Weekly Sportfishing Rundown - Memorial Day Report
26 May 2017
As we slide into the Memorial Day weekend, we bid farewell to spring and say hello to the summer fishing trend. And so far, the season is off to a great start. But with the recent front, much of the action slowed. And with more rain in the holiday forecast, the action may not rebound until after the big weekend.
Red drum action has been excellent on the Eastern Shore side of the Bay. Some boats fishing near the breakers off Fishermanís Island and along Nautilus Shoal and Nine Foot Shoal before the weekend were releasing dozens of big reds. Some black drum are also taking clam offerings, mostly near buoys 13 and 16 off the Eastern Shore, but this bite should be winding down soon in this area.
Many are taking notice of the early influx of cobia. Although the season does not open until June 1st, plenty of released fish show promise of a good summer. With the tight regulations this year, be sure to review to review the guidelines for this controversial fish carefully. Angers can keep one fish per person over 40-inches, with one of the three fish allowed to be over 50-inches. The boat limit is three fish, and now all crew members must hold a newly implemented cobia permit, and report all cobia activity. No gaffing of cobia is allowed, so take a big net. All of this information can be found on the VMRC website at mrc.virginia.gov, or at any local MRC Licensing Agent. This year, the cobia season runs from June 1st to September 15th.
Flounder hunters continue to work hard for their bounties, with most fish presenting just shy of the new 17-inch requirement. The best catches are still coming from the lower Bay and Eastern Shore inlets and shallows.
Croaker and nice-sized bluefish are still available within local inlets and the lower Bay, and early spot catches are showing signs of a good run of healthy-sized fish. Pier anglers along the ocean front are picking through a few small flounder, small croaker, nice sea mullet, and bluefish.
Spanish mackerel are making their debut in local waters, with one of the early catches surprising a pier angler fishing from the Buckroe Fishing Pier this week.
Some speckled trout, along with good numbers of feisty puppy drum are hitting most everywhere, with the best luck still coming from within Rudee, Lynnhaven, and Little Creek Inlets, as well as Mobjack bay and the flats along the Hampton side of the Bay.
Spadefish were hitting very well at the Chesapeake Light Tower right before the weekend, with decent-sized fish the norm this year. Sheepshead action is also off to a really good start, with several big fish already boated along the CBBT and as a by-catch by drum anglers. Striped bass are still available along the CBBT, but most folks arenít interested. Check the regulations if you target these fish.
For those venturing a little further offshore, jumbo seabass are biting on both inshore and deeper wrecks and structures. The Triangle Wreck area is a popular seabass destination this time of year. Further out, deep dropping species are also a good choice. Recent trips targeting the ocean floor near the Norfolk Canyon have produced plenty of blueline tilefish, with a smattering of big golden tilefish, and grouper.
Offshore, warm water is moving into range, with catches slowly improving off Virginia. A few hauls of nice gaffer dolphin and yellowfin tuna from recent trips are encouraging. This action will improve as the season progresses.