Chesapeake Bay/Inland Waters
Dr. Julie Ball notes that anglers taking advantage of recent breaks in the weather to get out on the open water were rewarded with good results. This effort verified that the bigger rockfish moved into the lower Bay, with catches of fish to over 45-pounds reported this week. So now the hunt is on.
Rockfish enthusiasts are thrilled with the first wave of big cows responding true to form for boats drifting eels along the channel edges and shoals off the Eastern Shore. Drifting with eels is an effective technique resulting in fewer, but a larger class of fish. Expect the really big rockfish – pushing over 50-pounds – to debut soon. According to the folks at Chris’ Bait and Tackle, anglers are intercepting these larger fish while drifting with eels anywhere from Cape Charles to Buoy 18 this week. Anglers are also starting to hook nicer stripers while dipping live eels at various depths from the 4th island to the High Rise section of the Bay Bridge Tunnel at night, with some fish ranging between 30 to 38-pounds.
Although bigger fish are filtering in, striped bass of all sizes all are keeping most anglers content all over the lower Bay. Schoolies are hitting for light tackle casters working bridge pilings, while boats using live bait, chunking, and wire-lining over the tubes of the Bay Bridge Tunnel are finding steady action with 20- to 30-pounders. Anglers are also cleaning up with 24 to 28-inch rockfish while casting poppers and Wind Cheaters at the islands and the tubes of the CBBT at daybreak. Skinny water anglers are still finding 22- to 26-inch fish within the local inlets around dock lighting after dark. Folks casting from the shore near the Lesner Bridge are finding some fish ranging to near 30-inches this week.
Speckled trout anglers continue to experience excellent fishing. Rudee Inlet, Lynnhaven River, and Little Creek Inlet are still showing an upswing in the frequency of bigger fish. The folks at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center report that several citation sized specks ranging from 5 to nearly 8-pounds came from within Rudee Inlet this week, with most any soft plastic or Gulp lure sporting pink and chartreuse getting the job done. The Elizabeth River is still providing good catches of big specks, where several citation sized fish were hooked this week on Mirrolures, Bass Assassins, and Storm lures. The fish seem to be holding in the deeper water within the River, and action is off and on in the Cove and the Hot Ditch areas.
Puppy drum are still providing some good action within Rudee Inlet this week, with some folks reporting catches of fish to 30-inches on cut bait. Many fish are also taking lures intended for trout within the inlets and the Elizabeth River. Tautog continue to hit on most any lower Bay structure, as well as on several coastal wrecks. Any available structure, piling, or hang along the CBBT can produce limits of quality fish, with a few tog topping 10-pounds this week. Most are resorting to clams, since crabs and fiddlers are hard to come by.