If you were to take a random survey of fishermen who fish at the Virginia Beach fishing pier and asked them what fish they are trying to catch the Spot fish would be at the top of the list for most anglers. Though it is not the largest fish we catch, not even close, Spot are definitely one of the tastiest, and can be caught in large numbers, without endangering the species.
Spot are a small saltwater fish species found in coastal and inland waters, that are salty or brackish, along the eastern coast of US, in the Gulf of Mexico, and into the Caribbean fishing grounds. They belong to the Croaker family of Drum, and their diets consist largely of organic materials, small crustaceans, and worms.
In the tidal waters of Virginia we use Bloodworms, which are imported from mainly Maine and Canada, cut in small pieces as the first choice for catching the most Spot. While other baits, such as Squid and Shrimp, will catch some fish, you will find most anglers targeting Spot, using pieces of bloodworms on #4 hook on a bottom rig. This is the preferred method on the pier, for sure. It isn’t unusual to catch these fish two, three or more at a time.
Spot of two or three years old will grow seven to eight inches in length and be ready to spawn. Spawning takes place offshore from fall to early spring. The new fish head for the shallower bay waters, then as they age, seek a saltier habitat. That is one of the reasons for the concentration of fish found at the VA Beach fishing pier in late August, September and even through October some years.
The Spot is also a great live and cut bait for many of the other fish seen along the oceanfront. Blues, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Red Drum and Striped Bass follow the big schools of Spot and can be a nice bonus for experienced and novice fishermen. A fish-finder rig with a 4/0 hook can be a deadly rig to use for larger fare.