The Fish

All About the Fish

Flounder

flounder

Summer flounder.  One of the most sought after and very tasty bottom creature in the Chesapeake Bay.   Catching a keeper flounder can be very frustrating yet very rewarding.  Flounder can be caught in our waters year round but best times is early spring through late fall with peaks around July and August each year.  Finding them is always the hard part as flounder are often very structure oriented.  Many anglers concentrate their efforts along the structure of bridges and tunnels like the CBBT.  But any structure, even drop-offs and lumps can hold flounder.  Many anglers chose live baits but strip baits work very well too.  Fresh strips of bluefish or even bellies of flounder (legal flounder of course) work very.  Wire lining is an old school technique.  We have 2 wire lines available on Seaduction if you are interested and want to try this method.  Fishing around wrecks or rubble can be very productive.

Tog

tog

Tog, Tautog, or Blackfish.  Another very challenging fish to catch.  Tog are also structure oriented fish but they often live INSIDE the structure so you have to get your baits and hooks directly over the structure.  And usually this means having to anchor with a wreck anchor to keep the baits over the zone. Popular areas include the CBBT, Back River Reef, the Cell, Tower Reef, the Concrete Ships, Cape Henry Wreck, the Santore, the Winthrop, the Triangle Wrecks, and any other wreck or structure that you can find.   Best times to catch tog is in the spring when the water temps hit at least 50 degrees with 55 being ideal.  These fish have become increasingly regulated over the years with long closed seasons so check with me to find out when the season is open or closed.  Simple bottom rigs with hooks from 1/0 to 4/0 work with fresh crab or clam.

Cobia

cobia

Cobia.  Probably the most powerful fighting fish in the bay which is why cobia fishing has grown in popularity over the years.  There are 2 primary methods for catching cobia.  (1)  Anchor and set a chum slick to attract the cobia to your boat.  (2)  Or sight cast for them by doing a slow troll in areas where they are known to swim on the surface.  Sight casting is best done from high up from a tower but can be accomplished with any boat.  I will admit I have not perfected the sight casting techniques down yet as I don’t have a tower on my boat.  If you are interested in sight casting for cobia I can recommend some very good sight casters that will put you on the cobia.  But I do have a fair amount of success with chumming for cobia.  For a short lesson to see how I chum for cobia, please watch this short video presentation.   https://vimeo.com/8541881.  Here is a video of some good catching.  https://vimeo.com/1807054

Striped Bass

striper

Striped Bass, Stripers, Rockfish.  When the rockfish are biting the best way I can describe the experience is just flat out fun.  Stripers can be caught in a variety of methods from trolling, casting, live baiting, jigging, surf fishing, pier fishing, you name it and folks have caught stripers from numerous locations using countless techniques.  In Virginia we have a spring and fall season in the bay and winter fishery on the coastal zone outside the bay along the coast to 3 miles out.  I can put together a package that will increase your odds of catching stripers.  But I’ll be honest as the striper populations are not what they used to be and catching them is getting tougher and tougher every year.  But aboard seaduction with full curtains and heat we can at least be comfortable.  Sometimes the best time to go is at night with live eels, so check with me about an after work night trip.  Here are a couple of striper videos for your enjoyment.

https://vimeo.com/35116879 https://vimeo.com/34446837

https://vimeo.com/19192379 https://vimeo.com/8544720

https://vimeo.com/8514196 https://vimeo.com/8514123

Red Drum

Red Drum

Red Drum.  Our waters in the lower Chesapeake Bay is probably the best location in the world for catching trophy sized red drum.  We are talking about 40 to 50 inch drum that fight like freight trains.  44 inches will get you a release citation as all big reds have to be released.  Best time to go is late April through early June but they can be caught all summer.  Live whole crab on a circle hook on the bottom is the best bait.  Late afternoon into the early evening hours even past dark can be the most productive.  Here is a recent video of us catching big reds with medium sized black drum mixed in.   https://vimeo.com/95761752

Spade Fish

spade

Spade Fish.  As soon as our water temps approach 70 degrees in May or early June the spade fish swarm into our waters in massive schools.  Spades are very exciting to catch as you can often watch them swim up and grab your bait and because of their round shape put up a tremendous fight.  Spades are here all summer but early summer is the best as they will switch to feed on jelly fish.  (I’m still trying to figure out how to put a jelly fish on a hook.)  We fish for them around any structure like wrecks, rocks, bridges, or tunnels like the CBBT.  Another popular method is to spear fish for them.  If your group want to charter the boat for a spear fishing trip, give me a call.  I don’t have the gear for spear fishing so you’ll need to bring that yourself.  Sheepshead are excellent eating and fighting fish that can be caught or speared in the same areas as spade fish.

Black Drum

black drum

Black Drum.  Black drum show up in our waters in late April to early May most often on the seaside of the eastern shore.  They feed along the shoals in the early spring as they spread out in the bay.  Often times you can find them schooled up near the CBBT islands although they can be difficult to hook.  Most often we catch them while red drum fishing as in the early spring they mix together along the shoals.  Here are two short videos of us catching black drum ironically both on Mother’s Day.

https://vimeo.com/95021700

https://vimeo.com/66036545

Black Sea Bass

bsb

Black Sea Bass.  One of the most delicious fish in the ocean, the Black Sea Bass.  While the sea bass are very young you can catch them incidentally anywhere in the bay while croaker or spot fishing.  We call them Black Willies when they are small.  But our current keeper size is 12 1/2 inches and it’s rare to catch a keeper inside the bay.  Keeper sea bass are normally found along near shore and offshore wrecks or hard rocky bottom.  Double bottom rigs with squid or meat or jigs work well.  Sea Bass seasons open and close often so check with me to see when is the right time to go.  Best bite is fall or winter but they can bite all summer too.

Sword Fish

sword

Swordfish.  For the past 8 years I have obsessed over catching swords.  There are few Captain’s in Virginia that specifically target swords because they are so difficult to hook and keep hooked.  I have been experimenting with what works or doesn’t work and although all sword fishing is hit or miss, I feel like my experience over the years increase my odds of landing a keeper sword.  I rig all sorts of baits from traditional squid to strip baits, live baits, or eels.  And while Captain Mike does not land a sword every trip, he has caught many swords at night including the largest sword landed in Virginia for the 2013 year.  If you are interested in giving swords a shot, let me know and I’ll put a trip together for you.  I usually fish for them at night so the weather has to be just right for this trip.   https://vimeo.com/67897086

Yellowfin Tuna

YFT

Yellowfin Tuna.  There is nothing more exciting than a yellowfin tuna cover up with 2, 3, 4, or 5 to 6 rods being hit at the same time with line peeling off.  Total chaos in the cockpit but my idea of the most fun one can have on a boat.  When the tuna fishing is good there is no better way to spend your time offshore.  Trolling is a great way to catch them but chunking is also an effective, especially at night.  I’ve had some success with tuna chunking but it seems chunking for tuna is more productive up north but can and does work in our waters too.  Here is a video of a good day on the troll for yellowfin tuna (YFT).   https://vimeo.com/43730855

Bluefin Tuna

BFT

Bluefin Tuna.  Whether it’s schoolie sized or big trophy size Bluefin tuna, catching and boating these beasts is a true accomplishment in Virginia waters.  Check with me to find out when a good time to target them.  It varies year to year and these fish can migrate large distances in a single day so a school that was there today may not be in the same place tomorrow.  The Bluefin in the picture was caught by me on a jig on my buddy’s boat, Capt Rick on Get Anet.  Here is the video.  https://vimeo.com/21229273

Big Eye Tuna

big eye

Big Eye Tuna.  My other obsession next to swords has become the Big Eye tuna.  These fish will bring a grown man to his knees praying for the fight to be over.  These fish never give up fighting for their lives all the way up.  And even after a 2 hour battle when you see the fish and you are so close, the Big Eye can get his 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wind and peel off half the spool causing you to start back over again cranking up.  Lanie fought one for 3 hours on standup tackle only to lose the fish next to the boat.  Heartbreaking for sure.  Lately these fish seem to hang around our canyons all summer.  Best time to catch them is first (dawn) and last (dusk) light so an overnight trip is idea to target eyeballs.  Here are a couple of beasts on video.  https://vimeo.com/72380464  https://vimeo.com/70523745

Mahi

mahi

Mahi, Mahi-Mahi, Dolphin Fish, Dorado.  These colorful, acrobatic fish are so much fun to catch.  They can be caught on the troll while trolling for other species or you can use light tackle to bail them off a weed line or just a piece of floating debris offshore.  Sometimes just a floating balloon can hold mahi.  While offshore we are always ready to bail mahi as that can turn a slow trip into an outstanding trip in a few moments.  Here is us just having fun bailing mahi.

https://vimeo.com/14327507

Wahoo

wahoo

Wahoo.  The speedsters of the ocean.  Most of our wahoo bites come while trolling for other species.  But if you are interested in a dedicated wahoo trip, Aug-Oct is primetime.  Wahoo are not schooling fish, they can travel great distances at high speed so a faster troll using wire as a leader is the best approach.  Wahoo have razor teeth that can slice through mono like butter.  All my baits are rigged Carolina cheater style with a small wire running through the hook and crimp.  It gives an inch of wire protection and increases the odds of a wahoo hookup while no wire is seen by tuna who may be spooked by wire.

Grouper

snowy grouper

Grouper.  The best tasting bottom fish period.  And once you hook a grouper the fish wants to get back in his hole so a tug of war battle begins the moment a grouper is hooked.  This 73 lb snowy grouper in the picture was caught by me and would have been a world record snowy at the time but I used my electric reel which disqualifies any records or citations.  I do have 2 electric reels available for your use should you chose to use them for deep dropping in very deep waters.  Grouper fishing is for sure hit or miss as you can be in the right place but the fish is deep in their hole not feeding at the particular moment your bait travels across his hole.  We have also caught grouper while fishing for tile fish so they are out there.  As with all fishing, you have to be out there with lines in the water for the possibility of catching one.

Golden Tile

golden tile

Golden Tile.  One of my favorite deep fish.  Golden tile live in a soft, clay-like bottom usually in deep water from 500-700 feet.  If you feel your sinker getting stuck in the mud then you are probably in the right area for goldens.  Golden tile burrow holes in the mud and go in their hole head first.  I believe this is why there are times you can be in the right area for golden tiles but they are simply not biting because they are in their holes.  Golden tile fishing is much slower than blueline fishing but the rewards are much greater as they get much bigger and taste much better.  You will have the choice of using our electric reels or doing it what we call willy style, manual crank with a conventional reel.

Amberjack

amberjack

Amberjack.  The donkeys. These will rip your arms off.  We’ve even broken a few rods fighting these beasts.  Best time of year is June – Oct and best opportunity is venturing south to one of the Navy towers.  Live bait works best but can also hit a jig.  This kind of trip usually would be amberjack in the morning until everyone arms are sore then troll out for mahi and wahoo.

Wreckfish

wreckfish

Wreckfish.  Wreckfish resemble small groupers and taste just like a snowy grouper.  While technically not in the grouper family, wreckfish count against our 1 grouper per person per day limit.  In our waters we catch the juvenile groupers from 10-20 lbs normally but a fully grown wreckfish can get to be 100 lbs.  Not sure where the adult wreckfish reside in Virginia if they do at all.  But the wreckfish we do catch are fun to catch and eat.  They seem to migrate in and out of our waters so they may be here today and gone tomorrow.  Here is a video of us catching some nice wreckfish.  https://vimeo.com/3225064

Makos

mako

Mako’s.  Apex predators at the top of the food chain.  Mean, fast, mouth full of razor sharp teeth.  Definitely a challenge to bring to the boat and more of a challenge to safely bring on aboard to keep.  But excellent eating.  We catch them occasionally on the troll but mostly while sword fishing at night.  We can target them specifically with the best time being April – July.  Here are a few of my favorite mako videos.

http://vimeo.com/70441071

http://vimeo.com/70252792

http://vimeo.com/42970041

Blueline Tile

Mike Blueline

Blueline Tile.  Some call it croaker fishing at 300 feet.  But these can be big croaker and there is a big difference in cranking a croaker at 20 feet vs cranking a 10-15 lb tile at 300 feet.  Good eating fish and can be found up and down the atlantic coast anywhere there is a hard rocky bottom around 300 feet.  Here is an older video of us tile fishing.  The tile fishing is not what it used to be but can still be good if you are on the right spot. https://vimeo.com/8516728