The inshore tautog bite is heating back up. And with crabs available again this weekend, expect plenty of folks to be on the hunt for these wreck-dwellers. In Bay waters, lots of fish averaging to around 6-pounds are coming from the Bridge Tunnel, with a few pushing to over 9-pounds. The Bay Bridge Tunnel tubes, the Concrete Ships, and lower Bay wrecks and rock piles are all giving up keeper-sized tog. Blue crabs and fiddler crabs are the top inshore bait, hungry tautog are also willing to take squid while near the Light Tower. Coastal wrecks and deep water wrecks are giving up the bigger fish, with the best catches coming on crabs.
The other species gaining a lot of attention lately is spring flounder. The best early spring flatfish action always comes from the Eastern Shore seaside creeks and inlets. This year the bite has already been going strong for a few weeks in the usual hot spots in Quinby, Wachapreague, and Oyster. Although the action is still slower in the Bay, anglers are managing decent catches of flatfish to 23-inches from several areas around the lower Bay, especially at the curve near the 3rd island of the CBBT. The most effective bait is drifted squid or strip bait, with bigger fish still hitting jigged baits near the High Rise. Smaller fish averaging to around 17-inches showed up in Lynnhaven Inlet and along Ocean View this week.
Virginia was handed an unexpected surprise this week. Candice Otey of Norfolk was enjoying a nice day fishing for croaker on the Ocean View Fishing Pier, when she hooked into something more than she bargained for. After a fierce battle, Candice became the first angler in Virginia to release a full-sized bull red drum this year. The drum weighed 59-pounds, 13-ounces, and stretched to 49-inches long. That’s a hefty specimen for any time of year!
Striped bass along the coast will become officially off limits at end of the month. With the quickly rising water temperatures, rockfish reports are scarce. Most fish are now in the tributary rivers for their spawning rituals.
A few boats made the trip to deep dropping territory off the Virginia coast last week with good results. Nice blueline tilefish, black bellied rosefish, grouper, wreckfish and other deep bottom dwellers are hitting along the 50-fathom curve and near the edge of the Norfolk Canyon. Dogfish continue to pose a nuisance for deep droppers, so expect to weed through some trash fish in order to find edible fish.
Give us a call if you want to go catch some fish!