Way South Fishing Reports

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 23 Update:

Anglers who managed to get out early in the week enjoyed some beautiful scenery, peppered with bends in their rod tips. Flounder fishing dropped off 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. Drum can be located sporadically, but they’re not sticking to any one area. They’ve been taking a variety of cut bait and lures. Stripers are relatively easy to find right now as many have moved into the area. Searching for them under birds of along channel edges has been popular, and many anglers are reporting catching keepers in the 23-inch range. We also had a reader report of a lucky encounter with a school of big bull reds within sight of the CBBT. The didn’t stick around long but were happy to smack a white bucktail trimmed with a lime green paddletail.

puppy drum from the york river
Contributor Eric Packard holds up a beautiful puppy drum - that's the kind of fish we love to see!

Contributor Eric Packard fished the lower York this week and reports plenty of specks around grassbeds were more than willing to hit popping cork rigs in chartreuse and pink, pink twisters on half-ounce jigheads, and especially four-inch pink Gulp! twisters. Several slot puppies, some undersized rock, and a kingfish were also in the mix.

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 16 Update:

The red drum fishery has continued to pick up in the past week. Ocean’s East reported that anglers jigging two-ounce spoons and seven-inch plastics along the channel edges and under working birds are getting in on a steady catch. When finding birds in this zone, along with the red drum there are plenty of reports that stripers, bluefish, and even a stray Spanish mackerel continue to be in the mix. Tossing metal spoons through boiling baitfish has been a great way to entice them. Anglers looking to scoop up a few more mackerel as they head south have been trolling the channel edges with small Drones, Clarks, and Hard Head Custom Baits spoons. They’re also picking up some bluefish, in perfectly portioned lunch-for-two size.

speckled sea trout
Fall specks are the name of the game in many areas right now. Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

Around the CBBT, flounder fishing remains fair for anglers bouncing soft plastics off bottom. Although most of the flounder haven’t been large, there are keepers are in the mix and a few very nice ones have popped up. Fishing for flatfish at the inlets has, by most reports, been as good or better. Better news from the inlets, though, along the shorelines (both east and west), the CBBT islands, and the HRBT is that a nice fall speck run continues to pick up steam. Ocean’s East let us know that four-inch soft plastic paddle tails, Gulp! Shrimp or Jerk Shad, and fresh shrimp under corks are all good bets for the specks. A couple of very nice trout in the mid-20-inch class were reported this week. A few puppy drum are in the mix as well, especially for those fishing shrimp.

Reports from the piers indicate that there’s also a bit of a fall run on for bottom fishermen. Spot and some croaker are feeding as they prepare to head south, and they’re quick to slurp down bloodworms, sand fleas, and shrimp fished on bottom rigs.

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 9 Update:

Out in the main-stem Bay there have been birds working over a few schools of breaking fish with stripers in the mix. Many, however, are undersized and it may be necessary to fish deep under the main school, or leave fish to find fish, in order to put keepers in the box. Copious snapper blues have also been problematic for those casting soft plastics where birds are present, so bring plenty of extra tails, or switch to the un-bite-able Z-Mans or heavy metal. A rare Spanish mackerel has shown up here and there as well, but they seem to have mostly departed the scene at this point. Speckled trout have been showing up in fair numbers throughout the area, though many are small. Correspondent Chuck Harrison got out to the HRBT this week, and there he managed to bring in four speckled trout between 17” and 20” plus a 24” puppy drum. Harrison reports he didn’t see a whole lot of action happening while he was out, but did have a yakker report that he also caught a 24” inch puppy drum.

bluefish in chesapeake bay
You may want to reach for the metal if you spot birds, or be prepared to donate plenty of plastics to the snappers.

Redfish have also been popping up near the mouth of the York, as well as at the CBBT. Also at the CBBT, the sheepshead bite persists for anglers dropping sand fleas and peeler crab chunks very close to structure. This is another bite that won’t last much longer so get while the getting is good. Specks are also present around the CBBT islands, though as with elsewhere many have been small recently and the bite hasn’t quite hit the full fall swing yet. As these fish begin shifting away from northern areas (note that in our other reports this is now being observed from the Potomac and up) there should be some awesome action in the coming weeks both at the islands and in the inlets.

Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 2 Update:

Oceans East let us know that the sheepshead bite remained solid this week around the CBBT and south. The sheep were ready to snap up fiddler crabs, which have been their favorite baits. Around the CBBT, some stripers are popping up as well. A few keeper-sized rockfish were caught on the troll and on jigs this week, as anglers hit the channel edges. We’re glad some stripers are showing up (remember that the Bay season opens the 4th), because the close of the cobia season was a bit of a dud. Two readers who fished the CBBT just prior to the close said it was slim pickings, with just two sighted and none landed. However, one of them did report briefly spotting a pod of big reds (that unfortunately disappeared as quickly as it had appeared). The other shifted targets, dropped shrimp, and managed to haul up a couple keeper tautog, some weakfish, a puppy drum, and way too many toad fish from the waters around the bridge-tunnel complex.

fishing the southern chesapeake bay
A honkin’ big flounder wasn’t good enough for Marianne, she had to go and catch a black drum, too!

Other reader reports from the bridge-tunnel this week included flounder catches (including one limit), a few drum of both colors, and snapper blues. Around the islands and also in the inlets, speckled trout are still making their rounds, too. Tossing paddle and twisty tail four-inch soft plastics in bright or sparkly colors has been bridging them in. We also had one slot red reported by a reader casting for specks (and getting a limit) in Lynnhaven this week with pink Bass Assassins; although the specks were far more plentiful they were not overly impressive size-wise.

June 5, 2020
Way South Chesapeake Fishing Report, June 25 Update: Anglers near the mouth of the Bay are all smiles right now with the cobia bite on fire and plenty of other species ready to eat, too. Ocean’s East let us know that this week has been the best for… Read more...
April 30, 2020
Way South Chesapeake Fishing Report, May 29 Update: Virginia waters at the mouth of the Bay are providing some of the most diverse and action-packed fishing across the Chesapeake right now. We were SO excited when we had a reader report this week… Read more...
April 3, 2020
Way South Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, April 24 Update: With travel and access restrictions still limiting fishing opportunities in some areas, we note that if you’re headed out to fish all the regular regs for the season are still in place and… Read more...