Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
17 April 2015
With the weather warming to the eighties this past week, inshore water temperatures are quickly rising. The Spring fishing trend is finally emerging, with new species arriving each day.
The best news is that the Bay tautog bite really turned on last week. Now you donít have to run to the offshore wrecks to target these wreck dwellers, with the quantity of inshore fish exceeding offshore catches by far. Bay anglers are catching limits of fish in quick order, with most bites coming from the pilings and the tubes of the CBBT. The best luck is happening on fiddler crabs and blue crabs right now. Most fish are ranging from 3 to 5-pounds, but a few tog are pushing to over 10-pounds. Deeper water wrecks are also still giving up some big fish, but this bite is slow. Big seabass and scattered cod are also competing for your offerings on the same structures, but seabass remain off limits until mid-May. Hurry if you want to get in on the tog action, since this fishery closes at the end of the month.
Another new Spring arrival is a local favorite, the much anticipated red drum. As schools of big drum filter into the lower Bay and spread among the shoals and breakers lining the Eastern Shore barrier islands, local anglers are intercepting the early season reds from the surflines on peeler crabs, blue crabs, and bunker. Some of these bulls are measuring to well over 45-inches. Black drum also took up residence in Virginia waters in these same areas, but most of the fish are on the smaller side. The larger blacks should show in numbers by the end of the month.
Croaker are also biting this week, with most of the hardhead action occurring along the Virginia Beach oceanfront and in the Bayís tributary rivers on squid and blood worms. Taylor and snapper bluefish are rounding out catches along the rail in Rudee Inlet this week, along with the first flounder catches of the season.
Although the flounder action is off to a slow start, spring flatfish are showing promise with a few fish caught in the backwaters of Oyster this week. Look for this trend to heat up with the warmer temperatures.
The deep water off the Virginia coast is still the place to be if you want to crank up tilefish, black bellied rosefish and grouper from over 300 feet of water. Be aware that pesky dog fish are still a nuisance, but they will begin to thin out soon. Jumbo black seabass are in the same areas, but these fish are illegal to keep right now.
Offshore opportunities are pushing this way. Although most of the action is still mostly off Carolina, with bluefin, blackfin, and yellowfin tuna presenting a variety for the fleet, some local boats are also finding some nice yellowfin and bluefin tuna recently.