Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
21 April 2017
Finally, the spring fishing scene is coming together, and water temperatures will get a boost as the weather warms into the eighties this week.
And now everything is right in the world of saltwater fishing as the first catches of big red drum from the Eastern Shore jump-start the courtship between drum and angler for the season. As schools of big drum filter into the lower Bay and spread among the shoals and breakers lining the Eastern Shore barrier islands, local anglers are intercepting the early season drum using blue crabs and peelers. Some of these bulls are measuring to well over 45-inches. Black drum will make a solid showing in these same areas.
Tautog anglers had a good week, with the bite taking off in Bay and inshore waters. Bay anglers are catching limits of fish, with most bites coming from the pilings and the tubes of the CBBT, with the best luck happening with fiddler crabs, when you can get them. Most fish are ranging from 3 to 5-pounds. Deeper water wrecks are giving up some bigger fish, but this bite is slower. Big seabass are also competing for your offerings on the same structures, but seabass remain off limits until mid-May. Hurry if you want to get in on the tog action, since this fishery closes at the end of the month.
The flounder bite is still emerging in lower Bay waters. Some limits of keepers are rewarding those who put in their time along the Eastern Shore seaside inlets, Oyster, Magothy Bay, and Back River Reef. Look for this trend to heat up with the warmer temperatures.
Pier anglers are smiling again as croaker light up their worlds at local fishing piers. Plenty of medium-sized hardheads are hitting along the ocean front, at the Oceanview and Buckroe Piers, and within the Bay’s tributary rivers on squid and blood worms. Decent-sized sea mullet are also making a showing in these same locations on bloodworms. Nice snapper bluefish are also in lower Bay waters, while also making a very good run into Rudee Inlet.
Puppy drum are providing very good action in Rudee Inlet this week, with some good numbers of trout also showing in Little Creek and Lynnhaven. Speckled trout are also responding in these same areas, and reports of the first flounder catches of the season in Rudee Inlet are trickling in.
The deep water off the Virginia coast is still the place to crank up tilefish, black-bellied rosefish and grouper from over 300 feet of water. But a word of warning, pesky dog fish are still a nuisance, but they will begin to thin out soon. Jumbo black seabass are also in the same areas, but these fish are illegal to keep right now.
Offshore opportunities are pushing this way. Most of the action is still happening mostly off North Carolina, with bluefin, blackfin, and yellowfin tuna presenting a variety for the fleet.