Way South Fishing Reports

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, July 19 Update:

The best action of the year is happening right now and fishing opportunities are seemingly endless. Cobia remain a prime target and are providing excellent action for sight fishers when the weather cooperates from Cape Charles through the CBBT area. We had recent reader reports of up to 10 landed in a day with the fish hitting plastics and eels, though one reader also noted that they are finicky at times and only one in three or four sighted was willing to actually bite when he was out. We also had a reader report of tough action chumming, with rays and sharks chewing so hard it was impossible to keep his baits in the water long enough for a cobia to find it. Griffins Guide Service spent some time way south in Virginia waters this week and found a good bite for striped bass and puppy drum in the shallows. Captain Steve said hitting the shallows early with topwater lures and swimbaits was the key for putting fish in the boat. They also encountered a few bull red drum which can be found throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay this time of year.

cobia at the chespeake bay bridge tunnel
Deane had a great day sight fishing near Cape Charles.

Sheepshead fishing is in its prime with big fish holding on all the bridges in this region of the Bay. The CBBT, HRBT, James River Bridge, and Lesner Bridge are just a few of the locations that anglers often catch sheepshead at. The Bay is known for having giant sheepshead and fish over five pounds are common. Fiddler crabs are the best bait for these fish and bottom sweeper jigs seem to work best for increasing hookup rates. The two biggest fish we heard of caught this week in the Virginia Beach area were an 18.5 pound fish and another just over 19 pounds. Those are truly world class sheepshead.

Spanish mackerel are prevalent along the Virginia Beach oceanfront and inside the Bay with trollers finding plenty to put in the box. Schools of mackerel and bluefish have been in the 15’ to-30’ range willing to hit metal spoons trolled behind number one or two planers. Anglers fishing at the Virginia Beach fishing pier are also having a lot of success casting Gotcha plugs and other metal lures. Some anglers have even caught their limit of mackerel at times. Spot, croaker, flounder, bluefish, and stingrays have been other common catches at the pier this week. No matter where you are fishing, there is a great chance to have success right now.

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, July 12 Update:

The heat has been ramping up lately as we are moving into the dog days of summer. It has been best to get out early or late to avoid the heat, but fish are still biting throughout the day. Ocean’s East Bait and Tackle let us know that the flounder fishing has been great in the Virginia Beach area this summer. The inshore wreck sites have been very productive, and they are also getting reports from anglers fishing the inlets that are reported steady catches of keeper fish. One boat fishing Rudee Inlet had a three-man limit of flounder last weekend while drifting bucktails. Big flounder are also being caught around the islands of the CBBT. Another summertime favorite for this area is bull redfish, and there have been plenty to chase down along the oceanfront and inside the Bay. Playin Hookey Charters had an excellent trip this week targeting the bulls and caught 10 with seven being classified as “trophies”. They also caught plenty of bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Recently, there has been some upwelling caused by strong winds which have dropped water temperatures along the oceanfront into the 60s. This has slowed the bite at times, but the key has been to search out warmer waters near the Bay until the ocean temps rise.

big cbbt redfish
The Kaufmans got a N-I-C-E surprise fishing near the CBBT! Photo courtesy of Keith Kaufman.

Way South correspondent Chuck Harrison checked in after a trip out targeting spadefish last weekend. Chuck said he and a friend fished at the second island of the CBBT without a bite, but started casting for bluefish and picked up a couple. They also trolled for Spanish mackerel between the first and second islands and picked up a few. The spades have been around the CBBT and the Chesapeake Light Tower, but boat pressure can make the bite finnicky at times. Sheepshead are also being caught at the various bridges in the Virginia Beach area including the CBBT, the HRBT, and the Lesner Bridge at the mouth of Lynnhaven Inlet. These fish are popular targets for kayak anglers because they hold tight to structure. Kayakers are able to get close to bridge pilings easier than larger boats and don’t have to worry about banging a fiberglass hull into the concrete. Fiddler crabs are their favorite bait, but sand fleas, green crabs, and chunks of blue crab will also work. The Chesapeake Bay is home to some trophy size fish and although our season is shorter than to the south some very nice fish are caught in our waters—five-pound sheepshead are common and there are often fish over 10 pounds caught.

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, July 5 Update:

The summer variety of fish have been offering excellent angling action in this region of the Chesapeake and though it’s the mixing pot for all our favorite angling opportunities, cobia are the main target for a lot of anglers these days. They’re being spotted and chummed up near the CBBT in solid numbers. Boats have reported that the bite on artificial lures has been finnicky and it has taken a lot of convincing and perfect casts to entice bites. One boat mentioned seeing over 20 cobia, but only hooking up on one. Live bait has been a much better option and cobia have been very willing to hit live eels and spot. The wind has still been an issue, but on calm days sight fishing has been a great way to locate them. Bull red drum are also still hanging around in good numbers in the vicinity of the CBBT. Big schools have been seen chasing bait at the surface on occasion which is an incredible bite to experience. FishTalk contributor David Rudow reported hooking into a new PB this week, a very rotund 51” that hit an eight-inch NLBN paddletail. A redfish frenzy isn’t something to bet on finding, so good electronics with side scan or live scope are great tools for locating fish below the surface. Rudow also noted that there’s a lot of pressure and the big reds are acting very spooky, so it’s critical to approach slowly and give them plenty of room. It’s been common to see fish but have them turn down one cast after the next.

redfish and flounder at the cbbt
There's plenty to get excited about near the CBBT right now, ranging from the bull redfish David tied into to the excellent flounder fishing Cody, Travis, Nate, and Ryan enjoyed.

There are also good numbers of a wide variety of other species in the area, and we heard from multiple readers who caught a mix with good numbers of nice flounder headlining a number of reports. There were also good numbers of bluefish, sheepshead, and Spanish mackerel this week. One reader also reported in with a half-dozen keeper croaker (plus some spot and throwback flounder) up to 12”, which we’re thrilled to hear about considering how lackluster croaker fishing has been in recent years. Fishbites bloodworm strips did the catching.

The Virginia Beach fishing pier has been a hotspot for shore-based anglers and there was good action there throughout the week. A hot mackerel bite was available a few days this week which can lead to a casting frenzy at the end of a pier. You have to watch out for other anglers’ lines, but if everyone can work together, most people can catch their share of fish. An angler fishing at the pier this week did just that and was able to catch his limit of mackerel casting metal lures. The bite is hot, and so is the weather, so hit the water early and catch them up this weekend!

March 1, 2024
Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, March 29 Update: Early spring has brought cooler temperatures which has slowed down many of the bites we are anticipating to kick off. Persistent wind and a few shots of rain of have made fishing conditions… Read more...
March 1, 2024
Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, March 1 Update: Days are getting longer, and temperatures are warming up. This means spring is approaching and the fishing action will soon start to heat up. Virginia Beach Sport Fishing let us know that the… Read more...
February 2, 2024
Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, February 23 Update: Fishing has been slower this week as colder temperatures have moved back into the region. Other than the boats heading into the ocean from Virginia Beach for the black sea bass bite,… Read more...