Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Dec. 7, 08 -- Short hiatus -- and into bass

Sunday, December 07, 2008:

Sorry for the short gap in reports. I had what might be called commitment overload – not an uncommon occurrence after the Classic (fall fishing) during which I put off a ton of stuff.
While loads of folks were out there cashing in on bass yesterday, I was doing my day-long commitment to the Ship Bottom parade. It was great fun and a good cause but lengthy and tiring – always immense fun to see so many younguns having a blast.

I’ve also been helping out with an effort I won’t get into too detail-y except to say some deer hunters I recently met contribute all venison to the needy so I did something I seldom ever do: gave them some tips on little known gather points (and deer walks) I’ve gleaned from decades of tracking. I’ll add to that the fact that some of those sites have seen a threefold increase in deer activity, despite yarns that the state’s deer population is plummeting. (I’m writing another piece on what I perceive as a massive shift of deer populations in the deep woods to deer populations all but hugging humanity – cleverly {?} sidestepping hunters by remaining so close to development {and schools and parks} as to avoid exposure to hunters.)

I have also begun digging like crazy, treasure and archeological. Last year, I began a website on treasure hunting and haven’t added much to that site in quite a while since I have a publisher very interested in doing my blogs in a book form. He wants exclusivity to the writing, prior to publishing – though I haven’t committed to his company just yet -- so I’m simply saving segments (blogs) just for that potential publication. That said, I’ll soon be adding new treasure blogs to my website -- with stuff unique to the blog (which, by the way, has never gone public so just a few readers get to go in there, namely folks from this website.

Onward to fishing: Here’s a report from Potter (long time, no see): Jay,

I know most of your readers are looking for surf reports off LBI, but I
just wanted to relate the unbelieveable boat fishery that has been
happening off IBSP for the past two weeks. Prior to T-Giving, I had
over 100 Bass on the troll with 3 keepers, and today was no different
except that this time the bait was herring which were in big time with
bass rolling for miles from 7 AM till I left them biting @ 1:30PM this
afternoon. For the details, I left the dock in the dark @ 6 AM and broke
the Barnegat Inlet by 6:30 Am. By 6:45 AM all hell broke loose from the
Old Coast Guard Station to the North of the Bathing Beaches. Bass were
rolling on herring on the surface and though I caught about 6 jigging
they seemed picky so I went up on the troll on shad umbrellas and had
multiple double triple and even 2 quadruple headers, I ended up with
well over 50 fish with 3 keepers and I had good company. My buddy who
fished alone on his boat had his best striper fishing day in over 60
years with 47 fish and 2 keepers including one over 37". I heard of
many boats with 5, 6,8 & even 9 keepers with many 40+ inch fish.
Another spectacular day on the water with seas 1 foot or less. I hope
for my fellow surf fisherman that these fish move into to the beaches
and that they have a chance at these quality fish. Hope your readers
find this of interest. Thanks for all your fine reporting over the
season. Hope it not too late but I sent a small contribution to help
you with your website. Keep up the good work.


(By the by, I thoroughly enjoy reports. I don’t get into them as heavily since I feel other blogs and chats cover them more fully – though I do surely have a heavy surfcasting tilt. Thanks for the info. J-mann)


This past week we fished for blackfish out of Pt. Pleasant yacht club . Ran south a few miles off in 60' of water. Had great action on small wrecks with crab ,a ,10 and 14 lb fish the first day was a good start. The second day bought winds which made it harder to stay over the smaller wrecks . Yet we still scored with limits all around. These fish all were greater than 14" so we were able to cull out the smaller 16" and below sizes. It still amazes me that the DOGGIES are all over your crab baits like with seabassing or fluking! And there just getting bigger with every trip!!! Will be heading out after the snow blow is over. Last time this year we were seeing BLUE FIN in this area while it was snowing, any reports of sighting yet in this close? Jim G. WARETOWN

(I have the fewest bft sighting I can remember in recent year. The dogs are in for tougher times as the feds have seriously backed off protecting them. Good luck to the commercialites that harvest them. Speaking of fluke, I’ve had over a dozen reports of huge fluke being taken nearshore by bass fishermen. Part of an email “..Also caught the largest fluke I have ever seen. We tried to get a picture of it outside the boat since we didn’t even bring it aboard, just flicked the hook out over the side. It’s hard telling the size. Had to have been over 10 pounds…” It was taken on a slow troll. J-mann)


Below is an in-depth report set to me by Louis. It’s from further south but has some interesting and functional bass data.

December, a month for hunters and fishers, shoppers and carolers, the ring of the Salvation Army bells on so many corners, trying to be good for goodness sake children, and those that still are lucky enough to remember the joys of childhood and able to still enjoy multiple repeats of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”!

This is also a special time of year for many of our readers, but especially, our striped bass fishers! In the following fishing reports, you will note the big stripers are here, now! Of course, there is other action available, such as the offshore action for tuna, black sea bass and tautog (don’t forget to donate to the Marine Sportfish Collection Project your tautog, post fillet).

And now, the fishing reports!

The Fishing Reports

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel

Striped bass and tautog from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel were the hot topic at Cobb’s Marina. There were two tautog citations, one was 10 pounds, 24 ¼ inches from the 4th island, and the other weighed in at 9 pounds, 1 ounce. Striped bass citations include a 44-inch release citation from the 3rd island, and a 49-pound, 14-ounce fish caught from the 1st island.

While no citations were reported from Sunset Boating Center, anglers are catching limits of decent-size stripers in the 23- to 26-pound range. Hot spots have been the 3rd island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel. Staff at the boating center wishes everyone a happy holiday.

Numerous striped bass were reported from Salt Ponds Marina; most were found around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Striped bass are beginning to bite in the area around the York River Fishing Center. The larger fish, over 50 pounds, are finally being caught. Staff reports anglers hooking striped bass under the Coleman Bridge. A few are fishing for tautog at the reefs as an alternate to the striped bass action.

Ken Neill, reporting secretary for the Peninsula Anglers Club, contributed the following:

Large rockfish (striped bass) were caught from Ocean City on down to Oregon Inlet. The largest fish were found right at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Live eels fished at the high rise area of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel at night and along the Eastern Shore from Plantation Light on down to the High Rise during the day have produced most of the large fish. Open water trolling was more productive in the coastal waters. Schools of large rock are being encountered from Corolla to Smith Island. Inside the bay, the York Spit area has been good. Wire-liners working the tubes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel are catching rockfish in the slot range, quickly filling their limits with over and under fish.

The record speckled trout run continues. Citation-sized speckled trout were still being caught in large numbers in the Elizabeth River, and some continue to be caught inside of Rudee Inlet.

The other active fish in the bay is tautog. The structure of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, Cape Henry Wreck, and the various artificial reefs like the Back River Reef are holding populations of active fish.

The coastal wrecks are holding tautog also, but they are covered up with sea bass which makes catching a tautog a challenge. Of course, catching a bunch of big sea bass is not a bad thing. Wrecks like the Powell, Ricks, and the Triangle Reef are good sea bass spots right now. Wrecks further offshore like the Ocean Venture and the Washington also have jumbo sea bass holding on them.

Flounder can also be found around the structure of the coastal wrecks. Flounder were caught around the Triangle wrecks all winter long. Closer to shore, the Cape Henry Wreck was productive. Flounder will often winter over there.

Large bluefish are waiting to destroy some of your tackle in our coastal waters. Monster bluefish are being encountered in the vicinity of the Chesapeake Light Tower, at the Fish Hook, and on the South East Lumps. Some of these big blues are pushing 20 pounds, but so far, nobody has been able to top the 21.5-pound bluefish caught by Charles Southall while fishing at the Triangle Wrecks.

We may have missed our shot at giant bluefin tuna as they are catching them off of Cape Lookout now. You never know with bluefin tuna though. What we do have are the medium, 100-pound class. They have been encountered at the Triangle Wrecks, Fish Hook, and on the 10 Fathom Lump. These fish should be around all through December and maybe through January. This 100-pound class of bluefin is still being caught to the north of us so we will have a shot at these fish for awhile.

Offshore bottom fish like snowy grouper and blueline tilefish will be available all winter but now, you will also have to deal with the spiny dogfish, which have moved into our ocean waters.

If you want yellowfin tuna, head a little south. It has been a bit hit and miss, but there have been some good catches of tuna out of Oregon Inlet when the wind allows the boats to get out. The king mackerel bite out of Hatteras remains excellent.

Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA International Representative for Virginia Beach, contributed the following:

As I confer with anglers from other regions, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to have such a fantastic winter fishery along the Mid Atlantic. Many folks from other areas have already stowed their fishing gear, while local anglers are targeting almost as many species as some fisheries have available for the entire year! Virginia waters also offer great opportunity for those looking to go down into the record books. A young Virginia angler will have his chance, as nine-year-old Jake Garren of Ironto awaits approval of his pending IGFA Small Fry World Record for a 50lb, 14oz rockfish he caught while fishing in the Bay with his Dad this week. Jim Sheffield of Richmond also awaits his answer from the IGFA on his pending Line Class World Record for a 44-pound, 2-ounce striped bass he landed on fourpound test line in the same area this week.

As the Holiday season rapidly approaches, big stripers continue their push into local waters, where forty to fifty pounders are becoming common. Even a few 60-pounders are also beginning to show in the same areas. Most of the larger fish are coming from boats either drifting eels along the channels and shoals of the bayside Eastern Shore area, or dipping eels along the high rise section of the CBBT. The best bite is happening on the falling tide lately, both day and night. Anglers are also beginning to report lots of bait and pods of working birds within the Bay and along the Virginia Beach ocean front, where trollers are picking up fish to over 40-inches. Remember the regulations for bay rockfish catches will change on the 21st of this month to one fish per person between 18 and 28-inches, or one fish over 34- inches. Rob Collins of Norfolk earned a state citation for a 44-pound trophy he boated while fishing at the 4th island of the CBBT recently. Surf anglers are also having good luck with keeper striped bass along the beach near Sandbridge and the Lesner Bridge inside Lynnhaven Inlet.

Shallow water anglers are finding excellent numbers of keeper-sized speckled trout and a few puppy drum within Rudee Inlet, with chartreuse grubs worked along the bottom working well. Kendall Osborne of Norfolk had a good speck day with a 24-inch citation he released while fishing with a fly rod inside Rudee Inlet this week. The best action is coming from the Elizabeth River, where good numbers of big specks averaging around 5-pounds or more are falling to both live and trolled baits. The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that puppy drum, along with schoolie-sized striped bass are biting well on cut mullet fished near the jetties just inside Rudee Inlet.

Jumbo sea bass are available on the ocean wrecks, along with chopper bluefish. Big bluefish are also moving inshore, where anglers are encountering choppers from 12 to 20 miles out from the beach.

Flounder are still active on offshore structures, where big flatfish are jumping on fresh strip baits. A few of these fish are exceeding 6-pounds lately. Triggerfish are still a good bet on many offshore wrecks, with Dr. Julie Ball’s crew reporting a catch of 33 triggers up to 4-pounds lately. Tautog, which have made a great showing this season, are still going strong for those fishing crab and clams on lower bay and ocean structures, with reported limits of fish up to 6-pounds. Deep droppers are finding a few blueline tilefish, wreckfish, and blackbellied rosefish, but the dog fish are beginning to move in, presenting a nuisance for anglers. This will only get worse as winter progresses.

Other than bluefin tuna, there is not much happening on the offshore scene. Schooling bluefin tuna are eluding many boats as they watch them roll and break on the surface, then disappear. But Dave Trax aboard the Oblivion put his crew on some good bluefin action at the Fingers this week. Dave’s crew hooked four nice mid-sized fish, with one boated that weighed in at 112-pounds for Robert Bosley of Virginia Beach. These tuna can show up anywhere from the Chesapeake Light Tower to the edge of the Norfolk Canyon. The Fingers, the Fishhook, and the Hotdog are the favorite places to try lately. For a bigger challenge, the giant bluefins in excess of 200-pounds have now shown off the coast of Carolina.

Virginia Middle Bay

Fishing for striped bass has been productive and should be for the next few weeks. Water temperatures are dropping and the stripers will be heading south as the water continues to cool off. Stripers are still being caught in all of the usual areas like the jetties at the mouth of the Potomac River or any other structure you can find. They aren’t very large, though, and probably will not get much bigger before they move out. Sea gulls will be your best friend in trying to find any schools that are working in more open areas.

Virginia Beach -

At the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, anglers are finding plenty of striped bass at Cape Henry averaging between 25 and 30 pounds. The fishing is going very well, and boats are getting close to catching their limits. There are striped bass at the tunnels and islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Other than striped bass, there are numerous speckled trout in the inlet (several citations per day), and, last week, flounder citations were brought in from the Triangle Wreck.

Paula from Fisherman’s Wharf Marina reports nice striped bass catching in the bay, particularly around the high rise of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. She noted catches near Cape Henry as well.

Outer Banks, NC -

Weather is the key word for this time of year, and it can change very quickly, so make sure to keep an eye on the weather reports. Other than that your best bet to find fish is to talk to your local tackle shops, if they are open.

Offshore anglers can expect the yellowfin tuna along with a few wahoo and dolphin for variety. Striped bass and red drum can be found a little closer to shore, but this depends on water temperatures. If the water temperature stays relatively warm, expect the schools of stripers to stay closer to the Virginia line.

On the beaches, runs of striped bass will be your best bet. A few red drum and speckled trout may move through, but they tend to be a little further south unless you get a good warm period. Good areas to fish from shore include Cape Hatteras Point for red drum and around the jetties for speckled trout.

Inshore your best bet is again striped bass around any kind of structure. There is also the possibility of finding a school of speckled trout in deeper water like Oregon Inlet’s Green Island Slough.

As the old saying goes “a bad day of fishing beats a good day at work”, so enjoy any time you have on the water this winter.

Views: 52

Comment by Muscles Marinara on December 8, 2008 at 11:12am
We were out on my buddy's boat last week and having a pretty slow pick at short stripers on Ava Jigs when all of the sudden the birds just came in acres 300 yards from us, out towards deeper water. It looked as if cinderblocks were falling from the sky, massive explosions on top. He starts screaming "BLUES" and I was like "bluefish?" He fires up the boat and says "NO, BLUEFIN TUNA, GET READY". We gun the motor and head towards the mayhem and there they were exploding, nice big, fat BFT, we were using pretty light jigging rods and reels and the school dispersed pretty quickly after we pulled up but it was definitely the exciting moment of the day. This was in 50 feet of water.


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