Fishing Report for 9.27.19

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It is the first official week of autumn, but fishing remains as good or better than it has been most of the summer. Productive speckled trout action has occurred along the entire length of the Eastern Shore over the last week, on both the bayside and the seaside. Pompano have been one of the most dominant species in the surf over the last week, but the largest of the pompano have come from the upper bayside, including a 2-pound, 5-ounce fish for Johnny Johnson and a huge 3-pound, 13-ounce fish for Billy Webb, both from the Parksley area. Big red drum continue to be caught along the shoals of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, but one species of fish, cobia, was conspicuously absent from any of the local tackle shops’ reports this week. 

Upper Shore – Captain Matt Abell, at the Sea Hawk Sports Center, told me that it has been a “really good week on speckled trout, on both the bay and seaside.” Abell said hat he had received positive reports from his customers who have fished from Bloodsworth Island, Md., south to Nassawadox Creek. It took a trout of almost 7 pounds caught by Brooks Bailey to win the “West Side Outcasters Open” tournament, according to Abell. Ethan Abell landed a 23-inch trout while fishing near Chincoteague. Productive lure colors have included salt and pepper, “Opening Night,” and anything with the color pink. Captain Abell said that a “handful” of red drum had been caught by anglers targeting speckles in the shallows. Rockfish/striped bass fishing has been good in Maryland waters. Allan Ring caught a mixed bag of rockfish, white perch, and speckled trout on a recent trip. Abell had no reports on flounder fishing but did say that the anglers who were able to get offshore were rewarded with good catches of black sea bass over wrecks in 100 feet of water and deeper.

Chincoteague – Jimmy Vasiliou, at Captain Steve’s Bait and Tackle, reported that there has been a lot of “short” flounder landed recently. One customer landed 20 fish on a recent trip, of which four met the minimum size limit. Speckled trout, though mostly small, have been caught in the eel grass. The fish have been hitting Berkley Gulp and Z-Mans, according to Vasiliou. Snapper bluefish to 16 inches, pompano, spot, small sharks, and rays have been hitting in the surf. J. D. Shrieves landed a 1-pound, 12-ounce pompano in the surf. The shop weighed in a giant 3-pount, 13-ounce pompano for Billy Webb, of Parksley. The fish was caught on the bayside.  Pufferfish, also known as swelling toads, have been abundant on both sides of the island. 

Donna Rae Roeske, of Captain Bob’s Marina, reported that flounder were still being caught inside the Chincoteague Channel. A few flounder have also been landed along the Queen Sound Bridge. Shark fishing has been productive in Queen Sound as well as in the inlet waters.  The Robert Reed Park pier has produced croakers, puffers, and a variety of small panfish species, while trout and kingfish/whiting have been caught off Chincoteague Point. The surf is producing a mix of panfish, black drum, red drum, and small striped bass, according to Roeske. She had no reports of any action on the structures on Blackfish Banks due to windy conditions and rough waters. Nice catches of blue crabs were made from the shoreline.

Lower Shore – Chris Snook, of Chris’ Bait & Tackle, reported the speckled trout fishing on both the bayside and seaside of the lower shore has been “hot!” Puppy drum catches have also come from the same areas, while good catches of larger red drum have come from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Flounder fishing was good when anglers were able to find clear water, but the clean water has been in short supply for most of the last week.  

Jeb Brady, of Bailey’s Bait & Tackle, said speckled trout fishing has been good this week. Anglers fishing both sides of the lower shore reported limit catches of 18-21-inch fish, with a few reaching 23 inches in length. Live baiting for the trout has been a productive technique, according to Brady.  He said that big red drum are being encountered on the shoals along the bridge-tunnel. One red drum angler was surprised when an estimated 9-foot sand tiger shark engulfed his drum bait! The Cape Charles Pier has been producing catches of spot and croaker.

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. Bill is an I.G.F.A. International Committee Representative and a longtime member of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament Committee. He is the Virginia Recreation Fishing representative on the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Panel and is a past recipient of the CCAVA Virginia Outdoor Writer Conservation Leadership Award.

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