Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
23 June 2017

June represents the first official month of summer, and the saltwater fishing scene is picking up momentum most everywhere.

Cobia is one of the most anticipated summer species in the Chesapeake Bay. These stealthy brown fish are making a strong showing in Bay waters, with some fish weighing over 70-pounds hitting the docks this week. Both methods of chumming and sight casting are rewarding anglers.

Although red drum are mostly old news, big reds continue to bite along Fisherman’s Island, and the Nautilus and the Nine Foot Shoal areas. Many catches are incidental by-catches by anglers targeting cobia lately.

Flounder action is becoming more consistent this month in lower Bay waters, with the Bay Bridge-Tunnel the best spot for the larger flatties. Anglers fishing in Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets are also finding some luck with keepers and the seaside inlets of the Eastern Shore and Back River Reef are always good a mainstay. Remember, this year you can keep up to four flat fish stretching to at least 17-inches.

Spanish mackerel is another summertime favorite, with some nice fish hitting along the Virginia Beach ocean front and near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Trolling small Drone and Clark spoons along tide rips will entice strikes from mackerel and smaller bluefish. King mackerel will likely show up by end of the month.

Spadefish are making a comeback, with some of the first citations in years coming from the Chesapeake Light Tower area. Nice spades are also hitting around nearshore wrecks, and along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, with clams the top bait.

Sheepshead action is sizzling, with dozens of big fish taking a variety of offerings along the bridge’s structure and on several lower Bay wrecks. Fiddler crabs and clams are the top producers. Trigger fish are also available in many of these same locations.

Small croaker and small bluefish are available at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, while croaker are hitting off Ocean view and around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel this week. Some speckled trout and puppy drum remain available within the lower Bay inlets, and within the back waters of Mobjack bay. The elusive tarpon are active in the backwaters of Oyster on the Eastern Shore, with no confirmed reports of any catches as of yet.

Amberjack are active around the Southern Towers and on several offshore wrecks, but few boats will show any interest with the good tuna bite going on right now. Deep droppers are catching a good variety of bottom fish in over 300-feet of water at the Norfolk Canyon, including blueline tilefish as the standard, and exceptional catches of golden tilefish. Big seabass are also hitting as a by-catch in most of these areas.

Offshore, the yellowfin tuna scene is still drawing a lot of attention, with boats filling coolers with respectable 40 and 50-pound class fish. Some big eye tuna are also around. Mahi are providing some scattered action, with a few gaffers weighing over 40-pounds rounding out catches, along with the occasional wahoo and Mako.

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