Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
Thanksgiving Holiday Report
21 November 2014

Most fishing agendas are still focused on more protected areas due to the challenging elements this time of year. But the Thanksgiving Holiday typically marks the arrival of big rockfish into local waters, motivating anglers to venture out to open waters.

This year, the arrival of the bigger fish came a little early, as several nice striped bass pushing 50-pounds were boated this week. So now the news is out, and the rush is on as anglers from all over round up eels and head to the Eastern Shore side of the Bay. These super-sized gamefish are kicking off the now popular eeling trend, which has developed into an effective fishing method for the larger rockfish over the last several years. This technique involves drifting with live eels along the channel edges and the shoals off Plantation Light and the Bayside of Cape Charles. Anglers are also hooking some nicer fish to around 40-pounds while dunking live eels at various depths from the 4th island to the high rise section of the Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Anglers are also still doing well with striped bass of all sizes all over the lower Bay when they can get out on the water. School-sized fish are available to casters working the lower bridge pilings, while boats using live bait over the tubes and casting near the islands of the CBBT, are finding a nice class of fish ranging to around 38-inches this week. Plenty of 10-pounders are hitting near the 1st and 2nd islands, with bird activity after dark signaling feeding fish for anglers. In lower Bay inlets, schoolies are still active under dock lighting and along bulkheads. A few keeper-sized gray trout are also lurking about the artificial islands of the CBBT recently.

Speckled trout are active in most of the shallows of the southern section of the lower Bay, as well as along the Bay and ocean surf lines. Surf anglers are pulling keeper fish from the wash near the Sandbridge fishing pier using grubs and cut bait. Most of the larger fish are coming from the Elizabeth River and Rudee Inlet, but Lynnhaven is also giving up some respectable trout lately. There are many ways to fish for specks, and all methods are producing lately. Many anglers are finding especially good luck with trolling grubs this week, especially in the Elizabeth River. Live-baiting in the cove area of the hot ditch in the River is also effective, with many fish pushing to around 25 to 26-inches hitting recently. Puppy drum and school-sized rockfish are also available in the shallows.

Many anglers are enjoying the good tautog action in the lower Bay when they can get to them. The tubes of the four artificial islands of the CBBT are the most popular tog locations, while many Bay wrecks, reefs and rubble piles are also giving up keeper fish. Some of these fish are pushing to well over 6-pounds, while the average fish is still around 2 to 3-pounds. Although fiddler crabs are excellent bait for tog in the Bay, other options, such as crabs and clams can work. Nearshore and offshore wrecks will become more popular as waters cool. Right now, nice seabass and keeper flounder are available on some of these deeper structures, along with a smattering of big gray triggerfish. Big chopper bluefish are also hitting around many of these structures lately, but this action is hit and miss. Acres of big false albacore are popping up everywhere from the Triangles to the Chesapeake Light Tower, taunting larger predators. Bluefin tuna could make a showing in these same areas, but no confirmed hookups have materialized as of yet.

Deep dropping is productive when the weather allows. Recent trips are reporting big blueline tilefish, nice snowy grouper, and big chopper bluefish mixed in with jumbo seabass in water averaging to around 300-feet. Deeper areas around the Canyon are also holding nice blackbellied rosefish and golden tilefish.

Offshore, most of the action is further south off Carolina, with yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, and bigeye tuna possibilities. A few wahoo are also still around.

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