad or perch, nightcrawlers and crab baits will entice these fish.
POTOMAC RIVER, BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Most of the largemouth bass are orienting to the grass-beds, either in the creeks or on the main river, from Broad Creek to Nanjemoy Creek. Topwater lures, early and late in the day, will draw exciting strikes from bass feeding in the beds. Plastic frogs, floating worms, Senkos and Zoom Super Flukes, worked through the grass when the sun is up, will draw strikes on falling tides. As the tide rises, slow the retrieve and work the lures deeper into the grass. Plastic creature baits, with up to 1-ounce weights, and heavy jigs will get down to the fish. This technique produces the larger fish. Rattling crankbaits and Chatterbaits, worked parallel to the outside edge of the grass and across deep points, will also take good fish. Catfish are available on almost any shallow flat adjacent to a channel drop-off. Cut bait and clam snouts are the top choices for bait. White and yellow perch are still being caught throughout the river. Most of the yellow perch are being taken from the grass-beds on 1/8-ounce beetlespins. Catalpa appears to be the most productive color. White perch are to be found around boat docks and pilings on the main river.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Lots of catfish action on clam snouts and cut bait. Bass action is good on topwaters early and late, and on plastic worms and rattling crankbaits during the day. Bass anglers should concentrate on the area below the Route 1 Bridge, and the back end of the river, just downstream from the footbridge. Crappie action has slowed considerably.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass action is fair to good for anglers fishing topwater baits early and late in the day, and plastic worms and crankbaits when the sun is up. Best areas are main lake points in 10 to 12 feet of water. Crappie action ranges from good to excellent for 8- to 10-inch fish on live minnows. Catfish have moved into deeper water, but will still take clam snouts, cut bait and cut crab.
BURKE LAKE - Bass action is fair for anglers fishing topwater baits early and late in the day. Fish the areas near the weed-beds. After the sun comes up, switch to crankbaits and plastic worms. Crappie anglers are catching a few fish, but no extraordinary creels. Catfish are biting well on bait shrimp and clam snouts. Muskie follows are reported but no catches.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Smallmouth bass are taking live minnows, crayfish, topwater lures and plastic baits above the city. In the tidal sections, largemouth bass are taking crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastics, primarily on wood cover, in 12 to18 feet of water. Ten- to 30-pound catfish are taking cut shad and perch fished in the outside bends of the river channel.
LAKE ANNA - Good to excellent largemouth bass action. Topwaters, deep-diving crankbaits and plastic baits are producing good bass in 12 to18 feet of water. Lots of bass are available on boat docks. Fish plastic worms, Senkos or Zoom Flukes in the shadiest parts of the boat docks. Striper fishing is consistent, with fish to 12 pounds caught from the power plant to about a mile above the splits. Live shad continue to be the best bait, when free-lined in 20 to 25 feet of water, although some fish are being taken on Sassy Shads and Redfins early and late in the day. Live minnows and small jigs are taking crappie from the bridge pilings in 14 to 20 feet of water.
JAMES RIVER - Above the city, smallmouth bass fishing is great. Catches of 50 or more fish are not unusual. Most of the fish are being taken on Rapalas, Tiny Torpedos, spinners and plastic baits. Sunfish are hungry and aggressive. Nightcrawlers and Beetlespins are the ticket for them. Tidal waters are producing good stringers of largemouth bass on topwater baits, fished early and late in the day around lily pad fields and boat docks, and plastic worms fished on downed wood and lily pad edges throughout moving tides. Catfish are active and aggressive. Live perch, cut bait and clam snouts are the more productive catfish baits. Gar and bowfin are active, taking minnow-imitating lures.
LAKE CHESDIN - Good bass fishing on buzzbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms, early and late in the day. Typical summertime patterns. Otherwise, the lake is overrun with boaters. Walleye are being caught on crankbaits by bass anglers. Crappie fishing is fair, with the tasty fish biting live minnows and tiny jigs. Catfish are cooperating on clam snouts and nightcrawlers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Lots of catfish, bream and largemouth bass are being taken. Bass are orienting to wood structure and lily pads. Topwater lures, fished in the early mornings and late evenings, are taking good stringers of bass, while plastic worms and spinnerbaits are the choice during the day. Fish the plastics on the outside edges of the pad fields during outgoing tides and move back as far as possible and flip the holes in the pads on incoming tides. Catfish are taking cut bait, clam snouts and nightcrawlers. Bream are suckers for crickets, Beetlespins and grass shrimp.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Good action early and late in the day on topwaters. When the sun is high, plastic worms, worked in the pads on points and over grass-beds are the better choice. Zoom Horny Toads will take good bass when worked over the thickest grass available. Steady retrieves with white, bubblegum or green pumpkin baits work very well. Crappie may be found in the submerged brush throughout the lake. Catfish and bowfin are suckers for cut bait. Bream and crappie are taking crickets, live minnows and grass shrimp.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Best pattern here is fishing the shady side of points, 12 to 18 feet down. Lots of bass, yellow perch, crappie and shellcrackers are being taken. Stripers are taking baits fished on humps and shade lines near drop-offs. Stripers are also hitting topwaters at dawn and dusk. Some pickerel are reported.
LAKE GASTON - Topwaters are taking good fish in the early morning hours. After sun up, plastic worms and lizards fished on the main lake points are the ticket. Striper action has picked up, with most of the fish being caught around the Eaton Ferry Bridge on live shad. Lots of stripers are also being taken just below the dam in Roanoke Rapids Lake. Bluegills are off the beds and are taking live crickets.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Water levels are currently at 300 and falling. Bass are located on drop-offs adjacent to the bushes and are feeding heavily. Best methods are topwaters on rocky points, early and late in the day, and flipping plastic worms and lizards near the thickest buckbrush when the sun is up. Stripers are taking live shad around Nutbush Creek between Buoys 1-3. Trolling white bucktails is also accounting for some good fish. Crappie action is excellent with live minnows around bridge pilings. White bass are schooled from Bluestone Creek to Buffalo Creeks and on The Hump, taking Little Georges and small bucktails.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE – Good-sized stripers are being caught near the dam on live shad. Some 15 pounders and a 20 pounder were reported this past weekend. Bass anglers are also successful, fishing live shad, plastic worms and jig 'n pig baits for 3- to 7-pound largemouth, in 15 feet of water. Carolina-rigged plastic worms are also very effective for bass. Crappie anglers are taking good stringers after 8 p.m. or in 25 to 30 feet of water during the day.