Sportfishing with Dr. Julie Ball
2014 Calendar


Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
11 Apr 2014

Spring fever is in the air as moderate conditions continue to replace the harsh winter days. Water temperatures are climbing quickly, encouraging the emergence of the spring species.

Tautog is still the standard as anglers await the arrival of other species, and now you donít have to travel far to get in on the tog action. Anglers are thrilled with the eruption of tog activity within Bay waters this week, with good hauls of fish coming from both lower Bay and inshore structures. Folks are having no problem locating limits of nice-sized keeper fish, with a few citations in the mix. Fiddler crabs are the top bait in the Bay, with blue crabs performing second best. Tog action is still good on deeper wrecks, when boats can get to them. Nice seabass will get in your way on these deeper structures, but you must continue to throw them back for now. Several fish pushing to over 10-pounds came from the Triangle Wreck and Light Tower areas this week using quartered crabs and clams for bait. Those anglers offering clam while fishing the offshore wrecks are still finding scattered cod as a by-catch.

Puppy drum continue to dominate the lower Bay inlets, with Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets the best locations to load up. Plenty of hefty pups will provide great action on light tackle, with grubs and Gulp baits getting the fastest response right now. Top water lures continue to get the nod with speckled trout this week, with the Elizabeth River still the best spot for specks. Good numbers of nice fish, with some stretching to over 28-inches, are available in the River for catch-and-release activity, with the most solid action coming from the discharge area at the Hot Ditch.

Flounder are finally making a meager showing in the shallows along the Eastern Shore and lower Bay. This action should only improve as the water continues to warm, with the best flatfish catches happening while drifting with squid and strip baits. The backwaters of Cape Charles, the seaside inlets out of Oyster, the barrier islands out of Wachapreague, and Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets are beginning to show some promising early season results.

Croaker are filtering into the area, but there are no solid reports of catches as of yet. Anglers frequenting the lower Bay and coastal fishing piers are patiently awaiting the first spring run of these popular bottom fish, along with small bluefish.

Many are eagerly anticipating the arrival of a local favorite, red drum. The wait wonít be long, as huge schools of drum are headed this way as they depart the coastlines of North Carolina. Soon, big red drum will debut in the lower Bay and spread out among the shoals and breakers lining the Eastern Shore barrier islands. Black drum will also begin to show by the end of the month.

Blueline tilefish are available off the coast in water over 50-fathoms, along with a variety of grouper, black bellied rosefish, and golden tiles. Although dog fish are still a nuisance, warmer temperatures will help push them out soon.

The offshore action out of North Carolina is still good when boats can get out. Boats are scoring with bluefin and yellowfin tuna, but check the regulations carefully for the bluefin before you go. The water is beginning to look more promising for bluewater activity closer to Virginia, so a few boats are considering testing the waters once a weather window presents.

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