Dr. Julie Ball says the reports on striped bass are mixed. In general, the fish are there and biting. The average size is growing. Although most fish are stretching to around 28 inches, a few between 38 and 42 inches have been caught. According to our neighbors to the north, bigger fish are on the way.
School-sized fish are available to casters working the pilings of lower bay structures, and boats wire-lining at the 1st and 4th islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel are finding bigger fish and the most consistent action. Surf casters are making good catches from the shoreline near the Lesner Bridge in Lynnhaven Inlet, where 2-ounce jig heads with bubble gum colored Zoom Super Fluke grubs are a favorite. One shore angler landed a 40-inch rock while casting under the Great Neck Bridge in Long Creek.
The ongoing speckled trout run is keeping skinny water anglers happy. The lower bay shallows and surf lines are overrun with mostly undersized specks. Most of the larger fish are coming from the Elizabeth River, but Lynnhaven, Rudee and Little Creek inlets are giving up respectable fish. There are many ways to fish for these backwater beauties, and most methods are producing. Gulp grubs and Mirrolures are working well on the Rudee specks. Puppy drum are active in these areas, with fish measuring more than 27 inches hitting artificial lures and live mullet. Sporadic spot action and an occasional croaker are available within Rudee Inlet, but not likely for long.
In the bay, anglers are finding limits of keeper tautog from lower bay wrecks and bridge structures using blue crabs, green crabs and clams. Anglers fishing from the Seagull Fishing Pier dominated the tog scene on windy days with limits of nice fish of more than 6 pounds. Triggerfish and scattered sheepshead are available on these structures. Tautog are becoming more active on offshore structures.
Flounder reports are hard to come by, but the action is hit and miss because of churned water. If the water has a chance to clear, drifters could enjoy good catches along the channel edges as flatfish stage at the mouth of the bay. The inlets are providing scattered flatfish action, but most fish are too small to keep. Flounder are gathering on offshore wrecks when anglers can reach them. Fresh strip baits and jigging with buck tails will entice the best strikes. Big seabass are available on many of these wrecks. Huge chopper bluefish of more than 20 pounds are circling these structures, especially at the Triangle Wreck area. Bluefish are easy to catch and offer a great battle. Both trolling and jigging are working well for these toothy fish.
Bluefin tuna are a possibility from the Light Tower to the inshore lumps. Deep droppers are finding good numbers of decent blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, and rosefish in depths of 300 feet of water or more.
On the offshore blue water scene, Virginia waters are a disappointment. Swordfish are a possibility, but those who tried for them lately struck out. The best trolling action is off North Carolina, where most boats are loading up with blackfin and yellowfin tuna.
Dr. Ken Neill III reports terrible bottom fish should be waiting when anglers can reach them and some warmer water has moved into the Norfolk Canyon area. Sea bass are available over the offshore wrecks. Big bluefish were at the Triangle Wrecks.
Speckled trout, in protected waters, have been the most consistent catch. There is a good bite going on inside of Rudee Inlet. A lot of speckled trout are being caught in the Elizabeth River. Trolling has been the most effective method. Tautog will bite on inshore coastal wrecks and on structures inside the bay. The CBB-T has been good when it is fishable