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By Dr. Julie Ball

IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

Mother’s Day Report

7 May 2010

With the arrival of even more species this week, the spring saltwater fishery is now in full swing. The largest of the new arrivals is the much anticipated black drum, in all its glory. These fish are docile creatures moving in large schools as they forage the bottom for clams, mussels, and other crustaceans. Black drum are making a slow start, with most fish coming from the seaside inlets along the Eastern Shore on clams. Larger fish are now hitting around the Bayside shoals, especially near buoy 13. Expect this trend to improve over the next few weeks.

Anglers are still finding red drum action along the shoals and breakers lining Smith Island and Fisherman’s Island, as well as the 9-foot shoal area. Tuan Vu of Chesapeake found his big 48-inch red while fishing near the CBBT this week. Michael Williams of Richmond also had a good day when he released a 48-inch bull on a grub while fishing near Fisherman’s Island. The best bait is peeler crabs, blue crabs, and bunker.

One new species created a stir this week when David Cafini of Suffolk pulled a huge 9.5-pouind grey trout from the water near the HRBT. Grey trout have been scarce in this area for several years. Maybe this is a sign of better days for this greatly missed species.

The folks at Ocean’s East 2 report the arrival of two other newly arriving species for the season, spot and sea mullet. Surf anglers are pulling small spot, along with sea mullet and medium-sized croaker out of the surf line off Ocean View and Little Creek. The bite is best after dark, with Fish Bite’s blood worm variety the top bait.

Croaker are available all over the lower Bay, but the best hauls are still coming from the James and York Rivers where squid and crab are doing the trick. Decent fish in the 17-inch range are filling coolers from near the Coleman Bridge, York River State Park, and the oyster beds near the James River Bridge.

It seems that the striped bass got the memo that the Bay’s Spring Trophy Striped Bass season opened last weekend. Anglers are suddenly experiencing excellent striper action all over the lower Bay. Top water action is the most popular method to entice fish exceeding the 32-inch minimum size requirement, especially along the pilings and islands of the CBBT and the HRBT. Several boats are also reporting catches while bottom fishing for drum near Fisherman’s Island. Several rockfish are exceeding 45-inches.

Flounder action around the CBBT is still off, but anglers working the various lower Bay and Eastern Shore inlets and shallower backwaters, are finding some keepers. Both Rudee Inlet and Lynnhaven River are providing some good fish, with a few flatfish ranging up to 5-pounds. Limits of decent flatties ranging from 3 to 5-pounds are also coming from the seaside inlets out of Wachapreague.

Bluefish are still the word inside Rudee Inlet where anglers are experiencing good catches of decent blues to five pounds. The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that anglers are also catching speckled trout up to 6-pounds within Rudee Inlet lately, with any color grub doing the trick. Speckled trout are also hitting within the Eastern Shore seaside inlets and the back waters of Oyster, where peeler crabs and Mirrolures are the best bait.

Although most anglers are becoming interested in other species, the deep drop scene is still luring a few boats to the deep when they can get out. As the dog fish begin to move out, more boats will target tilefish, black bellied rosefish and grouper along the 50-rathom curve and beyond.

Offshore fishing will begin to improve this month as the action off Carolina begins to move northward. The fleets out of Oregon Inlet are finding yellowfin tuna, along with a few billfish in the mix. For more information, go to www.drjball.com.

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