Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Report | Sept 2017

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Report | Sept 2017

I haven’t been able to log a fishing report for the VA Beach Pier for a while, but here’s the latest.

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier hours of operation have been cut back early this year. At the moment, we are open from 7AM to Midnight weather permitting. Please call ahead for any changes that may occur. (757)428-2333.

Summer has proven to be good for both fishing and crabbing. September is shaping up to be a typical fishing smorgasbord too.

Some nice runs of Spot have been seen in the last week or so. I watched some nice double-headers coming up Labor Day morning, which also occurred over the weekend.

Bloodworms and Fishbites, available in the Pier Tackle Shop, are the best baits, but hungry spot will sometimes eat other baits like Shrimp and Squid, just not as readily.Hopefully the water will cool down gradually so the fish hang around through the month and into October.

Spot fish Spot Fish At VA Beach Pier

 

A mixture of Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum have also been caught by anglers, just not every day.  Most have been just under their size limits so far, but some larger keeper fish should start showing soon. Speckles must be 14″ and Red Drum between 18″ to 26″. We usually look for schools of bait fish, like Mullet, showing up in the surf to really start seeing these and other game fish.

speckled trout redfish

Summer Flounder and Striped Bass can make a good showing some years and create a real treat for fishermen that know how to target them.

Nice Striped Bass VA Beach Fishing Pier

Pompano are another species that make up the nice variety of pier catches in the Fall.

Pompano

Typically, Blue Crab catches tend to slow down as we get into the Fall season, so you might want to put some in the freezer soon. You can pick the meat and freeze it for a real treat for special occasions.

Hopefully the weather will not stir up too much trouble this year. It certainly has been brutal in the Gulf and other areas around the country.

 

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Report July 17 2017

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Report July 17 2017

The Summer is flying by at the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier. While the Blue Crabs have been really plentiful this year, some nice fish are also being caught.

Spanish Mackerel have been providing anglers with some good action most days, they are delicious table fare as well. Most of the knowledgeable fishermen target Spanish at first light and late afternoon and evening, don’t let that stop you from casting lures at other times. I have seen them caught in the middle of the day and even in the lights on the water at night.

Gotcha Plugs, like those shown below, are good for many different species caught along the oceanfront.

GOTCHA LURES

Some days there are Bluefish and the occasional small Cobia or Striped Bass around the VA Beach Pier. Cut bait and lures can both work at times for these species.

Bottom fishing has produced a mixed bag, which is normal for this time of year. Some nice Roundhead are still being caught, along with Spot and Croaker with Bloodworms, Squid and Shrimp on double hook bottom rigs. These fish typically get bigger and swim in larger schools throughout the Summer months and well into the Fall.

While Spadefish have been less plentiful this Summer, some years see an increase in size and total catch as Fall approaches.

Summer Flounder not usually caught in large numbers on the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, some undersized fish and a few that surpass the 17 inch minimum size limit are reeled in this time of year.

And then there is the huge number of Blue Crabs being taken this season. We get female crabs almost exclusively in the ocean water, but they have tasty backfin and body meat, even though their claws are smaller than the male crab.

Be sure to call us at (757)425-2333 for the latest info.

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Report July 3 2017

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Report July 3 2017

The fishing and crabbing on the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier continues to be pretty good. A mixture of bottom fish like Spot, Croaker, Roundhead and some small Puppy Drum are being caught.

Anglers casting lures, like Gotcha plugs and Squid Spoons have had some really good afternoon and evening runs of Spanish Mackeral , with some fishermen catching their 15 fish limits. The minimum size is currently 14 inches for Spanish.

Spanish Mackeral On the VA Beach Pier     24 inch Spanish Mackeral

Bluefish are also being caught on the lures, but are likely to hit cut bait on a bottom rig or Fire Ball rig too, more than the Spanish. Bluefish limits are set at 10 fish per angler, but can be any size.

We hope to see the Spadefish catch increase as the water gets about as warm as we see it at the oceanfront. The tackle shop carries the clams used by most fishermen who target Spadefish.

This has been one of the best Blue Crab seasons we’ve seen on the VA Beach Pier in recent years. Crabbers can keep a bushel a day per person.

In the Ocean waters we see female crabs almost exclusively, so many are going to have egg sponges on their bellies. The ones with dark brown sponges need to be returned to the water with their eggs.

The females with the lighter yellow and orange sponges can be kept because they have laid their eggs. I have included a quick guide below.

Sharks, Rays and Skates are also available in the Summer.

Check in the Pier Tackle Shop for answers to any questions you may have about fishing and crabbing and any gear you need.

Hopefully the 2017 season will continue to be good at the Virginia Beach Pier and other local waters.

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier 24/7 Summer Hours

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier 24/7 Summer Hours

The Virginia Beach Fishing Pier 24/7 Summer Hours of operation begin Friday May 26 2017. The pier will open at 8:00 AM and for the rest of the Summer be open around the clock.

The fishing this Spring has been pretty good, with a variety of species being caught.

Spot fishing
Double Header Spots

Most days recently we have had bottom fish like Spot, Roundhead and Perch. Some very nice Speckled Trout in the 2-4 pound class have been pleasing anglers at varying times and tides. More smaller Specks and Grey Trout have also been caught.

Speckled Trout VA Beach Fishing Pier

Bluefish are no longer showing up in the vast schools that were seen in the 70s, 80s and 90s, but some fish up to about 13 lbs have been caught. Smaller Blues in the 2-4 lb class are more readily available and they tend to be around all Summer long.

Blue Crabs are plentiful this season. If you don’t have any crab nets be sure to stop in the Pier Tackle Shop for all your crabbing needs. They are also open 24 hrs starting May 26th.

blue crab

 

Hope to see you soon at the VA Beach Fishing Pier.

 

Catching Spot At The Virginia Beach Fishing Pier | VA Beach Fishing Pier

We’ve been catching some Spot this week at the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier this week. The run is starting a little late, but we hpe it will continue for a while.

The only downer is Hurricane Matthew may impact the area. Keep an eye on the weather and call 757-428-2333 for the latest info.

Va Beach Fishing Pier Fall Hours | Va Beach Fishing Pier

The Va Beach Fishing Pier Fall hours are  shortened for the last few weeks of the season. Sunday thru Thursday we are open from 8 AM – 8 PM. Friday and Saturday hours are 8 AM – Midnight. Please call 757-428-2333 for any additional changes.

September was a disappointment in some respects. The wind and record rainfall made many days unfishable.  Although some of the usual fall fish, like Spot, Bluefish, Speckled Trout and Spanish Mackeral, have been caught from the pier, the numbers were definitely down.

The water is still very warm, the upper 70s, for this time of year. As we have cooler nights in October, we are still in a position to have some nice runs of fish. Croaker, Puppy Drum,  and Striper are always a good possibility, with Black Drum, Pompano and Summer Flounder as icing on the cake.

The Virginia Beach Fishing Pier is usually open for a few more weeks if the weather and the fish cooperate, but call ahead for current hours.

VA Beach Pier Striper

IMG_0877 - Copy

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Jeff's Puppy Drum Ulysses With A Puppy Drum 016 013

Chopper Bluefish

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Report July 29 | VA Beach Fishing Pier

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Report July 29

The month of July Was unusually hot and muggy, at least to me, but the crabs and fish didn’t seem to mind. Crabbing was especially good and daily catches of Bluefish, Spanish Mackeral, Roundhead and Spot were also pleasing anglers.

Spadefish have been hanging around the pier pilings in good numbers and Clams continue to be the number one bait for catching them. They aren’t necessarily as big as the fish caught in deeper waters, but they are still delicious and the 4 fish limit per day gives everyone a chance to enjoy them.

The Bluefish and Spanish are still mostly being caught with Gotcha Plugs, with the Red & White and Red & Silver colors seeming to be the most popular choices.

Some Speckled and Grey Trout,Summer Flounder and Pompano have also made an appearance, which is a regular Summer occurrence.

Depending on the weather, August can be a little slower during the heat of the day and better at night, but other variables, such as water temperature and wind direction can also have an effect. Be sure to call 757-428-2333 for the latest info.

Roundhead - Whiting

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Recreational Crabbing Regulations 2016 | VA Beach Fishing Pier

Recreational Crabbing Regulations 2016

We are having a banner season on Blue Crabs at the VA Beach Fishing Pier this year. It is a very simple process and can be enjoyable for the whole family.

A crab net or pot is lowered to the bottom of the water with a piece of bait tied in the net to attract the crabs. You tie the extra string to the railing of the pier and check it periodically. This might be the hardest part of the process, but you usually don’t have to wait long before you can pul lit up with some feisty Blue Crabs in the net.

If you plan to keep any crabs, be sure to have a bucket or cooler boig enough to store the crabs on ice. It is extremely important to keep them cool, but you should periodically drain the water and replace the melted ice to keep them fresh for cooking.

Female blue crab without eggsFemale Blue Crabrecreational crab net

 

Size/Catch Restrictions

*  Minimum size limits:  5 inches for male hard crabs (jimmies) and immature female hard crabs, 3 ¼ inches for peeler crabs caught from March 17 through July 15 and 3 ½ inches from July 16 until November 30 in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries; 3 ¼ inches for peeler crabs caught on the seaside of the Eastern Shore; and 3 1/2 inches for softshell crabs measured from tip to tip of the longest spikes.  No size limits exist for adult female hard crabs (sooks) [Code 28.2-708, Regulation 4 VAC 20-270-55].

*  Dark sponge (brown through black coloration) crabs must be returned to the water alive and not altered or destroyed in any manner during the period of March 17 thru June 30; however, a tolerance of 10 dark sponge crabs per bushel is allowed [4 VAC 20-370-20].

The Pier Tackle Shop on the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier can supply you with everything you need and is open 24/7.

Definitions:

“Jimmy” means a male hard crab with a narrow apron on the abdomen.

“Sook” means a mature female hard crab with a semicircular apron.

“She-crab” means an immature female hard crab with a triangular apron.

“Sponge crab” means an adult female hard crab which has extruded her eggs on the abdomen or abdominal flap.  The egg mass or “Sponge” may contain about 2 million eggs.

“Peeler crab” means any crab with a soft shell fully developed under the hard shell.  A white, pink, or red line on the outer section of the “backfin” is an indicator.

“Backfin” means the last leg of the crab, flattened to aid in swimming.  Also known as the swimmer or paddle fin.

“Buster” means a crab that has begun to back out of its old shell.

“Softshell crab” means a crab which has recently emerged from its old shell.  The new shell is soft and tender.

“Papershell” means a softshell crab whose shell has begun to harden.  The shell stiffens and becomes tougher – usually within 12 hours after shedding the old shell.

“Doubler” means a male crab carrying a female crab prior to or after mating.  Usually the females are peelers or softshells.

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Fishing Report | VA Beach Fishing Pier

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Fishing Report

We have been catching a nice variety of fish this week at the VA Beach Fishing Pier. Roundhead are being caught on a regular basis, with Spot and small Speckled Trout coming up, as well, at times.

Bluefish are still showing up everyday for anglers who enjoy tossing artificial baits, like Gotcha plugs, to catch fish site feeding. A few Spanish Mackeral have been taken too and we should see more since the water temperature has hit the low 70’s. As the Summer gets hotter, sometimes patterns develop, such as morning or evening producing the best catches, so call 757-428-2333 for the latest information.

Some small Cobia have been hitting, with most being under the 37 inch limit. Also being landed are Striped Bass, but again the smaller than 28 inch fish have had to be released back into the ocean.

Crabbing for Blue Crabs has really been good with many anglers filling their coolers with nice females, called Sook or Sally, which are loaded with succulent body meat.

If you are new to fishing or crabbing, stop by the Pier Tackle Shop, located on the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, and they will be happy to help you get set up with the proper gear.

Here are some pictures of recent fish caught from the pier:

VA Beach Pier Striper

Cobia

Be sure to call the Virginia Beach Pier at 757-428-2333 for the latest fishing report!

 

Shark Regulations 2016 | VA Beach Fishing Pier

We get a lot of questions about Shark Possession limits at the VA Beach Fishing Pier, so here are the Shark regulations 2016:

SHARKS (All species except smooth and spiny dog sharks)*

Shark

NMFS Shark Identification

Regulation 4 VAC 20-490-10 et seq.

Minimum Size Limit: 54 inches fork length **

Possession Limit: 1 per vessel ***

A non-boat assisted shore angler is entitled to a vessel possession limit

Season Closed May 15 – July 15

(Includes Blacktip, Bull, Great Hammerhead, Lemon, Nurse, Scalloped Hammerhead, Smooth Hammerhead, Spinner, and Tiger Shark)

Federal waters, beyond the Three Mile Limit governed by different regulations set by the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council.

*Recreationally Prohibited Species – It is illegal to take, catch or possess any shark from the “Recreationally Prohibited Species” list, as defined in Regulation 4 VAC 20-490-10 et seq., including but not limited to the following species commonly encountered in Virginia: Atlantic Angel, Dusky, Sand Tiger, Sandbar, White, and Bigeye Thresher Sharks. No size or possession limits apply to Dog Sharks.

**All sharks (All species except Spiny Dog Sharks) must be landed with head and fins attached; hammerhead sharks must be 78 inches fork length (FL) or greater, no minimum size applies to Atlantic Sharpnose, Bonnethead, Blacknose, and Finetooth Sharks.

***Possession limit for Atlantic Sharpnose and Bonnethead Sharks is 1 per person.

Sharks may only be taken by handline or rod and reel; Spearing and bowfishing illegal.

Capture Citation: RELEASE ONLY

Release Citation: 72 IN.