September 22nd, 2014 by Mike Halperin
24 white marlin...ONE DAY, ONE ANGLER!
Memorable angling awaits fishermen seeking white marlin, cobia, croaker, tilefish, flounder and spot along with numerous other soon-to-migrate species. Students are back in school now just as many species also “school up” prior to leaving Virginia Beach waters. Simply put, this is prime time to sample our waters. And oh, did anyone mention less angling pressure too? Normally idyllic fall weather and fall lodging rates combine to make September and October must fish months for Virginia Beach.
White marlin fishing continues to be world-class bar none! Boats choosing to troll are averaging four to six hookups per trip while those working live baits are attracting up to 20 billfish a trip! This fishery has traditionally stayed reel-screaming hot through September. Blue marlin, wahoo, dolphin and tuna make up the rest of the offshore mix.
Cobia are now feeding from Cape Charles across the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and east to Cape Henry as well as along the oceanfront. Splendid catches are also coming from the line of CB buoys leading into the Bay. Many fish exceed 50 pounds.
A cobia on the dock
Red drum are schooling off Cape Charles and will be heading south to offer great sport while migrating past the oceanfront and Sandbridge surf. Juvenile red drum, also known as “puppy drum,” are biting inside the inlets with Lynnhaven Inlet providing top action.
Spot remain a popular target species inside Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets. Most spot now run two to a pound, with some fish close to twelve ounces or more. It remains to be seen whether this will be a year where one-pound citation-size spot make an appearance.
Bluefish and Spanish mackerel are still actively feeding. Tide rips at Cape Henry and CBBT channel openings between the rock islands are good bets for both species. Troll small gold and silver Clark spoons (#00) to access this action. With all the bait in the water, there were even two great catches made right outside Rudee Inlet: a 35 lb. king mackerel and a 4 lb. Spanish mackerel! Both fish qualified for free Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament citations.
Flounder are another species on the inshore favorites list. Flatfish limits to 23 inches are coming from areas including the Small Boat Channel, the Yancey Wreck, the 3rd and 4th islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, ship channel edges, and the 8 and 12-mile markers of the CBBT. Moreover, the CBBT Highrise Bridge area normally becomes a flounder hot spot in October. Inlet flounder, while trending smaller, are also still biting. Fish with Gulp, live minnows and strip baits for best results.
Croaker by Duane Raver
Croaker are peaking now with plenty of fish exceeding 12 inches. Find a croaker school and action can be non-stop! Sheepshead, triggerfish and spadefish are still here with spadefish biting well around the 4th island of the CBBT. Fish tight to structure and don’t wait – all four species will soon be gone.
Grey trout promise fast action – if you can locate a school. Sonar scanning works well to reveal trout schools. Good starting points are the northern stretch of the CBBT, particularly around the 12-mile post and the Highrise Bridge.
Captain’s Tip: To increase chances for a citation spot (16 ounces), fish a Carolina rig with a small egg sinker coupled with a #4 hook and a generous piece of bloodworm. High-low bottom rigs are traditional, but this rig should attract larger spot for you.
Steer 113 degrees from Cape Henry, travel 30 miles east and you arrive at a fish magnet called the Powell wreck. As part of the “Triangle Wrecks,” which includes the World War II vessels Luckenback and Morgan, these ships are currently frequented by super-size flounder, spadefish, amberjack and jumbo black sea bass. As fall shifts to winter, the same wrecks will soon hold voracious bluefish along with tasty tautog and codfish. The Triangle Wrecks are just one of many offshore fishing locations drawing anglers to Virginia Beach waters. Enjoying this fishing smorgasbord is only a charter or head boat reservation away!
The Triangle Wrecks, a VB fish magnet
In the deep: Tilefish continue to be a top draw for offshore trips to the Continental Shelf. There is a real chance here for a saltwater fishing citation coupled with some great fishing. Other typical catches on these trips are large sea bass, barrelfish, black-bellied rosefish and grouper.
Other late season possible catches are amberjack at the South Tower southeast of Rudee Inlet along with feisty jack crevalle in inshore waters.
One fast fish - wahoo!
Among recent citations: a 181 lb. bigeye tuna (Norfolk Canyon), a 52 lb. wahoo (Norfolk Canyon), a 67 lb. cobia (CB Buoy line), a 35 lb. king mackerel (outside Rudee Inlet),a 30 lb. bull dolphin,a 4 lb. Spanish mackerel (outside Rudee Inlet), and a 4 lb. 4 oz. triggerfish (CBBT).
Offshore: White marlin
Inshore: Cobia, croaker, flounder
Inlets: Spot, croaker
Deep Drop: Blueline tilefish
See you on the water. Tight lines and hard strikes to all!
September 22nd, 2014 by Katherine Jackson
Located in the rural section of Virginia Beach, Munden Point Park is described by some people as a well-kept secret. Near the North Carolina state line, the one hundred-acre park features a picturesque tract on the North Landing River, which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. In addition to a boat ramp, the park has an eighteen-hole disc golf course, ball fields, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and a tiny amphitheater for weddings and other events.
We recently took our canoe to Munden Point to explore Oakum Creek, a mile and a half waterway adjacent to the park. It was a beautiful morning as we launched the boat into the North Landing River, sunny and bright, with enough wind to whip up small waves. Boat traffic on the river was light – a few trawlers, runabouts and jet skis. After paddling about an eighth of a mile along the riverbank, we entered the mouth of Oakum Creek and began a leisurely, flat-water paddle. The creek winds and turns, its banks lined by cypress trees with their jutting-up-knees, evergreens, cat tails, flowering pickerel weed, and pink and white wildflowers. Dragonflies fluttered around us, fish jumped, songbirds chirped, and a hawk soared over a field adjacent to the creek. At times the surface of the water was a mirror; at other times, the wind gusted across and the sunlight flashed on the ripples.
The only other boater we saw on the creek was a bass fisherman who was drifting along without his engine. Occasionally we heard motorboats on the river in the distance or a hoot from a disk golf tournament that was happening at the park, but for the most part, we were alone with nature: no roads, no houses, no worries. It was a peaceful paddle, a respite from the clock-driven demands of daily life.
Munden Point Park has rental canoes and kayaks for use on Oakum Creek. Call 757-426-5296 to check availability. If you bring your own canoe, there is no fee for launching, and you can explore the river as well. The water level and the distance that can be paddled on the creek vary, depending on how much the wind is pushing water up into the creek. We spent about two hours paddling upstream and back. Although it takes a while to get to the park, it’s a pleasant drive through the countryside, past horse pastures and pumpkin patches and quaint crossroads. On the way home, we stopped at one of the many farm stands to stock up on local produce: tomatoes, corn, squash and potatoes. People associate Virginia Beach with ocean sports, but Munden Point Park offers a chance to float up a creek with a paddle.
September 19th, 2014 by Teresa Diaz
I can’t hold a candle to Virginian-Pilot reporter Mike Hixenbaugh. Mike braved a “ride along” with a member of the Blue Angels this week. Oh yes he did! His recollection of the experience – at one point during the flight they hit 7Gs! – had me gripping the plastic my newspaper was delivered in as I read his article over coffee this morning. Mike, you’re the man!!
That was just the start of an exciting Friday. Friends at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Office invited a few of us to join them on the Oceana flight line early this morning to capture the buzz of “Friends and Family Day” at the 2014 NAS Oceana Air Show. Hundreds of MWR workers and volunteers were busy attending to the final touches before their guests arrived for this “dress rehearsal.” The show opens to the public tomorrow morning (Sat. 9/20) and runs through Sunday afternoon.
This year’s theme is “Honoring the Navy Wounded Warrior” and benefits the Navy Wounded Warrior/Safe Harbor program. This crucial program coordinates the non-medical care of seriously wounded ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsman, and provide resources and support to their families.
Always a crowd favorite, the dynamic U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demo Squadron is back as the show’s headliner to the delight of thousands of “regulars” who have missed them. The show includes an exciting list of aerial acts including wing walkers, skytypers and sky jumpers. For the little ones, there are rides and games. Top that off with plenty of food, drink and souvenir vendors, tactical demonstrations, aircraft displays and you’ve got a world-class air show!
This free*, family-friendly event is open to the public – find the weekend schedule here. I’m going back tomorrow to take it all in with the rest of the “regulars.” Hope to see you on the tarmac!
*bleacher seats are available for purchase but seating is not required.
September 5th, 2014 by Sherry Friel
This week in The Beach Report we’re treated to the fruits of others getting up with the sun – amazing dawn sunrise shots! Thank you, Sherry & Nathaniel, for the pics and the post. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Good morning sunshine!
And when the morning light comes streaming in, I’ll get up and do it again. Amen.
-Jackson Browne, The Pretender
Okay, I should admit this right off the bat: I like to sleep in. Late. The idea of venturing out to watch the sun rise has never been at the top of my list of fun things to do in Virginia Beach, but somehow, by some divine miracle, I found myself awake before dawn a couple weeks ago. After gazing up at the starry sky and noting the time, I realized if I woke up my 11-year-old son Nathaniel (who also enjoys sleeping in), we’d have just enough time to walk the beach and see the day’s first rays of sunlight. Nathaniel was happily snoozing away when I whispered in his ear, “if we go right now, we can see the sun rise.” And guess what? He rose immediately! After hastily dressing and grabbing my camera and some coffee, we headed out, arriving at the oceanfront beneath a dark and hazy sky. We could still see stars.
After slipping off my sandals, and walking the path to the water, I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to juggle both camera and coffee. So I stowed my cup behind a bench and wandered out into the darkness. We were completely alone. Just my son, my camera, and the sky. Within minutes, the sky started lightening up, and a pink/orange haze emerged. Those same colors reflected in the rippling water and waves. And then slowly, ever so slowly, the pink turned more orange and deepened. The clouds took on an other-worldly quality with vibrant colors, layers, depths and surreal dimensions that had me hypnotized. So I started snapping photo after photo after photo. After 1,000 shots (yes, 1,000) I decided it was time to head back home.
As I hesitantly took the path toward home, I looked over my shoulder, hoping for one more glimpse of that luminous sky. But the sun wasn’t finished with its show. It had more beauty to reveal, more magic to share with me, so I heeded its call. I am so happy I did not give up and go home too soon, because what happened next was amazing. The sun, partially obscured by clouds, peeked out and shone like a brilliant orange globe onto the water below.
Some days, when life feels especially chaotic, I pull up my sunset photos and remember how it felt to be powerfully compelled, called, and drawn to the water and sky in a way that suspended every single fear, every single worry, and every single anxious thought. And now I am pleased to have some sun rise portraits to reflect on. I think if I could head to the beach every morning, and meditate on the beauty of this extraordinary gift lapping at my feet over and over and over and refusing to let me go, then perhaps it would be easier to let go of the things that worry me. I continue to believe living the life truly does mean basking in its beauty in a way that inspires inner reflection and a deeper peace. In Virginia Beach, it’s waiting for you every morning. Sometimes you just have to set down the coffee and let the sunlight do it’s magic.
September 4th, 2014 by Katherine Jackson
Some people say Owl Creek; some call it Owls or Owl’s Creek. By whatever spelling, Owls Creek and its public boat ramp are vital resources for Virginia Beach residents and visitors. In the early days, this part of Virginia Beach was comprised of marshlands with a narrow channel that conveyed rain and tidal waters into the ocean. Attempts were made to drain the marsh for development, but it wasn’t until the 1950s, when the area was mined for sand to replenish the beach, that the linked water bodies of Owls Creek, Lake Rudee, Lake Wesley and Rudee Inlet were dredged. Neighborhoods sprang up along the waterways, but woods and wetlands here continue to provide habitat for birds and animals, including foxes, herons, pelicans and eagles. Depending on the season, speckled trout, flounder, striped bass and a host of other saltwater species cycle through the waters between the creek and the mouth of the inlet.
Since the public boat ramp was renovated in the 1990s, flocks of sportsmen and women have taken advantage of the access it provides to inland waters and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Motorized boats are launched from the ramp and head out for deep sea and inshore fishing. Kayakers and paddleboarders tour the basin or leave through the inlet to catch waves. The Rudee Inlet II, a small dredge that works to keep the inlet open, motors into and out of the creek, as do Navy vessels that are launched nearby. Some of the wooded property that lines the creek is privately owned, and some belongs to the Navy. Fortunately, approximately 100 acres are being preserved for recreation in the City’s new Marshview Park, where construction of trails and other facilities began in June.
On a recent Friday afternoon, I walked the mile from my house to Owls Creek to see what was going on. The boat ramp was hopping with activity. In one lane, a young man and woman were putting kayaks – tricked out with fishing poles – into the water. In another lane, a water sports outfitter was loading paddleboards into a van at the end of a group excursion. In the parking lot, a jet ski owner was securing his watercraft to its trailer. Out on the water, a fishing boat was returning from the ocean, and a small skiff was floating along the bank, its occupant casting a line. Before long, a kayak powered by pedals and adorned with a pirate flag slipped up to the dock. As the sun set across the water, two beautiful golden retrievers on leashes appeared to be enjoying the fresh air. Owls Creek is adjacent to General Booth Boulevard near the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, approximately half a mile from the resort area. It’s a worthwhile destination, with or without a boat.
Photo credits: Katherine Jackson
September 2nd, 2014 by Sherry Friel
It has certainly been a fast-paced, fun-filled summer! It’s hard to believe Fall is almost upon us. Where did the time go? Those who live the life in Virginia Beach tend to deny summer is over well into November because the Virginia Beach weather is so mild. With school having officially started, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on the season and recap a few of its highlights:
The Adventure Park. I cannot rave enough about this newest attraction in Virginia Beach. It’s an aerial park in the forest custom-built for tree-climbing, adventure-seeking adults and children. This unique park features 170 tree platforms, ziplines, and 13 different color-coded aerial trails for novice as well as advanced climbers. It was such a hit with my 11-year-old son Nathaniel that we’ve already made plans to return.
Sublime Relaxation. When I reflect on the moments that gave me the most pleasure over the summer, my mind always goes back to that 86-degree day I spent in a beach chair, finishing up the mystery novel Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. It was the most relaxed I had been in quite some time and I allowed myself to sink heavy in the chair and alternate between reading, sleeping, and enjoying the sights, sounds, and relaxed rhythm at the shoreline.
Surfing. We’ve maintained a hectic pace this summer, and while it wasn’t easy getting up early for swim team practice or martial arts classes, I have to appreciate the muscles and increased strength my son gained through his commitment to these activities. He is now able to keep paddle out and surf right alongside his Dad, and I even witnessed them catching the same wave together! It warms my heart to see them bond this way. When a father and son share a passion, it’s a beautiful thing to watch unfold.
Now that he is officially a pre-teen, (or is he a tween?), it’s obvious Nathaniel will continue seeking greater challenges. Watching him swim with ease, scale tall trees, and surf bigger and bigger waves has been a huge leap of faith for me as a parent. Of course I worry, but I can’t help but feel grateful we live in Virginia Beach, a city that seems to continuously grow and change in ways that excite his spirit and make family life all the more fun. It’s a wonderful place to live the life, a fabulous place to call home.
Photo credits: Sherry Friel
September 1st, 2014 by Mike Halperin
- Leader board on the final day of the VB Billfish Tournament
A white marlin struts his stuff prior to release
With a field of 75 boats, including charter and private boats, anglers participating in the Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament enjoyed an outstanding fishing event. In just three fishing days, 432 billfish were released, including 357 white marlin, 15 blue marlin and 61 sailfish. Releases were complemented by catches of dolphin and wahoo. As a conservation measure, blue marlin needed to weigh 500 pounds to be brought to the dock. The VBBT is part of the Virginia Beach Billfish Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving back to the community through youth and marine related charities. This year’s tournament raised significant money for Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, the DARE (anti-drug program), and Achievable Dream as well as other worthwhile charities while offering $424,000 in cash awards.
Similarly, the recent local Wine, Women and Fishing Tournament was a resounding success with its tournament and events raising more than $100,000 for breast cancer research at Eastern Virginia Medical School. This one day ladies tournament featured strong results. Thirty nine total billfish with 2 blue marlin, 35 white marlin and 2 sailfish were released from 35 competing boats. Congratulations to all who participated to raise money for charity.
- These cobia created huge smiles
Cobia continue to be the “hot inshore bite” with fishermen needing to choose between sight-casting, chumming and live-baiting to hunt their fish. Calm weather and sunny days are allowing sight-casters to toss lures to cobia averaging 40 to 50 pounds. Even larger fish are available with many anglers choosing a live eel to entice big strikes. Keeper cobia of 55 lbs. or 50-inch release fish qualify for free citation awards from the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament.
Captain’s Tip: Find a school of rays and you are likely to find cobia as these brown bruisers love to dine on food stirred up by rays as the rays scour the bottom.
Flounder offer plenty of action in Chesapeake Bay as well as inside Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. Boat anglers have returned with nice limits (4 flatfish of 16 inches) with some fish pushing close to 7-pound citation size. While inlet flounder trend smaller (up to 23 inches), there is no wrong place to flounder fish if you are near structure. Bridge pilings, wrecks, channel edges, inlet rock revetment, and shoreline edges all hold flatfish. A Gulp/jig combo continues to be a winning combination, with white and chartreuse baits getting results.
- Norfolk Spot by Duane Raver
Inside Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets, puppy drum, flounder, croaker, bluefish, and spot are keeping fishermen busy. Attention is about to turn to Norfolk spot as this run is due to gear up in earnest. Half pound spot are already here with bigger fish hoped for as fall Nor’easters accelerate schooling and drive fish out of Chesapeake Bay. Lynnhaven Inlet is best for puppy drum while Rudee Inlet offers prime opportunity for inshore flounder. Speckled trout fishing should improve daily in the Bay and the inlets.
Spadefish, triggerfish and sheepshead are also drawing anglers to the 17-mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Crabs and clams attract these mollusk eaters– just be sure to get the bait as close to the structure as possible.
Other fish offering Bay opportunities are red drum, bluefish, black drum, croaker and Spanish mackerel. Keep an eye out for schools of red drum near the mouth of the Bay. Fishing has remained steady for both blue fish and Spanish mackerel with many mackerel weighing 2 to 3 pounds. Tide rips at Cape Henry are a good starting point for hunting Spanish mackerel. Anglers trolling inshore continue to be treated to occasional catches of small dolphin and jack crevalle.
King mackerel are now hunting bait in the Sandbridge area. Try slow trolling live baits while enjoying the Virginia shoreline view. You won’t get a lot of strikes, but the ones you do will be “Air-Jaws” experiences coupled with sizzling reel-screaming strikes! Setting a light drag should help keep you in the game.
- A great Spanish mackerel charter!
South of Rudee Inlet, amberjack remain available around the South Tower for anglers willing to make the run. Weather changes in the next few weeks could send the amberjack on their way.
In the deep: Tilefish continue to be a top draw for offshore trips to the Continental Shelf. There is a real chance here for a saltwater fishing citation coupled with some great fishing. Other typical catches on these trips are large seabass, barrelfish, black-bellied rosefish and grouper.
Noteworthy Catches: Among recent weight citations: a 26 lb. dolphin, 77 lb. wahoo, 66 lb. 4 oz. cobia, 33 lb. king mackerel, and a 7 lb. 8 oz. flounder.
- Multiple marlin release flags say it all!
Offshore: White marlin
Inlets: Flounder and spot
Deep Drop: Blueline tilefish
Captain’s Log: We are entering the transitional fall fishing period with many species now schooling and starting to move. If usual haunts don’t produce, try a change of location or even target a different species. Remember: “Don’t leave fish to find fish,” but certainly don’t remain in the same old spot with no bites!
Virginia Beach Anglers Club Summer Fishing Tournament
Lynnhaven Fishing Pier
Open to all with awards for croaker, roundhead, bluefish and spot
See you on the water. Tight lines and hard strikes to all!