Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
24 October 2014

Blustery fall weather continues to limit access to the open water, encouraging anglers to consider options in more protected areas. And with the improving inshore fishing scene, the prospects become more optimal with each passing day.

Speckled trout usually begin their rise into the limelight about this time of year, and this season the trend is right on target. Although some locations are producing better than others, plenty of fish averaging close to three pounds are keeping casters busy. The larger fish are hitting in the Elizabeth River, where both trolling and casting methods are effective. Although the fish are smaller, Lynnhaven, Rudee, and Little Creek Inlets, and the Poquoson flats are also holding good numbers of specks, with Rudee Inlet experiencing an exceptional run this week. The Eastern Shore seaside and Bayside inlets are also giving up some decent numbers of fish, with the activity steadily improving. Nice puppy drum are hitting in the same areas, with many pups pushing to over 30-inches. Big puppy drum are also keeping surf anglers content along most of the lower Bay and oceanfront shorelines.

Surf anglers are still hauling in big red drum from the surflines along the Eastern Shore, down to the Virginia Beach Wildlife Refuge. A few nice bulls and puppy drum are also still responding around the islands of the CBBT on cut bait recently, but these fish are on the move southward, where the North Carolina fall red drum surf fishing trend is off the charts lately.

With the recent northerly winds, nice spot are providing good action off Ocean View, near the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel, and Rudee Inlet, with the most predictable catches coming from the Lynnhaven River this week. The folks at The Fishing Center report that some of these spot are big yellow bellies, with bloodworms the bait of choice for anglers fishing off the Rail. Croaker catches are slowing, but a few big heardheads are still providing some action in Lynnhaven Inlet, Rudee Inlet, and near the lower Bay Bridge Tunnels.

The tautog bite continues to improve in lower Bay waters and on coastal structures. In Bay waters, keeper-sized tog are hitting along the CBBT, especially near pilings and along the tubes of the artificial islands. Fiddler crabs and clams are working best, but anglers are also finding some success with blue crabs. This bite will continue to develop as the waters cool. Lingering sheepshead ranging up to 8-pounds also hitting in these same areas, along with some triggerfish, but not for long.

Dirty water conditions continue to hinder Bay flounder efforts, but folks targeting flatties in more sheltered waters, such as Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets, are finding some keepers. Wreck flounder are also available on deeper structures when boats can reach them. Jumbo seabass also a good possibility on these deeper structures, along with some nice triggerfish and chopper bluefish.

As water temperatures drop, striped bass action continues to improve. Although the bigger rockfish typically debut in late November, anglers are content with school-sized fish for now. Striper anglers are finding success casting top water lures around lower Bay crossings, with Wind Cheaters always an excellent choice along the light lines after dark.

Amberjack are still available at the South Tower, but this trend is nearing the end. Deep dropping is a good option when the weather allows, with a few boats reporting catches of blueline tilefish, grouper, blackbellied rosefish, and a by-catch of big black seabass.

Offshore, the action is slow, with windy weather a huge deterrent. Recent trips have resulted in some bailer and gaffer-sized dolphin, and decent numbers of wahoo, with some stud hoos pushing up to around 60-pounds weighed in this week. Yellowfin, blackfin and big eye tuna are also possibilities.

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