Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report
Virginia Beach, Outer Banks & Eastern North Carolina
VIRGINIA BEACH FISHING REPORT
Virginia closed out 2018 with a bang. The bay rockfish season came to a close December 31st but not before large rockfish hit the scales after lots of action coming from the eastside of the Bay. Between the Cape Charles area and the ocean was most successful with hooking up to these fish over the 50-pound class all the way up to a 66 pound tank! How about that to go with your coffee? Buoys 57 and 38 yielded numerous catches throughout the season. Some of the largest fish measured this winter were ranging around the 50 inch class. Eels were most successful during the season producing a lot of quality catches and activity, along with some success using heavy Mojos. A lot of anglers finished up the year with citation striped bass off eels in the bay.
Anglers also reported that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) was giving up decent catches of Tautog. With some boats reporting 20 or more Tautog’s on a hot bite using fresh crab chunks.
Although the Chesapeake Bay rockfish season closed, the Virginia coastal season opened January 1st and runs through March 31st, so anglers targeting this species can now transition to ocean fishing. With a minimum size limit of 28 inches and 1 per person, anglers can continue enjoying fishing for striper all throughout the winter season.
Anglers fishing offshore have been rewarded with quality action and catches of swordfish, golden tilefish, and big eye tuna. One report came in with a 158 lb Big Eye, 6 quality golden tile, and a 43 inch sword release. That’s one of the books if you ask me! Anglers daytime dropping had a slower response by Big Eye’s.
Offshore wrecks have been holding true to sea bass and a few flounder in the mix. For those after a sure guarantee to catch sea bass, the triangle wrecks have been producing in large numbers up to the 6-pound class. The recreational sea bass fishing season reopens February 1, 2019 so gear up now and get ready to get your fill until the season closes February 28th .
While your targeting the wrecks, be on the lookout for bluefish because there’s usually a bluefin tuna not far behind.
OUTERBANKS FISHING REPORT
Outer Banks surf anglers are locating small puppy drum along the beaches. Small trout and a few black drum have been reported at the jetties in Buxton.
Captain Aaron Beatson, Cobia Killer, has North Carolina’s outer banks dialed in. He’s had success trolling for schoolie rockfish with Mann’s Swimbaits in blue and white patterns that swim from 8 to 12 ft. Also, casting a 1 oz. Hyper Striper Bucktail candy to them at the pilings of the bridges has been yielding some action. Speckled Trout are way back in the creeks if you have the desire for them this time of year. A few warm days can make the DOA Shrimp work magic under our beloved “popping cork” around marsh points and edges of deeper oyster reefs. Check out the 1Fish2Fish YouTube channel to catch a whole lot of popping cork and Trout action! Puppy Drum are still along the beaches and inlets on mullet cut bait and on jigs if they’re chewing.
By the time this report is distributed, the striper are not going to be as thick in the Outer Banks region, but will be pushing further back into the sound, staging at the mouths of main rivers, such as the Roanoke, Tar, and other feeder rivers of the Pamlico Sound.
EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA
The Eastern Shore action has shown some great rock bite despite the constant rain pattern the area has been seeing. The water is high and in some places stained or even muddy, but the fish are concentrated enough the electronics are doing the job and anglers have been able to produce very good numbers of fish. Captain Mitchell Blake, FishIBX, said the Yeeha Swimbait has been thumping not only the stripers but other mixed bag species as well so give this lure a try. The trout bite is steady, pick through the shorts and every outing is getting some keepers so it’s go time!
One underrated fishery that anglers can gear up for in the Pamlico Sound come mid-March, are the Shad on ultra-light tackle. Captain Blake regards this as his favorite species, as the Shad run is a very popular pastime for many anglers. Look for the Shad to start making more of a presence in the North Carolina fisheries this month and the feeder rivers of the Pamlico. These Shad put up tarpon like thrills and are targeted with ultra-light to light action gear using Crappie Jigs and Shad Darts. The Shad run starts mid-March and goes all the way to the third week of April, but for anglers looking to get an early start, Shad are currently be targeted to warm up the season. See for yourself the Shad run in this fishery, 1Fish2Fish filmed a trip with FishIBX that will keep you coming back!
1Fish2Fish YouTube Channel