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By Dr. Julie Ball

IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

Dr. Julie Ball's Website

IGFA - International Game Fish Association

26 March 2010

Spring fever is in the air, and anglers are anxious to jump at any chance to wet a hook. With the recent warm weather, hundreds of boats hit the water looking for some saltwater fishing action. The winner was tautog.

The inshore tautog bite is on fire. Plenty of keeper tog averaging to around 6-pounds are coming from the Bridge Tunnel, with a few fish even pushing to over 10-pounds. Blue crabs and fiddler crabs are the top inshore bait. Deeper wrecks are giving up the bigger fish. Captain Neal Taylor of Virginia Beach and his crew aboard the Seaduction had a great tog outing this week. The crew landed eight citation fish while fishing at the Triangle Wrecks. Neal took the lead in the state for the year with a 16-pound, 1-ounce bruiser. A clam and crab “sandwich” was the bait combination of choice.

Striped bass along the coast become officially off limits after this weekend, but most anglers will hardly notice. Most are focusing on intercepting the newly arriving spring species. Although the action is still slow, anglers are making their way to their standby flounder holes. Scattered catches of flatfish up to 23-inches are coming from several areas around the lower Bay, with the best catches on the outgoing tide near the 8-mile marker along the Bridge Tunnel. The appealing bait is drifted squid or strip bait. A few keepers are also coming from around the 3rd and 4th islands. On the Eastern Shore, flounder are showing promise in the usual hot spots in Quincy, Wachapreague, and Oyster.

Puppy drum are still providing action within Rudee Inlet and the Elizabeth River. These young redfish are aggressive feeders and offer a great fight on light tackle. According to the folks at Ocean’s East 2, the word is that the speckled trout action is sketchy this week. A few nice specks are still taking lures in some areas within the Elizabeth River. Mirrolures are enticing the most strikes.

Todd at Bayside Bait and Tackle reports that croaker are showing up in local commercial nets. It is only a matter of time until anglers begin catching them on hook and line. With a few more warm days, the croaker action should take off. Pier anglers are manning the rails at the Little Island and Ocean View fishing piers hoping to intercept the hardheads when they become hungry.

For a change of pace, several anglers are targeting shad within the nearby rivers and tributaries. These fish are a blast on light line, but be sure to check your regulations before you go.

A few boats were able to make the long trip to deep dropping territory off the Virginia coast last week. With the dog fish still out in force, blueline tilefish catches are a challenge. The Rudee Angler and the Rudee Whaler out of the Fishing Center in Rudee Inlet took their boats to the edge of the Canyon last week where they loaded up with quality fish, with some bluelines weighing to 19-pounds. The crew also enjoyed a good catch of big black bellied rosefish from the deeper water.

The offshore action off Carolina is heating up, with reports of yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, and wahoo keeping trollers happy. For more information, go to Dr. Julie Ball's Website.

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