, 2015

The Fishing Line

By Capt. Billy Pipkin

Action has picked up this week with catches spread throughout the region. 

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With the water temperature in the bay up to 76 degrees, an influx of fish have made their way into local waters. The highlight for the week has been cobia and flounder.

Cobia fishing has expanded into the middle bay over the past week. Although they are thick in the lower bay, particularly around the bridge tunnel, there have been several available outside of the Rappahannock River and in the lower Tangier Sound.

It’s common during the summer to find single cobia cruising buoys and areas of structure. In many cases, we are able to gather interest by casting a bucktail to them. If several are seen in an area, a good method of attack is chumming. The chum will draw them close to the boat where your live bait will entice bites. Cobia, a distinctive color of brown, are sometimes referred to as “men in brown suits.”  So, if you come across what appears to be a UPS man swimming around your boat, try your luck at catching one of these exciting and tasty fish.

Flounder action has been steadily picking up as more have moved into the regular hot spots this week. The Cell area near Buoys 41 and 42 is yielding fair numbers this week. Anglers have landed a few near the Rappahannock River bridge this week as well. Other locations holding some of the flat fish are Smith Point and the upper edges of the shipping channel near Buoy 62. 

There are several presentations that will work for these fish. The old standby is the fish finder rigged with a kahle hook behind a skirt and colored beads. They can be baited with long strips of squid, spot or flounder belly. 

I like to sweeten the offering with a large bull minnow. Tiny Spot also make great baits for flounder. Bottom bumper rigs and large bucktails  jigged while drifting slowly will land a few fish in your cooler as well. Whatever your method, patience is necessary when flounder fishing. Larger baits work well when targeting the bigger ‘doormat’ size fish.

Bottom fishing has exploded and is available in most rivers and creeks at this time. Spot are running large and croaker are becoming more available with sizes improving slightly.

Bluefish action has been good even though surface feeding schools are not always present. Blind trolling between the mouths of the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers has been providing us with a mix of small taylor blues mixed with a run of Spanish mackerel this week. The mackerel are averaging a modest 14 to 18 inches. It’s usually necessary to increase your trolling speed well over 5 knots to land the speedy mackerel.

With good weather forecasted, I expect a lot of activity on the water this weekend. Relax and enjoy your time on the water. We have a few openings over the next week so give us a call if you would like to book a trip.  Life’s short, Fish often.

Until next week,  Fair winds.

Capt. Billy Pipkin owns and operates Captain Billy’s Charters and Ingram Bay Marina at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River in Wicomico Church. 580-7292. captbillyscharters.com.

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