Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, November 2021

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, November 26 Update:

Thanks to a combination of weather growing tougher and angler activity dropping we didn't hear much from the coast this week, but Capt. Cook from First Light checked in and noted a solid bass bite plus tog on the wrecks off Delaware. Capt. Monty is running when the winds allow and still enjoying a fantastic sea bass bite at the wrecks and reefs off OC, and reported seeing them "stacked 30 feet deep" at one point this week. And the last check from Capt. Drew on the Big Worm, fishing out of Virginia Beach these days, was also of exceedingly good sea bass action plus a flounder here and there. When the current winds blow themselves out fishing should still remain good for those dropping squid strips (for the bass) and crab baits (for the tog). As for offshore, it should be prime time for day-swording right now but we weren't able to find anyone who went out and proved it in recent days.

angler with porgies
​​​​​Eddie pulled up some nice porgies among the sea bass, while fishing on the Dauntless.​​​​​​

There are scattered but unconfirmed reports of rockfish caught from the northern beaches in Delaware, and much better reports flowing out of Jersey of stripers in the suds. Old Inlet is reporting just sharks in the surf thus far plus a few pics from trollers off the beach. Stay tuned - oceanic rockfish should be cranking up here in the coming weeks and your chance to pull a big one through the suds could be in the near future. 

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, November 19 Update:

News on the docks this week has been the stellar sea bass bite on the inshore wrecks. Boats headed out are often limiting out, and sometimes returning in time for lunch. Capt. Monty on the Morning Star is reporting limit-hitting catches on sea bass, though he also notes that it’s required making rather long runs recently. In addition to crazy good sea bass fishing, the occasional doormat flounder is popping up. Although most are in the medium-size range, catching the big ones has been an unexpected treat for the boats that have enjoyed it. Founder are also just about done making their way through the inlets to head offshore and south. The influx has provided great fishing but at this point in the northern areas the last of them are beginning their journey, and anglers are enjoying the last of their season. Below the VA line more are still available as they leave the coastal inlets and the Chesapeake.

red snapper fish
Along with sea bass Allie found a great bonus-fish off the VA coast this week - a red snapper!

In the Ocean City inlet and around the Rt. 50 bridge and along the public bulkheads, the taugtog bite is taking off. Sandfleas have been the bait of choice, and are producing plenty of fish. Although the majority are smaller, keepers do show up and it’s common to have plenty enough to share after a day enjoying the water. Dave Moore from Shark Whisperers checked in late this week and said it’s sometimes crowded in public areas like the bridge, where anglers are also catching some stripers at night. Most are throwbacks but a few keepers do show up in the mix. Plenty of tog are also biting at the CBBT though a better ratio of keepers is found on the wrecks farther out. Fleas are the ticket close to home, crab baits farther from shore.

The surf has grown quiet in norther areas of the region, but in Virginia some speckled trout are starting to get caught from the beach as they head southward. One reader noted that Sandbridge had produced a few fish on shrimp.

We heard no word from offshore this week, though the sword bite should be a good option right about now and the tilefish are a solid backup plan.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, November 12 Update:

It should be prime time for day-swording right now, but the biggest challenge is finding a suitable weather-window and we didn’t manage to get any solid reports from anglers who made it out and found the billfish. Inshore sea bass fishing isn’t hitting snooze on us anytime soon, however. Boats that’ve been headed out to the wrecks are enjoying stellar days of fishing, often finding many hefty bass. Capt. Monty on the Morning Star reported some great sea bass action this week including a full limit catch for everyone aboard early in the week followed by another boat limit mid-week. The OC Fishing Center heard similar stories from other boats hitting the docks, with sea bass and flounder stars of the week.

tautog caught in ocean city
Some keeper tautog can be found along inlet and bay rocks. Photo courtesy of Dave Moore

Dave Moore from Shark Whisperers checked in to let us know that at least some of the stripers in the Ocean City bay are keeper-sized, having picked up a 29-incher (on top of throwbacks) last week. He also says tog are on the rocks and while most are throwbacks there are fish up to 18-inches chewing on fleas.

Some flounder have been hanging around the inlets and can be found within them and on surrounding channel ledges. The fishing center reported that bouncing soft plastics along bottom was a favorite way for anglers this week to go after them, although some opted to use cut baits. The flatties are being pulled up in better numbers the farther south you go, including down to the mouth of the Bay on the edges near the CBBT.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, November 5 Update:

With little action reported offshore, quite possibly due to difficult weather conditions much of the recent past, most of the intel on the bite along the coast was focused inshore and from shore. Boats hitting the wrecks continue to report great sea bass catches, and limit days are not surprising for boats spending a good chunk of time on the water. Captain Monty on the Morning Star reported that many of his clients hit that mark when he was able to get out this week and triggerfish and cutlass fish also came over the rails. Further inshore, however, we’ve seen a drop in the number of flounder leaving the water as they move out for winter. Anglers fishing the Ocean City inlet and in Indian River reported limited catches, with most caught on drifted baits along bottom in the inlets. Better flounder reports are still coming in from the Virginia Beach area, where there are more flatfish mixed in with the bass on the wrecks as well as the channel edges at the mouth of the Bay. Dave Moore from Shark Whisperers checked in after kayak fishing the OC bay and finding moderate numbers of tog, but good quality sizes including five fish between 14- and 17.5-inches. He noted that there were also some under-slot puppy drum and rockfish caught around the inlet and bridge.

angler with a sea bass on the morning star
Sea bass are snapping on the wrecks and reefs. Photo courtesy of Capt. Monty Hawkins

We didn’t get any solid intel from the beaches north of Virginia this week, as the surf is still recovering from the big storm and is only recently getting back to normal. In Virginia Beach, however, we had a reader report of solid action on spot and kingfish (roundhead) in the suds on squid strips. Reports of drum in the surf seem to have fallen off a cliff following the storm.