Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
30 September 2016
The fall weather is settling in, and the cool water saltwater species are becoming more active.
Surf anglers are off to a great start with big red drum providing good action along the breakers on the Eastern Shore barrier islands. A few reds are also showing for surf anglers fishing from the Little Island pier and along the surflines in Sandbridge, but the best of the drum surf run is yet to come. Nice red drum are also hitting around the islands of the CBBT on both live and cut bait lately. Cobia are still around, but not for much longer as these fish continue to pour out of the area as they head south.
The fall backwater fishing action is heating up nicely. Puppy drum are doing well in local shallows and inlets, with the best action happening on fresh cut bait or live mullet. Good numbers of speckled trout are hitting lures and live bait in the Eastern Shore shallows, Lynnhaven, Rudee, and Little Creek Inlets, and the Poquoson flats area. This tendency will continue to intensify through the cooler months.
The spot action is good lately, which is also keeping local pier anglers busy. Little Creek Inlet, the HRBT, and Rudee Inlet have been the most productive areas, with bloodworms the top bait. Nice pompano are also showing up in the surf off the oceanfront, with some fish pushing to over a pound caught this week. Big croaker are still responsive in the deeper holes near the HRBT, the CBBT, and within local inlets.
Within Bay waters, big sheepshead are still lingering along the structure of the Bridge Tunnel, and tautog action is rekindling for the fall season. Keeper tog averaging to around 4-pounds are hitting well on fiddler crabs. Offshore and inshore wrecks are still productive for flounder, along with some jumbo seabass and triggerfish, but remember that seabass are off limits right now. Bottom bouncers can also find willing tautog on some of these same structures.
The Bay striped bass season opens this week. As of October 4th you can keep two fish per person measuring between 20 and 28-inches, with one of the two fish allowed to measure above 28-inches in Bay waters. Most rockfish will be schoolies caught while targeting other species in backwater and inlet areas at first.
October can be a good month for smoker-sized king mackerel, but clear water is a must. Spanish mackerel and false albacore are also available in these same areas. Some big amberjack are still circling the South Tower, while jack crevelle are also a possibility at the Chesapeake Light Tower.
Deep dropping will pick up when more interest stirs, but the offshore bite is still a distraction. The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that a good selection of barrelfish along with nice blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, and a variety of grouper are hitting along the edges of the Norfolk Canyon.
Fall offshore action is good, with billfish providing chances for releases of both white and blue marlin, along with a smattering of roundscale spearfish. Catches of decent yellowfin tuna and some bigeye tuna are possible, along with lots of nice mahi. Wahoo action is still on the rise, and should continue into October. A few swordfish are starting to show, with this action typically improving over the colder months.