Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 2021

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 29 Update:

Hi FishTalkers – due to excessive winds throughout the region recently, most of this week’s reports date back to Monday or last weekend. And, considering the severity of the weather at the moment all bets are off for the immediate future. Stripers hadn't been so easy to nail down as they've been on the move, with trolling tandems and Mojos proving the best way to locate a fish or two. Anglers choosing to jig were landing fish as well, but many have been running into frustrating days attempting to locate fish and cover lots of water. Regardless of if you trolled or jigged, looking for birds helped nail down the fish’s general vicinity and a good pair of binoculars can be just as important as a fishfinder.

stripers in the bay caught on jigs
They're out there - stay on the move 'till you find 'em!

At the CBBT, the tautog were beginning to wake up and bite in earnest. Sand fleas and crab chunks both get ‘em biting. Flounder catches reportedly dipped a good bit through the week, but the red drum and speckled trout bites have made up for it. Oceans East reported that specks are running strong in the Hampton area and around the HRBT. Most anglers are opting to use four-inch plastics and Gulp!s in white, chartreuse, and root-beer colors. They’ve been a super active fishery and we’re hoping that they stick around for a little while longer and this storm doesn’t mess everything up too much — fingers crossed!! Drum can be located sporadically around the CBBT as well, but they’re not sticking to any one area. They’ve been taking a variety of cut bait and lures.

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 22 Update:

Baitfish moving down the Chesapeake are bringing with them tons of activity, much of which is happening in Virginia waters near the mouth of the Bay—when the wind is calm enough to enjoy it. With this being the third weekend striped bass are open to catch, many anglers are seeking them out along shorelines and channel edges. The shorelines and river mouths are tending to hold good numbers — boats that cruised them this week frequently reported that casting soft plastics to shore produced stripers. The shoreline catch has been varied in size, although the bulk is under Virginia’s 20-inch minimum size. Mid-20s fish are popping up, though, and anglers trolling the channel edges and near the CBBT have had good results landing striped bass trolling umbrellas and spoonbrellas behind inline weights. We also had some great reports from trollers this week that hooked up on multiple bluefish and a few big ones on the end of their line. There are even a few and far between Spanish mackerel still showing up in the mix, delivering a late-season treat for those luck enough to find 'em.

october mackerel
October may be late for mackerel, but a few lucky anglers are still hooking into them.

Speckled trout are another hot commodity. They were slamming live shrimp, small paddle tails, and topwater lures in Rudee Inlet, Little Creek, and Lynnhaven this week. The HRBT zone is also holding good numbers of keeper-sized specks. In Rudee, good redfish catches were reported alongside the specks.

The CBBT is still holding sheepshead, but numbers coming in this week weren’t on target with last. That bite will likely drop out but expect the tog action to be on the upswing in the coming weeks. Crab chunks and fleas will likely be the ticket. Some big bull reds are being lucked into as they push out in their fall migration but finding and targeting them has been tough thanks to the recent breezes.

Note: a Notice to Mariners was issued last Tuesday (sorry we neglected to include this last week) for shoaling at the east end of the south jetty and south side of the channel at Rudee. Reported depth is down to five feet. Hopefully this won’t get much worse but we’ll stay tuned and pass on info as it becomes available.

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 15 Update:

Hampton Correspondent Chuck Harrison says he finally had a solid trip to the HRBT for specks, and he and his friend John had five chunky keeper fish up to 22 inches plus throwbacks, and also an 18-inch gray trout. He noted that his old hotspots, though disturbed by the construction currently going on there, proved productive. If you’re not familiar with fishing the HRBT for specks and want to give it a shot, be sure to check out Chuck’s article How to Hit the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

hrbt fishing
If you want to give the HRBT a shot while the specks are running, be sure to check out How to Hit the HRBT!

Oceans East also reported that specks are running strong in the Hampton area and around the HRBT, confirming Chuck’s report. Most anglers are opting to use four-inch plastics and Gulp!s in white, chartreuse, and root-beer colors. They’ve been a super active fishery and we’re hoping that they hang around for most or all of October, which they should.

Reds can be located sporadically, but they’re not sticking to any one area. They’ve been taking a variety of cut bait (shrimp under corks is said to be getting more and more effective) and lures and the best reports for them are coming from the inlets. Stripers are becoming relatively easy to find right now as many have recently moved down the Bay, though large numbers are undersized. Searching for them under birds along channel edges has been popular, and many anglers are reporting catching keepers in the low-20-inch range after tossing a few smaller ones over the side. Running soft plastics or metals through schools is a great way to get them to bite, and if it doesn’t pan out, jigging under them is well worth a shot as well.

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 8 Update:

*We apologize for the light reports this week, but due to exhibiting at the U.S. Powerboat Show in Annapolis (come see us this weekend at booth F7) and some personal matters we have not been able to gather as much intel as usual. Stay tuned for next week’s reports!

Grafton Fishing Supply in Yorktown let us know that there is a decent speckled trout bite and flounder as well as puppy drum. spot croaker making their fall run, with some decent yellow bellies being caught. The fall striped bass bite is also really heating up in the southern Chesapeake.

speckled trout
Specks are still snappin' in the southern Bay.

Chuck Harrison reports that with the steady winds blowing hard out of the north, he has been forced to stay near the HRBT this past week catching Spanish mackerel on a jig. Small gray trout are still hanging around the South Island of the HRBT. He met some kayak anglers on the water who had caught several specks up to 22 inches.

Atlantic Tackle in Virginia Beach let us know speckled trout fishing the Rudee loop is hot right now. Spot, croaker, puppy drum are all good options to target in the Lynnhaven right now. If you are looking for larging fish, head to the oceanfront as big bull reds are still being caught in the surf.

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 1 Update:

Hampton Correspondent Chuck Harrison reports that some specks are now moving into town, and a recent trip to the waters near the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel produced one decent fish and a number of throwbacks. With a few more chilly evenings, this bite should be kicking into gear soon.

cutlass fish bonanza
Zeke and Matthew had an EPIC day on cutlass fish – and Zeke said they tasted just like flounder, maybe even better. We agree!

Redfish and specks remain the main targets in the inlets and we did hear of plenty of slot reds this week from Lynnhaven, however, the catch-of-the-week hat tips to reader Dr. Zeke, who was trying to stay out of the wind in Little Creek when he encountered a “ribbonfish invasion” and he and Matthew caught these crazy critters until they just plain got tired. He noted that they were hitting jigs and using wire leader didn’t deter them one bit. This species has begun heading south from northern points in the Bay where they were caught earlier this year, so the next week or two may offer more red-hot action on them before they disappear to deeper waters, and now should be an excellent time to get ‘em.

Other readers checking in after fishing out of Cape Charles reported a mix of species with one of the highlights being some seriously chunky bluefish. They’re being trolled up and caught by those casting lures near the islands and channel edges, sometimes mixed with mackerel and busting water, and while some schools are dinks others are producing fish in the five- to seven-pound class. They’re also making it very tough to use regular soft plastics, so many anglers are opting for Z-Mans or heavy metal.