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
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.
A 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.
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
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’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!