October 2006 Fishing Report
Virginia Fishing Reports – October 2006
Chincoteague - Donna at Captain Bob’s reported fishing was “very slow” inside the inlet. “I haven’t heard of any croaker and only a couple of flounder caught since Ernesto.” Activity was somewhat better along the Assateague Island surf, as surf perch, snapper bluefish and sea mullet provided fair action. Offshore action has been very good but the windows of opportunity have been limited. “On the days when they can get out to 30 fathoms or deeper they’re catching good numbers of tuna. Some boats had ten or more.” The catches included a mixture of mostly yellowfin plus a few bluefin and even a “true” albacore or two.
Wachapreague - Wachapreague Marina reported good catches of yellowfin tuna plus some dolphin out at the Washington Canyon, where several boats hit double figures on husky tuna. Inside the inlet, the waters had cleared and flounder were biting with some of the best action along the inshore channel along Cedar Island. Some pan trout are showing but most croaker appear to have moved offshore.
Captain Zed’s rated offshore action as “very good” over the weekend, as trollers working 30 fathoms recorded good catches of yellowfin tuna plus some dolphin and several wahoo. Inshore ocean wrecks produced decent numbers of black sea bass and some flounder. Inside the inlet, bottom fishermen saw lots of small flounder but only a handful of keepers. Best action was in the channel by the Coast Guard Station and Green and Drawing channels.
Cape Charles - Chris’ Bait and Tackle reported the flounder bite was on the rebound, following the passage of Ernesto. “We saw quite a few flounder of six pounds and little more but none made citation weight (7 pounds).” The better catches were made along the edge of the shipping channel, near buoy 36A, and from around the High Level section of the CBBT. Anglers fishing the shoals, especially after dark, are catching some red drum and plenty of “biter” sharks. George Caplinger caught and released a 49-inch red drum at buoy 36A. Speckled trout, some topping four pounds, are massing around the entrances to most of the bayside creeks and are providing good sport. Croaker numbers are rapidly dwindling on the bayside and appear “all gone” over on the seaside, off Oyster. Seaside anglers are seeing some pan trout, a few flounder and some sea mullet. The recent storm almost assuredly pushed out any remaining tarpon. Anglers working the Kiptopeke Park Pier enjoyed a mixed bag of sea mullet, spot, a few keeper flounder and snapper bluefish plus some pan trout after sun set.
Onancock - Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters believed good numbers of spot plus some croaker and flounder were off Onancock but “the weather has been so bad I haven’t been able to get out there to them.” Closer to shore and in shallow, protected waters, nearly every creek, flat and shoreline are holding speckled trout and school-sized striped bass. “We’re hoping for a good fall striper season.”
Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel - Eight teams (fishing clubs) and approximately 150 anglers competed in last weekend’s 16th annual CCA Anglers Club Challenge fishing tournament, sponsored by the Tidewater chapter and headquartered at Marina Shores, inside Lynnhaven Inlet. The event decides which fishing club has “bragging rights” and possession of a museum grade, hand craved trophy for the next year. Fifteen different species of bay and inshore fish qualify for points with points awarded to the team with the heaviest of each eligible species. Six citation qualifying fish were landed during the event, including flounder of over 8 pounds, croaker topping 3 pounds and a sheepshead weighing over 10 pounds. Competing in their first Challenge, the Tidewater Kayak Anglers Club grabbed third place on the strength of the event’s heaviest sheepshead and spot. Team Tidalfish came in second place, landing the heaviest triggerfish, tautog and a flounder of over 7 pounds. For the third consecutive year, the Great Bridge Fishing Association took first place, as team members weighed the heaviest black sea bass, spadefish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, croaker and grey trout.
Cobbs Marina told of a steady flounder bite on the lower Bay along the Baltimore Channel. Sheepshead still linger around the CBBT complex but catches have been more sporadic since the storm. Bottom fishermen are still catching some croaker and starting to see more spot.
Bubba’s Marina said flounder were biting along the CBBT complex and the pilings of the Lessner Bridge. Big spot were caught back inside Lynnhaven Inlet recently and the same waters hold a healthy number of speckled trout and puppy drum.
Wallace’s Bait and Tackle said sheepshead were still biting at the CBBT complex, where Dan Hiltke boated a 10-3/4-pounder on crab. Sheepshead should also be available at nearby Back River Reef. Speckled trout are biting at Poquoson Flats and up inside Back River.
Sunset Boating Center said schools of spot are holding off Sewells Point and some decent-sized croaker still linger around the James River Bridge. The flounder bite at Hampton Bar has been slow to re-start since Ernesto. “I’m just not hearing much about flounder except from the Fourth Island area.”
Salt Ponds Marina said Stephen Smith boated an 8-pound, 3-ounce flounder at the CBBT aboard TINGS RIG on a large jig with a nice piece of cut bait. John Perry was slow trolling a bucktail at the CBBT aboard the GAFFER and nailed a 7-1/4-pound flounder. Although not of citation proportions, Gibby Gibson landed a nice 22-inch, 6-pound, 5-ounce sheepshead at the CBBT aboard the PELICAN.
Chuck Ash at A & S Feed and Bait Supply said good catches of flounder were recorded Saturday at the CBBT and in the buoy 38/40 areas. Flounder fishermen also encountered a surprising number of large red drum “by accident.” Inside the York River, bottom fishermen are hauling in plenty of spot plus some croaker and a few pan trout. Over inside Mobjack Bay, Chuck rated the current speckled trout bite “as good as I’ve ever seen it,” with many anglers claiming a limit of the spotted fish. Puppy drum, most are well under the 18-inch minimum size limit, are numerous along the shoreline of the York River and Mobjack Bay.
Ken Neill, reporting Secretary for the Peninsula Anglers Club, said the fall spot run was underway but anglers are not seeing numbers of citation-size fish yet but are seeing large numbers of eating-sized fish. The spot are available at numerous locations from the Rappahannock River on down to Rudee Inlet. Neill expects the average size of these fish to increase over the next several weeks. Flounder fishing has taken a bit of a breather but should pick right back up as the lower bay water clears up a bit, according to Neill. Big red drum are still hanging around the shoals and along the barrier islands while puppy drum are available inside Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets and up in Poquoson Flats. Speckled trout are being caught at these same locations as well as in Back River.
Cobia are moving on out of the bay but there are still some around “so you have a chance of intercepting one on its way to the south,” noted Neill. Sheepshead are available at the CBBT and this is the time of year when some big sheepshead are caught at Back River Reef. In the inshore ocean waters, king mackerel are a possibility and amberjack and jack crevalle can be found at the Chesapeake Light Tower and nearby wrecks. Offshore, a very good tuna bite developed in the Norfolk Canyon the past week, where big longfin tuna have made their fall showing. Some boats came in with big hauls of these tasty tuna this past week. Many of the “true” albacore tuna were large enough to qualify for citations if the anglers had known that they have been added to the citation program this year (40 lb minimum). Good numbers of yellowfin and an occasional bigeye are also being caught. Dolphin, wahoo and some billfish make up the rest of the catch. “All in all, its a good time to be fishing offshore.”
Virginia Middle Bay - Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware was happy to report Spanish mackerel were biting again, as these fish all but disappeared immediately following the storm. “There’s plenty of bait for them (the mackerel) and lots of blues mixed right in.” Some of the best action has been along Smith Point Bar. Bottom fishermen enjoyed steady action on spot just east of Smith Point Light and around the mouths of Dividing Creek and the Great Wicomico River.
Jerry Thrash from Queen’s Creek Outfitters told of fair catches of flounder around buoy 42, the Cell and buoy 36A but admitted “not many people went,” between the marginal weather conditions and the clean-up from Ernesto. Surface waters in the vicinity of the Cell remain in the mid-70’s. Timothy Amos had the week’s lone citation flatfish, a 7-pound, 13-ouncer, at buoy 42. A few cobia still linger in these areas, as Danny Walden boated a 53-pound, 14-ounce cobia while drifting for flounder near the Cell. Trollers picked-up a few Spanish mackerel but the schools are scattered. Chunky taylor bluefish weighing up to 4 pounds are a more likely encounter. Bottom bouncers are finding plenty of spot at Butlers Hole and the Spike. These same locations are producing a few croaker, bluefish and pan trout. Kyle Dabney, III caught and released a 49-inch red drum at Wolftrap Light. Casters working the grassy areas inside Mobjack Bay, Dameron Marsh and off Gwynn Island recorded good catches of speckled trout. Herbert Haywood boated a 5-pound, 3-ounce speck at Cherry Point.
Locklies Marina told of good catches of nice-sized spot, pan trout up to 17 inches and some croaker weighing nearly 3 pounds. Most of the better hauls were made near the White Stone Bridge in 25 to 30 feet of water.
Garretts Marina described the bottom fishing as “very good” since the storm. “People are saying there are fish all over the river,” with some of the best catches of spot coming from the buoy 19 area.
Fishing out of Deltaville, Captain Jim Thompson aboard the JIM-AN-I said bottom fishing has yet to recover from Ernesto. “The bite is steady when you locate them but they are not committing suicide.” Most of the spot are now number ones and good numbers of pan trout are mixed in with the spot. Top locations include the mouth of the Rappahannock around the spike buoy, Cherry Point and off Gwynn Island. Some Spanish mackerel still linger at Windmill Point and Fleets Bay. A school of large red drum meandered through the Cell on Sunday. Two citation drum were caught and released but “a lot more were hooked and broken off.”
Virginia Beach - The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported the crew aboard the BACKLASH had a huge catch of longfin tuna with several topping 40 pounds, yellowfin tuna and gaffer dolphin on Friday. Saturday saw several of the charter fleet with a mixture of dolphin, “true albacore” tuna and yellowfin tuna. Unfortunately the fleet was forced to remain in port Monday and Tuesday (11 and 12 September).
Paula Owen from Fisherman’s Wharf Marina said several of their charter boats “crushed the tuna” on Friday at the Norfolk Canyon. “They caught both yellowfin and longfin tuna.” The crews did nearly as well on
Saturday, plus several wahoo and some dolphin were landed. On Sunday, catches shifted to mostly dolphin plus some yellowfin tuna and several white marlin releases.
Fishing reports were provided by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission's SALTWATER REVIEW.