Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
26 September 2014
Wind, wind, and more wind seems to be the only consistent report over the past few weeks, with little indication it will change anytime soon. But as we embrace the official start of fall this week, the cooler air and water temperatures mark the transformation to the cold water fishing season.
Cobia are still a possibility, but not for long. Anglers are encountering a few fish when they can get out between blows. Look for fish mostly in pairs and small pods along the ocean front, as well as circling buoys as they make their way south.
Although some fishing shuts down with windy conditions, red drum thrive in these settings. And as expected, with the recent unyielding northeasterly blows, the late season drum bite is picking up momentum. Boats taking advantage of activity around the islands of the CBBT are releasing some reds measuring to well over 48-inches. Surf and pier anglers are thrilled with the recent movement of bulls into the wash along Sandbridge, with several big drum coming from the Little Island Fishing Pier this week, with best action happening at night. The preferred bait is fresh cut spot and mullet for these trophy fish. Nice sized puppy drum pushing up to around 30-inches are also taking bait in these same areas. The red drum action along the shoals and barrier islands along the Eastern Shore is also still going strong this week.
Puppy drum are still a sure thing in many local inlets, shallows, and along inshore and coastal shorelines. Fresh cut mullet, jigs, and peelers are all effective offerings lately. Speckled trout continue to show escalating activity in the Eastern Shore creeks and the Elizabeth River, while Rudee, Lynnhaven, and Little Creek Inlets are also showing an increase in action this week. A few of these trout are weighing up to 6-pounds.
Spot also become more active in lower Bay waters with northeasterly winds. Anglers continue to experience good spot action, with some big yellowbellies caught this week in lower Bay Rivers, near the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, off Ocean View and Little Creek, and within Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets. Surf and pier anglers fishing the from the Virginia Beach oceanfront piers and from the rails in Rudee Inlet are filling coolers with nice spot this week.
Croaker are hitting in many areas in the lower Bay, including the Hampton Bar, around the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel. The lower Bay inlets are also holding some nice hardheads, where fish raging up to two-pounds are hanging around the Lesner Bridge lately. Medium sized fish are also available off the concrete ships at Kiptopeke and along the Bay Bridge Tunnel, with sea mullet in the same areas, as well as in Magothy Bay.
Flounder are difficult to target in lower Bay waters with the windy conditions and dirty water. A few flatfish are taking drifted baits off Kiptopeke and near buoy 36A, but anglers are working hard for their catches, so protected inlets are a good choice right now. Offshore and inshore wrecks will also produce keeper flounder when boats can find a window, along with big sea bass and triggerfish. Unfortunately, you will have to throw the sea bass back since they are out of season for now. Tautog are also back on the menu, but reaching areas to fish for them is difficult. A few smaller fish averaging around 3-punds are taking bait in the Bay around the CBBT this week for some boats braving the elements. Good sheepshead action continues in these same areas, where fish up to 10-pounds are mixed in, along with big triggerfish.
Striped bass will become the next fall species of interest as the Bay striped bass season opens on the 4th of October. Schoolies will take top water plugs at all the bridge tunnel complexes, especially at night in the light lines.
King mackerel are still a good possibility trolling off Virginia Beach, and down to False Cape, where a few decent kings were boated this past week. Some Spanish mackerel are still hitting in these same areas, but the action is slow. False albacore are also available closer to shore, along with a variety of sharks and snapper bluefish. Amberjack are still available at the South Tower, but not for long.
Deep droppers are scoring with good catches at the Norfolk Canyon when they can make the run, with the usual bag of blueline tilefish, barrelfish, and black-bellied rosefish keeping anglers content.
The offshore marlin bite is wide open, but the problem is getting offshore to get in on the action. Once the weather allows, billfish could provide some of the best action of the season. But some experts are concerned that the recent blow could push these fish out, ending the bite. Wahoo action is on the rise, and should continue into October.