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Vol 48 | Num 21 | Sep 20, 2023

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Virginia Report

Article by Capt. Matt Abell

The leaves are starting to drop, the temperature has started to fall and the door is closing on another Eastern Shore summer. As the hot stagnant summertime sun sets in the west and is replaced by a cool crisp casting climate blown in from the sea, that will definitely kick-start the awesome ESVA autumn!

The shallows of the Chesapeake have stirred up the most interest as anglers search the grass flats for spotted and striped trophies of the sweet water. A combination of popping corks and twitch baits like the suspending mirrodine have seduced spotted prey from their weedy lairs. Most of the action has come from juvenile reds from 14”-30” in length. The tide has not mattered as much as the time of day with a running current at first or last light being the most sought after scenario. The water has been surprisingly clear so light colors like salt and pepper or opening night have been the most enticing offerings in trade for a tight line. Some anglers in the creeks and structure of Maryland’s portion of the Tangier sound have earned their stripes with some nice rock on topwater plugs like the Heddon chug’ spook as well suspending Rap-10’s. Some other deeper structure has still produced a few sheepshead with chunks of crab on sweeper style tog jigs. If bait is a part of your autumn arsenal then big reds are still available from the Pocomoke sound south on cut spot fished on fish finder with 8/0 circle hooks. A little further south the CBBT has been the scene of some of the largest schools of cobia that have been seen all year. Anglers are targeting these fish by sight and offering them live baits as well as brightly colored jigs.

The Atlantic has been a bit less impressive, with choppy seas and turbid water plaguing the areas around the inlets and barrier islands of the ESVA. The best news came from wrecks and reefs in the 100’ range as anglers bent their rods on prize knot head sea bass fished on an assortment of jigs and bait rigs alike. The mahi are still being found around floating structures like fish pot floats. Most of these delicious delicacies have been bailed in the boat by offering chunk baits on hooks with fluorocarbon leaders. Some cobia have also been spotted around some of the same buoys and flotsam. A live eel tossed near the man in the brown suit is all that is needed for a dinner invitation.

I spend a lot of time reminding my friends and myself not to take the Eastern Shore for granted. This coming weekend a great bunch of shoreman are working extra hard for an awesome cause. The 5th annual Tangier Classic will be held out of Crisfield Md. This tournament helps a local family every year that is facing adversity that will bring a tear to your eye. This year the family of a little girl named Emerson Thomas, who has had multiple brain surgeries and will require more surgeries to come, will be the recipient of the proceeds. Please keep their family in your prayers as they definitely need Gods help. So the next time you are tempted to complain about things that may seem trivial or superfluous, don’t forget that we are blessed to have the health of our family, to be a part of a great caring community and most of all to live in this wonderful place we call home. §

Coastal Fisherman Merch
CF Merch



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