, 2015

The Fishing Line

By Capt. Billy Pipkin

Fishing in the bay and rivers is showing improvement as more fish are migrating into the area. The migration had been slow but it’s quickly making up ground. The bay water temperature, now at 67 degrees, is luring many fish into the region.

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Striped bass fishing is in the transition between trolling and chumming. The larger specimens in mid and southern Maryland locations have begun funneling through the main shipping channel of Virginia waters. The influx of smaller striped bass is joining the ranks of larger fish in the lower rivers and bay waters. The Virginia spring rockfish season is in effect. You may keep 2 fish (18-28 inches) per person. One of the two may be over 32 inches.

Trolling has been yielding 24- to 38-inch fish each day along the channel edges from Solomons Island down to Buoys 70 and 72 west of the Northwest Middle Grounds. There have been scattered catches around the Buoy 65 area just north of Smith Point this week.

In Virginia waters, the western channel edges from Smith Point light down to Buoy #1 outside of the Great Wicomico River are holding bait and a few fish as well. Catches are not consistent in any one location due to constant migration. Each day it is necessary to work the channel edges at different depths as well as in a north/south pattern. When schools of menhaden are found, the fish are usually nearby.

Small 6- to 8-inch profile baits are doing a good job when mixed with a few 9-inch tandem parachute rigs. We continue to fish with planer boards as these fish remain relatively high in the water table. Parachutes are the primary baits with white being the most effective color and chartreuse working better when the water is churned up and also during periods of dark, overcast skies.

In the Potomac river, the fish are occasionally found in shallower locations of less than 30 feet of water.

The smaller rockfish can be found while chumming or trolling small bucktail baits donning 4-inch twister tails. Areas of structure and shallow water locations are holding the greatest numbers of the 18- to 22-inch fish. This combination is working particularly well on the Rappahannock river.

Croaker have begun to bite in the local rivers and are prowling along the shallow flats during the evening  hours.

Spot have already started biting in the tributaries, showing signs of good fishing this summer.

Flounder are moving through the Virginia Beach oceanfront on the tail end of the huge Drum bite that hit the past two weeks. Catches should become more consistent in the lower bay this week.

My charters have been catching a good number of fish and variety is picking up nicely. Be safe this weekend. I look forward to sharing Memorial Day Weekend with everyone.

Enjoy your week and until next time…Fair winds.

Capt. Billy Pipkin owns and operates Ingram Bay Marina and Capt. Billy’s Charter Service in Wicomico Church at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River. 580-0401, captbillycharters.com

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