Vol 37 | Num 3 | May 16, 2012
Article by Julie Ball
A brief break in the weather last weekend allowed boats to get out on the water. The fishing results were mixed, but the best inshore action came from the eastern side of the Bay where drum and flounder stepped up to the plate.
The drum scene is still heating up, with an escalation in black drum activity within Bay waters adding to the momentum last week. According to the folks at Chris’ Bait and Tackle, the larger black drum are now beginning to show in their usual haunts along the Bayside area of the Eastern Shore. Blacks pushing to over 46-inches are taking chowder and sea clams between Buoys 13 and 16 along Latimer Shoal and near Nautilus Shoal. This black drum action should continue to improve over the next week or so, providing plenty of opportunities to enter Chris’ Individual Black Drum Tournament, which runs May 1st to the 31st (www.chrisbait.com).
Big red drum are still patrolling the breakers off of Smith and Fisherman’s Island, with the incoming tide providing the best results lately. Surf anglers are still faring very well on the reds from Smith and Myrtle Islands, with good sized striped bass to over 41-inches also taking offerings. The red drum action is also picking up along the Nine-Foot Shoal area, especially in the evenings. Both peelers and blue crabs are working well, but bunker will also get the job done.
The Bay’s Spring Trophy Striped Bass season is going well, but be sure to check the regulations closely and note that these fish must be reported. Anglers are experiencing excellent striper action all over the lower Bay when they can get out. Topwater action is the most popular method to entice fish exceeding the current 32-inch minimum size requirement, especially along the pilings and islands of the CBBT and the HRBT at dawn. Boats are also reporting catches of rockfish while bottom fishing for drum near Fisherman’s Island, with a few exceeding 44-inches. Kendall Osborne of Virginia Beach earned a state release citation with an impressive 44-inch rockfish caught on the fly while working the CBBT last week.
Flounder action around the CBBT still has room for improvement, and the recent cold front and heavy rain is not likely to help either. But anglers working the various lower Bay and Eastern Shore inlets and shallow backwater areas, are finding some keepers. Both Rudee Inlet and Lynnhaven River are providing some good fish, with a few flatfish ranging up to 23-inches last week. Limits of decent flatties ranging from 3 to 5-pounds are also still coming from the seaside inlets out of Wachapreague and Oyster.
Bluefish are still the word along the Virginia Beach oceanfront and inside Rudee Inlet where anglers are experiencing good catches of decent blues weighing up to around five pounds.
The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that anglers are also catching good numbers of speckled trout within Rudee Inlet lately, with any color grub doing the trick. The Elizabeth River is still producing some speck action, and a few fish are also hitting within the Eastern Shore seaside inlets and the back waters of Oyster.
Surf and pier anglers are pulling small spot, sea mullet and medium-sized croaker out of the surf line off Ocean View and Little Creek. Nice-sized sea mullet are also still active on the Eastern Shore seaside inlets and off Kiptopeke. Big croaker continue to come from the James and York Rivers on squid and crab with decent hardheads in the 17-inch range filling coolers from near the Coleman Bridge, York River State Park and the oyster beds near the James River Bridge.
Although most anglers are more interested in inshore species, the deep dropping scene will attract more attention when sea bass become legal again on the 19th this month. As the dog fish begin to move out, more boats will target tilefish, black bellied rosefish and grouper along the Canyon edges once they can get out.
Offshore fishing will begin to improve this month as the action off Carolina moves northward. The fleets out of Oregon Inlet are finding yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin along with a few billfish in the mix.
For more information, go to www.drjball.com.