Anglers are enjoying the milder temperatures lately as another cold front makes its way through the Mid Atlantic area. The biggest splash on the fishing scene is still coming from off the Virginia coast, as the offshore season continues to unfold with big eye tuna commanding head-of-the-line privileges.
Inshore, cobia get the thumbs-up again this week. Although the big studs that materialized briefly are now eluding most anglers, good numbers of solid keepers are keeping most cobia hunters content. Many fish are ranging in the 40 to 50-pound class, with pairs and small pods of fish becoming more common in open water as well as on structure. Chummers continue to battle sharks and rays on the lower Bay shoals, with scattered catches of cobia for the most patient anglers.
Big schools of fat red drum are still meandering near the entrance of the Bay, and a few interested anglers are still picking away at reds from the shoals lining the Eastern Shore via bottom fishing. Schools of jack crevelle were also spotted roaming in the same areas with the reds again this week. Black drum are schooled up around the islands of the Bridge Tunnel, where even pier anglers are getting in on some of the action.
The flounder bite is still a disappointment for the most part. The action is not terrible, but it’s not exceptional, either. The largely westerly wind component this summer along with strong storms and rain could encourage dirtier water and less than optimal water temperatures for the usual big flounder run. Some respectable fish are striking at jigs and live bait presented along structure in the lower part of the Bay, and drifters are enjoying catches of keepers ranging to around 20-inches along drop-offs and channel edges. Both Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets are offering catches of keeper flounder in shallower water.
The Spanish mackerel fishing along the coastal Virginia Beach is still slow this week, with the best catches still coming from several miles off the beach. A good number of sharks, especially black tips, are sniffing out chum slicks along the coast. Some of these fish are pushing to over 6-feet.
Interest in spadefish is low, with smallish fish available along the northern span of the CBBT, around the four artificial islands, and on many inshore structures. It’s been a great sheepshead year, as these fish continue to strike at crab, clam, and fiddlers presented along the pilings of the CBBT. Many of these fish are exceeding 12-pounds. Big trigger fish are also competing for these same offerings.
Good numbers of nice puppy drum are very active within Rudee, Lynnhaven, and Little Creek Inlets. Some speckled trout, along with scattered catches of spot and croaker are also a good bet in these areas. Anglers fishing from Oyster are filling coolers with smallish croaker from the back waters. Hoards of nice sized sea mullet are still available near the concrete ships and Fisherman’s Island Inlet.
Amberjack are circling offshore wrecks and the Southern Towers, but there is still little interest with the good offshore scene going on. Deep dropping is still decent off Virginia, although several boats reported a slower catch this past week.
Offshore, the billfish action is on the rise, with multiple white marlin releases, a few blue marlin encounters, and even some sailfish action happening lately. But the billfish debut is trumped by the continuing big eye tuna run in the Canyon. With some of these tuna pushing to over 300-pounds this week, boats can’t resist the challenge of a back-busting battle with one of the biggest brutes in the ocean. The yellowfin tuna are also a great consolation prize, with many of these fish weighing in at 40 to 70-pounds. Boats are also finding some willing wahoo, and plenty of bailer dolphin this week.