National Fishing and Boating Week coincides with Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week starting June 10.
This is the unofficial start of the boating season. It also comes with a chance to help the bay. The annual Clean the Bay Day is Saturday. You can get out on your own to pick up trash or visit cbf.org to join an organized cleanup event.
Virginia has designated this weekend (Friday-Sunday) as free fishing days. Fishing licenses will not be required to fish the fresh or salt waters during this period. This is the perfect time to give fishing a try.
The cobia season is now open and the cobia are here. Anglers pre-fishing the opening had great luck both chumming and sight-fishing.
Numerous trophy fish release citations were registered this week prior to the opening. From the VMRC website: “The 2018 recreational cobia regulations are as follows: 40-inch, total length, minimum size limit; one-fish daily possession limit or three-fish-daily vessel limit, whichever is more restrictive; only one fish per vessel per day may be greater than 50 inches in total length; an open season of June 1 through Sept. 30; and gaffing is now allowed to land a cobia while fishing recreationally. All anglers, captains and guides fishing for cobia must obtain a Recreational Cobia Permit from the Commission and report all harvest and cobia fishing activity.”
Here’s a look at what is happening at some of our local fishing spots:
Bluefish Rock: Cobia have arrived and are being caught. Flounder are also being caught in the area. A big red drum is a possibility, and small bluefish are a likely catch.
Offshore: Bishop Fishing Supply said anglers fishing for tuna and other pelagic species are still making a long run south out of Virginia or fishing out of the Outer Banks. It is past time for some good water to move closer to Virginia’s ports. Some impressive bigeye tuna catches to our south can make the long run worth it. Offshore bottom fishing remains strong for tilefish and sea bass. Spanish mackerel have arrived along the oceanfront, where small bluefish are plentiful. Anglers trolling for bluefish and Spanish are also encountering large red drum and cobia.
York Spit: Cobia are being caught. Bluefish and sea mullet are also in the area.
Chickahominy: Ed Allen’s Boats and Baits said bass fishing is excellent, with anglers catching 15 to 30 bass per trip. Bluegill are on the beds and limit catches are being made. Crappie fishing is good.
Poquoson Flats: Puppy drum, speckled trout and small bluefish are being caught on the flats. Flounder are in the area as are cobia.
Beaverdam Reservoir: Bass fishing is good with fish to over 6 pounds caught this week. Nice crappie continue to be caught. Bluegill are active.
Mobjack Bay: Some nice speckled trout and puppy drum are being caught. Croaker are plentiful, and there are some good spot catches being made.
James River: Wilcox Bait and Tackle said croaker fishing is good. Some surprisingly nice spot for this early in the year have been caught. Striped bass are in the river, and catfish action remains good upriver. Sea mullet are being caught in good numbers, and there have even been some gray trout caught.
Back River Reef: More flounder are being caught. Croaker and sea mullet are the common catches. Cobia and red drum can be encountered.
Little Creek Reservoir: Largemouth bass fishing is excellent, with a lot of fish in the 2-to-3-pound range being caught. Some fish are breaking the 5-pound mark.
Buckroe Pier: Croaker and seas mullet are being caught. The first cobia catches have been made.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel: Some really nice sheepshead are being caught. Small bluefish and striped bass are around the islands. Both red and black drum are being caught, and cobia can be found roaming the area. Anglers sight-fishing for cobia are also finding large schools of red drum.
Eastern Shore: Flounder catches remain strong inside the seaside inlets. Big red and black drum continue to be caught, though the black drum bite is winding down.
Waller Mill Reservoir: Largemouth bass fishing remains strong. Good catches of perch are being made from the pier.
York River: Grafton Fishing Supply said croaker fishing is good and some nice spot are being caught. Speckled trout and puppy drum continue to be caught around the grass beds. Striped bass are in the river, and some flounder are being caught.