Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
24 June 2016
Summertime is well underway, and the saltwater fishing scene is following suit as catches escalate.
Cobia are still the main target for most anglers. And with good reason. Plenty of fish are around, with some respectable fish in the mix. The bite is still first-rate for both chummers and sight casters. Cobia catches are coming from all over the lower Bay, with most fish ranging from 30 to 60-pounds. The best numbers are coming from Bluefish rock, the Inner Middle Grounds, the Nine-foot shoal, and Latimer shoal near buoys 13 and 16, and the Baltimore Channel. Remember to remain within Bay waters to catch cobia, since Federal waters are now closed.
The Nine Foot Shoal and Latimer Shoal areas are still producing decent catches of red drum, although most drum catches are now becoming incidental by-catches by anglers targeting cobia. Anglers are also finding some good top-water action while throwing lures to big schools of reds meandering anywhere from the Nautilus Shoal area to off the Virginia Beach coastline.
The flounder action continues to rebound from the recent stormy weather. The bite is mostly steady this week, although some days are better than others in Bay waters. Plenty of keepers are available in the usual flounder spots for those willing to work for them. Anglers drifting baits near the 1st and 3rd islands of the Bridge Tunnel are lucking into some decent fish this week. Flatfish are also coming from the Cell, Buoy 42, Back River Reef, and Oyster. The biggest fish are hitting live bait and jigs around the structure of the CBBT. This trend should improve as the water continues to clear. Anglers fishing in Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlet are also having some decent luck with some keeper flatfish pushing to around 20-inches, but the general size decreased this week.
The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that the Spanish mackerel bite along the Virginia Beach ocean front really opened up this week, with one boat catching over 80 fish. Some of these fish are stretching close to 24-inches. Bluefish are also hitting mixed in with the Spanish, as well as within Rudee Inlet. The inlet is also holding some decent speckled trout and croaker, and smaller spot.
Spadefish are gaining some attention, with some folks excited over some larger fish in the schools this year. Spades continue to circle the Chesapeake Light Tower and near shore wrecks, as well as the pilings of the CBBT. Sheepshead action is still on the upswing, with several fish over 10-pounds boated from the CBBT complex recently. Big trigger fish are also active in these same areas, with some triggers pushing to nearly 4-pounds.
Amberjack are available on some offshore wrecks and at the Southern Towers, but most folks are not interested with the good tuna action happening offshore. Deep droppers are still doing well, but the escalating offshore trolling scene is also shifting interest to more bluewater species lately. Some jumbo seabass are mixed in with blueline tilefish, and a few decent grouper are also around.
The Virginia offshore season is going strong, with the yellowfin tuna bite still the main attraction. Boats are encountering good numbers of tuna ranging from about 30 to 70-pounds, with a few nice big eyes also around. Big gaffer sized mahi are plentiful, while a few mako sharks are still making a showing. Billfish releases are also on the rise. Good luck to all the boats fishing the Virginia Beach Tuna Tournament this week.