Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, November 26 Update:
Hi anglers, we hope you all enjoyed a fantastic Thanksgiving! This week we were happy to hear that although the bite has slowed down, anglers are still enjoying getting in on the last of the fall speckled trout bite. They’re leaving shallower and northern areas but there are still consistent reports that specks are at the HRBT and in the inlets along with some puppy drum, followed by schoolie stripers (mostly undersized) that’ll hit the same four- and five-inch soft plastics. Chartreuse, sparkly green, pearl, and white have been by far the best colors. If you’re looking to up your speck-to-striper ratio, sticking to sparkly curly tails is a great way to do so. If you’re hoping to catch a few more trout before the season shuts down, head out now, a cold snap or two could shut this down.
Tog have been taking green crab at the islands of the CBBT, though they are up tight to the structure and break-offs are common – bring plenty of rigs and bait. Many are small, too, and we did hear from one reader who said catching a dozen-plus fish didn’t pan out into any fit for the cooler. There are also growing numbers of stripers at the CBBT, with the best bite at night along the lightlines. Stripers are becoming more common through the rest of the area as well and we had a reader report from the James that trolling Stretch 25s proved productive. There are good reports of masses of larger rockfish now heading south along the Jersey shore, and the initial reports off the DE coast have started. So it might not be too much longer before pushing outside the demarcation line and trolling umbrellas and tandems will (hopefully!) produce ocean-sized slot fish.
Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, November 19 Update:
The cold snap hasn’t scared off the speckled trout yet, with Ocean’s East reporting that they’re still showing up around HRBT and inlets. Although they’ve begun to thin out slightly, we’re hoping that they’ll stick around for a bit longer. Most boats have been bringing them aboard with four-inch soft plastics and GULP! jigs or paddle-tails. Whites and greens have been standouts, especially glittery green twister-tail grubs. Hampton Correspondent Chuck Harrison got out to the HRBT as well and found a crowd there during the spell of nice weather. He also found the speckled trout, but unfortunately, those he reeled up were on the small side. We did hear from a reader who found fish fit for the cooler, however, while fishing the same general location with soft plastics.
Around the CBBT the action has focused on tog, caught up on the structure on fleas. Many have been on the small side but sorting through them does lead to keepers in the box. Anglers focused on stripers in the area are doing best at night, fishing the light-lines. We also heard from a reader who kayak-fished around light-lines in the Elizabeth this week and caught a dozen throwback rock plus his slot fish for dinner.
Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, November 12 Update:
Ocean’s East let us know that there are still specks hanging around shorelines and the inlets. While they’re beginning to thin out, warm weather has prevented them from fleeing in big numbers and the bite is still good. Anglers tossing twister-tails and sparkly soft plastics or fishing shrimp and/or live bull minnow under corks are bringing ‘em in. Most of the specks aren’t huge, but there are still some large ones being caught. Bigger tugs come from time to time from reds, mostly in the inlets, and often on shrimp baits. Rudee has had a fair number of reds moving through recently, and produced a few flounder this week as well.
Speaking of flounder: They have been headed out of shallow areas, and so can be found in many inlets and along the southern channel edges of the Bay as they migrate to deeper waters. Flounder have been tempted by soft plastics bounced off the bottom but many boats are reporting that they’ve had to cover quite a bit of water before hooking up on them. Ocean’s East also reported that there are some tautog around the CBBT, eager to take sand fleas. Although they said that many of the fish have been small, there are keepers mixed in, and working for them will eventually pay off.
Anglers hunting slot stripers have been finding a few, some near the HRBT and some near the CBBT where birds pop up on occasion but the better bite has been at night along light-lines. If you plan on looking for birds remember that last night's Live with Lenny was all about this topic, how fishing under birds has changed in recent years, and how to catch big fish out from the dinks. If you missed it, now's your chance to check it out (but it's a long one, so get comfy first):
Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, November 5 Update:
Dropping temps haven’t scared off the speckled trout, with Ocean’s East reporting that they’re still showing up around the HRBT and the inlets as well as on the eastern shore creeks. Nicer fish have shown up occasionally, with plenty of keepers in the mix. Although this week’s reports may have thinned out slightly, we’re thinking this is a function of tough weather conditions as much as anything else and that they’ll stick around for a good bit longer. Most boats have been bringing them aboard with four-inch soft plastics and GULP! jigs or paddle-tails, while others have been going the bait route with shrimp under corks. Whites and greens have been standouts, especially glittery green twister-tail grubs. Swimming plugs and small half-ounce white bucktails dressed with chartreuse, pink, and purple twisters have also been effective. Contributor Chuck Harrison checked in after making a foray to the HRBT between the gusts and crazy tides, and confirmed that neither the construction at the bridge-tunnel nor the recent weather has put off the fish. He and a friend caught five red drum to 25.5 inches and eight keeper speckled trout to about 19 inches, plus a number of smaller throwbacks. We also heard from a beachgoing reader who caught a few drum while casting baits from the sandy shore of the Bay.
Ocean’s East has reports of tautog around the CBBT, eager to take sand fleas. Although they said that many of the fish have been small, they suggested sticking with it if you want to take home some fish because keepers are mixed in, and working for them will eventually pay off. An oddball hold-out sheepshead or two still pops up here and there as well, though this action has tapered off and can be expected to end in the near future, and some flounder are still in town for those who work for them by slow-trolling minnow and Gulp!.