Fall fishing is in full swing now. Good numbers of nice spot are being caught throughout the lower bay and inside the inlets. The mouth of the Piankatank River, the York River, inside Rudee Inlet, the MMBT and the HRBT have are some of the spot hot spots. Some nice croaker are being caught. Pigfish and puffer fish are being caught in good numbers by bottom bouncers. There are even some keeper-sized gray trout in the mix.
Speckled trout and puppy drum are being caught in the shallows of many locations. The Mobjack Bay area is good as is Goodwin Island and grass beds on the Guinea Marsh area of the York River. Poquoson Flats and on into Back River is producing pups and specks. The puppy drum action has been more hit or miss while the speckled trout bite is picking up but there are still plenty of puppy drum being caught. Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets and inside the Elizabeth River will see more puppy drum action as the water cools.
There are some small striped bass being caught by anglers targeting speckled trout and puppy drum on the flats. There are some nicer-sized striped bass around the islands of the CBBT and there are fish at the HRBT and the MMBT. These areas will receive a lot more attention when the striped bass season opens on Oct. 4. You are likely to encounter working birds in the lower bay now but you are not going to find rockfish under them. A lot of bluefish in the 1-4 pound range are active in the bay.
Flounder are available throughout the lower bay even up in the shallows as some speckled trout anglers are finding when a flatfish eats their Mirrolure. The CBBT is producing some nice flounder and if you find the right coastal wreck, you can catch a nice limit. You will have to release any sea bass that you catch as that season is closed until Oct. 18 but the big triggerfish you will catch can go in the cooler with your flounder.
Triggerfish are available at the CBBT as are some big sheepshead. The sheepshead will leave as the waters cool but you still have a few weeks to catch a sheep. While you are trying for a big sheep, you will catch tautog. Tautog action is good at the CBBT and over other structures inside the bay.
Big red drum continue to be caught around the islands of the CBBT and over some of the shoals near the mouth of the bay. Live and cut fish baits are out-producing crab baits. More big reds are being encountered along the oceanfront around Sandbridge as these fish are making their way south. Some big king mackerel are being caught along the oceanfront on out to the Chesapeake Light Tower and around some of the coastal wrecks. False albacore are a common by-catch for anglers targeting the kings.
There have been some good catches of amberjack and jack crevalle at the Chesapeake Light Tower this week. The southern towers will be holding amberjacks for those who want to make the run. The offshore waters are still producing billfish catches but that bite is slowing down. What is heating up is the wahoo bite. October is the best month to target wahoo. Dolphin are still being caught. There have been some bigeye tuna encounters in the Norfolk and Washington Canyons. Hopefully, the bigeyes will soon be joined by yellowfin and longfin tuna.
The Grafton Fishing Supply Spot Tournament was held Sept. 27-28. First Place in the Youth Division was won by Caleb Sava with a .63 pound spot. Second Place was won by his big sister, Lexi Sava with a .60 pound spot. The overall tournament was won by Chris Nelson. Chris weighed in a .64 pound spot. Caleb Sava’s Youth Winner came in Second Place at .63 pounds. Third Place was won by Eddie Pratts with a .60 pound spot. He edged out Lexi’s fish with a time-of-weigh-in tie breaker.
Sept 28, I was supposed to be fishing for spot. I trolled plugs along the oceanfront and did not catch a single spot. The fish we pulled off last weekend bugged me all week so I went and gave the king mackerel another try. I had three bites. The first fish pulled…a continuation from our last trip. The next fish was a big red drum that I did catch. The third bite was a screamer and it was what I was after. The king mackerel weighed in at 36 pounds 8 ounces.
Sept 23, Bernie Sparrer fished inside the York River. He caught a cooler of nice spot with fish up to 3/4 pound.
Sept 21, Capt. Rick Wineman trolled for king mackerel off the beach, fished for jacks at the light tower and for red drum at the CBBT. He caught a tautog.
Sept 21, I tried for kings with Wes Blow and Capt. JT Hale. One plug was bitten off. We caught one shark. Had 2 or 3 somethings that did not come tight and about 5 that did until the hook pulled. One was a definite king. Wes had something on for a good long time that we did not see. My guess is king. Not sure of the others. JT had something that was splashing on the surface right away but too far back to id. We dropped on the Tiger. JT got very wet as a wave broke over the transom and JT. Caught sea bass, pigfish, bluefish, triggerfish, blowfish, and grouper. At least one king was caught by a boat near us.
Sept 19, Lee Williams trolled the oceanfront without any bites. They then moved to the CBBT where they caught an 80.5 pound cobia.
Sept 19, I trolled along VA Beach for kings. I caught red drum, false albacore, and spinner sharks. I did watch a nice king get caught by a nearby boat.
Sept 17, Wes Blow started out chumming for cobia. He caught 2 and pulled off a couple more. He then moved to the CBBT to fish for red drum. He caught 5 reds to 48 inches long.
Sept 13, Brent Meadors fished the Cigar area. They caught dolphin and a 40-pound wahoo.
Sept 6, Michael Hudgins fished the mouth of the Piankatank River. They loaded up their coolers with spot in the 1/2 to 3/4 pound range.
Sept 6, on board, we had Doctors John Graves and Hamish Small and PhD student Nadya Mamoozadeh from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Our volunteer mates were Danny Forehand, Capt. JT Hale, and Gabe Sava. We were on one of our yearly searches for baby bluefin tuna. We trolled Spanish mackerel tackle near the Norfolk Canyon. On it, we caught skipjack tuna, bullet tuna, dolphin, blackfin tuna, and 2 YOY bluefin tuna. The “2″ is unusual. Typically, we do not find them at all or we catch a bunch. We saw a few white marlin and caught one of those. We also had a small mako try to eat our dredge. It would not let go until we had pulled it half out of the water.
Sept 5, Capt. Rick Wineman fished the Norfolk Canyon. They caught 2 wahoo (losing a really big one), 9 dolphin to 27 pounds and a white marlin.
Sept 5, I slipped out of the inlet and trolled the oceanfront for king mackerel for a couple of hours. No kings this trip. I kept seeing Spanish mackerel and little tuna creatures that I expect were small false albacore. To make sure that they were not the young-of-the-year bluefin that we were going offshore in search of, I put out a little spoon and caught a Spanish. The guys looking for cobia were having a good day.
Sept 1, Gabe Sava and I trolled the oceanfront for king mackerel in the morning. We caught one. When I called home to see if they wanted me to bring home lunch, they said no and that they were going fishing. Tricia and Casey caught a variety of bottom fish at Poquoson Reef.
Sept 1, Hunter Southall took one of his new college friends to the flats where they caught puppy drum.
Sept 1, Larry Lusk made a short trip to the Cape Henry area. They saw 6 cobia catching 2 of them.
Aug 31, the Tuna Tracker fished out of Hatteras. They caught a sailfish and 3 wahoo.
Aug 31, we ran offshore for billfish. Weed mats were everywhere and so were the dolphin. Without trying for them, we ended up with 36 nice dolphin on the troll. When we first set out, we put out a little spoon the see if the baby bluefin were here for Dr. John Graves. We caught a jack right away, the spoon broke so that was that. We did catch a couple of white marlin and should have had 3 or 4 more. We collected DNA samples from the ones we caught for Dr. Graves’ grad student, Nadya Mamoozadeh. For information on her research or to volunteer to help her collect fin clippings of the marlin you catch: firstname.lastname@example.org . We also had a sailfish hooked up briefly.
Aug 31, Bill Pappas fished east of the Cigar. They caught a bunch of gaffer dolphin and blackfin tuna.
Aug 30, Brent Meadors, on the Breike, trolled inshore for king mackerel. They caught a 27-pound fish ( angler Kendel Blankinship).
Aug 29, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys trolled near the 3rd island of the CBBT. They caught a bunch of bluefish in the 1-3 pound range.
Aug 29, Larry Lusk fished east of the Cigar. They caught 19 nice dolphin while trolling a weed line.
Aug 29, I ran to the flats with Tricia and Casey. They hooked 3 puppy drum, pulling the hooks on 2 with Casey landing one.
Aug 27, Wes Blow and JT Hale fished for sheepshead at the CBBT. Wes caught one that weighed in at 12 pounds 14 ounces. They also caught 6 tautog, 6 cobia, and 3 flounder.
Aug 24, Wes Blow chummed for cobia. Despite great conditions (NE 25 KTS), they only caught 2 cobia.
Aug 24, Capt. Rick Wineman chummed for cobia at York Spit Light during a stiff NE blow. They caught a small cobia and lost two others at boat side.
Aug 24, Charles Southall and I were another of the idiot boats out in the nor’easter chumming for cobia. We caught sharks and bluefish.
Aug 23, Brent Meadors trolled inshore from the SE Lumps to the CB buoy line. They caught a bunch of false albacore and a good catch of dolphin. Brent said that they caught a really nice gaffer about 10 miles off of the beach.
Aug 23, Charles and I trolled the oceanfront in the morning. We lost a few fish that we never saw. We caught a couple citation-sized false albacore, 2 houndfish, a big ribbon fish and a nice dolphin. We were trolling about 3 miles off of the beach.
Aug 22, I went over and did a little work on the boat in the morning. I then decided to sneak out and troll some plugs along the oceanfront. I lost a nice king at the boat. Tricia was heading over so I started trolling back to the inlet and I hooked up again. I got this one. Ran on into the inlet and picked up Tricia and weighed the king. It weighed 25.5 pounds. We went out and trolled some more. We did not have any more king bites. We did catch 3 large cutlassfish creatures.