Fishing Report

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Chris Martin landed this rockfish from the shoreline of Saxis while casting an artificial lure. Photo courtesy of Captain Steve’s Bait & Tackle.

The deluge of last Sunday seems to have had minimal impact on this week’s fishing action.  Speckled trout and small stiped bass (rockfish) remain abundant along the marshy banks of the upper Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay as well as inside the creek mouths of the lower bay.  Water temperatures in the Maryland portion of the bay are approaching the bottom end of the trout’s comfort zone, so how much longer the fishery will last is anybody’s guess. Puppy drum action has shown improvement with some of the puppies making the 18-inch minimum size limit.  The deep water rocks in Pocomoke Sound still hold populations of spot, bluefish, gray trout, and a few croakers.  Schools of schoolie-sized stripers are beginning to be marked by flocks of feeding birds in the waters of Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds.   Flounder action on the seaside remains good for this time of the year.   The surf is still holding whiting (kingfish, sea mullet), spot, bluefish, and the occasional red drum. Black sea bass are active over the offshore wrecks.

Lower Shore – Chris Snook, of Chris’ Bait & Tackle, reported that speckled trout action was still good along the fish traps south of Kiptopeke.  Puppy drum and striped bass, some of which are very small, have come from the same area.  Puppy drum catches have also shown some improvement on the seaside.  Flounder have been caught from the Kiptopeke State Park Pier.

Cape Charles – Jeb Brady, at Bailey’s Bait & Tackle, reported that the speckled trout fishery remained “fantastic” over the last week.  He said that the numbers of fish are “unlike anything we have seen in quite a few years.”  Most anglers are reporting catches of fish in the 18- to 21-inch class.  Puppy drum to 24 inches have been taken off the Cape Charles Fishing Pier as well as inside some of the bayside creeks.  Schoolie-sized rockfish have been reported, but the majority have been under the minimum size limit.

Wachapreague – Amanda Manzella, at the Wachapreague Inn, reported that there has been some action on red drum in the surf.  A group of her customers had a successful flounder outing while fishing with Captain Nat Atkinson aboard the Foxy Lady.  Another customer found bluefish and small flounder.  Frank and Austin Smith caught a variety of fish, including grouper, blueline and golden tilefish, blackbelly rosefish, dolphin (mahi), yellowfin tuna, and albacore on an offshore trip with Keith Neal of Teaser Sportfishing.  Sandpiper Marine will have its grand re-opening at the new location on Lankford Highway in Tasley on October 16, 2019, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.  Several special promotions and refreshments are planned for the celebration.

Chincoteague – Donna Rae Roeske, at  Captain Bob’s Marina, reported that flounder and stripers are being caught from the bulkhead near the canal at Curtis Merritt Harbor, while undersized rockfish are being caught during the evenings inside Mosquito Creek.  She added that there has been some drum action in the surf.  Captain Bob’s will close for the season following this week.

Pete Vasiliou, at Captain Steve’s Bait & Tackle, reports that flounder action remains very good for this time of the year.  He told me that lots of keepers have been taken inside the bay as well as from the shore.  Lots of speckled trout are in the creeks right now, he added.  Striper fishing is improving as the water temperatures fall and the ratio of keeps to throwbacks is getting better, he said.  In the surf, there are “lots” of bluefish with an occasional red drum.  Kingfish and spot are also still encountered in the surf.  Offshore wreck fishing is producing black sea bass and keeper-sized flounder.  A group of shop regulars caught a nice selection of rockfish while casting artificials from the shoreline of Saxis on Monday afternoon.

Upper Shore – Captain Matt Abell, of Seahawk Sports Center, told me that the water temperature had fallen to 59-degrees on the Maryland side of the Virginia-Maryland line on Monday, making trout scarce in the same waters where he was catching 15-20 per trip just a week ago.  Monday’s trip did produce easy limits of rockfish to 26 inches.  Most of the fish were caught casting paddletails on jigheads in the Albino Ghost and Opening Night color combinations.  Some of the fish were found under flocks of feeding birds.

Bill Hall was the first Eastern Shore resident to achieve Virginia Salt Water Master Angler Status. He has been named Virginia Saltwater Angler of the Year and Virginia Saltwater Release Angler of the Year and is a Virginia Press Association award-winning sports columnist.