By Dr. Julie Ball, fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

Afternoon thunderstorms and blazing heat can make fishing efforts difficult at times, but in general the weather is good. So what’s on everyone’s mind right now? Mostly cobia and flounder.

The flatfish bite slowed a little this week, but anglers are still coming through with steady catches of fish. Although the number of trophy doormats is down, with respectable fish ranging from 3 to 6-pounds, no one is complaining. The bigger fish are still coming from live bait and jigs offered along varying bottom structures toward the lower part of the Bay. The Cell, Back River Reef, the CBBT structure, and inshore wrecks are just a few of the best flounder hot-spots lately. Drifters are also having good luck with strip baits near buoy 42 and the Thimble Shoal Channel near Cape Henry. The outgoing tide is providing the best action. Both Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets are still giving up good numbers of keeper flatfish for drifters.

The cobia scene backed down some this week, and the catches are still not the huge fish anglers are hoping for. Smaller fish are offering action for sight casters looking for top water opportunities in open water along the lower Bay channels and markers. A few larger fish are coming from the structure of the CBBT, with tossed live baits enticing the best action. The ocean front is also giving up a few cobia recently, as well as Bluefish Rock, Latimer Shoals, and the Nine-Foot Shoal areas, where chummers are still finding a few takers.

Schools of big red drum are meandering about the lower Bay, especially near the 4th island of the CBBT, providing some great sight casting opportunities. Schools of jack crevelle are making their yearly stop in Lower Bay waters, briefly flashing unsuspecting anglers before disappearing into the depths.

Sheepshead are faring well, with most of these structure-oriented fish coming from the Bay Bridge Tunnel proper, with clams and fiddler crabs the best bait. Tons of aggressive grey triggerfish will also take your offering in the same areas. They are fun to catch and will hit most any bait. Spadefish ranging to about seven pounds are available at the Chesapeake Light Tower, the Tower Reef, the CBBT and the Cell.

Spanish mackerel are still dominating the trolling scene along the ocean front. The bigger fish are coming from shallower water on small Drone or Clark spoons trolled at a quick clip. The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that most of the fish are ranging from 14 to 20-inches, with Taylor bluefish rounding out catches. King mackerel have been sighted skying along the Virginia Beach shorelines this week, with only rumors of a few mysterious hook-ups.

Croaker are everywhere from the HRBT to Cape Henry. According to the folks at Chris’ Bait and Tackle, the backwater croaker run out of Oyster is not strong yet, but plenty of folks are there to try their luck. Decent hardheads ranging to around a pound are biting near buoy 42, and off of Kiptopeke State Park. Some nice fish are also coming from Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets along with some spot weighing to around ¾-pounds. The folks at Ocean’s East 2 report that gray trout are making a showing around the lower Bay lately. Smaller trout biting off of Kiptopeke, and some 2-pounders are surprising flounder anglers around the High Rise section of the CBBT.

Virgina tarpon are drawing hard core anglers to the shallow waters of Oyster, with reports of sightings and hook-ups still trickling in. Be prepared to also tangle with big Southern rays and sharks in the hot sun and flies in these same areas.
Deep dropping is still a good choice, with quality blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, blackbellied rosefish, and nice grouper on the menu. Jumbo black seabass are also available mixed in with the tilefish. Amberjack are still taking jigs and live bait offered on offshore wrecks and at the South Tower.

The offshore bite is still good, with the billfish scene improving daily. Boats are raising billfish in spreads recently, with white marlin and a smattering of blues exciting bluewater trollers. Scattered yellowfin tuna are still hitting in the Canyon, with the best action along the 400 and 500 lines in around 50 to 100 fathoms recently. Wahoo are becoming more common, with some big gaffer dolphin showing here and there, along with a few surprise mako sharks.