By Ken Neill III
It is that time of year when many of us will be fishing at night. The lights on the piers and bridges attract baitfish which provides great fishing opportunities for striped bass, trout and bluefish. Boats of all shapes and sizes will be getting in on the action.
This will include small craft such as johnboats and kayaks. These vessels are great for sneaking up on the fish. They are also very hard to see even when they are displaying proper lights. With the lights on the bridge and the condensation on your windshield, it is very easy to miss a low-riding vessel. Everyone be safe out there and watch out for each other.
There will be a boating safety class on November 1 at Bass Pro Shops, 1972 Power Plant Parkway, Hampton. For free registration, visit: dgif.virginia.gov
A look at what is happening at some of our local fishing spots:
Little Creek Reservoir: Bass up to four pounds are being caught. Some nice yellow perch are being caught. Crappie fishing is picking up and bluegill are being caught in large numbers. Starting November 1, the park will open at 7 a.m. and close at sunset every day. Starting December 1, the park will only be open on weekends.
Chickahominy River: Conway’s River Rat Guide Service and Ed Allen’s Bait and Boats reports that catfish catches are common with fish up to 20 pounds. Crappie fishing is picking up. Some big yellow perch are being caught. Bluegill and shellcracker are active. Bass fishing is good as is pickerel fishing. Bass to 7.5 pounds were weighed in this week. Some big bowfin continue to be caught and there are some striped bass being caught.
Poquoson Flats: Small bluefish are roaming the flats. Good numbers of 18- to 24-inch striped bass are being caught. There are still some puppy drum around. Speckled trout fishing is very good, in both numbers of smaller fish along with some trophy-sized fish. Specks are being caught from the flats on around into Back River. The Back River bite has picked up over the past week.
Buckroe Fishing Pier: Some spot are still being caught. Flounder are a common catch though many are too small to keep. Under the lights at night, there are bluefish, trout, and striped bass are becoming more common.
James River: Wilcox Bait and Tackle reports that good numbers of striped bass are being caught, especially at the James River Bridge where stripers to 36 inches long were caught this week. Fish are being caught by casting jigs and by trolling lures, but the largest fish have been caught by chunking menhaden and on live eels. There are still some spot around the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge-Tunnel and at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. Speckled trout and some puppy drum are being caught, with the Elizabeth River being very good.
Mobjack Bay: Some impressive speckled trout are being caught along with a large numbers of smaller fish. The speckled trout population is looking healthy despite last winter’s cold-water kills. Striped bass and some small bluefish are also being caught.
Back River Reef: Tautog fishing is good and getting better. Sheepshead, red drum and some small black drum are also holding on the structure. Flounder, pigfish and some spot also are around the structure.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel: Tautog are biting and there are some triggerfish and sheepshead on the structure. Black drum and some puppy drum are also possible catches while tautog fishing. Some big red drum remain available at the islands but these fish will be moving south. Flounder remain available. Striped bass and plenty of bluefish are being caught at the islands, especially early and late in the day.
York River: Grafton Fishing Supply reports excellent speckled trout fishing. More striped bass are being caught. Spot are still in the river and there are some flounder and puppy drum being caught.
Eastern Shore: Chris’ Bait and Tackle reports that speckled trout fishing is very good in the bayside creeks and they are also being caught on the seaside. Spot, flounder, puppy drum, bluefish and sea mullet are being caught at Kiptopeke. Tautog are available at the Concrete Ships and on structures like the Cabbage Patch Reef, Texaco Wreck and on the mussel beds near 36A.
Offshore: Dolphin and wahoo are being caught along with some tuna. Yellowfin, blackfin, and bigeye tuna are all being caught, but so far, it is not a consistent fishery. With the sea bass fishery reopening, there will be more interest in fishing the offshore wrecks and in bottom fishing for both sea bass and tilefish along the 50-fathom curve.