Oceans East let us know that if you want a good day of fishing, go after the drum. Drum have been plentiful on bayside this season, and both red and black varieties are hitting crabs and clam baits. In Rudee there are still some puppy drum and speckled trout, though the bite has calmed down a bit, especially for the trout. Targeting bluefish has also allowed anglers to get some serious action—though not in as great numbers as a week or two ago big fish are still being found right in the surf off beaches and jetties on both bay and ocean-side. The bluefish are hitting cut bait, bunker, and spoons off the rocks. Cobia are now also being caught oceanside, however, they are not in season. Most are biting two-ounce pink and white jigs, as well as eels.
In the bay flounder are still being caught, but the bite slowed down this week due to muddy waters from this week's rain and storms. As things clear up flounder fishing should begin to improve again; anglers who have been targeting the flatfish have been using squid, minnow, and Gulp.
Bottom fishermen in the bay and southern tributaries have discovered that croaker are in the building. Bloodworm, squid strips, and peeler crab fished on a top-and-bottom rig are the best baits, and as is usually the case, the bite is best in the evening. Some kingfish (sea mullet) are also showing up mixed in among the croaker.
More good news from down south, folks! With water temperatures having risen, many species are being found on both bayside and oceanside inlets. Puppy drum are being found under most bridges, as are rockfish. Most of the rockfish being caught are smaller in size, with many between 20 and 23 inches. Flounder haven't quite lived up to expectations lately, and murky waters could be a contributing factor in why we've seen something of a lull lately with the flatfish. Speckled trout, meanwhile, have been plentiful in Rudee Inlet.
All the species mentioned above have been hitting blood worm and green night crawlers, however, live minnow have been working best overall, Chesapeake Bait and Tackle reports.
Catfish, white perch, stripers and flounder have all been found in the lower Bay rivers in deep cuts or around structure such as rock piles on the bottom. The guys at Chesapeake Bait and Tackle also mentioned how flounder have been hit or miss, but said that with water temperatures warming up, more are being found than in weeks past on both bay and oceanside. The challenge right now is finding some cleaner water, since flounder are sight-feeders which strike best when the water's clear.
The fishing's still looking good down south! Around Rudee and Lynnhaven inlets, puppy drum, speckled trout, and flounder are plentiful. Throwing soft plastics and jigging have been successful in catching all three species of fish, with the best colors being chartreuse, white, and also black. For the flounder, many anglers are also using the classic squid-minnow combination on a fluke killer rig. For the time being, bluefish are still around too, schooling in high numbers - some being caught are up to 15 pounds. Anglers targeting them are using spoons and gotcha plugs (think: tooth-proof) as well as cut bait on hooks rigged with wire leader. This has been one of the best runs of big spring bluefish within recent memory, so if a chopper blue is on your bucket list, act now before they depart.
A little farther south cobia are showing up in North Carolina's territory and as the water warms up they should move up the coast to Virginia soon - very soon. Red drum are being found oceanside, and yellowfin have been caught down the coast to Hatteras pulling ballyhoo. Mahi have also been caught offshore this week on green machines and naked ballyhoos, and as water warms up should become more abundant.
Ocean’s East in Virginia Beach is a bright spot in this week’s reports, saying that red and black drum are biting live crab, live gudgeons, minnow, and Gulp lures on the Eastern Shore. Puppy drum on the flats have been biting crabs, and cut menhaden, croaker, and spot. Flounder and speckled trout in the inlet have been biting on white and chartreuse soft plastics, as well as cut menhaden and saltwater minnow. Flounder are being found around Wachapreague—and all the way down and around to Hampton Roads—in abundance. On top of that, most being caught are decently sized.
To target speckled trout, Chesapeake Bait and Tackle recommended going back into the Rudee Inlet and casting bloodworms and artificial grubs. In the same area, white perch are also hitting night crawlers.