VB Sportfishing – Nov. 2017

by Dr. Julie Ball IGFA Representative,Virginia Beach

As anglers keep an eye on the weather for fishable openings, the saltwater temperatures continue to cool, encouraging the fall bite to transform into a more winter-time trend this month.

No one anticipates the onset of the winter-time fishery more than striped bass enthusiasts. While bay rockfish anglers are content with the smaller resident fish early in the season, the real action begins when the big fish arrive in lower bay waters, hopefully by the end of November. In the meantime, anglers can work the structure of the lower bay bridge-tunnels for fish ranging from school-sized up to nearly 30-inches. All four artificial islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel are good places to try for stripers on a moving tide. Wind Cheater lures work well, especially when thrown at the rocks near the spine of the islands at dawn or dusk.

Speckled trout action is still not encouraging. In Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets, anglers are working for their catches, with most specks not making the minimum size limit. But a few nicer keepers ranging up to around 21-inches are still keeping anglers interested. Most agree that Mirrolures will work, but Gulp lures are edging out other artificial baits for the trout right now in most protected water venues. Some puppy drum and schoolie rockfish are also providing some action in most all shallow backwater areas, with cut mullet working well.

Tautog action is still on the rise on lower Bay structures and coastal wrecks, with the Bay action leading the way with some good hauls of fish caught recently. Offerings of crabs and clams presented along the pilings and the tubes of the CBBT are rewarding anglers with tautog averaging to over 6-pounds this week. A few lingering sheepshead are adding to tog bounties within the Bay, but not for much longer.

Flounder reports from Bay waters are hard to come by, but some nice flatfish are still coming from both coastal and offshore structures. The Triangle Wrecks area is a favorite hot spot for flounder, where some fish are pushing up to 6.5-pounds. A few nice seabass and triggerfish are also available on these offshore structures. Big chopper bluefish pushing to over 18-pounds are circling the Triangle Wreck area, where trolling, live-bait, and jigs are effective lately.

When boats can get out, good deep dropping prospects are available. Plenty of nice blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, blackbellied rosefish, and a variety of grouper are lurking along the edges of the Norfolk Canyon in 300 to 600 feet of water, or more. Big seabass are also a welcome by-catch, with squid, jigs, and cut bait getting the job done.

For more information, go to www.drjball.com.