Posts Tagged ‘puppy drum’


A Fish for Every Angler

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Striped bass fishing should peak over the next several weeks with the Chesapeake Bay season running through the last day of 2014. School-size 18- to 28-inch fish are feeding in lower bay waters with numerous schools of 16- to 18-inch bass revealed by flocks of diving sea birds. Larger trophy fish are present along northern portions of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and along Virginia’s “Eastern Shore” side of the bay.

Caroy Wolfe & his 74 lb. Virginia state record striped  bass

Corey Wolfe & his 74 lb. Virginia state record striped bass

Bigger rockfish, to 30 or more inches, are available around the 3rd and 4th islands of the CBBT with the best chance for finding a trophy fish in the area from Plantation Light southeast to the CBBT High Rise Bridge area. Fifty pounders have already been taken including a recent 58 lb. 5 oz. striped bass. Fish like that create dreams of landing the next monster bass that will best Corey Wolfe’s state record 74-lb. striper. Soft plastics, lures, bucktails, cut bait and wirelining have all been productive.  Live eels, however, not only offer exciting hits but also the absolute best chance for a real trophy catch!

Tautog by Duane Raver

Tautog by Duane Raver

Tautog continue to put smiles on the faces of anglers with many boats returning with limit catches of fish averaging around 3 lbs. but some as heavy as 10 lbs. Togging has heated up on the Triangle Wrecks and other wrecks up to thirty miles offshore. Tried and true clam baits as well as available crab species are all getting good results.  Don’t skimp on tackle as stout rods and terminal hook-rigs are needed to crank these powerful fish up from their structure homes of rubble, wrecks and pilings.

Rudee Inlet speckled trout citation earns a smile!

Rudee Inlet speckled trout citation earns a smile!

Speckled trout enthusiasts are catching plenty of quality fish with many keeper-size trout exceeding 20 inches. Trout approaching the 30-inch mark have also made an appearance as the winter run is now in full swing.  Wade fishermen, shore fishermen and small boat anglers are all enjoying a strong run including exciting action inside Rudee Inlet.  Live bait, cut bait, soft swim baits and jigs, and MirrOlures are all producing with live minnows always a sure bet. Chartreuse is a hot color for soft plastics while MirrOlures tend to attract “gator” trout. 

Puppy drum are still inside Rudee Inlet. Falling water temperatures have slowed the bite considerably, but keeper-size fish remain available for patient anglers.  Finger mullet, shrimp and cut menhaden are all good baits.  Although not as appealing as fresh bait, soft plastics also work on these Color Me Gone Fishing at Sunrise!mini-red drum.

Ocean anglers holding secret wreck GPS numbers should expect a mixed bag of large black seabass, flounder and triggerfish. Finding a lightly fished or unknown wreck can quickly turn into a bonanza for tasty species at this time of year.  Squid and cut bait strips quickly let you know who is home at the wreck.

Virginia Beach long-range head boats have been returning with banner catches from deep-drop Continental Shelf trips. Species caught include golden and blueline tilefish, large seabass, grouper, black bellied rosefish, and wreckfish.  Large 10 lb. class bluefish with some as large as 18 lbs. offer a true bonus on the Shelf trips.  Be sure to bring a BIG cooler!  Blueline tiles offer a great opportunity to earn a handsome citation award from the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament.

Big bluefish brings big smiles to Capt. Skip Feller & Dr. Julie Ball

Big bluefish brings big smiles to Capt. Skip Feller & Dr. Julie Ball

False albacore are now making runs through our offshore waters, often close to wreck sites. Although not a favored catch for the dinner table,  “albies” provide maximum fun and sport, particularly on a fly rod.  A sporadic yellowfin tuna bite has been within southbound charter boat range and bluefin tuna have been spotted swimming beyond the 30-mile break.

Hot Spot: Chesapeake Bay Buoy 42 – drift live eels for stripers

Best Bites

Inlets & Surf: Speckled trout

Chesapeake Bay: Striped bass and tautog

Offshore Wrecks: Tautog and black Seabass

Continental Shelf: Blueline tilefish

Noteworthy Catches: 7 lb. 14 oz.  speckled trout, 12 lb. 6 oz. blueline tilefish, 58 lb. 5 oz. striped bass

Tournament Trail:

Header1

12th Annual Rockfish Shootout

December 28-29, 2014

For more info:  Call 757.319.5146 or visit:

http://www.midatlanticrockfishshootout.com/


See you on the water ~ tight lines and hard strikes to all!
Capt. Mike


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Much To Be Thankful For

Saturday, November 15th, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Striped bass by Duane Raver

Striped bass by Duane Raver

Awesome fight.  Delightful taste. Yes, we’re talking fall striped bass fishing in Virginia Beach!  By all reports good numbers of slot-sized rockfish, 18- to 28-inches, are biting in lower Chesapeake Bay.  Fishing has been best at first daylight and at night along bridge and bridge tunnel light-line shadow edges.  Darker baits should draw more strikes at night.  Beach fishermen are also getting in on the bass action from the shores of area inlets.

Anglers are scoring bass by trolling or casting swimming plugs, soft plastics and even flies. Some of the largest early season stripers have been caught by trollers working wire line rigs along edges of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel channel tubes.  Clearly, many bass fishing options exist.

As Thanksgiving approaches, so do migratory bass from the upper Bay and New England regions. With some rockfish as large as 40-inches already caught, stripers should be on a steady increase in numbers and size now through Thanksgiving weekend and beyond.  Many a Virginia Thanksgiving table is shared by a turkey and a striped bass!

Captain’s Tip: Top wire line bass catches can be made using 1/8 ounce white or chartreuse bucktails with similarly colored pork rind split-tail trailers. From a three way swivel tie a 3-foot dropper to a 12-oz. sinker and a 20-foot leader of 60 lb. monofilament to a bucktail bait.  Heavy monofilament is not needed for a solid hookup, but will provide better fish control in the current.

Tautog by Duane Raver

Tautog by Duane Raver

Tautog are on the upswing with many anglers returning with limit catches. Tautog fishing is steadily improving as water  temperatures fall. Fiddler crabs are THE best bait; however, any crab or clam should coax togs to bite.  Most tog weigh 3 to 5 lbs. with Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament citation fish of 9- to 11- lbs. available.  Fish the CBBT for numbers and offshore wrecks for largest togs.  Tog hot spot: The Concrete Ships.

Rudee Inlet speckled trout for dinner anyone?

Rudee Inlet speckled trout for dinner anyone?

Speckled trout are now feeding inside area inlets and in Chesapeake Bay. Fish a moving tide with the lightest jig and plastic lure that will get to the bottom.  Catch one trout and you’ve typically found a school.  While chartreuse is the color of choice, MirrOlures are preferred for large “gator” trout.  While most trout are below 14-inch keeper size, a 5 lb. speckled trout earns a free state-sponsored citation award.   Expect more fish, more keepers and bigger trout with every passing weather front.

Puppy drum continue to be inshore targets as winter approaches. This bite has slowed considerably, but shrimp or cut bait will get you in the game.  Soft plastics and jigs work, but nothing tops fresh bait.  These mini-red drum must be in the 18- to 28- inch slot size.  Puppy drum should still be in all three Southside inlets.

Inshore bottom fishermen using bloodworms may still encounter late-leaving spot, particularly in Rudee Inlet. Flounder present a possibility on inshore channel edges but offer a better bet at wrecks in deeper water.

Captain’s Tip: Give the ledge around Chesapeake Light Tower a try around Thanksgiving weekend. You may be pleasantly surprised by flounder and/or bluefish.

Deep-drop fishing on the Continental Shelf offers some of the very best fishing this time of year. Typical species caught include tilefish, barrelfish, black bellied rosefish, grouper and large sea bass.  Each of these fish makes for excellent table fare.

Braving the high seas has its rewards - like this tuna!Bluewater trollers have enjoyed strong success with wahoo and yellowfin tuna. Wahoo have averaged 40 to 50 lbs. while yellowfin have mostly been in the 30 lb. class-size.   Wire leaders coupled with big Islander lures and big ballyhoo have tricked wahoo.   The Cigar Seamount has been the go-to spot for both species.  Add large bluefish and codfish  as potential “wildcards” on offshore wrecks.  Triggerfish in the 2 to 4 lb. class are also biting on many wrecks.

An outstanding catch of tilefish & black sea bass

An outstanding catch of tilefish & black sea bass

Best Bites

Inlets & Surf: Speckled trout

Chesapeake Bay: Striped bass and tautog 

Offshore: Wahoo and yellowfin tuna

Offshore Wrecks: Blueline tilefish

See you on the water. Tight lines and hard strikes to all!

Capt. Mike


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Fish a Fly Rod!

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 by Mike Halperin

The beauty of a Rudee Inlet sunrise

The beauty of a Rudee Inlet sunrise

Editor’s Note:  Happy Fall! The clocks fell back last night & you got an extra hour…….now it’s time to get up & fish!

For fishermen seeking to maximize the fun factor and test their skills, Virginia Beach is the place to be in November! Why? Let’s just say false albacore, speckled trout, and striped bass.

False albacore, premier light tackle game fish, are blitzing bait in a feeding corridor extending from Chesapeake Light Tower to the beach. These mini-tuna and speedy game fish are famous for blistering runs, typically traveling in schools, and making great targets for fly-casters. So try small boat angling at its best!

Speckled Trout by Duane Raver

Speckled Trout by Duane Raver

Speckled trout, on the other hand, while not as fast as false albacore, make a good first run while their soft mouths test every angler’s drag-setting and fish-playing skills. Best of all, speckled trout make for delicious eating and there is probably not a more colorful fish available to inshore anglers.  While plenty of sub-keeper-size specks are available inside Little Creek, Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets, Rudee is the best place to make a 5 lb. Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament citation catch.  Mullet, artificial clams,  and cut bait along with Gulp jigs have proved productive for specks.

Striped bass by Duane Raver

Striped bass by Duane Raver

Striped bass, Thanksgiving favorites since colonial times, are now in early season. Good numbers of 18- to 28-inch slot limit fish are biting around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnels.   Action is normally best at night and can be non-stop when stripers are holding along tunnel light lines.  This is perfect fly fishing sport.

Top bass lures include MirrOlures, swimming plugs and Gulp on a jig. Larger rockfish are holding over tunnel tubes with numbers and sizes traditionally growing from Thanksgiving weekend through January.   Stripers to 35 inches have already been caught by anglers using live spot bait.  Also in the “island” mix are bluefish averaging 1 to 3 lbs. with many ocean charter boats returning with limit (10-fish) catches of bluefish.

Captain’s Tip: Reminder – one of the two-fish daily striped bass limit may exceed 28 inches. By only keeping one “slot” fish per angler for most of your trip, you will always be in compliance yet still prepared should that trophy fish swallow your lure! 

Now is probably the last chance to enjoy the end of the spot run. Although not a year for 16-oz. citations, spot have been plentiful and good sized.  Many fish in the 10- to 14-oz. category have provided lots of sport and great eating.  As an added bonus, spot also provide tremendous live and cut bait for species such as king mackerel, stripers and red drum.  A spot head soaked in the southern Virginia Beach surf can quickly get an angler hooked up with a monster red drum!

Some fine spot from Rudee Inlet

Some fine spot from Rudee Inlet

To the delight of boat and beach fishermen alike, large red drum continue to make their final migratory journey down the coast and out of our region. In addition to catches around the CBBT islands, night fishermen in Sandbridge are still intercepting trophy release fish.  Many 50-inch range fish have been recorded for citations.  While inlet and beach “puppy” drum catches have not been quite as numerous as their larger siblings, many smaller drum will likely winter over providing winter sport as trophy drum fishing wanes.  

Flounder, while still exiting the bay, can possibly provide a late bite any time water clarity improves. In the interim, try near shore wrecks. The wrecks hold numbers of flatfish up to and over 7-lb. citations.  Mouth of the Bay channel edges and the High Rise Bridge area can also be worth exploring.

Capt. Skip Feller with an impressive tautog

Capt. Skip Feller with an impressive tautog

Find rock rubble, wrecks or tunnel pilings and you will find tautog and sheepshead. Tautog fishing has improved in direct lockstep with falling water temperatures.   Anglers soaking crab have returned with plenty of tautog and some sheepshead.  Green, fiddler and blue crabs will get you in the game. Bay tautog are averaging 4 to 5 lbs. with limits not hard to find.

In addition to flounder and tautog, mid-depth and offshore wrecks are holding sea bass, triggerfish, and bluefish. Most triggers average 4 lbs. with one citation triggerfish registering 4 lb. 8 oz.  Sea bass are averaging 5 lbs. with one of the largest catches weighing 5 lb. 10 oz.   A most exciting way to sample wrecks for blues is to place live bait on a float rig. If bluefish are there, you won’t have long to wait!

Private and charter boats running south from Rudee Inlet are intercepting a variety of tuna including yellowfin, bigeye, false albacore and blackfin. Although dolphin appear to be declining and white marlin finished for the season, several boats have returned with multiple wahoo catches up to 60 lbs, including one boat with four wahoo! Troll Sea Witch ballyhoo baits on wire leaders for wahoo.

Golden tilefish, blueline tilefish, barrelfish, yellow bellied rosefish, wreck fish and large sea bass are all available to deep-drop fishermen. The best way to enjoy this fishery is to make a reservation on a large, long- range Virginia Beach head boat.  Why not let a highly experienced captain take you right to the fish!

Fresh rosefish taste even better than they look!

Fresh rosefish taste even better than they look!

Golden tilefish from a 2013 deep-drop trip

Golden tilefish from a 2013 deep-drop trip

Best Bites

Inlets & Surf: Norfolk spot and red drum

Chesapeake Bay: Striped bass and tautog 

Offshore: Wahoo

Offshore Wrecks: Blueline tilefish

Noteworthy Catches: Red drum release citations

WAHOO & a tag-along tuna

WAHOO & a tag-along tuna

See you on the water! Tight lines and hard strike to all, Capt. Mike


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Cool Winds & Hot Bites

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Some fine spot from Rudee Inlet

Some fine spot from Rudee Inlet

Recent cold fronts have brought weather changes needed to accelerate fall runs of  spot, speckled trout and striped bass. If that alone isn’t enough to make you wet a line – consider the flounder, bluefish, red drum and king mackerel that are all still here and feeding.

Striped bass season opened October 4th featuring ample numbers of school-sized bass. Favored locations include pilings and light lines along the 17-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel with the areas around the 1st rock island of the CBBT  and between the 1st island and the beach tending to concentrate fish.  Also try the small boat channel and the Yancey Wreck.   Larger rockfish are typically found along the northern part of the CBBT from the 3rd island to the Eastern Shore.  Fishing live spot over the tunnel tubes tends to attract larger bass in the early season.  This is only the beginning as more and bigger bass will continue to enter the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to gorge on bait.

Captain’s Tip: Remember to net all striped bass. It’s the regulation and it is also the right way to handle stripers and protect the fishery. The bass you safely release today will thrill someone else in the future!  Anglers may keep up to two bass per day.  One of those two fish, however, may exceed 28 inches.

Red drum fishing continues red hot! Adult red drum are feeding at the 3rd and 4th islands of the CBBT and south along the beaches including Sandbridge, False Cape and beyond.  With multiple Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament release citations up to and exceeding 50 inches already on record, it is the best time to target a huge trophy fish from the surf.

Juvenile red drum, also known as puppy drum, are hitting cut and live bait inside Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. The pups give a strong accounting, particularly if hooked on light tackle.  While most Lynnhaven puppy drum average around 24 inches, some inshore catches have been larger than the 28-inch upper slot limit. Consider releasing drum to help maintain this special fishery!rudee_inlet

Croaker, bluefish, speckled trout, flounder, puppy drum, and spot are keeping inshore and inlet fishermen busy.  Spot are by far the hottest current bite. Spot, as heavy as 10 to 12 ounces, are providing non-stop action once a school appears.  Double-header hookups are frequent. Blues trolled up near the beach and around the 1st and 2nd islands of  the CBBT have averaged 3 lbs. although a few fishermen have landed bluefish up to 30 inches!

Flounder catches have been strong during clear water periods. Accordingly, knowledgeable flounder fishermen have waited several days after a blow to target  flatfish.  Flatfish up to 3 and 4 pounds have been biting in the Lynnhaven entrance channel with fish up to 22 inches coming from further inside the inlet.

A beautiful speckled trout!

A beautiful speckled trout!

Speckled trout are steadily increasing in number. While most Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlet fish are well below 14-inch keeper size, enough keepers and the occasional citation fish have been in the mix to maintain angling interest.  This run should only get better with each passing cold front.

Wayne Seymour's king mackerel

Wayne Seymour's king mackerel

King mackerel are making a modest comeback this season evidenced by the landing of several 30-lb. class fish caught while trolling in sight of the beach. Another great place to try for mackerel is around Chesapeake Light Tower.

Yellowfin tuna, white marlin, wahoo and scores of dolphin are making offshore trolling trips worth the run. One recent charter trip returned with 75 dolphin including fish up to 15 lbs.  Wahoo are an added blue water bonus with many fish in the 40-lb. class. 

Triggerfish are providing citations in the 4-lb. range at the Triangle Wrecks while large (out of season until October 18th) sea bass are also hitting offerings. Tautog and sheepshead are still available to anglers fishing structure and near shore wrecks with crab baits.  While some sheepshead have exceeded 7 lbs., tautog will steadily increase in size and number as waters cool.

Blueline tilefish are the top catch on deep drop trips to the Continental Shelf. Most  tilefish are in the 4 to 5-lb. range but have weighed as much as 18 lbs.  Barrelfish, black bellied rosefish and grouper round out the offerings on these long range trips.

Rachel Hibberd with dolphin galore!

Rachel Hibberd with dolphin galore!

Best Bites:

Inshore: Norfolk spot

Chesapeake Bay: Striped bass and red drum

Offshore: Dolphin

Offshore Wrecks: Blueline tilefish

Noteworthy Catches: Red drum release citations

Not sure who's more excited here..........big guy or little guy?!

Not sure who's more excited here..........big guy or little guy?

See you on the water.
Tight lines and hard strikes to all!
Capt. Mike


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September Spells Red Hot Fishing

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 by Mike Halperin
Fishing Blog # 106
September 15, 2014
September Spells Red Hot Fishing
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.
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 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!
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.
Noteworthy Catches: Among recent citations: a 181 lb. bigeye tuna (Norfolk Canyon), 52 lb. wahoo (Norfolk Canyon), 67 lb. cobia (CB Buoy line), 35 lb. king mackerel (outside Rudee Inlet), 30 lb. bull dolphin, 4 lb. Spanish mackerel (outside Rudee Inlet), and a 4 lb. 4 oz. triggerfish (CBBT)
Best Bets:
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!
Capt. Mike
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Teresa,
Here are the links:
1- Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament
http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/vswft/index.shtm
2- Virginia Beach
http://www.vbfun.com/visitors/default.aspx
3- Virginia Marine Resources Commission
http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/
4 – Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
http://www.cbbt.com/fishing.html
5 – VMRC Fishing Regulations
http://www.mrc.state.va.us/regulations/swrecfishingrules.shtm
6 – Virginia Beach Anglers Club
http://virginiabeachanglersclub.org/
7- Tidewater Anglers Club
http://tidewateranglersclub.org/
8- Chesapeake Light Tower
http://vbsf.net/articles/virginias-chesapeake-light-tower/
9-Cape Henry
Teresa, I couldn’t get this link to work here, but I think it is o.k. in the text?
Categories:
Living the Life
Fishing
Tags:
Blueline tilefish
Grouper
Fishing citation
World class fishing
Striped bass
Tautog
Speckled Trout
Red Drum
Black Drum
Puppy Drum
Flounder
Golden tilefish
Blueline tilefish
Black bellied rosefish
Bluefish
Grey trout
Flounder
Dolphin
Marlin
Mahi mahi
Roundhead
Sea mullet
Tuna
Pictures: Please use Raver drawing of a croaker in conjunction with any pictures you like from the group I sent you for this blog. Thanks. Call me if you have any questions.
Take care,
Mike

24 white marlin...ONE DAY, ONE ANGLER!

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

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 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

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!

One fast fish - wahoo!

Noteworthy Catches

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).

Best Bets

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!
Capt. Mike


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Marlin Mania

Monday, September 1st, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Leader board on the final day of the VB Billfish Tournament
Leader board on the final day of the VB Billfish Tournament

A white marlin struts his stuff prior to release

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
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
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!
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!
Multiple marlin release flags say it all!

Best Bets

Offshore: White marlin

Inshore: Cobia

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!

Tournament Trail:

VBanglerclub

Virginia Beach Anglers Club Summer Fishing Tournament

September 14

Lynnhaven Fishing Pier

Open to all with awards for croaker, roundhead, bluefish and spot

For information:

Call 267.994.7423

or visit

http://lynnhavenpier.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LynnhavenFishingPier:

See you on the water. Tight lines and hard strikes to all!

Capt. Mike


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Summer Fishing Sizzles

Monday, August 18th, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Bigeye tuna caught by visiting anglers Vincent & Gary Warzecka

Bigeye tuna caught by visiting anglers Vincent & Gary Warzecha

Summer flounder by Duane Raver

Summer flounder by Duane Raver

The largest flounder are feeding in the strongest current areas where Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament citation flatfish up to 10 pounds have not been unusual. Moreover, limits of four 16-inch flounder have been attainable on most bay fishing trips.  Fishermen using small live spot as bait near tunnel pilings, channel edges and wrecks are returning with catches of huge flounder.  Anglers working Little Creek, Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets from shore, kayaks and small craft have similarly enjoyed success with flounder using jigs and plastic swim baits, cut bait, squid and minnows.

Spot action has been anything but “spotty” with accommodating medium-sized fish hitting on blood worms and artificial Fishbites. Spot offer the perfect way to introduce children to the joy of saltwater fishing as these tasty and aggressive biters will definitely maintain a child’s attention. Croaker are also serving up plenty of action for anglers fishing around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  Croaker fishing has been best in the bay while spot are well established in all three area inlets.  

Small red drum up to 23 inches, also known as juvenile channel bass or “puppy drum”, continue to cooperate inside Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. Anyone seeking a “fair fight” with great action should use light tackle to fish for puppy drum. Try any oily cut bait or a Gulp-jig combination.

Sight casters continue hunting red drum and cobia. This is great sport as schools of red drum are now well established while patrolling the lower bay for food.   Cobia, on the other hand, are normally solitary cruisers.  Both species typically show interest in large bucktail jigs with swimming tails.

Spadefish, triggerfish and sheepshead are other species on the fishing “menu” during August and early fall. As in real estate, location is the key to success with these great eating fish.  Location here means structure such as bridge pilings or wrecks.

A great Spanish mackerel charter!

A great Spanish mackerel charter!

Bluefish and Spanish mackerel are still biting inside the bay and along Cape Henry and the oceanfront. For best catches, troll tide lines and areas of swift current.  Bluefish are also feeding inside Rudee Inlet and attacking baits intended for other species.  Surprisingly, a recent catch has been the unusual presence of some dolphin (mahi) around the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

This is prime time to hunt king mackerel. Anglers slow trolling live baits just beyond the surf line are hoping for dramatic air-borne strikes from king mackerel at this time of year.  These lightning fast torpedo-like fish provide thrilling strikes while testing any fisherman’s fighting skills to the limit.   King mackerel may also be caught from our two southernmost piers.

Speckled trout season is now open! This beautiful spotted fish enjoys almost a cult following in the local angling community.  And why not as “specks” are a challenge to catch, must be played on light drag due to soft mouths, and are delicious dinner fare.  Some small trout are already being landed inside area inlets with peak season yet to come in September and October.

Multiple marlin release flags say it all!

Multiple marlin release flags say it all!

Blue water action is dominated by white marlin and dolphin with tuna occasionally crashing the party. In addition to the whites, some anglers have hooked into blue marlin, spearfish, wahoo, sailfish, or bigeye tuna.  Yellowfin tuna, the most common tuna caught, have ranged up to 70 pounds with most yellowfin larger than 40 pounds.

When long-range head boats make the trip, fishing on the edge of the Continental Shelf has been phenomenal. Fishermen on these trips have hit the dock with splendid catches of large tilefish, sea bass, wreckfish, barrelfish, grouper and black bellied rosefish.  Anglers heading to the Southern Tower are still assured of a monumental tussle with amberjack with attitude. Bring live bait and be prepared to be worn out by these powerful sport fish.

Noteworthy: Among recent weight citations: 29 lb. 11 oz. dolphin, 68 lb. 12 oz. cobia, 9 lb. flounder and 10 lb. sheepshead.  Red drum up to 48 inches along with numerous white marlin releases have also been recorded.

Captain’s Tip: Cleaning fish in an indoor location? Place the fish inside a large paper shopping bag.  Then scale the fish completely inside the bag.  Most scale waste will be contained within the bag for easy disposal.

Captain’s Red Drum/Cobia Tip: Pick a calm day for sight-casting and fish from 10 to 2 at mid-day using the sun at your back for sight advantage. Should cobia spurn your offerings, try dropping live baits under bay buoys in tandem with an egg sinker.   This will get the bait down to the strike zone.

Yellowfin tuna & dolphin from Virginia waters

Yellowfin tuna & dolphin from Virginia waters

Best Bets:

Offshore – white marlin

Chesapeake Bay – cobia, flounder

Oceanfront Trolling – Spanish mackerel, bluefish

Deep Drop – blueline tilefish

Inlets – croaker, flounder

Tournament Trail

VBAC Banner

Virginia Beach Anglers Club Summer Fishing Tournament

September 14

Lynnhaven Pier

Open to all with awards for croaker, roundhead, bluefish and spot.

For information: 267.994.7423

http://lynnhavenpier.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LynnhavenFishingPier

See you on the water. Tight lines and hard strikes to all!
Capt. Mike


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