On the menu is a feature about kayak angling expert Kevin Whitley, a trip to the windmill farm off Virginia Beach with reps from Dominion Energy, and a conversation with one of your mechanics detailing how best to winterize your boat…
We’ve talked quite a bit lately about the joys and opportunities of fall fishing, and it’s true – there’s a lot going on this time of year. And this fall might go down as one of the best by many standards if the current situation is any indication.
So what is the low down right now? Sounds like a good excuse for another fishing forecast.
Offshore action is getting to be more hit and miss, as cold fronts push through the region and the weather becomes more unpredictable. Add in the fact that inlets at Rudee, Oregon, and Hatteras are shoaling badly and it’s best to stay in port when seas are iffy. When they’re not, the scene has been pretty good.
White marlin are starting to show in better numbers, but it’s unsure whether or not we’ll see some of the record-setting action of years past. Tuna, dolphin, and wahoo are in the mix. Add blacken tuna if you’re heading to the southeast. Overnighters are scoring with swordfish.
Deep-droppers continue to find good numbers of seabass and tilefish, along with several other species.
Near-shore wrecks and reefs are producing triggerfish, tautog, spadefish, and flounder. Anglers are still waiting for the king mackerel bite to heat up as it usually does this time of year. Anglers trolling the oceanfront and Chesapeake Bay tidal rips are finding a good number of bluefish and some really big Spanish mackerel – like the 5-plus pounder Dr. Ken Neill is holding in the photo. Cobia and black drum remain available, but if they are two of the species you want to target, you’d best get at it.
Anglers working the bay have ample opportunity to hook up with some of the biggest fish of the year. Red drum are a seasonal favorite. Juvenile reds, known as puppy drum, are providing excellent action inside the three southside inlets, in the Elizabeth River, and along the Poquoson Flats.
And no, we didn’t forget fall’s all-time favorite – the speckled trout. These toothy critters are showing up in good numbers in the Elizabeth, Nansemond and York rivers, along the Poquoson Flats, inside numerous bay-side creeks along the western shores of the Eastern Shore, in all three southside inlets, and along the beach. Beach and pier fishers are finding pups, trout, striped bass, flounder and scattered spot and croaker.
Striper action is really good throughout the region, but the class of fish is trending towards the 5 to 15-pound range – which is perfect for fly-rodders and light tackle enthusiasts. Spot and croaker have left anglers scratching their collective heads, as the two fall favs have failed to put on their usual good fall showing.
Flounder are available throughout southern portions of the bay, but bigger ones are heading to wrecks and reefs in deeper water. Sheepshead are putting on a pretty good show right now, but this is another species you need to get a quick jump on.
Largemouth bass are enjoying rolling waters throughout the region and will be spending more time in the shallows chasing bait. Crappie have started to move into shallower structures, where they will stay for a few months. Panfish and catfish are good options as well.
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