The cobia are finally here as of two weeks ago! However, due to the recent choppy seas, overcast skies, and waves of rain the bites are touch and go. At least the flounder action is still good with nice flatfish being found almost anywhere in the lower Bay with live bait or jigs with Gulp baits. However, if you’re looking for flatfish within Lynnhaven Inlet you will hardly have a chance at bite due the overwhelming swarms of
juvenile puppy drum that are competing for bait. On the Eastern Shore, the big croaker are slowing down due to the drop in water temperatures but you will still find abundant trigger fish near structure in the lower Bay. The middle bay is still seeing nice sized Spanish mackerel out to the Chesapeake Light Tower. Anglers in search of BIG amberjack will find them among the legs of the Southern Towers and on several offshore wrecks. The deeper waters are producing nice blueline tilefish, blackbellied rosefish, and a decent number of barrelfish. Finally, billfish are what everyone’s after and the encounters are on the rise…good luck to all of you in the Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament.
(Photo: Tidal Fish Super Commercial Subscriber salt treated reported that at the last minute they were able to hook up three nice gaffers; two of which were 18 to 20 pounds.) http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/322502-August-21-White-marlin-amp-Gaffers
Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament
Wednesday August 22nd – Saturday August 25th
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Ken Neill reports in from tidal Virginia:
With both the Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament and the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 in progress this week, billfish are the main target right now and the bite is on. Last week’s Pirate’s Cove Tournament started out as a sailfish tournament until the marlin showed up making it a Grand Slam tournament. Multiple boats fishing out of Virginia Beach and Oregon Inlet scored Grand Slams this past week. Two blue marlin were weighed in at the Pirate’s Cove with all other billfish released. The top boat was Bi-Op-Sea with 19 sailfish and a white marlin released. The bite has been in the Triple 0s area on down to the 850 in about 50 fathoms. Amberjack continue to provide great action at the southern towers. Both amberjack and jack crevalle are a possibility at the Chesapeake Light Tower. The inshore wrecks are holding sea bass, triggerfish, flounder, and spadefish. Spanish mackerel fishing is very good along the oceanfront and in the lower bay with some weighing in at over 4 pounds. Cobia action is good for sight-fishing on clear days. Buoy hopping has been productive while chummers are still catching fish. Sight-fishing should become excellent as these fish begin to pod up for their trip south. Some large red drum are being encounter by the sight-fishing boats and black drum are still schooling around the islands of the CBBT. Flounder fishing is very good, especially around the CBBT, but all of the summertime locations are producing. Some speckled trout and puppy drum continue to be caught in the shallows from Back River to the Mobjack Bay area. We seem to have a large year-class of puppy drum around which bodes well for the future of our trophy red drum fishery. Large sheepshead are available at the CBBT. Tarpon continue to be encountered at the Eastern Shore.
The following are some recent individual reports:
Aug. 19: Wes Blow and JT fished for cobia. They caught sharks and a 31 inch cobia before the storms chased them home.
Aug. 18: Chris Boyce fished on the Super Voyager III out of Myrtle Beach. He brought back a couple coolers full of fish: vermillion snapper, silver snapper, various grunts, sea bass, triggerfish, and other assorted bottom fish.
Aug. 16: Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys trolled the Lumpy Bottom. They caught 6 large false albacore, 6 dolphin, and a skipjack.
Aug. 15: We Blow went fishing with the Synowiecs. They caught a limit of flounder to 23.5 inches long. They also caught a few triggerfish before they were chased by storms.
From IGFA Virginia Beach Representative Julie Ball:
A predominant north-easterly wind direction over the past week has prompted some changes in the fishing scene along the Mid Atlantic coast. And as kids prepare to head back to school, the overall fishing pressure is starting to back off.
Most are not sure what to think about the cobia trend right now. While the decent sized fish finally made their long awaited showing around two weeks ago, now the bite seems to be touch and go, depending on who you ask. According to World Record cobia guide Captain Ben Shepherd of Above Average Sportfishing, choppy sea conditions, overcast skies, and waves of rain, make targeting fish less than optimal for sight casters lately. Several folks are also expressing concern over the massive catches by the Omega Menhaden boats working at the mouth of the Bay and the along the coast over the last month. Hopefully better cobia catches will resume once the weather clears.
Flounder action is still good this week. Nice flatfish are coming from most anywhere in the lower Bay, but deeper areas such as channel edges, ledges, and drop-offs are becoming more predictable for nicer fish. Most any lower Bay structures is still producing for anglers working live bait or jigs with Gulp baits. Most fish are decent sized; averaging to around 5-pounds, but the number of big doormats remains way behind this year. The flounder bite within the local inlets slowed up this week. The folks at Ocean’s East 2 explain that the flatfish within Lynnhaven Inlet hardly have a chance with the swarms of juvenile puppy drum competing for your bait right now. Reports of fishing grounds overrun by undersized pups are becoming a common theme along the southernmost Bay shorelines and shallows.
A dominant northerly wind flow usually jump-starts the spot run this time of year. And yes, the spot bite is on. Folks are partaking in nearly non-stop action at the usual hot spots on the south end of the Bay and along the ocean front. Both the Ocean View and Little Island Fishing Piers are reporting coolers full of ¾-pound sized spot, along with a smattering of nice croaker. Little Creek, Lynnhaven, and Rudee Inlets are also experiencing similar action with good sized spot over the past week. The speckled trout is transitioning into the more shallow areas of the inlets lately.
This wind direction is also causing a drop in water temperatures, especially on the Eastern Shore, slowing the big croaker run in Oyster to a crawl over the past few days. The folks at Chris’ Bait and Tackle are hopeful that the bite will rebound when the waters warm. If the water temperatures drop too quickly, the tarpon are likely to begin moving out.
Trigger fish are still everywhere near structure in the lower Bay, with the folks at Atlantic Bait and Tackle reporting catches of 20 to 30 fish per trip near the rocks along the 3rd and 4th islands. Big triggers, along with some nice flounder are also available on several near shore wrecks. Sheepshead anglers continue to find good catches of fish on the bridge pilings of the CBBT and over the tubes of the artificial islands, along with good numbers of keeper sized tautog. Spadefish are also still lingering in these same areas, with the biggest spades still circling the 3rd and 4th islands, but not for long.
Nice sized Spanish mackerel are providing action from the middle Bay on out to the Chesapeake Light Tower, with the best action happening around the spines of the islands of the CBBT.
Big amberjack are still lurking among the legs of the Southern Towers as well as on several offshore wrecks. Deep dropping is still good when boats can get out to target the deeper water off Virginia. Nice blueline tilefish, blackbellied rosefish, and a good number of barrelfish continue to keep anglers happy. If you haven’t tried eating barrelfish, you are missing out.
Bluewater anglers are finding billfish encounters on the rise. The popular ‘Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament’ going on this week should see great results with a mixture of white marlin, blue marlin, and a good number of sailfish. According to Captain Russ Kostinas, skipper of the ‘Top Notch’ out of the Fishing Center in Rudee Inlet, the billfish action is happening from around the 050 down to the 900-lines, in anywhere from 40 to 100-fathoms. A few grand slams have been reported, and some nice wahoo are also stripping rigs. Although tuna action is slow, a few yellowfin have been scattered about, along with some bailer and gaffer dolphin.
Virginia Saltwater Reports by Charlie Taylor:
CHINCOTEAGUE - Good flounder action along the Narrows, just inside the inlet, along the Hook and around buoy 14. Yellow-bellied spot, croaker, pan trout and snapper blues are available throughout the bays. Small sea bass are available along the oyster bottom, with larger fish being found around the bridge pilings. Outside the inlet, Spanish mackerel are found close to the beach and big flounder, black sea bass, triggerfish and spadefish are found on the inshore wrecks. Surf anglers are catching a mixed bag of spot, sea mullet and small sharks. Inshore anglers are finding croaker and a few pan trout taking squid at the 2TL Buoy. Red drum are starting to show in the same area. Offshore catches consist of dolphin, yellowfin tuna and false albacore. Chunkers are having great results on 30-50 pound yellowfin at the Lumpy Bottom. Trollers are working the 20 fathom contour.
WACHAPREAGUE - Good fishing action in the Washington and Norfolk Canyons this past week. Dolphin are plentiful. Yellowfin tuna and white marlin make up the balance of the catches, plus an occasional wahoo. Farther inshore, false albacore, skipjack tuna and Spanish mackerel are found on the inshore hills. Small pan trout are showing 1-3 miles off the beach, with some croaker mixed in. Flounder, pan trout and croaker are available around the mouth of the inlet.
ONANCOCK - Spot are schooling inside Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds. Croaker are mixed in with the spot. Sea mullet, flounder, pigfish, porgy, blowfish and taylor blues were mixed in the catches, which were curiously devoid of trout.
CAPE CHARLES - Plenty of medium spot and sea mullet, plus lots of croaker in the vicinity of C-10. Red drum and cobia action has slowed. Good action on big flounder and speckled trout over the past few days. Flounder are being caught just inside Plantation Light and off the Cement Ships. Speckled trout are hitting on most of the bayside creeks, with Hungars Creek the favored location. Inshore wrecks are producing a mixed bag of triggerfish, black sea bass and flounder.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Large spot are available around the First and
Second Island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Cobia blitzed the CBBT this past week. Best Spanish mackerel catches continue to come from the Third Island area, while impressive catches of flounder are being made on the bayside of the Fourth Island. Croaker, to two pounds, have moved into the mussel beds at the First Island, but more consistent action is found around the Lesner Bridge and inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Spot and croaker are caught by bottom anglers working just outside the Lesner Bridge and along the Small Boat Channel. An increase in flounder action was noted from the mouth of Back River to the Bell Buoy. Large croaker and spot, plus a few pan trout, in the vicinity of Q-1. The Twin Stakes area continues to hold good numbers of spot and croaker plus a few keeper flounder. Puppy drum continue to provide good sport on Back River, with most fish exceeding the 14 inch minimum size limit. Good catches of spot were made near the Back River Bell Buoy and Buoys 17-18 this past week. Flounder, to four pounds, were taken from the area around buoy 42, located at the Cell. Good catches of spot are being made at buoy 22 on the York River. Puppy drum are caught during high tide, inshore of buoy 22, along the grass beds, on peeler crab. The Ware River has also been good for puppy drum, plus a few speckled trout. Offshore, consistent action is seen on dolphin at the NOAA weather buoy, located just NE of the Cigar. This same area is producing scattered catches of 30-60 pound yellowfin tuna. The Southern Tower, located 50 miles SE of Rudee Inlet, still holds good numbers of willing
amberjack and a few large barracuda.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Yellowfin tuna are again showing in good numbers. Best action has been between the 200 and 400 line for tuna running 30-60 pounds. Dolphin, 2-15 pounds, continue to be abundant, along with occasional bull dolphin, to 49 pounds. Cobia remain off Virginia Beach, with the more consistent catches coming from the area south of Rudee Inlet. Live bait and rigged eels are working for the cobia. A few large king mackerel are available in the same area. Small kings and large Spanish mackerel are available at the Chesapeake Light Tower/Artificial Reef. A few billfish and plenty of dolphin are being caught in the vicinity of the Cigar. Ballyhoo, pulled behind a Seawitch, has
been the favored lure combination. Inside Rudee Inlet, speckled trout action remains slow, but small spot and croaker are plentiful. Along the resort beaches, surf anglers report good catches of spot and croaker, plus a few puppy drum.
LYNNHAVEN - Good action on spot, along with a few puppy drum each day. best action has been on the early morning tide.
VIRGINIA BEACH -Good catches of spot and puppy drum. Best catches are made in the early morning hours. A few small Spanish mackerel and keeper sized striped bass are being caught from the end of the pier by casters.
SANDBRIDGE - Spot are the mainstay, but puppy drum, sea mullet and croaker are mixed in the catches.
Potomac River reports from Captain Ken Penrod:
On the Tidal Potomac, it was good tide weekend with struggles in reliable areas some days only to find active fish days later. Additionally, there has been a massive snail (all sizes) die-off from Pomonkey Creek to Possum Point. After checking some snails it was discovered that they were in the “totting” stage. The MDNR Tidal Bass manager, Dr. Joe Love, reported that this was due to “low oxygen” or reproductive stress and was not concerned. Currently, the mouth of the Mattawoman has a “land-mine” like river surface; the “land-mines” are densely placed crab pots which are dangerous to boaters. Also, the salt wedge is such that we are seeing blue crabs all the way upriver to Piscataway.
WASHINGTON DC: It’s been tough in this area. About the only reliable patterns have been Mizmo tubes to bridge foundations. Even the Washington Channel was stingy this week and it was an ideal tide-week.
WOODROW WILSONBRIDGE: Another tough are; however, low tide was pretty productive on hard cover areas such as Fox Ferry Point, Hog Island, barge on South Point and channel markers near Swan Creek. You can trust the deeper water lures such as Mizmo tubes and Rapala DT crankbaits. There are some bass in the back end of Broad Creek and Little Hunting Creek. Further south, you will do okay in Pomonkey Creek and Gunston Cove with Penrod Special spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and Magic Stiks.
MATTAWOMAN VICINITY: Mattawoman & south sector, the “creek” is still stingy; you will do best near the mouth and on main river grass beds. Grinders Cover is OK, and there are still a few fish in Long Bay. Grass beds between Chickamuxen and Mallows are your best bet and grass between Leesylvania and Possum point hold bass. The best baits have been swimming jigs, Magic Stiks, buzz baits and frogs.
Virginia Freshwater Fishing Reports:
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Bass anglers in the city are finding bass on the main river bridge pilings, riprap and other man-made structure. Lots of good bass are also being taken from Blue Plains Sewage Treatment outfall and The Spoils. Best choices of lures are crankbaits, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish anglers are taking some large catfish on cut bait, cut crab and clam snouts. Some smallmouth bass, an occasional walleye and some crappie are being caught above Key Bridge by patient anglers. Stripers and catfish are being taken in Washington Channel and the Anacostia River, particularly after rains that decrease water temperatures.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Main river grassbeds, with
adjacent dropoffs, are producing limits of bass. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits,
topwater frogs and plastic worms are the better lures. Bass are also being
caught in the very back ends of creeks where the baitfish are thick. Best
lures are topwater poppers, spinnerbaits and small plastics. Catfish are
taking cut bait, crab and clam snouts from deeper holes, adjacent to flats. Lots of catfish are being caught on shallow running crankbaits, fished parallel to the outside edges of grassbeds. Bass and perch are also taking Beetlespins fished in the outside edges of the grassbeds. Crabs are showing in the grassbeds. Northern snakeheads are present in almost any shallow grassbed. These fish are suckers for white topwater baits and spinnerbaits.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Striper action is fair around sunrise and sunset, in the back end of the river. Large minnow-imitating lures, Rat-L-Traps and bucktails are the most productive lures. Boat docks are holding some bass, crappie, sunfish and catfish. Flippin' plastic grubs and worms or live minnows around the pilings will result in mixed catches of fish. Lots of good sized bass are being caught from the grass bed at the mouth of the river, on spinnerbaits, plastic frogs and other small plastic baits. Cut bait, crab and clam snouts, fished around the islands in the mouth of the river, are resulting in good sized catfish.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Some sunfish, catfish and crappie are being taken from the pier. Bass action is centered on the main lake points, early and late in the day. Best baits are crankbaits and plastic worms, fished in 6-10 feet of water.
BURKE LAKE - Fishing has picked up as the weather has cooled. Bass anglers are taking occasional fish from the points off grassbed edges. Plastic worms, worked down dropoffs into 15-20 feet of water, are taking the fish. Catfish and crappie action is fair from the fishing pier.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass action is good. Best baits are plastic jerkbaits, fished around the edges of any available cover. In deeper water, small topwater lures and highly visible crankbaits should be used. Fly fishermen should have a field day on topwater poppers, around the grassbeds. Some sunfish, catfish and carp are also active.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Smallmouth anglers should catch good numbers of fish on topwater lures, plastic grubs and live crayfish. Tidewater sections of the river are producing largemouth bass from the blowdowns along the Southern shore and blue catfish, 23-35 pounds, from the outside bends of the river channel. Jumbo minnows and cut shad are the better choice of bait.
MATTAPONI & PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Bass, perch, catfish and bream are being caught in the upper reaches, while croaker, perch and sea trout are hitting in the lower reaches. Peeler crab, nightcrawlers and minnows are the top baits. Stripers are taking live minnows, peeler crab, Rat-L-Traps and Cordell Redfins throughout both rivers.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Lots of smallmouth and good sized bluegill are being
caught. Topwater lures, plastic grubs, small spinners and tiny crankbaits are the chief lures. Catfish are taking mad toms.
LAKE ANNA - Largemouth bass are holding in 12-20 feet of water, moving up on points early and late in the day. Topwater baits, plastic worms, deep diving crankbaits and large minnows are effective baits. Drop shot rigs and shaky heads are taking the bass from humps. Stripers are hitting at Dike 3 on Cordell Redfins and live bait. Crappie are taking small minnows on boat docks, bridge pilings and submerged brush. Catfish anglers are taking some nice fish on live and cut shad.
JAMES RIVER - Anglers should find excellent smallmouth bass action above the city on crankbaits and pumpkinseed plastic grubs. Flyrodders should have good success on black Wooly Buggers. Tidal anglers should catch good numbers of bass from submerged wood cover and lily pads. Standing cypress trees are holding good bass, particularly at the mouths of creeks. Inside the creeks, bass are hanging on any available piece of cover in the tidal flow. Senkos and other plastics, fished weightless, will take the fish. Catfish action is still good and crappie are beginning to turn on.
LAKE CHESDIN - Bass action is excellent, with 5-7 pound fish being caught.
Catfish and crappie are still being caught in good numbers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Many small bass may be taken from the wedge shaped lily pads throughout the upper portion of the river. Better choices of lures are
topwater frogs, small spinnerbaits, floating worms and Senkos. Standing wood should also be holding bass. Shallow running crankbaits and topwater lures will take bass and pickerel from creek mouths. Catfish action is still good and bream are taking worms and flyrod poppers.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Bass action is good on flyrod poppers, topwater frogs and spinnerbaits. Lots of pickerel, gar and bowfin are being taken on jumbo minnows. Bream anglers are taking fish on grass shrimp, nightcrawlers, red wigglers and flyrod poppers.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - The lake is at full pool. Drop shot rigs, live
minnows and herring are taking bass to five pounds on the edge of the grass. Catfish anglers are doing well on sunfish, shad and herring baits.
Panfishermen are taking limits on red wigglers and crickets, with most of the fish being small. Stripers are still available on secondary and mid-lake points on live bait. Trolled deep diving crankbaits are also taking fish.
BACK BAY - Indian Cove, West Neck and Hellespoint Creeks are the local
hotspots, with anglers catching white perch, crappie, largemouth bass and
SUFFOLK LAKES - Striper and bass action is good at Western Branch, while bream dominate the catches at Lakes Cohoon and Meade. Lake Prince is producing some large bass on red shad plastic worms. Lake Whitehurst is producing some good bass, walleye and catfish. Plastic worms are taking the bass, while nightcrawlers are the preferred bait for walleye and catfish. Lake Smith anglers report white perch and bream.
LAKE GASTON - Bass fishing is good, particularly in the lower and upper parts of the lake. Topwaters are producing early and late in the day. Main lake points are producing bass on crankbaits, carolina-rigged plastic worms and spinnerbaits. The key to fishing this lake is finding the baitfish. Once you find baitfish, cover the area thoroughly with every bait you can imagine. Start with lipless crankbaits, then spinnerbaits, plastic worms and jig 'n pig. Always keep a Rat-L-Trap on deck for casting to breaking fish. Docks on main lake points are holding large schools of baitfish. These baitfish will attract breaking fish sometime during the day. The grassbeds in the upper end of the lake have not quite topped out and bass are not active on topwater frogs. Rather, check out the extreme back ends of the coves and creeks where bass may be taken on buzzbaits in 6-12 inches of water, around thick willow grass. When the sun is high overhead, work the main lake points where there is grass in 10 feet of water, with small plastic baits. Stripers are holding in deep water, feeding during the night. Crappie anglers are catching good numbers of fish from the bridge pilings and submerged brushpiles in the creeks.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Bass fishing should be improving with the falling
temperatures and stabilizing weather. Best pattern appears to be a Carolina rigged, pumpkinseed Zoom lizard, fished in 20-25 feet of water on main lake points. Working these baits across the middle of coves in the creeks, is also producing well. Striper action is slow, but some fish are feeding on the surface near Clarksville. Crappie anglers are catching lots of fish along the Route 58 bridge at Clarksville and over brushpiles in 12-18 feet of water in Rudd's Creek. Live minnows and white/pink jigs are the baits of choice.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Anglers are catching stripers on large minnows, drifted in the main river channels, and crappie on small minnows, fished around boat docks and blowdowns. Bass are taking plastic worms and Sluggos, fished on points and in the backs of coves.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass action is good, with best success coming on plastic lizards. Crappie and white bass are biting well, along with some trophy flathead catfish.
LAKE MOOMAW - Trout action is almost non-existent, but a few bass and lots of catfish are being caught.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Crappie fishing has improved. The schools are located 15-20 feet deep. Bass fishing has picked up, with most of the fish being taken on live minnows. Night fishing for bass is showing some good catches on plastic worms and spinnerbaits.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Bass fishing is good, with most fish being taken on Silver Buddies and chartreuse crankbaits on main lake points. Crappie fishing is good on live minnows. Some trout are taken near the Bristol water intake, at 40 feet. Walleye are being caught in the upper end of the lake, trolling nightcrawlers.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Good smallmouth bass fishing on crankbaits and jig 'n pig. Some catfish and lots of stripers being taken on alewives at night.
TROUT STREAMS - Most streams throughout the state are still low, even with the recent rains. Even so, South and West of Waynesboro, fishing is excellent. Small dry flies in sizes 16-18 are the key. The larger stocked streams are showing good action on nymphs and maribou muddler minnows.