Coastal Fishing Reports

Coastal Fishing Reports presented by Raymarine

Coastal Fishing Report, February 21 Update:

What could be better than a good day of toggin’? Right now, plenty of good days are to be had, with the fish biting steadily. Reports are good around the dial and although Captain Monty Hawkins on the Morning Star reported some bumpy days this week (rough weather, not fishing), his catch has been solid. Captain Hawkins reported catching and releasing five female tog in 15 minutes during a trip earlier this week, with the largest topping out at 27.5 inches. He also dropped down 24 blocks and a pyramid this week, setting up reefs for more tog habitat. Green crab has been their bait of choice. In southern areas of our range, along with the tautog the sea bass bite has held up strong thus far through the February season (don’t forget you need the VA permit).

giant bluefin tuna record in va
The big news of the week? A 708 pound bluefin came to the docks in Virginia, setting a new state record.

A few specks and reds are also coming to rugged anglers probing the inlets and the Elizabeth with small soft plastics, though Ocean's East noted that this bite had dropped off from past weeks. But most of the chatter this week has focused on the big bluefin a bit farther down the beach. Last weekend Virginia Beach captain Jake Hiles ran 80 miles down to the “Tuna Hole” and fought and landed a 708-pound bluefin—through the night—which is now the new (pending) Virginia state record. That’s 102 pounds heavier than the previous record, which Hiles was also aboard for!

Just for the record: there are also reports of strong number of yellowfin coming in plus a smattering of mako from down south in NC waters, including those (barely) reachable from VA ports.

Coastal Fishing Report, February 14 Update:

With offshore action limited, most anglers have been hitting the inshore wrecks to get in on the winter tog bite dominating them. Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star headed out this week, and reported good fishing in fair conditions. He reported catching, tagging, and releasing upwards of 20 fish, and his boat landed a 28.5-incher this week. Throughout this season, the wrecks have been consistent and fail-safe producing fish. If you’re heading out, be sure to stock up on crab—there’s nothing worse than running out of bait when the bite is hot!

fisherman with tautog
Tog are still the big ticket, along the coast. Photo courtesy of Capt. Monty Hawkins

In the southern inlets, a few tog continue to pop up alongside puppy drum. The puppy drum are eagerly taking GULP! soft plastics and fresh-cut mullet on bottom while to tog are eating crab. Anglers making it outside the inlets are either targeting tog or sea bass (don’t forget to get your permit) on the wrecks.

Coastal Fishing Report, February 7 Update:

Despite some dreary weather on the water this week, boats that got out have been finding tog. Reports from Indian River indicate that it may take a few moves to find cooperative fish, but they’re out there on the wrecks biting white and green crab. Captain Monty Hawkins on the Morning Star reported that taugtog are biting off OC as well. While Capt. Hawkins let us know that the bite has been a little finicky, he had a great day earlier this week at the inshore wrecks after dropping blocks and a pyramid at one of the many reef sites he constantly improves. He reported that the fish were abundant enough that plenty of tagged tog reentered the water. In one of the more interesting catches late last week, angler Tommy Sengphachanh had a sea bass chomp on his crab bait, then a monkfish inhaled the bass and Tommy fought him up and into the boat—wow!

angler with a monkfish
A monkfish? Now that's what we call a beautiful catch... sort of.

Alltackle in Ocean City didn’t hear too much coming from the inlets this week—a few tog were caught there as well, but not in numbers to be exciting or notable.

Farther south, much of the talk is coming from the Outer Banks where big bluefin are making a serious showing and some monsters were spotted smashing through schools of bluefish this week. Oceans East mentioned that there's a bit of speck and puppy drum action in the inlets for anglers casting plastics, MirrOLures, and cut mullet (for the reds). Meanwhile, sea bass have opened back up in Virginia waters and will present a likely target - but not until a reasonable weather-window opens back up. Note that you need a VA permit to partake in this February season and there are reporting requirements one must adhere to.

The surf remains quiet… but not for much longer.

January 3, 2020
Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, January 30 Update: We heard very little on the coastal front this week; the tog remain the primary catch off the coast recently, with Alltackle in Ocean City reporting that the bite isn’t letting up on crab… Read more...
December 5, 2019
December 26, 2019 Coastal Update: Happy Holidays and Merry Fishmas anglers - we hope your holidays are full of lake trips, bucktails, and winter water wonderland fishing success stories. This week, the below report is going to be a little light due… Read more...
November 1, 2019
Coastal Fishing Report, November 29, 2019 Update: A few big boats made it out to the canyons this week, and found that the daytime sword bite on rigged squid and eels dropped 1,200-plus-feet is still happening. A handful of bigeye were also in the… Read more...