Crab dredge fishery will be closed this winter | Fishing report


The Virginia Marine Resources Commission decided to keep the wintertime crab dredge fishery closed again this season. Though the crab population has increased since last year, it is still not at a level healthy enough for the commission to reopen this fishery. This decision is supported by most recreational anglers, but it means bait for tautog fishing will be more difficult to obtain this winter.

The instructors for the Saltwater Sportsman National Seminar on Jan. 9 at Thomas Nelson Community College have been announced. They are Dr. Ken Neill III, Beth Synowiec, captain Pete Bregant, captain Jot Owens, captain Zachery Hoffman, Ric Burnley, Jeffrey Liederman, captain David Wicker, Hunter Southall, Colin Campbell, captain Jorj Head and George Poveromo.

Topics to be covered include striped bass, flounder, sheepshead, cobia, red and black drum, speckled trout, wreck fishing, tactics for fishing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, deep-dropping, kite fishing, marlin, wahoo, king mackerel, dolphin, tuna, electronics, weather patterns and other topics. For more information, visit

There will be a boating safety course at 9:15 a.m. Nov. 7 at the Hampton Bass Pro Shops. Register for free at

A look at what is happening at some of our local fishing spots:

Chickahominy River:
Catfish action is excellent. Bass and pickerel are active, with some good top-water bites. Crappie fishing is good.

James River:
Wilcox Bait and Tackle reported that a lot of striped bass are being caught. Most are in the 18-inch range, but some more than 30 inches long are being caught. The best of the action is at bridges after dark. Speckled and gray trout are being caught. Again, most are small, with some being keeper-sized. An occasional trophy-sized speckled trout has been caught at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. Large catfish are being caught in the river up above the Chickahominy.

Mobjack Bay:
Small speckled trout and striped bass are abundant. More keeper-sized striped bass are being caught.

Eastern Shore:
Speckled trout and striped bass are being caught in the bayside creeks. Tautog are becoming more active as the water cools.

Little Creek Reservoir:
Bass are being caught, but the real action is being provided by pickerel. These toothy creatures have been aggressively biting this week.

Back River Reef: The tautog bite is good. There are still some flounder around, and there are pigfish and pufferfish around the reef.

Offshore: Bishop Fishing Supply said wahoo were the main catch of the offshore boats this week, with the best action being around the 50-fathom curve east of the Cigar. Yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, dolphin and a few white marlin are also being caught in the same area. Bottom fishermen are bringing in good catches of tilefish and sea bass. Wrecks about 20-30 miles offshore are holding good numbers of sea bass, triggerfish and flounder.

Poquoson Flats:
Small speckled trout seem to be everywhere. Almost all are too small to keep but hold promise for next year. Striped bass in the 16- to 20-inch range are numerous.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel:
Tautog fishing is good. Striped bass catches are picking up, with fish to 40 inches being caught. There are still some flounder and red drum around.
Beaverdam Reservoir: Bass and pickerel are being caught. Top-water lures are productive early and late in the day. Crappie and perch catches are picking up.

Waller Mill Reservoir:
Good numbers of largemouth bass are being caught, but the striped bass bite is generating the most excitement.

York River:
Grafton Fishing Supply reported that more speckled trout are being caught. Striped bass are being caught in good numbers. Catfish action is very good above West Point.

Buckroe Fishing Pier:
Bluefish and speckled trout have been the most common catch this week. False albacore moved within casting distance earlier this week for an uncommon catch from the pier.

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette