Virginia Beach is a haven for anglers. In fact, it provides the best saltwater fishing of all the mid-Atlantic fishing spots. Anglers can choose to fish in the Chesapeake Bay, around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Complex, in tidal creeks and rivers, over shallow flats, or in deep channels. The Bay also has numerous wrecks and other forms of bottom structure, which are great places to find fish.
Anglers might prefer to set their sights on nearshore fishing just off the beaches. The third type of Virginia Beach fishing is offshore fishing, which includes deep sea or drop fishing over and around wrecks and scattered debris. The Chesapeake Light Tower, thirteen miles offshore, is another amazing fishery. For anglers who want to fish really deep water, there are the Norfolk Canyon and the famous Gulf Stream.
Great fishing can be done just about year round from Virginia Beach. In the winter, it’s all about the rockfish. As the stripers begin to head for the ocean, other species emerge from their winter haze and begin searching for a meal. Fish species that begin being landed in early spring include flounder, sea bass, and tautog.
By the middle of the spring season, the black drum move into the Chesapeake Bay, with most being found in the Bay’s northern region. As the water warms, the drum will find a home at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Complex. Some of these fish are real brutes! Although the big ones aren’t good to eat, they’re a lot of fun to catch.
At the end of April or the beginning of May, reds are available, including some hefty individuals. Redfish are often landed at night, and they’re great table fare. Anglers can usually tempt the reds until the middle of October. Offshore, dolphinfish begin showing up, especially around towers.
In late spring, huge schools of Atlantic spadefish can be found in the Bay and at the Chesapeake Light Tower. These beautiful fish can be tricky to catch because of their small mouths, but they put up an admirable battle once hooked. Because of their sheer numbers, spadefish are great targets for beginners. Starting about May, mako sharks show up offshore. These are very exciting fish to tangle with. They’ll often jump, leap, and tail-walk like a billfish.
In early summer, the amberjack, cobia, and king mackerel show up. Fish for them around the Chesapeake Light Tower and around bottom structure like manmade reefs and wrecks. In the summer, panfish like croaker and whiting are easy to catch. Tuna usually show up in mid-June and can be found off the coast of Virginia Beach near underwater canyons and deep trenches. Late summer is a great time to catch tautog, triggerfish, and sea bass. These fish species love underwater structure, so fish for them around towers and wrecks.
In the fall, the stripers begin moving into the Chesapeake Bay and its inlets and rivers. Striper season at Virginia Beach is almost like a national holiday. People come from all over to try their luck at landing a trophy rockfish, and there are some big striper fishing tournaments in the area.
Wow! That’s an entire year of great Virginia Beach fishing. Now all you need to do is decide which species you want to catch, mark your calendar, and book passage with one of the Virginia Beach fishing charters.