Fishing From The Shore

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John and Patty Sewny show off a day’s catch of flounder out of Chincoteague. Photo courtesy of Captain Steve’s Bait and Tackle.

By Bill Hall –

Fishing over the weekend was either surprisingly good or expectedly bad depending on who you spoke to. Tautog season closed Sunday, May 15, and remains closed until July 1. Unfortunately, the run of windy weather prevented a lot of anglers from targeting the tasty structure dweller during the last week of the fishery. As tautog season closed, the black sea bass season opened and anglers hitting the offshore wrecks were rewarded with limit catches.

Upper Shore – The shallows of Tangier Sound are producing a mixture of speckled trout, striped bass, and the occasional red drum. Bobby Graves, fishing aboard Tangier Sound Charters, landed a huge 30-inch speckled trout while fishing near Deal Island. Flounder catches out of Chincoteague were surprisingly good over the weekend when clean water could be located.  Action in the surf included whiting, black drum, and striped bass.

Wachapreague – Amanda Manzella, at the Wachapreague Inn, described the last week of fishing as “slow” due the rain and wind. She added that a lot of people canceled their reservations or left early due to the forecast. Always the optimist, she said “this weekend’s weather looks great” and hopes to have a “more positive report next week!”

Captain Lindsay Paul, at Trident Tackle, said there was not much going on for most of last week, but some flounder were landed over the weekend.  Paul anticipated a much more productive week with the current run of nice weather.

Lower Shore – Dez Louie, at Oceans East –– Eastern Shore, said a lot of anglers had been wondering if the week of nasty weather had pushed the black drum out of the area, but their question was quickly answered when the bite picked up over the weekend and into the start of the work week. Louie said fish ranging from 20 pounds up to citation release size were caught out of Oyster and on Nautilus Shoal. Louie predicts the fish will soon move inside the bay to their usual haunts near buoys 13 and 16.

Red drum catches were still being made along the surf line of Fisherman Island. Flounder fishing should pick up as the waters clear, with the Ditch and the little bridge suggested as potential productive areas. Anglers taking advantage of last week’s opening of black sea bass season were rewarded with limit catches over the offshore wrecks. Small whiting, hickory shad, gray trout, and ribbonfish are being landed on the Kiptopeke State Park pier.

Jeb Brady, at Bailey’s Bait & Tackle in Cape Charles, said the weather did not allow many anglers to get out on the water until Friday of last week. Once anglers were able to get out, reports of drum catches from buoy 13 and Latimore’s Shoal were received, as well as from the waters north off Onancock. Large striped bass and red drum catches were still reported in the barrier island surf by anglers using cut crab for bait.

Sheepshead catches were made around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel pilings and as a bycatch in the black drum fishery. Lower Shore flounder fishing remained slow due the dirty water. Sand mullet (whiting) have begun to show up in good numbers, with catches coming out of Oyster and off the concrete ships. Elijah Wessels landed an 18.5-inch flounder from the Cape Charles Pier.

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.

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