Air temperatures are beginning to ease into the eighties as we round the corner into the late summer fishing trend. The biggest news still centers around the dynamic offshore fishing scene as it continues to evolve into a very good season for offshore trollers. Massive bigeye tuna continue to bust up spreads, while the billfish are moving on in.
The cobia action is a sure thing lately, as good numbers of fish make a strong showing for top water casters, with a few fish pushing to over 60-pounds hitting the docks this week. Many cobia are beginning their late summer trend of favoring buoys and bridge pilings, and cruising on the surface in lower Bay waters and off the oceanfront. Pods of multiple fish are also becoming more abundant. As for chumming, this messy technique continues to be very effective if you can weed through the strong shark presence this year.
Red drum are still making an impressive appearance this year, as schools continue to provide excellent casting action. Schools of bull reds are still roaming in the lower Bay, especially near the 3rd and 4th islands. Surf anglers are also catching nice fish from the surf along Smith Island. Puppy drum are showing a lot of activity in the shallows, where pups pushing to around 30-inches were caught as a by-catch by speckled trout anglers this week. Speckled trout are showing promise on the Poquoson flats and Hungar’s creek, with smaller fish coming from the Bayside creeks on the Eastern shore.
Sightings of fleeting schools of jack crevelle continue to surface as these fish prepare to settle on near shore structures for the remainder of the season. A few surprise hook-ups are thrilling unsuspecting anglers. Bobby Crutsinger of Virginia Beach hooked into a 47-inch surprise jack while live-baiting near the CB-line this week.
The summer’s sluggish flounder spell continues to concern anglers, but there is still time for a turn-around. In the meantime the bite is challenging at times, with a solid catch of 22-inchers considered a good day. Jigs and live bait presented along varying bottom structures in the lower part of the Bay is working best for the larger fish. The Cell, the CBBT structure, and lower Bay wrecks are just a few of the flounder hot-spots lately. Drifters are also finding luck with strip baits and minnows near buoy 36A and the Thimble Shoal Channel near Cape Henry. The lower Bay inlets are also giving up some keeper fish.
Spanish mackerel action picked back up this week as some nice fish provide good action from the middle Bay on out to the Ocean Front. Small gold and silver spoons are the best lure for these fish. King mackerel anglers are still waiting for the king bite to materialize, with not much to show. A good presentation of sharks along Virginia’s coastal waters is attracting attention, but be sure to review the regulations before targeting these toothy hunters.
Sheepshead are still a sure thing along the Bay Bridge Tunnel structure, with more fish beginning to respond over the tubes. Smallish spadefish are still available along the Bridge tunnel and around the islands, but most folks are not interested. Big triggerfish are hitting in these same areas, with some pushing to over 4-pounds.
Tarpon sightings and hook-ups on the Eastern Shore are always hush-hush, but scattered releases and a barrage of sightings are keeping anglers interested. The croaker bite is on out of Oyster, but the fish are on the smaller side right now.
Amberjack are still available on offshore wrecks and at the Southern Towers, and deep dropping action is still good for boats running out to investigate the floors along the Canyon edges. Blueline tilefish, grouper, blackbellied rosefish, and nice seabass are available for the taking.
For bluewater anglers, billfish action is still heating up, but the persistent tuna action has boats pulling mixed spreads. Bigeye tuna weighing in at over 200-pounds are providing brutal battles for daring anglers, with hefty 60 and 70-pound class yellowfin tuna also adding to the fun. More flags are starting to fly at the docks as white marlin numbers build. A smattering of blue marlin, sailfish, and spearfish encounters are also rounding things out. Some dolphin are also around, along with some nice wahoo.