Celebrating the 100th Fishing Blog

June 15th, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Editor's Pick - Congrats to your 100th post, Capt. Mike

Editor's Pick - Congrats on your 100th post, Capt. Mike!

As I pen my 100th article for this fishing blog, it remains a pleasure to share Virginia Beach as one of the premier angling destinations anywhere in the world. Whether your preference is surf, inlet, bay or ocean fishing, our angling options are consistently world-class. From spot and croaker to striped bass, blue marlin or tuna, our waters have it all. As summer approaches, now is a perfect time to plan that Virginia Beach vacation that will offer the enjoyment, fun and challenge of a wide variety of fishing opportunities.

Surf Zone: Puppy drum in the 18- to 26-inch slot class have been pleasing anglers in the surf near the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier. Other crowd pleasers in that arena have been striped bass along with feisty bluefish, many of which have measured well over 30 inches.  The same big blues have been frequenting Rudee Inlet, apparently feasting on schools of bait fish.

Rudee Inlet: There is a good mix of fish available inside the inlet. Anglers soaking blood worms and squid are likely to encounter spot, croaker, sea trout, puppy drum, bluefish and flounder.  Many croaker have been good size of a pound or more.  Small flounder remain plentiful, with some anglers enjoying fair success in enticing keeper 16-inch flatfish.

Lynnhaven and Little Creek Inlets hold the same species, but with less likelihood of large bluefish. I just had my own brief encounter with a big bluefish in Rudee – following a line-sizzling run, the fish cut me off, happily allowing me to return to flounder fishing. For the largest flounder, try jigging white Gulp minnows or fish fresh cut strip baits.  

A Rudee Inlet flounder tags along with Lee Hughes, Sr. prior to release

A Rudee Inlet flounder tags along with Lee Hughes, Sr. prior to release

If a friendly smiling gentleman approaches and asks to “borrow” your fish, you will help the ecosystem by loaning your catch. Lee Hughes Sr. is a well-known fish tagger who has been tagging fish for years at Rudee Inlet. Lee has hundreds of tags to his credit.  He will measure your catch, record the data and then carefully release it.  The data is used to monitor growth and travel at recapture and provide information to support sustainable harvest. Best of all – it will feel great to see your fish set free. 

Chesapeake Bay: Cobia are here in force with many weighing up to 70 to 80 pounds. Try fishing the shoals, channel edges or the Bluefish Rock area. For an extra challenge, try sight fishing and tossing a bucktail lure in front of a cobia – and then hold on! Spadefish as well as sheepshead are in the bay around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel; however, neither species is on a strong bite yet. Similarly, bay flounder catches have not been as reliable as inside the inlets.  Sporadic flounder bites may be due to freshwater runoff following rain storms.  On a high note, several flounder of 7 lb. citation size have already been taken in bay waters.  Stripers remain available, although many anglers are concentrating on large cobia for now.  Croaker are the other strong bay presence.

Most red drum coming from bay shoal areas have been 46 inches or larger. This bite has remained consistent and is still one of the best opportunities for earning a release citation award from the free Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament program.  Schools of black drum are moving from the shoals to take up summer residence around the islands of the CBBT.

Offshore: In addition to large black sea bass, good size flounder are available at the Triangle Wrecks some thirty miles offshore. Also, Virginia’s offshore fishing is ready to heat up as reported by one of our best local charter captains.  His boat returned with a blue marlin release, a mahi mahi (dolphin), and a 25-lb. class yellowfin tuna.  That is the type of action local and visiting anglers can’t wait to get in on!

Drop Deep for Big Success: Deep drop enthusiasts are returning to the dock with black bellied rosefish, large seabass, grouper, and blueline and golden tilefish. On a recent 17-hour trip, one fisherman hooked and landed a 43-inch, 57 lb. golden tilefish.  That fish has already qualified for a citation award and is currently pending approval as a new state record fish.

Captain’s Tip: When planning a bay or inlet fishing trip, try to allow a few days following heavy rains for fresh tides to clear the waters. Also, incoming tides tend to provide cleaner water as we approach summer.

Tournament Trail

Military Tournament:

taclogoA free fishing tournament open to all active-duty military and dependents runs through July 20. Participants in this Tidewater Anglers Club sponsored tournament only need a Virginia saltwater fishing license.  Prizes include cash awards, youth trophies, and a one-year club membership for each winner.   For information: 757.499.1834 or visit www.tidewateranglersclub.org.

VBAC Banner

Virginia Beach Anglers Club Summer Fishing Tournament: July 13, August 10 and September 14 on Lynnhaven Pier. Open to all with awards for croaker, roundhead, bluefish and spot. For information, call 267.994.7423 or visit http://lynnhavenpier.blogspot.com/ or  https://www.facebook.com/LynnhavenFishingPier

VB tournament logo

Virginia Beach Tuna Tournament, June 25 – 28 Marina Shores, 2190 Marina Shores Drive, Virginia Beach, VA. Call (757)  496-7000 or visit http://www.vbtuna.com


Captain’s Note: Lynnhaven Inlet beach on the western side of the inlet is closed. The beach is closed for 3 years while being used to stage construction of a new inlet bridge.    Boating anglers may continue to launch boats and park trailers.

Best Bets: Flounder and croaker (inlets), cobia (Chesapeake Bay)

Tight lines and hard strikes to all!

Capt. Mike

front cover Mike

Editor’s Note:
Capt. Mike’s book – True Tales of the Tide: An Angler’s Lifelong Quest - includes 13 true saltwater action-adventure fishing stories mostly set in Virginia Beach. The book shares stories about local catches ranging from citation “spot” up to several state record fish. I’ve read this book myself and highly recommend it. Talk about getting the story from a local’s perspective…….it doesn’t get any better than this!


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Living the Happy Life: Simple Virginia Beach pleasures, sunny days, and making time for lemonade!

June 13th, 2014 by Sherry Friel
Nathaniel manning his lemonade stand

Nathaniel manning his lemonade stand

As far as timeless childhood pastimes go, hosting a lemonade stand is probably right up there with learning to ride a bike without training wheels. It’s an unwritten rule that every kid must, at some point prior to the age of 10, run a lemonade stand featuring the ice-cold beverage and a few snacks for sale.

Now, I don’t know if it was the particularly wet, dreary weather we had this winter, but my 10-year-old son Nathaniel and his 9-year-old buddy had lots of indoor time on their hands to plan the most elaborate lemonade stand in the history of lemonade stands in our neighborhood. After witnessing the level of detail these two went into prior to having their first sale last weekend, I have no doubt these kids are going to move mountains in their future. And I don’t even want to hear my son complain about his homework because nothing he’s even done in school could rival the work he put into this stand.

Here’s a rundown of the steps leading up to the big day, based on the mountain of lists, construction paper, and posterboard I finally rifled through out of curiosity. Well, truth be told, I had to finally remove these items from my table in order to make sure the table was indeed still there.

Read the rest of this entry »


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The Beach Report – June 13, 2014

June 13th, 2014 by Guest Blogger

This Week in The Beach Report, Guest Blogger Mindy Hughes serves up some Southern theatre fare in Virginia Beach – enjoy!

Pump Boys and Dinettes PR PhotoA Season of Southern Charm

After leaving my Pennsylvania birthplace and crossing the Mason-Dixon line more than three decades ago, I’ve become a bona fide Southern gal who embraces all things Southern – civility, shrimp & grits and sweet iced tea top my list.

So, it’s no surprise that I’m looking forward to the Tidewater Stage “Season of Southern Charm,” which features the hilarious country music revue Pump Boys and Dinettes June 20-29 and the award-winning Driving Miss Daisy Aug. 1-10.

My theatre-loving daughter and I enjoyed last summer’s inaugural season for this critically-acclaimed professional theatre company in residence at Regent University right here in Virginia Beach. We’re both looking forward to this summer’s performances and in true “Southern hospitality” style, we’re gathering friends to share the fun.

Pump Boys and Dinettes takes place in (very) rural, North Carolina, deep in Grand Ole Opry country, where the “Pump Boys” sell high octane on Highway 57, and the “Dinettes” serve up plenty of pie and sass at the Double Cupp Diner next door. Together they fashion an evening of country and bluegrass music with heartache and hilarity, performing the stories of their lives on guitars, piano, bass and even kitchen utensils.

Driving Miss Daisy has become a household name since the 1989 feature film adaptation staring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman won four Academy Awards. And I’m told by theatre insiders that it’s even better on the stage. The story follows Daisy Werthan, a sharp-tongued Jewish widow, in postwar Atlanta. She’s demolished her car—again. Ornery and uninsurable, she is forced to rely on the services of gentle, soft-spoken Hoke, an African American chauffeur. What begins as a hostile and suspicious pairing blossoms into a friendship for the ages.

Tidewater Stage productions feature a mix of theatre professionals alongside faculty, graduate students and alumni from Regent’s theatre department. It’s topnotch entertainment that’s added a new dimension to our region’s cultural landscape, especially during the summer when most of our local theatre companies are enjoying a well-deserved break.

Both of these productions are inspiring and fun summer attractions that complement a beach vacation.

Eric Harrell, the producing artistic director for Tidewater Stage, said it best: “Audiences will be hollering for more as we celebrate the indomitable Southern spirit. With our Southern roots, the second season of Tidewater Stage is a love song to family, friends and fried chicken!”

Learn more about Tidewater Stage.

About the author:

A resident of Virginia Beach since 1983, Mindy Hughes is a successful public relations counselor. She describes herself as an adoring roadie to a blues-rock guitarist for more than 30 years, devoted mom of two adult kids and two dogs, enthusiastic community and church volunteer, avid reader of spy thrillers and murder mysteries, brave motorcycle (backseat) rider, and connoisseur of good food and fine beverages. Mindy loves the Beach life and also enjoys traveling throughout Virginia on her quest to visit all of the state’s 200+ wineries.


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The Beach Report – June 6, 2014

June 6th, 2014 by Katherine Jackson

Blogger Katherine Jackson gives us some schooling on where some of VB’s local lingo came from in this week’s Beach Report.  Enjoy!

Local Lingo

First Street courtesy of Katherine Jackson

First Street courtesy of Katherine Jackson

A few years ago, I worked for the company that put on the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on Labor Day weekend. Some of the key players had traveled from San Diego to coordinate race logistics. I stood on the Boardwalk with one of the operations guys while he talked on his cell phone to someone who was in Virginia Beach for the first time. “We’re at First Street,” he said. “There is no First Street, but that’s what they call it. It’s the south end of the Boardwalk at Rudee Inlet.” I remembered this incident the other day when I was running on the Boardwalk and turned around at First Street. (See, you’re already in the know. You already know what First Street means.) As I ran, I made a list of terms that might be helpful for newcomers to Virginia Beach. For example, locals refer to the commercial district between Rudee Inlet and 40th Street as “the Oceanfront” or “the Resort.” Although there’s an oceanfront at “the North End” (north of the Cavalier on the Hill) and in Sandbridge (the southernmost beach), that’s not where we mean when we say we’re biking at the Oceanfront. I was still thinking about local lingo as I made my way through a cluster of bikes parked outside the new Back Bay Brewing Company on Norfolk Avenue. Their brewmasters are cooking up some tasty beer with locally resonant names: Atlantic Avenue IPA and Beach Cruiser Pale Ale. But Steel Pier Bohemian Lager? You might have noticed a wooden pier at 15th Street, but when people say they surfed at “the Steel Pier” that’s not the pier they mean. They’re talking about the steel pier that used to exist near First Street. More local language: If someone says she launched her kayak at Seashore State Park, she means First Landing State Park, which was renamed not long ago to commemorate the landing of English settlers who sailed up the Chesapeake Bay to found Jamestown. Speaking of the Chesapeake Bay, sometimes we lump together all of the beaches along the Chesapeake Bay, as in “I’m going over to Chic’s Beach for a swim.” Chic’s Beach is actually the stretch of beach near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, while other sections are identified when necessary as Cape Henry Beach or Ocean Park. More lingo: “ECSC” – the East Coast Surfing Championships that happen every year in August. “The Art Center” – the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, which puts on the annual Boardwalk Art Show, this year June 12-15. “The County” – the southern section of the city, formerly called Princess Anne County, where you’ll find strawberry fields, produce stands and horse barns. And finally, “the jetty” – the rocky protrusions that line Rudee Inlet and create a surf break at First Street. Armed with these terms, you’ll find it easier to get around at “The Beach,” which is what you’ll call Virginia Beach now that you’re in the know with the local lingo.


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Fishing Heats Up with the Weather

June 1st, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Anglers John Forbes, Ricky Powell & WA Lee with Lee's record catch
Anglers John Forbes, Ricky Powell & WA Lee with Lee’s record catch

Increasing flounder catches are creating angler excitement in Virginia Beach! Keeper flatfish over 16 inches are in all three area inlets with Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets yielding a number of fish up to 20 inches or more.  One happy angler boated a 7 ½ lb. citation flounder drift fishing in Long Creek inside Lynnhaven Inlet!  Flounder up to 5 pounds are hitting in the “ditch” near Fisherman’s Island.  Try squid, minnows and artificial baits on a falling tide.

Puppy drum, smaller versions of adult channel bass or red drum, are being caught inside Rudee Inlet. Oily cut bait, such as finger mullet, should quickly attract the attention of any cruising puppy drum. Puppy drum have a 3-fish limit in the 18- to 26-inch slot class. Small spot, croaker, and gray trout are also biting inside Rudee.

Red Drum by Duane Raver
Red Drum by Duane Raver

A school of large adult red drum surprised a group of ocean kayak fishermen  with some amazing action just south of Rudee Inlet. Hooking one of these bronze monsters is always a battle but especially in a kayak!   Schools of red drum have been feeding inside Chesapeake Bay along Latimer Shoals, between buoys 13 and 16, with several 30-pound class cobia feeding along with the reds.  Some reds measured up to 50 inches.  Sea mullet have been a nice bonus catch on the shoals for drum fishermen. 

Black drum by Duane Raver
Black drum by Duane Raver

Black drum, mostly in the 20 to 40 pound range with some larger drum mixed in, have been feeding heavily around buoy 13. Clams continue to be the “hot” bait with best catches taking place after sunset.  One boat amazingly hooked 70 black drum in one night!

Striper fishing has been best in the early morning along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Striped bass are also biting in the seaside surf and occasionally inside Rudee Inlet.   Striped bass season runs through June 15 with two fish allowed in the 18- to 28-inch slot.  One of those two fish may measure over 32 inches but must be reported.  Fish deep and try wire line or live bait around the two CBBT tunnels and the High Rise Bridge if seeking the largest bass.

Bluefish by Duane Raver
Bluefish by Duane Raver

Chasing the Blues? Come to Rudee Inlet and fish near the Virginia Aquarium. Bluefish of 12 to 14 pounds have been landed here by some very surprised anglers.

Black sea bass are a popular target for anglers who enjoy returning with a cooler full of mouth watering fillets. Sea bass season is open through September 18 when it closes for a month and reopens October 18. Fishermen may keep 15 sea bass of 12  ½ inches.   Additionally, grouper, tilefish, wreck fish, barrel fish and black bellied rosefish are now on the deep-drop menu for offshore anglers.  Many of these deep-drop fish are large enough that one or two can literally fill your cooler!

Captain’s Tip: Two fishing rods I just bought came without hook keepers. Solution:  Large barrel swivels were re-purposed with a rubber   band looped through a loop to attach them just above the rod handle for safe transport of ready-to-fish rigs. Securing a hook in a line guide support may weaken the guide prematurely.

Captain’s Log: All anglers should take advantage of the free Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament angler recognition program. Just bring a qualifying fish or release information to any area weigh station (most tackle shops).

Tournament Trail

*  Military Tournament: A free fishing tournament open to all active-duty military and dependents is set for May 15 through July 20. Participants in this Tidewater Anglers Club sponsored tournament only need a Virginia saltwater fishing license.  Prizes include cash awards, youth trophies, and a one-year club membership for each winner.   For information: 757.499.1834 or www.tidewateranglersclub.org

*  Free Fishing Weekend: June 6, 7, and 8 are designated as Free Fishing Days in Virginia. Anyone yet to sample our world class fishing should take advantage of this opportunity.    No fishing license of any kind will be required for rod and reel fishing in saltwater or freshwater (with the exception of stocked trout streams).   Sample some world-class fishing in Virginia Beach and learn why people love to fish here year-round. For information:  http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/free-fishing-days/

*  Virginia Beach Anglers Club Summer Fishing Tournament: June 8, July 13, August 10 and September 14 on Lynnhaven Pier. Open to all with awards for croaker, roundhead, bluefish and spot. For information: 267.994.7423 and http://lynnhavenpier.blogspot.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/LynnhavenFishingPier:

Captain’s Note: Lynnhaven Inlet beach on the western side of the inlet is closed. The beach is closed for 3 years while being used to stage construction of a new inlet bridge.    Boating anglers may continue to launch boats and park trailers.

Best Bets: Flounder (inlets and CBBT), red and black drum (Chesapeake Bay)

Tight lines and hard strikes to all!
Capt. Mike


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