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Fishingforecast

September 25, 2008

By LEE

THERE LIKELY IS NO other fish for which secrets are more guarded than the speckled trout. Known in southerly coastal waters a spotted sea trout, the speck is one of the most cherished species in Virginia and North Carolina.

It could be the fish’s beautiful markings and orange-fanged mouth. Or maybe it’s the speck’s soft jaws that provide for a tension-filled fight as it splashes on the surface or digs toward the depths.

There is no doubt that the shallow, marshy habitat the trout calls home lends to angler fascination.

It’s trout time in South Hampton Roads. Fish are starting to show in decent numbers along the flats around Poquoson, the mouths of bay- side Eastern Shore creeks, and inside Rudee and Lynnhaven inlets. Action will get better as the weather gets cooler and more and more fish move into their usual haunts.

If you don’t know the hows or wheres of speck fishing, don’t expect to get a lot of help from others. Although there aren’t any true speckled trout secrets these days, locations, lures, tidal favorites and other traditional aspects of the fishery are guarded by most as if nobody else on the planet knows what’s going on.

When trout fishing, don’t be surprised if the guy in the boat next to you keeps his rod tip in the water – even lets a fish get off – before showing you his hand.

Speckled trout fishing almost is a sport where typical bragging is a no-no.

And area waters can produce bragging-rights fish.

Virginia’s record is a 16-pounder caught in 1977. North Carolina’s standard is a 12-4 caught in 1961.

Virginia waters traditionally produce several double digit-sized fish each year.

HAMPTON ROADS

Mother Nature is inviting you to stay home for the next few days. Strong easterly winds – maybe even a tropical system – are in store for the coast.

It’s going to be a good time to clean up the tackle box.

The only real opportunities will be inside Little Creek, Lynnhaven and Rudee inlets. It still will be windy, but it won’t be rough. And lots of water and bait will be piled up into each, sending puppy drum and speckled trout tight to the banks for an easy meal. Muddy water, however, could hinder catches.

And portions of Rudee already are severely muddied because of dredging.

The inlets also are holding decent numbers of spot and croaker, with larger fish starting to show.

Bluefish are everywhere, and they don’t seem to care how bad things are.

Conditions are likely to force the southerly migration of cobia and Spanish mackerel. Big red drum still could be available when things calm down.

It will take a while for waters to clear, but flounder action could be hot once that happens.

Hopefully this blow won’t chase south the numbers of white marlin, tuna and dolphin that had been showing offshore.

EASTERN SHORE

Bay-side creeks and backwaters around Oyster should provide excellent catches of speckled trout in the coming weeks.

Although the sheltered waters on the Chesapeake Bay side will be the most fishable for the next few days, high tides and muddy water likely will hinder good results.

Numbers of specks should improve weekly as waters continue to cool.

Croaker, speckled trout and red drum should be available around Oyster once winds subside and waters clear.

Flounder catches also will be on hold until waters clear. But catches could be outstanding once that happens.

Offshore action will be at a standstill until next week. Hopefully there still will be decent numbers of white marlin, dolphin and tuna. Action after such a blow can be outstanding, since bait tends to get balled up during storms.

OUTER BANKS

Boats up and down the region have been docked since late last week, and that will continue to be the case at least until Monday. Offshore action could be outstanding once seas calm.

Seas along the beach will be rougher, rendering them non- fishable. Look for bluefish, cobia and red drum once things calm.

Action in the sounds could be provided by speckled trout and puppy drum. But high and muddy water could make the going tough.

PIERS AND SURF

Fishing in a washing machine isn’t any fun. But that’s what things will be like for the next couple of days.

Anglers braving the conditions could possibly deck a few spot, croaker, flounder, trout and puppy drum.

When things calm, however, catches could be extremely good all along the beaches of Virginia and North Carolina.

Piers jutting into the Atlantic also could produce big red drum and cobia as the fish migrate south.

FRESHWATER

The only real shot at any decent action this weekend will be for anglers who have boats and motors small enough to fish the water- supply lakes in Suffolk and Norfolk, or for those who have access to private ponds.

Even then, catching often isn’t great during a sustained easterly blow.

Water levels on creeks and rivers are way down because of easterly winds. Connie Barbour, who lives on a creek off Back Bay says: “There isn’t any water. It’s almost ankle deep in my canal, and it’s usually 4 feet deep. I’ve seen it worse, but this is about as bad as it’s ever been.”

Strong easterly winds forecast through the weekend will continue to lower the water.

When things die down and levels on creeks and rivers return to normal, expect largemouth bass action to really turn on.

Crappie will move quickly back into cover in water less than 10 feet.

And any number of other species – white perch, bowfin, chain pickerel, gar and striped bass – should turn on as well.

off the hook

The Pilot’s Sunday fishing feature will tell how Walt Knapp of Virginia Beach spent his 75th birthday watching his son and grandson catch a few surprises.

Off the Hook features the tales (fact, not fiction) of Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina anglers, so pass along your ideas. Send your pictures and thoughts to Pilot outdoors writer Lee Tolliver at

lee.tolliver@pilotonline.com or call him at (757) 222-5844.

off the hook

The Pilot’s Sunday fishing feature will tell how Walt Knapp of Virginia Beach spent his 75th birthday watching his son and grandson catch a few surprises.

Off the Hook features the tales (fact, not fiction) of Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina anglers, so pass along your ideas. Send your pictures and thoughts to Pilot outdoors writer Lee Tolliver at lee.tolliver@pilotonline.com or call him at (757) 222- 5844.

Originally published by BY LEE.

(c) 2008 Virginian – Pilot. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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