The tautog bite has been outstanding as of late. Anglers wanting to get in on the action need to hurry, however, as the season closes on May 1 for nearly two months. Inshore and near-shore wrecks – and portions of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel – all are producing quality fish.
Flounder action along the CBBT isn’t hot and heavy yet, but some fish are available – especially along the stretch between the second and third islands.
Area bridge-tunnel spans also are holding good numbers of striped bass for catch-and-release action. The Virginia Trophy Season opens May 1 in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters.
While flounder is the most talked about species this time of year, there is news that red and black drum have started to show.
Action is far from its best, but the run has to start somewhere.
Red drum have been caught in the breakers along the shores of the southern-most barrier islands. Black drum have shown in the backwaters of the same islands.
Anglers anchoring to catch drum need to be extremely aware of the surrounding conditions, as tides and swells can be dangerous in many drum-holding areas.
Flounder catches should be improving rapidly in backwater areas of the eastern side of the Shore, with fish available around Oyster, Wachapreague and Chincoteague.
Near-shore wrecks are holding plenty of tog.
Catches of yellowfin and blackfin tuna have been outstanding the last couple of days and there’s no reason to think things will change soon.
Many blackfin have topped the 20-pound citation minimum for one of tunas’ tastiest subspecies.
Some dolphin and wahoo have been caught. Catches of both should improve.
There even have been a few sailfish and blue marlin.
Closer to shore, sight casting for big red drum has been good.
Pier and surf
Catches are improving along the lower Chesapeake Bay, where anglers are catching croaker, sea mullet and scattered spot. Most are small, and action has been best at night. Catches have been decent at the Ocean View Fishing Pier. Croaker catches this time of year are best at the James River Pier on the Peninsula.
Along the Outer Banks, flounder catches have been outstanding from the Buxton jetties to Frisco, and in the Hook. Sea mullet and blowtoads are cooperating all along the beach. Bluefish and red drum are hit or miss.
While it’s time to concentrate on largemouth bass, don’t give up on crappie.
Many of these beautifully speckled fish can be found around shoreline cover – especially old fallen timber. Work the deep-side edges with live minnows or jigs for bigger fish.
Bluegill and other bream also are finding their way to the shallows.
Chain pickerel and white perch also have been cooperating on many waters.
Big blue catfish continue to bite in deeper holes of the Chickahominy and James rivers.