• Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report - Virginia

    Capt. Billy's Charters
    (804) 580-7292 http://www.captbillyscharters.com/default.asp captbillypipkin@gmail.com
  • I grew up in a small rural waterfront area of Pasadena, Maryland. At age five, I had my first vessel, a sailing skiff converted to a rowboat. My father taught me how to fish and crab while ultimately helping me develop a love and respect for the water.

  • Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report - Virginia

    Temperatures this week ranged from the mid-40’s Monday night to the mid-70’s by Thursday. Welcome to typical fall weather in the Northern Neck. The water temperature has slipped into the upper 60's with slightly lower temperatures in the rivers. This recent drop will continue to promote strong fall migration.

    Bottom fishing enthusiasts are joyful as SPOT remain abundant in the rivers and creeks at this time. It has been a very consistent month in-shore, where catches are mixed with croaker, whiting and a variety of other species. The lower Rappahannock river is loaded with the tasty three quarter pound morsels. Most of the creeks and rivers offer good bottom fishing over hard shell bottom locations.

    STRIPED BASS have drawn a great deal of attention over the past week. The first week of the Virginia fall season offered mixed success.

    CHUMMING continues to provide a mix of BLUEFISH and STRIPED BASS on the Potomac, Maryland and Virginia waters. North of the border there's been a lot activity along the channel edges from above Point Lookout to the S.W. Middle Grounds where bluefish make up the bulk of catches. The striped bass are averaging 18-21 inches in length with a few each day stretching the tape further. The majority of these rockfish have remained to the north of Commonwealth waters. Good quantities of small rockfish are available for the patient angler who's willing to cull through a smorgasbord of catches.

    In Virginia waters, anglers have been chumming at the Asphalt Pile reef located Southeast of Dameron’s Marsh and at the Northern Neck reef located six miles due east of Ingram Bay. Both locations have offered rockfish this week yet bluefish are also outnumbering the rockfish on those locations.
    Many fish also remain in the creeks and feeder rivers where they will soon migrate off the shallows. Creeks and inlets continue to hold a decent number of rockfish as they feed on minnows and peanut bunker. The skinny water is providing good action right now. Andrea Levine of Wicomico Church landed a 25 inch rockfish while fishing from her kayak in the shallows of Ingram Bay this week.

    Bluefish remain in the 1-4 pound class and are plentiful. The blues provide an added dimension to fishing this month. Their aggressive fighting is always welcomed especially in the light tackle arena. I recommend using #2 long shank hooks when bluefish are in the chumming mix. Although a long shank helps counter the bluefish’s sharp teeth, you will likely still find yourself “hook poor” through the course of a day. A wire leader works best but rockfish don’t bite as well on the stout, more visible tackle.

    CASTING and JIGGING is providing fast action as fish have been found in both the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers. A few have been landed outside of Windmill Point both on the surface and schooled up on the bottom. Other locations providing casting as well as TROLLING action are below Tangier Island from the Target ship to the #1 Buoy in the lower sound, and along the channel edges at and around Smith Point. These fish are surface feeding periodically throughout the day with the morning and late afternoon hours being the most consistent. They tend to surface as the minnows are schooled and then disappear quickly as the bait disperses. The fish usually drive another ball of bait to the surface nearby within minutes.
    On the Potomac River, the Coles Point area has held schooling blues and small rockfish.
    Small Drone, Tony Accetta or Hopkins spoons are providing success. One half ounce blue/chrome Ratl-Traps are working well for casting action. I strongly recommend pinching the barbs on the treble hooks or replacing them with swinging single hooks. This makes the fish easier to handle when boated and reduces release mortality.

    Come join us for a wonderful time fishing and enjoy the pleasant weather this weekend. Until next week…Fair winds.

    Capt. Billy Pipkin owns and operates Ingram Bay Marina and Capt. Billy’s Charters at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River. (804) 580-7292 or www.captbillyscharters.com

    73 degrees with the rivers registering slightly less. This drop in temperature promotes great fishing.

    BOTTOM FISHING continues to be popular among anglers in the rivers. A variety of species is available throughout the region, and most are within the range of even the smallest boats. With SPOT fishing blossoming, the oyster beds and hard bottoms have been steadily worked over. Despite heavy fishing in the lower rivers, catches are holding up well. Sizes remain around the 3/4 pound class. The bloodworm population also takes a big hit in late September and early October, as that is the preferred bait among anglers.

    The mouth of the Rappahannock river is a popular area at this time. From Broad creek to Gwynn’s Island you can gather a nice catch. You may have to look around a bit to find that good hard bottom or oyster bed, but when you do, the cooler will get small quick. I do encourage anglers to only keep the number of fish that they can comfortably clean and eat. Instead of wasting a precious resource, practice catch and release after your personal need is reached.

    FLOUNDER remain available as they are spread out over the region. There are few truly hot spots, yet legal fish are being landed in the lower rivers, the Cell, and along the channel edges as they begin to migrate. Strips of squid or cut bait works well when fished behind a bucktail jigged along the bottom. Gulp baits also work well in this application.

    CHUMMING has been showing promise with the best locations this week being in the Potomac river off of Lewisetta and on the S.W. Middle Grounds. They continue to swell with BLUEFISH up to four pounds. The lumps on the S.W. Middle Grounds are also holding some stripers but consist of mainly 2-4 pound bluefish

    In Virginia waters, the artificial reefs are holding mostly Bluefish with a mix of a few drum and rockfish in the catches. Many of the drum have fallen into the legal (18"-26") slot limit this week. The ROCKFISH season opens on October 4th, so we have a week to catch and release them before they are targeted and become dinner.

    TROLLING action has also been good this week. Most of the action has been either blind trolling over schools of shiners or near a few picking birds. Surface feeding schools are rare, yet when a school is located, a mess of fish can be landed without difficulty. I have noticed that the fish, especially SPANISH MACKEREL are holding over the deeper water of the channel edges more than in the shallow water. This is a distinct sign of the fall migration. Sometimes a #2 planer is helpful in reaching the deeper schools. The mackerel are running large this week with a few tipping the scales at over four pounds.

    On your next trip, don't forget to share the fishing experience with a friend. Explore new locations and friendships. You will soon come to realize there is much more to fishing than merely catching. I will share a quote that comes to mind: “Your headiest success as an angler begins when you care more about fishing than the fish” - Arnold Gingrich

    Until next week…Fair winds.

    Capt. Billy Pipkin owns and operates Ingram Bay Marina and Capt. Billy's Charters located at the end of Remo Rd. in Wicomico Church. at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River. 580-7292 captbillyscharters.com
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