September 2006 Fishing Report
Virginia Fishing Reports Ė September 2006
By Jack Randolph
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Itís possible that September could be the best month of the year for Virginiaís outdoorsmen. Nearly everything is in play - well, almost everything. This month could offer the best offshore fishing of the season. Virtually every one of our deep water big game species are here. Closer inshore, those exciting king mackerel, false albacore, cobia and others are still around. A few tarpon may still be dallying on the Eastern Shore.
Closer inshore we have red drum numbers building to raise havoc along the beaches and in the bay. Flounder action is improving and speckled trout still prowl wherever crabs are found. Spot have about completed putting on their golden spawning finery Bluefish and Spanish mackerel are patrolling the bay while some anglers look at their calendars, wishing the September page to drop so they can get at the striped bass in early October. While all of this is going on or ready to explode, to a man we watch the tropical weather reports trying with sheer willpower to keep those tropical storms and hurricanes away.
Most tropical storms and hurricanes that veer our way seem to run well out to sea, but even these can shove enough violent weather and heavy seas towards our beaches to mess things up for a few weeks, even for the season. So the smart money says, donít put off your fall fishing. Start as early and fish as often as you can.
This is the time of the year when marlin can be at their best. Look for white marlin to provide most of the action, but sailfish and blue marlin will be present along with dolphin, wahoo and some tuna. This fishery is the most vulnerable to tropical storms, but this year so far we have had little storm activity. Letís hope we continue receiving no bad news from down there.
Early in September there will still be some cobia in the bay. Check out the Silver Beach area for late cobia. Later, around September 20, cobia should be staging to leave the bay and many have probably already left. Look for them cuddling up to buoys along the CB Line. In late September expect to hit big red drum, first along the shoals at the mouth of the bay and, later, in the surf along the Eastern Shore. This is the time when schools of finger mullet and perhaps peanut bunkers appear in the surf, attracting the complete cast of fishy characters that offer the most exciting surf fishing of the year.
This cast includes bluefish, gray and speckled trout, striped bass, red drum, puppy drum, false albacore and often some surprises such as a late running tarpon or a cobia or who knows what. Few forms of fishing are more exciting than autumn surf fishing.
In the bay party and charter boats will still be chumming and trolling for bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Look for some of the best action to be out of Deltaville and Reedville. Flounder action should be good and getting better as the month progresses. Look for the Buoy 42 area and The Cell to produce flounders throughout the month. Fishing around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, especially over the tubes, should also be productive. Local anglers are also aware of a flounder hot spot about a mile east of the Fourth Island of the Bridge Tunnel. Keep an eye out for a covey of boats in that area. They are probably on flounder.
In the tidal rivers and at their mouths look for the large, golden spot. This is the time of the year that spot are as large as they ever will be this year. Also look for speckled trout in the Piankatank River and in Mobjack Bay. Poquoson Flats should also be harboring nice specks. The Piankatank River, in addition to speckled trout, will be offering gray trout, puppy drum, croakers and spot. Also keep an eye on Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlet for late September runs of spot.
The stateís piers should be at their best this month with a full cast of finny characters. Spot and croakers should provide the most action, but just about anything could appear. The wonderful-eating pompano will probably be gone by monthís end, but bluefish, Spanish mackerel, sea mullet should put in cameo appearances to keep things interesting.
In freshwater landlocked stripers should be on a roll. As the finger mullet boil down the coast schools of young shad will be cruising close to the surface in the reservoirs and these large schools of bait attract attacks by schools of landlocked striped bass and even a few largemouth and smallmouth bass. Some of the best of this action comes at daybreak, dusk and on cloudy days. Topwater baits and shallow runners are called for. Some of the best striper action can be had at Smith Mountain Lake, Buggs Island Lake, Leesville Reservoir, Lake Anna, Little Creek Reservoir (Toana), Lake Chesdin, the Suffolk Lakes and Lake Gaston.
September crappie fishing at Buggs Island Lake can be excellent and anglers have a chance of catching one of those outsized largemouth bass at Briery Creek Reservoir where large top water plugs are effective.
Big catfish are also on a roll this month, especially in the James River and in Buggs Island Lake. River anglers should find lots of fun with pickerel and bowfin on the Blackwater River.
September 1 is the opening day of the resident Canada goose season statewide. The season is designed to close (September 25) before the first migratory Canada geese arrive .Hunters are permitted to take five geese per day.
The popular first segment of the mourning dove season opens September 2 and closes September 23. Shooting hours are from noon until sunset and the daily limit is 12. There are two more hunting segments for doves in October, November, December and January.
The season for hunting rails in Virginia opens September 8 and runs through November 16. Clapper and king rails are counted together in the bag and the limit is 15 per day. Sora and Virginia rails are also counted together and the daily limit for these birds is 25.
The season for hunting squirrels opens September 2, closing January 31. Fox squirrels may be hunted in certain counties outlined in the game laws.
National Hunting & Fishing Day, September 24, is observed this month, but, unfortunately, I could find no listing of events.