, 2014

The Fishing Line

By Capt. Billy Pipkin

Fishing over the past week yielded a mixed bag of success. Water temperatures continue to run 78 degrees in the bay and 80 degrees in the rivers.

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Fishing has afforded more diversity this week, although doing so requires some travel as catches are spread throughout the region.

Flounder fishing has improved slightly over the past week. Fishing efforts have been widespread with many locations providing limited action including The Cell (Buoy 41, Buoy 42 area), the Rappahannock River mouth, the Tangier flats, Smith Point and along numerous channel edges in the Rappahannock River. Drifting bull minnows with and without large strips of squid, flounder belly or spot filets have been enticing bites. Sometimes I prefer to troll very slowly with a bottom bumper rig but using fish finder rigs and jigging bucktails also work well for us.

Croaker fishing has been improving slightly. The main areas of effort have been along the channel edges both in the bay and rivers. The lower Rappahannock River has been holding good numbers of croaker with oyster beds and more shallow locations offering up the largest fish. This is also the case in most of the rivers and creeks.

Anglers will find that when chumming, large croaker are often caught in the mix of blues.  

Bluefish action remains fair on the S.W. Middle Grounds. There have been 1- to 3-pound specimens landing in the coolers up there. A large Taylor blue is prime for smoking on the grill. Try slapping a few filets on the smoker with a little dry rub and peppercorn seasoning.

Trolling action has picked up along the western shoreline but remains scattered. From the Piankatank River up to Windmill Point there have been schools of mixed blues with the first few Spanish mackerel.

The fish are relatively modest in size with some larger specimens up to a pound and a half hitting the rails. Spanish mackerel have been caught locally, but have yet to show up in abundance. Most remain in the lower bay. The western side of the shipping channel from the Rappahannock River mouth up to the Great Wicomico River has been offering up a few of the speedsters mixed in with the small bluefish. A faster 6- to 7-knot trolling speed will entice the mackerel to bite.

Speckled trout remain active in creeks and marshy areas. Interest for trout is growing stronger among sea kayaking enthusiasts. Several folks are renting kayaks from Ingram Bay Marina and are fishing the local flats. We’ve seen several successful outings for croaker and trout on fly rods and light spinning tackle.

When you experience a challenging time of slow fishing, remember, “Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet.”

Have a great week. Until next time…fair winds.

Capt. Billy Pipkin owns and operates Ingram Bay Marina and Capt. Billy’s Charter Service at the end of Rt. 609 in Wicomico Church. captbillscharters.com 580-7292.

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