December 1st, 2013 by Mike Halperin
Richard Clark with a recent catch of keeper speckled trout and puppy drum from inside Lynnhaven Inlet
The letter “S” denotes two fall favorites for Virginia Beach anglers: Striped bass and Speckled trout. These two species have been on the scene for several weeks, but to the delight of fishermen, they are growing more numerous and larger with each passing weather front.
School-sized stripers are now well established in areas adjacent to structure and fast current. Best bites normally occur on fast moving tides and close to bridge pilings. At night, when these swift predators hungrily feed on bait, hot action takes place in the shadow lines of lights on bridges and docks. Soft plastic-lead head combinations are most productive as well as flies fished by fly casters. Anglers using wire line trolling gear are able to present baits deep to larger rockfish that are often feeding just above the bottom in swift moving water. Some of these larger stripers have been close to 40 inches! Beach casters using heavy jigs at Lynnhaven Inlet have been able to land some nice medium-size stripers.
Schools of even bigger bass from the northern Bay and East Coast waters are due to arrive any day at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The tried and true freshwater technique of bait and bobber, bait being a live eel, works perfectly for the coming monsters, particularly at Plantation Light and the High Rise Bridge area of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
Know your bass regs: During Chesapeake Bay season, which closes December 31, fishermen may keep two fish per person per day. Those two fish must be between 18 and 28 inches. However, one of the fish may be longer than the upper slot limit of 28 inches should you catch a trophy fish.
The take away: If hunting trophy bass, keep only one fish per angler until the end of the day. You can always add a second small fish, but you can never be in possession of three fish.
Speckled trout is the other popular “S” fish this time of year. Specks have invaded the back waters of Little Creek, Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. While small boat fishermen have the best access, shore bound anglers have also caught their fair share. By culling through 9- to13- inch trout, patience has rewarded many casters with keeper trout over 14 inches. Some anglers have even had bragging size catches of trout enhanced by multiple puppy drum. We are now in the period when 5 lb. Virginia Saltwater Fishing Citation trout and even a few double-digit fish should begin to show up. MirrOlures and soft plastics are top baits with white, gray and chartreuse top colors.
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November 29th, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
Editor’s Note: Isn’t it a bit nutty how blogger and outdoor enthusiast Katherine Jackson always knows when we need her inspiration for some serious outdoor fun and exercise? After yesterday’s feast, we are grateful for the timing of this post. Thanks, Katherine!
Bike Shore Drive: The Chesapeake Bay Side
A few years ago, with applause from local cyclists, the City of Virginia Beach paved bike lanes on both sides of the eastern end of Shore Drive where it passes through First Landing State Park. It’s a beautiful place to bike, a four-mile stretch through the maritime forest where Native Americans once lived, and where English sailors once landed before sailing upriver to settle at Jamestown. One way to access this route is to park on Eighty-fourth Street at the North End of Virginia Beach and head west. The scenery changes quickly from beach bungalows to a fragrant forest of pine trees, deciduous trees, and sandy dunes. On a recent Sunday afternoon, this section of Shore Drive was sparkling, with a bright blue sky above and the late fall sunlight reflecting on red and gold leaves. After traversing woods, the scenery changes again, as the road enters the residential and commercial districts that line the Chesapeake Bay. This is a highly desirable place to live in Virginia Beach, with lots of opportunities for recreation on the bay, on the beaches and on the Lynnhaven River. Another asset is a plethora of locally owned restaurants and watering holes, some with views of the river and sunsets on the bay. Cyclists can ride in the travel lane on Shore Drive, where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour, and from here it’s easy to pop down a side street for a peek at the beach. But I recommend accessing instead the Cape Henry Trail.
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November 27th, 2013 by Mike Halperin
10th Annual Catchin for Kids Rockfish Tournament at Little Creek Inlet
December 6 – 7, 2013
The 2012 tournament contributed over 3,000 toys to underprivileged children of Hampton Roads!
Virginia Beach Angler’s Club Rockfish Rodeo
December 13 – 14, 2013
Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout, Rudee Inlet
January 9-11, 2014
November 22nd, 2013 by Teresa Diaz
It’s here! At sundown we’ll officially kick off the 2013 holiday season. Are you ready? Here’s the lineup for this weekend; hopefully you’ll be able to do one or more of these fun activities and Live the Life in the spirit of the season!
Tonight the McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach, one of the most anticipated and visited holiday light display in the country, starts tonight at 5:30 with a opening weekend discount. Find all the details right here.
Interested in knowing how we “Lived the Life” in 1960’s? Come on out to Town Center tomorrow and join the festivities at the City of Virginia Beach’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Town Center Plaza on Central Park Ave. The event will feature remarks by Mayor Will Sessoms. The fun kicks off at 5 p.m. with music by the Mosaic Steel Drum Orchestra.
At 6 p.m. the “Light Up the Town” parade begin, followed by the Grand Illumination of Town Center and topped off by a laser light show! There will be balloon artists, carolers and more – all free and fun for the whole family. Shop area merchants for great holiday deals, too.
We’ll be there, with bells on, and hope you will be too!
November 21st, 2013 by Sherry Friel
One of the things I enjoy most about breaking routine is the myriad ways it inspires me to awaken to new, healthier thought patterns and ideas. Sometimes a routine buster is just a matter of taking a different path on my usual neighborhood walk, and other times, it’s heeding the call of a walk through the woods with friends.
Sunday was one of those days. With blue skies rich with vibrant possibility, my usual routine of grocery shopping, laundry and dinner planning made absolutely no sense. Thank goodness I ended up hiking the trails of First Landing State Park with friends Beth and Jon, their daughters Sarah and Sophia, my son Nathaniel, and our dogs, Apollo and Romeo. My morning started with a simple request from Beth via email. She wrote, “I want to go to the woods and I want to take our cameras.” So that is exactly what we did.
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November 20th, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
As autumn wanes and winter approaches, locals and visitors alike can be found enjoying the Boardwalk. It’s a different place when the weather changes (everyone wears a bit more clothing, for sure!), but different in a good way. Regardless of the season, there’s always plenty to see along the oceanfront promenade, but I recommend a detour when walking at the south end. I recently visited the Virginia Legends Walk for the first time, even though it was dedicated in 1999.
Located in a grassy park on 13th Street between Atlantic and Pacific Avenue, it’s a series of monuments to noteworthy people who were born in Virginia or who lived in Virginia during the time of their greatest accomplishments. No surprise to find tributes to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Booker T. Washington. On the other hand, it was interesting to read about musicians Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey and Patsy Cline, entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and tennis champion Arthur Ashe. Writers Edgar Allan Poe and William Styron, explorers Lewis and Clark, and Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan, and Captain John Smith are honored. Newscaster Katie Couric even has her place on the Walk. (I’d be dating myself if I mentioned that she was a year ahead of me at UVA.)
All told, the website for the Virginia Legends Walk lists 37 inductees, including one animal. Can you guess which one? Secretariat, the thoroughbred racehorse who was born in Doswell, Virginia and won the 1973 Triple Crown. Each honoree has a plaque with a description of his or her most significant global or national contributions. For example, Alan B. Shepard was the first American astronaut in space and the first person to play golf on the moon. Walter Reed earned a medical degree at age 18 and conducted research on typhoid and yellow fever, saving millions of lives. In addition to being the “Father of New Journalism,” Tom Wolfe coined the phrases “good ol’ boy” and “The Me Decade.” Who knew? If you aren’t familiar with the tale of Grace Sherwood, you can take to take a stroll on the Virginia Legends Walk to find out who she was. Hint: she was also known as the Witch of Pungo.
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