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By Dr. Julie Ball

IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach


09 April 2010

With air temperatures peaking near ninety degrees lately, the water temperatures are quickly rising, with the spring fishing heating up accordingly. The best news is the spring flounder run is showing promise in the lower Bay. Anglers are finding good numbers of keeper fish in the usual flatfish hot spots. The best hauls are still coming from the curve near the third island of the CBBT. Catches are also improving along the Baltimore Channel, buoy 36A, and Back River Reef. Rudee Inlet is also giving up a few keepers this week. On the Eastern Shore, the seaside inlets near Oyster and Wachapreague are producing fish up to 4-pounds. Most drifters are experiencing their best luck with bare hooks donned with strip bait, but minnows paired with squid will also work.

Tautog action is still going strong, especially within Bay waters. Tog anglers are scoring using fiddler crabs and clams on lower Bay structures and wrecks. The rocks and tubes of the artificial islands and the pilings near the High Rise section of the Bridge Tunnel are providing the best results. The Concrete Ships, Cape Henry wreck, Big D wreck, and the Yancy wreck are also providing some good action. Most folks are catching limits of fish ranging to around 4-pounds, but several 10-pounders are also in the mix. Deeper water wrecks are also producing nice togs, with fish to 15-pounds taking offered crab in water ranging to around 70 to 100-feet.

Anglers are happening upon a surprise catch while tog fishing lately. Atlantic cod, a species indigenous mostly to the colder waters off New England and Nova Scotia, are making an unprecedented showing in local waters recently. Although cod are occasionally in Virginia and North Carolina waters during the winter months, this tasty Newfoundland staple is a pleasant surprise for local wreck anglers, who are now catching scores of cod up to around 9-pounds. These fish have a delicate, white flakey flesh, and are historically used for the well-known New England “Fish and Chips.” The cod are hitting mostly crab and clam intended for tautog.

Some speckled trout continue to hit in the Elizabeth River, but the fish are moving out of the Cove and Hot Ditch areas. Anglers targeting specks from Bainbridge Boulevard, to the I-64 High Rise Bridge are finding some takers. Trolled lures are attracting the most strikes, with Mirrolures a top choice. Puppy drum continue to provide some action in the lower Bay shallows and inlets. Most any fresh bait or lure can provide excellent action.

Croaker are providing some pullage in Near the CBBT, off Willoughby, Ocean View, and the near Little Creek Jetties. The bigger hardheads are still coming from the lower Bay Rivers.

The deep water off the Virginia coast is still the place to be if you are in the mood to crank up tilefish, black bellied rosefish and grouper from over 300 feet of water. Be aware that plenty of pesky dog fish are also ready to compete for your bait right now.

Offshore anglers are still enjoying the bluefin tuna bite off Carolina. Many bluefins are taking jigs, which is a blast when hooked up to a tuna topping a hundred pounds, or more. Scattered yellowfin tuna are also providing some variety. For more information, go to www.drjball.com.

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