Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report
Virginia Beach, Outer Banks & Eastern North Carolina
Don’t miss out on the Speckled Trout Derby going on until January 1st! DETAILS HERE.
VIRGINIA BEACH FISHING REPORT
Virginia waterways are shaping up as the Striper are stealing the show. A lot of action is being reported out of the Cape Charles area, at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, as well as the mouths of the James, York, and Rappahannock Rivers. For anglers targeting these areas, these fisheries are heating up and producing solid numbers of fish. Cape Charles and the main areas have been giving up some quality catches in the lower Bay. It’s a really solid beginning of the Striper season and looks to be a promising year. For those targeting the York, night time anglers have had the most success. Look for the Striper around the structures of the lower bay, as this has been yielding good results. For those targeting the Bass, working the structure at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel will certainly have its rewards with a lot of solid action. Look for quality numbers of the 20-30 inch size class moving up into the rivers of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk and Portsmouth, as well as the James River with action reported off the James River bridge. Any anglers looking to get out and catch numbers of fish, these are some targeted areas to focus on.
Speckled Trout are still available and can be targeted, although we are not seeing as many numbers as we were in the early to middle part of November. The Trout are pushing into the shallows and the back of creeks, so targeting mud flats where water is going to warmer will most likely produce more fish. Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlet and even the Elizabeth River are showing quality catches of Speckled Trout. We’ve had a much better year than we expected with last years Trout kill and anglers are taking full advantage. The Specks have been reported to be in the 3-6 plus pound range for anglers putting in the work. Now is going to be a good time to whip out the Mirrolure and suspended twitch baits. You will also want to consider slowing down your retrieve with the cooling water as the Specks slow down and become more lethargic with cooling waters; focus on keeping the bait in from of them and in the zone a little longer. Anglers have been seeing the Specks mixed in with the Striper in the backs of the creeks so you might get lucky and go home with a mixed bag. You can try and work docks with lights, even if you’re fishing during the day, we’ve seen that these fish are going to be close to these docks because at night time its where they come to feed by the lights and light lines. I would also target some of the docks in the river, such as the York River, and the Rappanannock. Some of the longer docks, and of course bridges will be producing some quality fish.
Tautog has been pretty hot this season along the Bay bridge. This is a pretty sneaky target species this time of year since a lot of anglers are focused on hooking up to the big Striped Bass. The Tau fishing has been stellar thus far and we are seeing a lot of solid action. Areas producing quality fish have been found at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel at the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Islands. We are also seeing them around some of the pilings as well. We’ve seen these areas yield quality fish using Blue Crabs, Peeler Crabs, and Bottom Sweeper Jig Heads, so you might want to give those a try.
The Flounder are making their way out but anglers looking to target the flatties are still able to locate them with decent catches. While you’re working the bay, inshore wrecks have been giving up solid size Sea bass and Triggerfish and are producing nice catches for those working hard for a good dinner.
Our Puppy Drum have proved to it to be interesting year for this species in light of the freeze we had last winter. Due to conditions last year, it’s nearly brought the Puppy Drum bite to a halt compared to previous years. We didn’t have as much of a presence of the Pups in the Virginia waters so there hasn’t been a lot of activity reported by locals.
Fleets have been coming back to marinas with catches of Yellowfin Tuna, Big Eye Tuna, and Wahoo in the mix.
OUTERBANKS FISHING REPORT
North Carolina is starting to see catches of Stripped Bass. The larger Bass haven’t moved in just yet but the fun schoolie size pushing 30 plus inches are making their presence known. Capt. Aaron Beatson, Cobia Killer, has been getting on solid trout action on the beaches and way back in the creeks. He reports a decent but slower drum bite on the ocean side still mixed in as well. Schoolie Stripers can be targeted on various methods and have been consistent on the bay side bridges of Roanoke Island. To get on that OBX bite, Capt. Beatson is getting it done. The Point is still catching Bull Drum, and Puppy Drum off the Southern beaches and Frisco area. Redfish and Sea Mullet are also being reported off the beaches as well.
EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA
Trout and Stripers have been the inshore ringer. Trout are running from 12“ to 19“ in most creeks and bays. Stripers typically being caught are ranging from 16-24“. Captain Mitchell Blake of FishIBX said that swim baits and jigs have been most effective across the board to put his anglers on fish. You can expect the fishing to be up and down over the next few weeks and some fish will go deep as others remain shallow. The reason for this is because we are in a migration pattern with fish on the move as they respond differently to theses cold snaps. Anglers working this fishery have reported that one day there was ice on the ramp and the next it’s shorts weather. Expect the fish to be equally mixed. Some will be in a summer pattern and others will be in a Winter pattern. If you’re interested in a charter or want to learn more about a specific pattern to apply to your fishing style, FishIBX has your low down and will put you on fish!
Also for NC pay close attention to the new Striped Bass rules for inland waters and stay tuned to what looks like a total closure coming for the Southern Management going to a non-possession. This is truly a reason to pay attention to science and policy in fisheries management.
The fall fishing is going strong for our Virginia and North Carolina waters. Anglers should take advantage this December and get out and fish! If you want to be featured on the next report, email your pictures to 1Fish2FishTV@gmail.com.