By Ken Neill III
It is billfish tournament time in the mid-Atlantic. Last week’s White Marlin Open was won by John Bayliss of Manteo, N.C. His 78-pound white marlin was worth more than $1.28 million. This week is the Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament. Next week, there is both the Mid-Atlantic 500K and the Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament.
Closer to shore last weekend was the Chesapeake Bay Cobia Classic, won by Anthony Martin of Poquoson with a 65.8 pound cobia. The fifth annual croaker tournament will be held out of Dare Marina Saturday. A captains’ meeting is 7 p.m. Friday.
A look at what is happening at some of our local fishing spots:
Chickahominy River: Ed Allen’s Boats and Baits reports very good largemouth bass fishing. Some anglers are catching 25 to 30 bass a day. Bass more than 4 pounds have been checked in recently. Bowfin up to 12 pounds are hitting baits intended for bass. There have been good catches of crappie and bream fishing is very good. In the tidal reaches below the dam, bass fishing is excellent. Catfish action is also very good with the catfish bite being better at night.
Little Creek Reservoir: Bass in the 1- to 3-pound range are providing good action, but the larger bass are hard to find. There are some catfish being caught. Bluegill action is good and there are some crappie and yellow perch being caught. There were several striped bass in the 10-pound range caught this week.
Poquoson Flats: Puppy drum action is good. There are some speckled trout being caught. There have also been a decent number of small striped bass in the 16- to 17-inch range. These fish may be big enough to keep when the season opens in the fall.
Buckroe Fishing Pier: There are some flounder being caught. Croaker is the most common catch and there are some nice spot coming over the rail. A few cobia and puppy drum were caught this week.
York Spit: Cobia continue to be caught by anglers setting up chum slicks. Bluefish were thick this week, making it difficult for the cobia anglers. Spanish mackerel also are in this area.
James River: Wilcox Bait and Tackle reports that flounder fishing was good on Hampton Bar this week with flounder in the 16- to 19-inch range. Croaker fishing remains very good in terms of numbers of fish but most are small. There are a few nice spot being caught. Puppy drum are being caught in the Mulberry Island area and catfish action is good up in the river.
Cell: Spanish mackerel are in the area. There are some nice croaker being caught. Flounder fishing is good overall especially near buoy 42.
Bluefish Rock: Cobia fishing remains good. Spanish mackerel can be seen clearing the water. Big red drum are the occasional by-catch in the cobia fleet and there are some flounder around.
Mobjack Bay: Puppy drum action is good and there have been some nice speckled trout caught. There are plenty of croaker being caught as well as some nice spot. Cobia, Spanish mackerel and a few big red drum have been caught near the mouth of the Mobjack.
Back River Reef: Croaker, spot and pigfish are being caught. Flounder can be found around the structure. Spanish mackerel can be caught by trolling small spoons around and over the reef.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel: Big sheepshead continue to be caught. There are some nice triggerfish and small to medium spadefish hanging out around the structure. Spanish mackerel are being caught. Flounder fishing is good with most of the largest flounder being caught here. Cobia and big red drum are being caught in the Nine Foot Shoal area.
Eastern Shore: Flounder are being caught on the bayside, off of Cape Charles. Flounder, croaker and sea mullet are biting around the concrete ships. Croaker and flounder are available inside of the seaside inlets. Big red drum are being caught from the seaside surf and on the shoals. Cobia are being caught near buoys 13 and 16.
York River: Croaker and spot fishing is good with some nice fish being caught. Flounder continues to be caught, though most are too small to keep. There are some puppy drum being caught near the grass beds and speckled trout catches picked up this week.
Offshore: Billfish action is good. There are some wahoo being caught as well as scattered catch of yellowfin and bigeye tuna. Dolphin can be caught most everywhere with some caught along the CB buoy line this week. There have been some dolphin and king mackerel catches at the Hot Dog and SE Lumps this week.