Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
21 July 2017
The hottest days of the year are making outdoor activities a challenge lately, but fishing can be good if you can bear the heat. And with a decent forecast for the weekend, plenty of anglers will hit the water.
Cobia continue to provide very good action for sight-casters most everywhere in the Bay, with more large fish showing up this week. Chummers are still scoring with keeper-sized fish, but the trash fish and sharks are relentless.
The red drum action is hot right now as pods of big drum school around the mouth of the Bay and off the Virginia Beach ocean front. Casters are thrilled with easy catches of fat fish, making great props for summer photo-ops. Boats targeting sharks are having good luck with a variety of toothy species ranging to around 4-feet or more, especially off the oceanfront area.
The flounder action in the Bay is still very productive, with some respectable flatfish to show. Jigging and live bait are most effective, with both techniques working around all four islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, with the average flattie averaging around 20 to 22-inches. Anglers drifting with strip baits and minnows are also lucking into good numbers of fish near the 4th island, the Hampton Bar, and the Thimble Shoal Channel. Both Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets are also giving up a few keepers lately. Good action is also coming from nearshore and inshore wrecks. Jumbo seabass will also take offerings on the same wrecks.
Big Spanish mackerel continue to dominate the trolling scene along the ocean front, with some citation-sized fish boated lately. Some catches of Spanish are also occurring within Bay waters, especially around the islands of the CBBT. King mackerel are here, but the bite has not taken off as of yet. But the bait is here, just not the clean water.
Sheepshead are still biting well along the CBBT structure, with more fish beginning to move to the tubes of the artificial islands. Triggerfish are still biting in many of these same areas. Spadefish are still available at the Chesapeake Light Tower, the Tower Reef, the CBBT, and several inshore wrecks. The 4th island of the CBBT was particularly productive this week with some respectable fish using clams as bait.
Bottom bouncers are gathering in Oyster to get in on the big yearly croaker ritual, as the size of the hardheads increase this week. In lower Bay waters, croaker are still everywhere, and size varies with the location. The area off Kiptopeke State Park is still a favorite location, while some nicer croaker are also coming from the Inlets lately. Sea mullet are also still lurking off Kiptopeke and the concrete ships.
Tarpon are active on the Eastern Shore, with some reported hook-ups keeping tarpon hunters happy in the back waters of Oyster as long as they can endure the blazing heat and biting flies.
Amberjack are still an available at many offshore wrecks and the Southern Towers. Deep dropping is going well, with good hauls of the usual blueline tilefish, golden tilefish and an occasional grouper and side-catch of nice seabass. The newest state record Golden Tilefish was recently approved at a respectable 58-pounds.
Offshore, the billfish are beginning to show, with a few blue and white marlin responding to live bait this week. Further south, crews are also finding a few sailfish. Catches of yellowfin tuna and big eye tuna are scattered, but some decent yellowfin action is happening near the fingers now. But the bluefin tuna bite at the fingers has cooled. Some big dolphin are showing here and there, along with some wahoo.